Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Harald Nieder was recorded in March 2019.
Harald Nieder is a Partner at Redalpine Venture Partners, a European firm primarily focused on Germany and Switzerland.
Sramana Mitra: So tell us about yourself as well as Redalpine. Let’s get you introduced to our audience.
Harald Nieder: I didn’t follow the usual path to venture capital, I would say. I’m a scientist by training. I studied physics. I did my PhD in physics. I did a postdoc in theoretical physics in string theory. I did that for quite some time.
I spent some time at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland and Tel Aviv University in Israel. Then I worked at a couple of banks in the UK, London. During that time, I was doing angel investment.
That brought me closer to the FinTech scene in London and also sparked my interest in venture capital for startups. That’s why I started in venture capital when I got back in Switzerland. We are all based in Switzerland. We are a pretty classical early-stage venture fund.
When I describe Redalpine, I would think along three dimensions. One dimension is the sector focus that we have. The other one is the geographical focus. The third one is the stage where we invest. If you look at the sectors that we invest in, that’s actually quite broad.
We invest in anything from HealthTech to FinTech and anything in between. That’s on purpose. It’s quite broad. We are more focused on the geographical side. We do invest, in general, throughout Europe. But if you look at the portfolio, a lot of stuff is from Germany and Switzerland.
The stage is another focus for us. We typically invest our first tickets in the seed stage or early series A. Then we call on in later rounds. We’ve been around for quite some time. The first fund was in 2007. We’re now investing from the third fund.
Sramana Mitra: How big is the fund?
Harald Nieder: The fund size varies quite a bit. It is smaller in the beginning. But we follow a strategy where around $70 million to $150 million is the fund size that works out for us. It can really be quite effective in the early stages.
Sramana Mitra: First and foremost, let’s start with geography. You said Germany and Switzerland. Does that mean, strictly, Germany and Switzerland? Does that mean neighboring countries as well, depending on the deals?
Harald Nieder: It’s not strictly Germany and Switzerland. What counts for us is a couple of things. First of all, we want to be close to the companies that we invest in. So, that involves a round where we want to be active, but it very much includes neighboring countries.