Team Europe Ventures (TEV), the German-based early stage fund powered by glorious bastards Lukasz Gadowski and Kolja Hebenstreit, is literally cooking up something. According to various reports and sources close to their current deal flows, TEV has initiated two new ventures that are both operating in interesting spaces – food delivery and local listings. However, first let’s get up to speed with the back story.
Mjam, a small and diluted food-delivery startup out of small Austria, founded by developer Angelo Laub, has been in operation for almost a year. Several months ago the company also launched an Asian version called 88dishes which has now been mysteriously shut down again. Their market entry in Asia has mostly been pushed by Markus Furhmann, co-founder of Web2Asia, a company that is focused on helping startups and technology companies enter Asian markets. Among notable clients such as Paypal, they’ve also helped bringing Dave McClure’s Geeks on a Plane to Asia.
So, until recently, Furhmann was helping expand mjam’s business to Asia and served as a consultant for several tech companies, but now we’ve learned that he’s become a Venture Partner at Team Europe Ventures. Two weeks after bringing him onto the team, TEV has announced the launch of an undisclosed food ordering service backed by €1 million from themselves, Holtzbrinck Ventures and various business angels. A couple of days ago they announced that their new venture would in fact be called mjam, yet in their press release founders other than Laub are mentioned. Fuhrmann, the recent hiring, acts as CEO. No word on what happened with the remaining shareholder structure of mjam and its original founders.
Unrelated to mjam but in the same time period, TEV’s Lukasz Gadowski made cryptic comments about “some submarine that is going to appear above the waterline, soon” on his Facebook wall and other outlets. The interim site Subma.net carried a yellow submarine logo and was looking for Online Marketing people with experience in local lead generation. Clearly a wink to all Yellow Page sites out there. Subma.net has been rebranded and now trades under the name of Digitale Seiten (“digital pages”) and has exposed more of their offering. The startup will bundle traditional local directories with an “innovative” local lead generation model. It’ll be interesting to see what that innovative approach is, since these types of businesses are highly dependent on organic SEO and businesses converting to premium customers paying for a more in-depth visibility of their business and further customer generation.
So, similar to the Samwer brothers, TEV has kicked off some interesting ventures of late. Yet, perhaps more noteworthy, by moving a Venture Partner into an executive position for a newly created startup they are looking a lot more like an Incubator, rather than an traditional VC fund. That’s something we’ll be watching closely.