Success Stories

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

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

    Hans-Martin Rüter: Building Conergy into a pioneering solar power leader

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

    Tim Kröger and Dr. Friedrich Schwandt making statistics easily accessible and useful for all

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

    Tapio Harmia: Saving the planet by producing cost effective lightweight composite materials

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

    Dirk Graber: Making eyewear affordable and easy to buy

  • 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: Becoming a global market leader in the social publishing industry

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

    Behrooz Rezvani and Andrea Goldsmith: Reaching new heights in the wireless transmission of broadband information

Alec was extremely 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 an increasing global need while being friendly to the environment. We immediately involved Angiolo Laviziano as a new CFO and together we helped Hans-Martin build the best team the solar energy sector had ever seen. As a result, Conergy sparked the global transformation of the solar industry in 1998.

Sooner than we had anticipated, the German Renewable Energy Law was passed and nationwide funding followed. Conergy began by developing small solar devices for domestic use. Later, the company went on to build the biggest and most spectacular commercial solar power stations throughout the world.

While Hans-Martin capitalized on a first mover advantage, he also focused on sales while also contributing his technical competence. As a leader, 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 Grazia 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

Grazia celebrated one of our best VC days in November 2015 at Statista, where we had served as the only investor from day one. Statista’s success in recent years had resulted in a growing number of strategic acquisition inquiries, which brought about its meteoric rise. So, when Grazia visited an Internet conference in London with the company’s CEO, 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 additional bids with amounts 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, we agreed on the best possible solution and the lucrative result made our gin and tonics the perfect way to conclude the evening.

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 in order for people and goods to be transported 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. To address the issue, he designed a revolutionary production process. By the time Tapio came to us, FACT had already established its innovative process with a pilot production plant. They were only missing three key factors: series-production readiness, the processes and the customers. Recognizing its potential, Grazia invested in Tapio’s innovative ideas and provided our comprehensive knowledge to help set up appropriate companies. In the years to come, our experience and automotive contacts laid the groundwork for series-production and sustainability. FACT went on to become market leader after an increasing number of successful deals within 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, fulfilling 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 remembers when Dirk Graber presented his business idea in the summer of 2008 while they were eating at a trendy Asian restaurant in Berlin. “While the idea of selling glasses on the internet was so ambitious, my expectations were low. But given that we were both HHL alumni (and the restaurant was supposed to be fantastic), I said yes to the meeting. Two hours later, I was electrified by Dirk’s ideas and game-plan. I invited him to present to the Grazia team and Dirk was equally as persuasive with his combination of stoic silence and compelling arguments. After that, nothing was going to stop Grazia from becoming Mister Spex’s first institutional investor. Shortly after becoming a shareholder, Grazia helped Dirk find a great CMO and build a strong team. Only a few years later, Mister Spex earned a three-digit-million-dollar-turnover and became the leading online optician in Europe.

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 should never stop seizing new opportunities to reinvent their company. Tobias, Jon and Ben, for example, started in Berlin with a movie-liking algorithm to help fans find and watch their favorite movies. Now, 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 now based in Los Angeles develops and markets a variety of stories about a wide range of topics from the gaming to martial arts. Grazia is delighted to have been actively supporting the team on its business journey. 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. Their goal was to develop the world’s best Wi-Fi chipset that would widen the bandwidth and improve the performance of wireless transmission. Behrooz contacted Grazia in 2007, after Sequoia and Venrock had already joined as investors in the beginning. Behrooz needed Grazia as additional investor to expand Quantenna’s European business.

The exciting product approach of the 4x4 MIMO based chip, the team and a great demand for bandwidth, coverage and reliability was compelling. Grazia immediately became involved in Quantenna in Europe, helping Quantenna by finding its first paying clients who triggered aseries of additional referral projects.

Quantenna quickly developed into one of the fastest-growing semiconductor companies. Quantenna delivers to most of the worlds largest telecommunications companies and 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