HomeInterviewsExclusive Interview With 2016 F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg, CEO of Rosberg...

Exclusive Interview With 2016 F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg, CEO of Rosberg Ventures

Rosberg Ventures
Nico Rosberg

Last week, 2016 F1 world champion Nico Rosberg announced the launch of Rosberg Ventures, a fund of funds dedicated to investing in early stage venture capital firms. In conjunction with the announcement, Rosberg replied our questions and told us a bit more about his experience as an investor, how he brings value as a world champion to the world of vc, his personal and firm’s targets, and shared with us some views and thoughts about his new second career.

VCWire: Hi Nico, you are a F1 World Champion turned investor and now fund of funds manager. How do you want to share your winning experience in this new adventure? 

I’m a super competitive person so I always want to win and be successful at whatever I do. Being an investor is no different and with this new fund of funds, I share that will to win with our investors. I’m invested in the fund too so it’s a great alignment. 

I’m enjoying my second career as an investor, it’s become a passion. I’m the CEO of Rosberg Ventures, the entity which brings together my direct investments and this FoF. I choose the team, I set the vision, we decide the strategy and I push us forward every day. It’s hands-on, a big commitment but I still need to compete and this is a thrilling new challenge.

I think my background is sport plays a huge part in my role as investor, I have that competitive spirit which drives me to hustle for opportunities and access that create value. I also love working with founders because they share the energy, passion and discipline of athletes. A founder on a mission to grow their company has a similar mindset to an athlete pushing themselves to the top of their game – it’s a single-mindedness that’s familiar to me.   

VCWire: Can you unveil some LPs in Rosberg Ventures?  

I can’t at this stage because I have promised our investors anonymity. What I can say is that we have some of the most entrepreneurial families in Europe already on board, with more to come. Our LPs are the individuals behind established European companies with millions, and in some cases billions, in revenue. 

VCWire: What is the overall strategy (in terms of geo/amount/sectors)?

The fund’s target is $75m which is substantial but still allows us to be nimble and agile. We achieved the first close of $30m very quickly. 

Our fund invests in the funds of the most successful VC firms in the world, who have unmatched expertise and experience in finding the most-promising founders and start-ups globally. I have co-invested with many of them as an angel investor and seen first-hand the level at which they operate. Those funds are wildly oversubscribed and almost impossible to access. 

As a result of my track record over seven years as a high-impact angel investor, we now have that access and we can spread ourselves across different firms and a range of funds, providing great diversification which is key in a high-risk asset class like venture capital.

What is also key is the profile of our investors – the families behind some of Europe’s leading SMEs and large corporates. Through our fund, we create a bridge between established European businesses and the start-ups contained in the target funds who are at the absolute cutting edge of innovation. 

The start-ups gain a European network of companies for market access, resource and expertise to propel their growth. The established businesses have the opportunity to harness and transfer the latest innovation back into their companies to grow into the future. 

It’s a great convergence of interests. 

VCWire: Do you want to introduce the firm’s investment team members? 

I won’t introduce them individually but I’ve assembled a very experienced group of investment professionals and industry experts who share my commitment to innovation. 

VCWire: What do you like to see in fund managers to invest in?

We are only targeting the very best; the firms we invest with have been responsible for 85% of all unicorns in the last ten years. 

Our approach to selecting funds is very generalist, although we are software-heavy as these are business models with the highest margins. We are interested in the major tech topics of our time like AI, climate tech, biotech, blockchain, enterprise and consumer. 

VCWire: Personally, which tech sector/s would you bet on in the next five years?  

All of the above sectors which we are targeting with this fund. AI holds many possibilities for innovation and a reframing of the way we see traditional businesses operate. 

Biotech has seen rapid progress over the last five years and is a really clear example of why putting capital behind innovation can lead to real progress in areas like health which benefit us all.