30. September 2013–
The idea is simple: sign up for an account, fill in a bit of basic personal and professional information and rate the importance of a number of factors when assessing companies. For test purposes, we rated each factor a three in importance except for "team":
The app then lets you add a new company pitch and asks you to rate the company on six of those eight factors. A results page shows whether the company is a match for your preferred investment criteria (region, industry, valuation etc) and how well your ranking for it stacks up. For example:
The blue line is the rating we gave that particular company. The green line is the importance that the average investor using the app gives to each of those factors. Here, we gave the team a "two". The average investor apparently gives that factor an importance of "four" for this industry and company stage, which we should perhaps take as a warning sign.
The app also gives an average post-money valuation for a company in that industry, stage and currency.
Is there really a need for this – and how good's the data?
Venionaire Capital CEO Berthold Baurek-Karlic invests his own money through the firm, which also provides consulting services and is working on raising an external fund. He came up with the idea for the app to meet his own needs.
"I asked my colleagues to find a tool where I had a virtual notes app for pitches and startup evaluation," he said. "They came back to me a couple of times and told me 'nope, there's nothing that really works in the market'. So we just figured, OK, we built it ourselves."
At least 250 people are currently trying out the app – according to the app's project manager Lukas Keindl, mainly investors based in German-speaking countries and the US. Assuming new users stick with the app and find it useful, how much can they rely on those average ratings and average post-money valuations?
"The averages are based on a) experiences by Venionaire Capital and other partners (VCs, Business Angel Institute etc) and b) the data we collect over the tool," Keindl explained via email.
That may not provide enough detail to give confidence – Keindl did add that "obviously as we go and collect data the data quality will continue to improve over time". The company is working on methods to filter out test or obviously wrong inputs.