Startups are fighting for a Corona bailout

Hamburg, Berlin The announcement on April 1, of all things, sparked euphoria among start-up lobbyists in Berlin: finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced a two-billion-euro protective shield especially for emerging tech companies. The efforts to convince the German Startups Association, which was newly formed a few months ago, had obviously borne fruit.

But now the founding lobbyists are worried about the implementation. The association now wants to put pressure on the media again.

“We have just received confirmation that the two billion euros will not be released in the Ministry of Finance. We have therefore already decided to escalate today, to send a letter to Scholz and at the same time to start a small media campaign to increase the pressure, ”says an internal WhatsApp message with which lobbyists will get signatures on Thursday wanted to. The news is available to the Handelsblatt.

Since the beginning of the corona crisis, the start-up association around its boss Christian Miele from venture capitalist Eventures has repeatedly publicly promoted a wide range of help for the industry – including in an online press conference together with the digital representative of the federal government, Thomas Jarzombek (CDU). Now the open letter should increase the pressure.

In the letter to Scholz, the association firstly wants to praise the finance minister for “recognizing the specific needs of startups”. Now the rapid use of the “promised customized instruments is required”.

The letter ends in the appeal: “Keep your word, Minister Scholz! Release the two billion euros! ”Upon request, the association confirmed the existence of the letter, which now has 500 signatories and is expected to be published at the weekend.

“While the other auxiliary instruments have already been focused, there is still no timetable for the start-up measures,” said Christoph Stresing, managing director of the Federal Association of German Startups (BVDS). “Speed ​​is now the order of the day.”

Industry should also take risks

There are obviously good reasons for the hesitant implementation. The federal government is looking for a way to deal with the special situation of the industry. After all, the early-stage investors, who are particularly strong in the German scene, calculate their investments with failure rates of around 80 percent even in normal times. That is why the Federal Ministry of Finance wants to prevent those founders whose business idea is not viable anyway from being supported.

“The topic is complex, because we are talking about support for start-ups about equity financing, which is more likely to default than normal loan financing,” said State Secretary Jörg Kukies on Friday.

So far, the industry has preferred so-called matching. The state should increase funding rounds from venture capitalists. This is how the industry should take risks.

“We want to protect start-ups, not venture capitalists. Therefore, a promotional measure makes sense in which the venture capitalists refill their own money, which is then replenished by the state, ”said the founder of the venture capitalist Lakestar, Klaus Hommels, this week’s Handelsblatt.

However, critics doubt the selfless intentions of venture capitalists. “Why should venture capitalists be the gatekeepers for state aid?” Asks Sven Schmidt, co-founder of Hamburg investor ICS and critic of the industry. Start-ups that are financed without venture capital threaten to be excluded. In addition, the large venture capitalists in particular had earned very well in the past boom years and should not immediately ask for state aid, Schmidt criticizes.

However, the federal government expects the billion dollar umbrella to start soon. “I am confident that we can get the aid on the way quickly. We are in close and constructive exchange with the representatives of the industry to develop a viable concept, “said State Secretary Kukies.

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