Every platform benefits from receiving expert knowledge from key players. This also holds true for Hungry Ventures. Today we had the pleasure to welcome investor Thomas Andrae, a founding member of HV, along with Prof. Dr. Bastian Halecker. As an investor, he was able to get to know the employees of HV – and we, in turn, were able to draw from his experience. In addition to leading us through his career, he shared his thoughts concerning the future of the German and global economy with us.
"We are lagging behind in almost all areas."
Decades of working for various pioneers in the automobile industry allowed him to gather deep insights into the development of digitalization. Because he is on site when new achievements and breakthrough technologies are presented. And almost everything happens abroad. In his opinion, this an easy observation to make: “Here [in Germany] we are no longer in an environment where things are being pushed forward. We are lagging behind in almost all areas.” As a plausible example, he cited the takeover of the German company KUKA AG by the Chinese Midea Group. A major player in the robotics industry was sold to a non-European country through the purchase of shares, leading to discussions in both Germany and the EU about measures for the protection of such competitors.
After he took us on a small digression on AI development in various industries and his influence on Halecker’s thinking, the discussion became philosophical. Andrae told us about a conference from a few years ago which had a lasting impact on him. Among others, Stephen Hawkins and Elon Musk spoke there. Both speeches primarily dealt with the topic of how technical progress makes humans obsolete. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that we do research on the effects of introducing new technologies, Andrae said.
"Medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the German economy."
Andrae pays special attention to the radical changes that are yet to come. In his opinion, politicians have failed to prepare our country for this change. According to his prognosis, the same problem will arise all over the world. “I do not see any major crises ahead. But I do see more and more problems coming up, especially in Europe. We are being marginalized between China, Southeast Asia and the United States.”
However there are also positive aspects to look forward to. Germany has much to gain from a well-established middle class in IoT and IIoT. “The middle class supports Germany.”
He also gave us a reading recommendation on the broader topic: an interview of the NZZ with Peter Thiel.
Andrae’s advice for German entrepreneurs
Thomas Andrae is convinced that the current situation cannot be dealt with in a purely rational way. Instead, philosophical approaches can help to understand the developments. And lessons can also be learned from past upheavals, such as the Bauhaus movement following the First World War. These were all less abrupt though, he warns.
In conclusion, he shared his ultimate advice for German entrepreneurs with us: “Avoid conformism, this means that creativity is lost and nothing new is created”. We already have a surplus of uniformity in Germany.
We thank Thomas Andrae as investor for the insights that he shared with us!