Romy Schnelle is a partner at High-Tech Gründerfonds, the leading early-stage investor in Germany, and Chair of the newly established Investment Committee at TX Group. She tells us what she is most looking forward to in the collaboration and how she assesses the start-up scene in Europe.
How did this collaboration with the TX Group come about, and what motivated you to take on this commitment?
Romy Schnelle: When setting up the Investment Committee, it was important to TX Group to appoint an independent expert from the market. I am very pleased that I was chosen for this role. My motivation for this role is to support the transforming TX Group in making good investment decisions. This is to create value and build future business in the medium to long term. So far, in my role as a partner at HTGF, I have made decisions free of history and corporate DNA.
What are you particularly looking forward to as Chair of the Investment Committee?
I'm looking forward to diving into the decision-making fundamentals of the TX Group and gaining insights into the diverse perspectives of the companies and startups, so that the best possible decisions for the Group can be made. I believe it's important not only to take short-term decisions, but also decisions that will generate return in the medium term – or for even longer.
What do you find fascinating about the international startup scene?
In my view, the startup scene is powered by the dynamic and rapid emergence of new technologies, business models and markets. Building companies up from scratch – and now, in my position, supporting them with know-how, networks and capital – these are things that have always fascinated me.
Which qualities do you regard as important for a successful startup?
The team is crucial to the success of a startup. It's essential for the team to consist of individuals with a background of experience, skills and shared values. Readiness to change and implementation strength are decisive factors in this context.
It goes without saying that an excellent team won't achieve much with a mediocre idea. The team needs a strong idea as the basis for validating the market, the customer feedback, the business model, and the approaches it will adopt so that the potential can be tapped. The focus on customer satisfaction in combination with an attractive business model for the startup are further success factors.
What advice would you give to founders on choosing their financing partners?
On this point, my advice is always to think holistically and take the medium-term view so as to arrive at the correct decision.
How do you regard the prospects for the startup scene in Europe as compared to the rest of the world?
The markets in Europe appear to be very fragmented as compared to the USA, due to factors such as language barriers and national borders. This is definitely a challenge, but one that can be viewed as an opportunity, too – because it also raises the market entry barriers for other players. Access to capital continues to present another challenge, even though some positive development trends are already emerging in this regard.
Generally speaking, there are plenty of good ideas, novel technologies and innovations. But as I see it, what is still lacking in many cases is entrepreneurial spirit. There's a need for more courage and determination to take decisions here – because these are the qualities that are required to found a company.
About the Investment Committee of the TX Group
Through the Investment Committee, the TX Group – and therefore TX Markets – is stepping up its involvement in the startup sector and over the coming years, the Group will increase its investments in innovative digital business models. More information in the media release.
Strategic investor, long-term partner: TX Markets
TX Markets invests in start-ups and leading marketplaces in Greater Europe. You can find more information about our strategy on our homepage.