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Ep. #8, Feat. System.One’s Max Claussen

Guests: Max Claussen

In the latest episode of Venture Confidential, Peter is joined by Max Claussen, founder of System.One. Max recalls how he got into the venture scene and talks about his experience operating a pre-seed fund in Europe.

Max also reveals how he overcomes challenges of operating a one-man shop and explains his approach of casting a wide net and quickly filtering down as he evaluates investment opportunities.


About the Guests

Max Claussen is Partner at System.One, a pre-seed venture capital firm based in Berlin. Prior to System.One, Max was a Principal at Earlybird Venture Capital and an Investment Manager at The Medialab.

Show Notes

Transcript

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Peter Chapman: Alright, Max, welcome to Venture Confidential.

Max Claussen: Thank you, Peter.

Peter: It's good to have you here, you're our first non Silicon Valley guest on the podcast. I definitely want to hear about the investment scene in Berlin, but I'd love to start with you. How did you get into Venture?

Max: First of all thanks for having me and I don't know if it's a good thing to be the first European or non-American here on the ground so let me just give you a bit of my perspective on kind of the scene I'm working in and what I'm seeing. How did I get into Venture? I think generally there's no sort of clear path for getting into Venture. So I study economics, I went to work at a private equity consulting firm in London and during my third year things got sort of repetitive over time.

Same projects, or same type of projects and I ran into one of the most prolific European angel investors. He was an angel investor, in Skype and a couple other companies and we sat down for coffee and he said, "Why don't you stop doing this bullshit consulting work? And there's a team sort of spinning out, kind of setting up small seed fund for large publishing company and do you think this is interesting?

So I met up with those guys and basically had no idea what I was going to get myself into. It was a 30 million fund, it was 2 LPs which had a strategic interest in that fund and we were able to invest into consumer facing business. And for me it was really literally getting to know the A to Z of venture investing. There was no portfolio strategy, there was nothing. We did some growth investments, we did one incubation, there were seed investments, it was a bit all over the place.

I think in hindsight it has worked out fine, they got their money back, it went alright. But after two and a half, three years, I ran into one of the founding partners of Early Bird, which was renowned or is a renowned series A tech venture fund out of Berlin and Munich and they asked me whether I want to join. And so that's how I, in 2010 I joined them, I was with them for five years and then one observation was that the market has changed.

On the one hand microfunds in the US emerged in 2007 - 2009. And some of the now really renowned microfund brands have taken over the seed space and are investing heavily in the west coast and also on the east coast. And that really hadn't happened in Europe.

And we had missed out on a few interesting companies because we saw them really early on, but we thought they will come back later because we do series A, and actually didn't come back. So I felt that there was an opportunity for me to start something new and I took some time off after five years and became father of first daughter, but then also sort of calibrated by thoughts about what I want to build.

And the product now is System.One. System.One is a pre-seed fund sort of obviously telling you more about it, but that's sort of how I got into venture and how that played out over the last couple years.

Peter: Cool, tell me more about System.One. What does it mean to be pre-seed?

Max: So System.One is a product for entrepreneurs. It is basically providing technical and product driven teams with the first initial money. So I think of the investments or the checks I'm writing as initial money to founders. It can be alongside angel investors or maybe other institutional investors. The thinking behind it is to enable founders to get to a certain first validation point with a prototype or first type of beat up version of a product.

And then see whether they're hypothesis is actually becoming real and that there is something which should be followed and basically try to follow path into the wheels for venture world. And so there are instances or companies I might see where we all are set out on a journey, but where it doesn't make sense to continue building that product or pursuing that path.

And others where it's very clear that this is becomes a clear sort of venture case, can be kind of a big company. And so I do write checks or investments between $200k and $400k sometimes even a little bit less. And it can be alongside a bunch of people and the average round size I subscribe to is $750K to a million dollars.

Peter: Are you investing primarily in European-based companies?

Max: It's funny because the reason I'm here in SF is I just closed a small investment into a seed company being based out here in SF where I had a prior relationship with that company and founder and have been following them. And the co-investor, actually the lead investor in that round is someone I trust very much and they've been following that founder and the company for a longer time.

So that's an example of a US based company. I'd say it's very early days for System.One so I'd say that probably 80% of my investments are northern European based. The first one Berlin based company, another one is a UK based company. But if I feel that there is a very strong relationship with people here on the ground, co-investors or the entrepreneurs that I feel that I'm not be seen as you know stupid money from Europe. I will take a very serious approach at looking at the company and thinking about whether that fits the strategy.

Peter: How do you evaluate companies at this stage?

Max: A lot comes down to the team. I mean, assessing certain market idea opportunity is core to what I do and getting a really quick feeling of where this could lead to, right?

But ultimately it is about the founders I'm working with, assessing their ability to be able to set out on the journey they're describing, but most importantly also trying to understand how they've worked in the past, what they've done in the past, what kind of characters they are.

So I do a lot of referencing. And unsolicited referencing I think is something everybody does and it's core to what we do, but especially at this early stage it's important. But it's not just like writing checks and betting on something, right?

Peter: Okay so you were saying you look at the team, you do a lot of referencing, and you're interested in working with companies that are trying to prove there's an opportunity. So you're at this very sort of seminal stage of a company's growth. Tell me a little bit about your involvement during that early period.

Max: Well I mean one of the key realizations, having been doing this for a bunch of years, it's still in the early days for me, is that it's very hard to have a huge impact at this early stage as an investor. I think there are many different aspects where you can be very helpful to a founding team, but ultimately when it comes down to product strategy, early ideas around business development and these sort of things, it depends a lot on the team, right?

The team is driving that, the entrepreneurs are driving that. So I think of myself and System.One as someone who's able to give the guys guidance, always sort of give them back their perspective on the original path they set out on. Help them to get in front of the right people, try to open doors, and work with my network and help them to get in front of certain people.

I often, when I do due diligence with a team or they do due diligence on me I say, "Look, why don't you use this time as a test phase and basically just bombard me with questions, ask me as many questions as you have and try to find out how I am working and how I can be helpful to certain things." And then when there are questions I can't answer I tell them really quick, "I can't answer this right."

So I try to be mindful about their time and I try to be a call away from the guys on the team. So thinking about so the companies now with which I'm working with right now, it varies a bit. So there are companies that would need a lot of attention and have a lot of questions. It could be a variety of questions around institutionalization, around sort of thinking about building product which is ready for the next round of financing, shaping the equity story, biz dev, etc.

So some teams need more hand holding than others and some teams simply have more interest in working with you than others. I don't want to push them in a course where I feel like we've got to do this and this and this. The way I think about it is we need to adapt to their needs and when I invest in a company we sit down and try to have a very clear understanding of what the next six, nine, 12 months will look like and how we are going to interact with each other. And that's important for me, but I also request from the founders that they drive that process in a way kind of to the extent they need it.

Peter: So what does a fruitful founder/investor relationship look like for you?

Max: A couple of things,

The relationship should have a very progressive and proactive nature with good karma. I think that's very important and you can sense that. I try to either figure out how my interaction is being led by the other person on the table.

You know, I take a very deep interest in what that person or that team is building. So when I am devoting my time and System.One's money at a company, I take a very deep interest at their success, but also ultimately in the person. So I want to understand how to take what makes them take, how they're characters function. And what's important for me is that they also take an interest in System.One and Max.

So that it's a relationship which is based on trust, but also on basically that people can understand that they can rely on me, but also that they need System.One at the table. It's important that there is this mutual beneficial interest in each other, I think.

Peter: One of the things I really like about working at Heavy Bit is that we have a team here and that allows us to do a little bit of divide an conquer. I know that if someone wants to talk about community building I'll send them to Jesse. If they want to talk about developer experience that's a great conversation to have with James. What are some of the challenges of having a one man shop? What do you do when you're faced with a question that is outside your domain?

Max: It's never easy as a one man show, but I mean there's a history or sort of an idea of why I set out on this trip as a single general partner for now. But what I do is

I try to surround myself with certain people who have certain expertise and have experiences I can rely on. So when there's a product topic or when there is an engineering topic or when there's customer growth, there are not just friends but people I've worked with in the past where I can rely on them.

And without them I couldn't do it because it's like you need to have a network where you can reach out to friends and people and professionals you've worked with and understand what they think about a certain problem.

So venture some people define it as a team sport and that's the way I want to see it. And also thinking about a partnership going forward, but right now it's the right setup for what I'm doing at this stage and hopefully I can be helpful to them and provide them with the right contacts. But also I don't try to pose that I know everything, that's not who I am. And I think people who work with me and the companies who work with me know that.

Peter: Thoughts on broadening the partnership? Do you see System.One ever growing beyond just Max?

Max: Certainly, I mean this is something I'm thinking about a lot. I've been part of a larger team and partnership of a firm which has been around for some time and I think maneuvering interests and characters is a very sensitive topic. And so I've just grown mindful that, you know,

When you bring someone on board as a partner, you should see it a bit like marrying someone and getting into very long term relationship.

And that's just something, I don't want to negate the fact that I don't want to stay numb to any potential partners or people I can bring on board. So that's the most important topic for me to not be in my own silo or echo chamber.

But think about the right edition, complementary skillset, but also someone who can become part of what System.One is and what it is starting to be, it's very early days. So to answer your question, it's not the idea to leave just the Max legacy or the single GP and that's it, no, it's about building a firm and bringing someone on over time, yeah.

Peter: Cool. What do you think that first partner will look like?

Max: I can't answer it, it's a hard question. Sometimes I think about someone who's been sort of deeply entrenched in engineering and sort of comes with a very technical background. Sometimes I have other ideas of someone who's coming from a commercial side. I've thought so much about it I think this has to happen naturally, right? So you cannot just pin down the qualifications you're looking out for.

Obviously it's important to look for certain kind of characteristics and principles and values, they need to be there, but I think thinking about the background of a person, I don't want to nail it down now and tell you this is how this is going to look like.

Peter: We'll have this conversation in two years, once you've found that person. We'll get them on Venture Confidential.

Max: Yeah, let's do that.

Peter: I want to go back to Berlin. You know, one of the reasons I connected to you is because your name had come up a bunch and I have sort of this distant vision of a real burgeoning startup scene in Berlin. And sort of an especially vibrant startup scene around enterprise technology, developer tools. What's it like over there?

Max: It's a vibrant scene. The other kind of view is though that we've been all riding this wave of there's this amazing vibrant scene and Berlin is one of the hubs around the globe. I think what I've come to observe is that it just simply needs time to live up to those expectations. So I started at Early Bird in 2010 and was actually part of the Hamburg team, different city had a history in gaming and agency business, etc.

And the first year I spent like one day, two days a week in Berlin and saw the scene really rise up there. And so it made so much sense for us to move offices and the whole team, close down Hamburg and move to Berlin and be one of the first funds on the ground and not just coming in for a day or two on a weekly basis. Because really being part of the scene, spending time with founders, meeting them morning for coffee or going out for a beer and being part of all the meetups and what's happening there right now.

So to a certain extent I and my, at that time, former partners we've been all riding this wave and we've seen great companies come out of it. There's certainly the Rocket Internet part to the story where Rocket Internet set up by the Summer brothers have managed to create a big firm and entity which is actually creating a lot of new entrepreneurs who at some point learned a lot through Rocket and certain expertise and then they venture out and start, eventually, their own business.

And then you have other originals, companies like Sound Cloud or Research Gate, pretty unknowns and a bunch of obviously Wonderless, a company we invested in in the past which was bought by Microsoft. And so all these successes or companies which have grown over time have created other teams which have spun out or have actually paid back a bit of money to angel investors or former entrepreneurs who can then actually invest back into the cycle.

So I'm extremely bullish on Berlin. I do say, though, that I venture out to other cities in Europe and especially also German cities where I feel there's lots of talent and really good talent quietly operating and building businesses. And then if you look at the statistics and sort of yearly cohorts of European outcomes you see a clear trend. And I think that is what matters.

When we invest today we look at outcomes in 6 - 10 years time. Looking at exits over this period coming out of northern European ecosystem, it's very promising.

So I'm a big advocate of the scene in general. My first investment was, through System.One, was a Berlin based investment. And that's what I think is important, also, to the people who listen here is there are other hubs.

I mean, Helsinki is known for gaming and then you've got Stockholm, Copenhagen, Munich is very much known for deep tech. Then you've got, obviously, London who's still one of top centers in the European market and then the Paris scene is growing dramatically because there has been a huge influx of capital supporting young founders. And so at the same time Portugal, Lisbon, Barcelona, Madrid. So I can go on and name all of them, but there's, so generally I'm pretty optimistic about the whole ecosystem here.

Peter: Yeah so you said, and I'm not sure I got the full story, you said if you look at the cohort of Berlin based exit it's a promising story. Can you say more about that?

Max: Yeah, so I mean when I reference the cohorts I look at them as on the European level. So if you look at companies being valued over a billion euros and look at them 2010 to now, you'll see a clear trend, right? 2010 - 2012 you had one, two, three companies per year. Now you have multiple ones of them. And I think that is becoming clearer and clearer over time.

And I've been advocating that story to limited partners, investors, and venture funds for some time. And I just think you can see a clear trend. And obviously right now we can go through a couple companies if it interests you, but I'm just saying that each year produces a greater number of outcomes and returns or, you know still a lot of them are paper valuations, but you can see that, yeah.

Peter: Got it. And you mentioned this broader ecosystem, how do you get beyond the Berlin bubble? How do you connect to companies in Finland and Paris.

Max: Getting above the cacophony of noise, I think one element is important. You've got to decline investments or investment opportunities really fast. That means that on the other side you're winning time or gaining time to spend that time at other stuff, which is obviously deal flow, deal management, portfolio management, due diligence. What I do is

I rely heavily on a network of angel investors and former entrepreneurs who kind of filter things and send them my way or point me towards certain things which are happening.

Otherwise I couldn't, just looking at the breadth of companies that couldn't see everything and I can. So I think it's relying on that type of network, but also spending time in a variety of these cities. So what I do is I'm probably away once or twice per week where I spend a dedicated one, two, maybe a bit more time days in a city and where I meet a couple of companies, try to do a little talk, go to universities.

Especially when you operate at pre-seed you've got to spend time at universities and see what is coming out there. And that means that you will see a lot of ideas and things which are not ripe and too early and not fitting the strategy, but every other time there's something interesting coming out of it. So you might not have heard of a small city in the southern part of Germany which has an incredibly good technical university.

I wouldn't say it's the MIT of Germany, but certainly a degree of talent coming out there and the quality of talent is just phenomenal so I spend time there, I go to other areas. And I believe you've got to spend time away from the noise. It's very hard to cut through noise and you get distracted by interesting financing happening where a lot of people team up and you think, oh shit there's certain fomo involved, etc. But I feel that for the strategy I am doing you've got to find things which are a bit off the beaten track.

Peter: That's interesting, can we talk a little bit about your funnel?

Max: Yeah, sure.

Peter: So how many companies do you try to fund a year?

Max: So I try to fund between six to 10 companies a year.

Peter: And how many companies do you talk to a year?

Max: So, looking back at nine month operating and having looked at the numbers I probably spoke to 300 companies.

Peter: Wow, okay.

Max: Let's be honest,

I think it's very important to have a clear funnel, but what is also important is that quantity matters in this game. I feel that you have to be good at pre-selecting the right type of conversations and kind of companies you want to spend time with.

So out of those 300 probably I spoke with most of them for just a very, very short time. What's important is that you then actually boil it down to the companies you really want to spend time with. And that's just, I don't know, a couple handfuls.

Peter: What allows you to filter quickly?

Max: It's a variety of things. I think most importantly I'm looking at the quality of the articulation of the vision, of the product or service. So I find that irrespective of how big this company can be or how big this vision is and how far out it still is,

I find that the best entrepreneurs have a really succinct way of articulating their idea in a crisp manner.

So I tried to look out for that and tried to understand whether I can understand what they are actually trying to build, right? And even if it's a very difficult topic I tried to make them tell me what, in simple words, tell me what's the product. What are you building? And then you over a sort of exchange and the articulation, you can, I feel that there's something to it and there is kind of, the quality of how to articulate your vision is important.

Then I look at, obviously, the team and their backgrounds. I try to understand how technical a team is and what's the quality of these people working on a particular project? Have they experienced a certain problem in the past or is it something which they come out of the blue because they were looking for some kind of company they just want to create? Or are people really on a mission?

And you understand that and you can filter through really quickly. You can do this for a conversation with the entrepreneurs, but also on paper. I think how people actually lay out their idea in a deck is something which varies dramatically, I think.

Peter: I like this. You've got this, like a two to three percent acceptance rate, you're really good at saying no quickly, how do you actually hand a startup that rejection?

Max: I'm really bad at rejections. It's one of my weak spots. So I know these conversations have to happen. But I want to be honest, I have a hard time telling people no because I wouldn't say that I'm so devote, but I'm really always so impressed by founders actually setting out and building something so early on. So I just don't want to give you an intellectual argument why it's hard for me to say no.

But I honestly feel that if someone sets out on building a new company and a new product I feel that it's so hard in these early days of building a company are really hard. So for me, on the other side, I feel always really bad telling someone no. And that's just my emotional reasoning here. But I guess what's important is that, first of all, you've got to filter through real quick is that maybe not fitting the stage you're operating in or the space you're operating in or are there some sort of aspects to a certain company which are just not fitting your structure and your core principles of investing?

And then you've got to tell them and I think that is something you can tell somebody really quick. I mean, I published first just one piece on why I set out on building System.One and it gives a bit of perspective of what I'm looking for, which type of stage I'm operating and such and such, and if people don't get that right away it's always a bad signal. But then there are these gray zones where you feel, it's interesting, it's like you're sort of on the verge of leaning towards no.

And I think over time when learning is that these things don't get better. So then you have to be really clear. And I know that some people say you always got to voice the honest truth and when you decline an opportunity, when you feel that there's certain type of weakness within teams, it's very hard to voice that. And I still try to figure out what the best way is to tell them this.

And maybe as a last comment I think a lot about whether venture is at all right for a company. So I often decline funders not to raise venture or any money at this point in time because I feel that they are better off at remaining autonomous and remaining their degree of independence and working as a small nimble team on something.

So surprisingly often I'm telling people, "Hey, look, I just think this is super interesting, I'd love to work with you guys, but I just don't think you should raise right now because you can survive on a low burn rate another couple months. You guys are apt to maneuver these hard days without any money I think and you'll see that you'll get to that point of hopefully building a first prototype "and then maybe raising money."

Peter: Cool. You said saying no is hard, which frankly sounds like a good signal. What are some other things that you're trying to get better at as investor?

Max: I think my time management's something I need to work on. I consider myself in certain degrees of my life as a discipline and principle, but when it comes to time management I just, I'm sometimes not as good as I would want to be. And so if I look at my week and my early mornings, my evenings, etc, or private time with my family, maneuvering these things is so hard ans System.One is just one the beginning so it's still early days, day one sort of.

And so the most challenging piece in time management I'm facing right now is how can I be still helpful to people where I don't think that they're a fit for what I'm doing, but where I can contribute to the community or contribute simply back to their idea where I feel it's not the right fit.

I often try to meet with people where I instantly know that this is nothing for System.One, but where I just think it's part of the scene I'm operating in, it's part of the ecosystem, I want to give them feedback on their equity story, on how to fundraise, or how to get a certain validation point, how to network better into the right sort of people.

And that sometimes is to my detriment is like means that I have less time on other things, which are maybe sometimes a bit more core and important to what I need to do and need to deliver. So that, juggling that is not that easy sometimes, but I think overtime I'm getting better.

Peter: I empathize with this. One of the things that's come up in a couple of recent episodes is this idea that to be an effective networker, investor, you sort of have to pay it forward. You absolutely have to give time and help with no expectation that you get anything in return. And those sort of activities might have a long term payoff, but you can't only invest in people that you're literally investing in.

But on the other side of that, you've got this sort of infinite list of people you can be helping. And I found it can be really hard to figure out the balance between being that nice guy, that sort of generating good network and making sure that you're adding value to stuff you need to focus on. What are some tips? How do you navigate this?

Max: I myself have to develop some sort of clarity on this, right? So I'm still learning in that respect or in that context and so what I do is I sometimes try to just simply look back at a week and look at what did I spend my time on? And what did I do well or how could I have been more effective that week? Or should I have spent something and more time on something?

So I do look back at this. I think, I've had this conversation over this weekend here on the hike outside of San Francisco with someone who actually told me about his system of how to label his calendar. He labels each meeting or what he ever does, he always labels certain things into buckets. And so could be personal or it could be something non-work-related, but also when it's work he has a certain schematic of how to label things.

He showed it to me and I felt whoa, this is extremely helpful. Am I the guy who'd be able to implement it and be sort of disciplined to do this every, on every scheduling and appointment and etc? I don't know, but it was really fascinating to see how his time pans out. And he then looks back at a month and says, "Look usually I spend two thirds of my time working with clients, but this month I was just too much involved in ops stuff, he runs a service business, consulting business.

So this could be an idea. I think I want to, as much as I can, I want to stay open to people and even if they don't come, always, with warm introductions I just want to stay open and be helpful. I sometimes have to cut them short or stop after 20 minutes, half an hour or so. The mantra I follow is that good things will come out of it eventually. It sounds very abstract, but I notice it. So maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week but I notice, just it happens.

Peter: Yeah, this is such a theme. I interviewed this woman last week who said, "You know I was raised a Hindu and so I sort of grew up with this idea of karma and I fully subscribe to the idea that if I do good things, those efforts will circle back and reward me eventually."

Max: Yeah so good karma is a big topic. I think that's also how I want to run in System.One and how I think I have made running it. Good karma is essential and the people I surround myself with and work with, one of the prerequisites is that it's good karma people. If I may, it's what I call the asshole-free zone. You've got to surround yourself with people who can teach you something, who can give back, who give good energy.

Peter: You mentioned earlier that you have two fairly young children and you travel a bunch for work, how do you find the right balance of spending time with family and this sort of 24/7 VC job?

Max: It's certainly a job where you can drive your own timeline and schedule, so this is obviously, let's be honest I'm not saying that I don't get my time and face time with my family and the private life. Over the weekends I need to, I tried to wind down or at least recharge and then I know that the machine goes up and running again like in late afternoon on Sunday I'm starting going back at emails, thinking about stuff which is coming up next week.

I try to be really structured and I need down time and so that's something. I try to get my sleep and I need a fair amount of that. It's a question, also, of organization and I'm not always as good as that, but my wife is much better at it. So it's like we compliment each other in that regard. And then certainly it gives you, you know you, for instance the other week a company you also know, the entrepreneurs are working so hard so when we interact we literally, we have calls which start 11 PM and last till one AM.

And it's like we don't have that on a weekly or bi-weekly basis but sometimes I know that these guys are so unrewarded that when we actually get down to working on things it's very late. But that means sometimes do these things and then you are way more flexible of thinking about how you want to do certain things throughout the week and be there for family, etc.

Peter: Cool. Any advice for folks that are beginning their career in venture?

Max: I think the long term business, and I needed a couple years to realize that. So I was part of this, I call it the honeymoon phase of getting into venture. It's where you think oh it's high five, you manage other people's money, you can invest into exciting things. Things at that point in time are always hyped and are really interesting, looking really interesting on the surface, but I think it just takes a long, long time to see realizations, successes, things which don't work out.

So I advise everybody to don't over hype the job of venture. I think it needs a pretty sane and healthy look at this business. And then I find it very important to derive some sort of own positioning or get to develop a own positioning. Not strategy, but a known line of thought around certain topics or certain underlyings in this business. So that means that you've got to be a self-starter, but at the same time you need to have an opinion of things and not follow the herd and always stay open to certain things which might be a bit crazy or feel crazy, but are on the outer rim and could be really interesting over time.

So not staying numb to that and cutting through the noise. I also find it more interesting that I've learned to set aside a bunch of times during the week to read up on stuff, on a lot of stuff. And that's where I actually don't spend anything, I just read, read papers, articles, try to not get distracted on email, anything else. And it helps me a lot to shape my own thinking around certain topics and not just concentrate myself the whole time on networking or what else I could do during that time.

Peter: So what should I be reading right now?

Max: Right now, I mean the last two weeks I spent reading why crypto currencies is a big topic right now. Anything around initial kind offerings and Ethereum that has gotten so much attention it's crazy. But at the same time so many good people have published interesting articles and opinions on it. So I enjoyed reading a bunch of articles from people who have been on that scene for ages now and who give their balanced perspective on a market which is now so heated.

So what I do in the mornings, I screen my Twitter stream and then I bookmark five, six, seven good posts and articles, put them into my pocket app and then read it later during the day at some certain point where I put aside a certain time where I read things.

Peter: If folks want to find you where they can find you?

Max: So they can find me under systemone.vc or max@systemone.vc. You can also find me under Max Claussen on Twitter, @maxclaussen. And if they want to find me physically every morning between eight and nine the likelihood of finding me in a cafe is pretty high. There is one where I actually hang out most of the time for my first coffee of the day. And I will reveal it here, but it's a secret guys. It's Kaffee 9. And that's my usual hangout in the morning.

Peter: Great, and what sort of startups do you want to talk to?

Max: I want to talk to technical founders, product drive founders, who are on the set of building initial version of their product and service literally at their earliest infancy of a company's lifetime. I'm not limiting myself just on location, on Germany and northern Europe so I'm pretty open. I obviously won't do stuff in Asia or Africa so there is a limit, it's northern Europe and US.

Peter: Great so technical Europe or US-based pre-seed companies should find Max at Kaffee 9. And we'll post this in the episode description so you can look it up there. Aright, Max, thank you so much for joining us today, it was a real pleasure.

Max: Thank you, Peter.

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