Success Stories

Our passion for large, disruptive topics and our readiness to take chances has led to a whole range of success stories in various fields of business.

  • Hans-Martin Rüter, founder of Conergy, a solar energy company

    Hans-Martin Rüter built Conergy, the pioneer in solar power

  • Tim Kröger and Friedrich Schwandt, founders of Statista, a German online portal for statistics

    Tim Kröger and Friedrich Schwandt make statistics easily accessible and useful for anyone

  • Tapio Harmia, founder of FACT, producer of lightweight composite materials

    Tapio Harmia solved the problem of low price production of lightweight composite materials

  • Dirk Graber, founder of the European market leader for online optician shop Mister Spex

    Dirk Graber makes buying eyewear easy and less costly and builds leading European online optician

  • Benjamin Krause, Tobias Bauckhage and Jon Handschin, founder of Moviepilot, the global market leader in the social publishing industry for movies

    Tobias, Jon and Ben become global market leader in the social publishing industry for movies

  • Behrooz Rezvani and Andrea Goldsmith, founder of Quantenna, a semiconductor company for wireless transmission of broadband information

    Behrooz Rezvani and Andrea Goldsmith take the wireless transmission of broadband information to new heights

Alec was super enthusiastic when his school friend Andreas Rüter told him that his brother Hans-Martin was setting up a solar energy company. There’s nothing like providing a solution for a globally increasing need of energy while being friendly to the environment and having enough of a natural resource. And with that, Conergy laid the foundation to transform the solar industry in 1998. We got involved immediately and brought in Angiolo Laviziano as CFO to complete the best team the solar energy sector had ever seen.

Sooner than we had anticipated, the German Renewable Energy Law was passed and nationwide funding was granted, and the boom came with it. Conergy began by developing small solar devices for domestic use and later went on to build the biggest and most spectacular commercial solar power stations. Hans-Martin gave the company a first mover advantage, he focused on sales while also contributing his technical competence and taking a hand in leadership. He not only made Conergy a market leader, but he also made it one of the fastest growing companies that Germany had ever seen.

In March 2005 we took Conergy public after shares were oversubscribed twenty-nine times. Market capitalization exceeded two billion euros in succession to make Conergy Grazia’s first unicorn.

conergy.com
Foundation 1998
Hans-Martin Rüter
Lead Investor Series Seed
Exit 2005
Hans-Martin Rüter, founder of Conergy, a solar energy company

We celebrated one of our best VC days in November 2015 at Statista, where we had served as the only investor since day one. We visited an Internet conference in London with the company’s CEO. The business success in recent years resulted in a growing number of strategic acquisition inquiries, which brought about its meteoric rise. The company had just been presented with an interesting purchase offer, and was about to sign a letter of intent within 24 hours. At that same conference, two other strategic investors did their very best to make their bid; an amount that went up by the hour. At the same time, we were talking to a potential buyer in New York who also wanted to get involved. Eventually, towards evening, we agreed on the best possible solution, making the gin and tonic at the bar the perfect way to cool down our nerves while tasting amazingly good at the same time.

statista.com
Foundation 2007
Dr. Friedrich Schwandt / Tim Kröger
Sole Institutional Investor
Exit 2015
Friedrich Schwandt and Tim Kröger, founders of Statista, a German online portal for statistics

The world needs lightweight materials so that people and goods can be moved with the lowest possible consumption of energy. Tapio Harmia realized early on that these kinds of materials must be made available at a low price, and to address the issue he designed a new production process. By the time Tapio came to us, FACT had already established an innovative process and had actually already set up a pilot production plant. However, they were missing three factors: series-production readiness, the processes and the customers. We not only promised Tapio our investment, but also our comprehensive knowledge in setting up companies. In the years to come, we brought in our experience and our automotive contacts, so that Tapio could become ready for series-production and sustainability. FACT developed slower than initially anticipated, but went on to become market leader after an increasing number of business deals from the automotive sector. In 2005, together with Tapio and our co-partners, we sold FACT to the Belgian company Ravago. Today FACT belongs to the Celanese Group, and FACT products have become an essential part of mobility solutions, thanks to the lightness and strength of the materials that fulfill both safety and environmental requirements.

fact-kunststoffe.de
Foundation 1998
Tapio Harmia
Lead Investor Series Seed
Exit 2005
Tapio Harmia, founder of FACT, producer of lightweight composite materials

Jochen likes to think back to the late summer of 2008, when Dirk Graber presented his business idea to him while eating at a trendy Asian restaurant in Berlin. “The idea of selling glasses on the internet was ambitious, and my expectations were correspondingly low. But given that we were both HHL alumni (and the food was supposed to be fantastic there), I said yes to a meeting. Two hours later, I was surprisingly electrified because Dirk, like no one else, had understood to convince me of his idea and gameplan. As a consequence, I invited him to present to the Grazia team. Dirk also then was equally as persuasive with his combination of stoic silence and compelling arguments, so there was nothing stopping Grazia becoming Spex’s first institutional investor. Shortly after becoming a shareholder of Mister Spex Grazia helped Dirk to find a great CMO and build a strong team. A few years later Mister Spex is the leading online optician in Europe, with a three-digit-million-dollar-turnover.

misterspex.com
Foundation 2007
Dirk Graber / Mirko Casper
Lead Investor Series Seed
Dirk Graber, founder of the European market leader for online optician shop Mister Spex

Moviepilot is a fantastic example of just how dynamic a start-up can be. The right group of founders never stops seizing new opportunities, reinventing the company over and over again. It all started with a movie-liking algorithm to help fans find and watch their favorite movies. Today Moviepilot is the biggest social publisher in the entertainment industry, bringing the world of movies closer to more than 20 million fans. At the same time, Moviepilot, from its Los Angeles offices, now also writes and markets a variety of stories about topics ranging from the gaming industry to martial arts stars. We’re delighted about actively supporting the team on its business journey, and it goes without saying that there’s a certain charm in having board meetings in Venice Beach!

moviepilot.com
Foundation 2007
Tobias Bauckhage / Jon Handschin / Benjamin Kubota
Lead Investor Series Seed
Benjamin Krause, Tobias Bauckhage and Jon Handschin, founder of Moviepilot, the global market leader in the social publishing industry for movies

Serial entrepreneur Behrooz Rezvani and Stanford professor Andrea Goldsmith founded Quantenna in 2006 with the goal of developing the world’s best Wi-Fi chipset so that expectations of an even faster wireless transmission of wide bandwidth could be met. Behrooz contacted Grazia in 2007, after Sequoia and Venrock had already joined as investors in the A round. Behrooz wanted us next to Sigma Partners on board as additional investors to get help for the expansion of their European business.

The exciting product approach of the 4x4 MIMO based chip, the team and a great demand for bandwidth, coverage and reliability made short work of our decision. We joined in, and became involved in Quantenna in Europe. As a result, we brought along Quantenna’s first paying clients, which triggered off a whole series of referral projects.

Quantenna quickly developed into one of the fastest-growing semiconductor companies. Today the company delivers to most of the larger telecommunications companies and to set top box suppliers such as AT&T, DirectTV, Swisscom, Telefonica, France Telecom and Rostelecom.

quantenna.com
Foundation 2006
Andrea Goldsmith / Behrooz Rezvani
Series A
Behrooz Rezvani and Andrea Goldsmith, founder of Quantenna, a semiconductor company for wireless transmission of broadband information