“When investing in startups, KPN Ventures looks at both financial returns and opportunities for collaboration in new products and services, but the possible social impact is also an important driving force,” says Herman Kienhuis, Managing Director at KPN Ventures. “With KPN Ventures, we focus on innovations in healthcare, cyber security and privacy-proof data processing; areas that are becoming more and more socially important.”
What types of startups does KPN Ventures invest in?
Our focus is on European technology companies in the field of Internet of Things, Connected Home, Over-the-top & Mobile Services, Digital Healthcare, Cyber Security, Cloud Computing and Data & Analytics, with sales of half a million euros. We have two goals: achieving a financial return through an exit, and, achieving a strategic return through close and long-term cooperation. For the latter, we are working closely with KPN’s New Business division, which is also actively seeking partnerships with innovative companies.
Are there enough startups that match that profile?
Not when you look solely at The Netherlands. We have some of the best universities in the world and there is a lot of talent, but the leading technology companies come from America and China. On the plus side, the attention in Europe for entrepreneurship and investment in new technology companies has continued to increase sharply in recent years. Overall, I think it is important that we, as a Dutch and European society, play a greater role in digital developments, like those in the field of data and artificial intelligence.
What are some important criteria for KPN Ventures when selecting a startup?
Our main focus is the team: is it comprised of motivated and experienced entrepreneurs? The next criterion is: does the product create value for customers, does it solve a problem? Next, we ask: is there room for future cooperation? We actively look for this in startups because KPN New Business has a large interest in finding solutions to issues that are important to society, especially in the areas of healthcare, cyber security and data.
Can you name a few examples?
In the field of Internet of Things (IoT), we are investing in the French Actility, with which KPN has rolled out a nationwide network to connect computers and sensors wirelessly to the Internet. In digital healthcare we work with German CardioSecur: that makes it possible to make an ECG with your smartphone, which we bring together with a KPN subsidiary to the Dutch market. For cyber security, we have invested in the Eindhoven SecurityMatters, whose technology is used to provide top level cyber protection to power plants and other industrial plants.