Business & Innovation- November 3, 2021
Feet firmly planted: A check in with DX Ventures
Almost a year has passed since we launched DX Ventures, with the mission to support companies that advance the delivery landscape through an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. The Delivery Hero-backed firm invests in founder-led companies that are disrupting a wide variety of traditional industries and provides them with capital to fulfill their vision.
Time to have a check in with Brendon Blacker, Partner at DX Ventures, and discover what they have accomplished so far and what the plans for the future are.
Brendon, what distinguishes DX Ventures from other companies like it?
There are three things that immediately come to mind. Firstly, we have a global mandate to invest anywhere in the world, while most funds are limited to investing in a single country or region. Secondly, we can be quite flexible in terms of company stages, ticket sizes and even industries that we invest in. Finally and perhaps most importantly is the value we can bring to companies by helping them to plug into the Delivery Hero ecosystem – either as a partner, supplier, merchant or otherwise. This is our real superpower and a unique differentiator for DX Ventures.
How many companies did DX Ventures invest in so far?
Since launching DX Ventures in January, we have built a very diverse portfolio of 16 companies across ten countries. But with our current pace closing around two new investments per month, this number will soon be out of date.
What kind of companies are we talking about and in which industries do they operate?
So far we have invested in a diverse range of companies and industries, from consumer internet platforms to software businesses to robotics and beyond. Let me give a couple of examples: We invested in Flash Coffee, a tech-enabled coffee chain expanding rapidly across APAC. Compare that with Facily, a leading social commerce business based in Brazil. At first glance, these two companies seem to have little in common. But they are both in rapidly growing areas of the food and grocery ecosystem, which is where we believe we can add the most value as investors.
How does the selection process for the startups you invest in work?
Most of the companies we have invested in have been a result of our team’s outreach to company founders. Of course a warm introduction is often helpful, so we look to other VC funds, as well as Delivery Hero staff around the world, to point us towards companies that may be interesting for us to take a closer look at. Once we have made initial contact with a company’s founders we will do a deep dive on all aspects of the business to decide whether we should move forward with an investment. We end up investing in about 1% of the companies we talk to, which may seem very low, but is actually quite typical in the venture capital industry.
What is the biggest focus on your agenda at the moment?
I recently relocated to Singapore to focus on growing our portfolio of companies in APAC. We currently have investments in three fantastic companies in APAC and we are aiming to do a lot more. This means meeting a lot of companies to try to identify the best ones for us to invest in.
What goals are you aiming for by the end of DX Ventures’ first year?
By the end of this year we would like to have around 20 companies in our portfolio and have our initial fund fully deployed. At the moment we are on track to achieve this.
What happens next? What is your outlook for 2022?
Following our successful start in 2021, we want to make 2022 bigger and more impactful. This means scouting even more great companies for us to invest in all over the world as well as creating lots of synergies in both directions – for Delivery Hero as well as for the portfolio companies we decide to partner with.
What does a typical work week schedule look like for you?
There is no such thing, as each week is completely different! Some of the common elements involve doing a lot of Zoom calls with company founders, meeting other VC funds to compare notes on some high potential deals, and spending time with our portfolio companies. This may include attending board meetings or catching up with our founders to advise them on matters of strategy, fundraising or a whole host of other topics.
Your personal highlight up until now?
Launching and building DX Ventures from the ground up has been an incredible ride! It has also given me a new perspective and appreciation for what our company founders have to go through to get their ventures off the ground. It is especially rewarding to look back at the early days of DX Ventures and see how far we have come in just ten months.
What inspires you most about your job?
That is an easy one! It is the founders we work with every day, who are on a mission to change the world. Being able to play a small part in their entrepreneurial journeys is both inspiring as well as incredibly humbling. The ultimate high comes from seeing our companies grow from fledgling startups into highly successful businesses that employ thousands of people. It is cases like these that tell us that we are having a positive impact on the world.