Investment

A family office, an old banking dynasty, and an emerging venture investing powerhouse

Swiss, German, and US family banking dynasties still exert influence in the corridors of 21st-century finance. Some are even making a splash in venture investing as this Swiss-based investment office reveals. 

Baar-based Mutschler Ventures is owned by Sylvie Mutschler-von Specht, a member of the family shareholders of Hamburg-based Berenberg Bank, one of the oldest banks in the world that traces its history back to 1590. Backed by money from one of the oldest banking dynasties, Mutschler Ventures is fast becoming one of the most dynamic family-backed venture investors in Europe. 

Founded in 2007, Mutschler has made around 28 investments, mostly at seed or Series A levels. But it just participated in a substantial Series B round worth €74 million for Ada Health, a German healthcare group using AI to better diagnose illnesses. Since 2020 Mutschler has already made eight investments, two just in the last month.  

Two years ago, Mutschler hired Maximilian Engelken, a young and ambitious tech investor with a background in management consulting, startups, and engineering. Under Engelken, Mutschler has accelerated its investment efforts, although the group had been ticking along nicely for some time, making a number of highly profitable investments since it was set up. 

One of these was German online used-car dealer Auto1 Group, which Mutschler invested back when it was a small startup in 2013. Auto1 listed early this year in Germany and now has a market cap of more than €9 billion. Mutschler sold its shares in the group before the IPO, but Sylvie Mutschler sits on the supervisory board of Auto1.  

Other profitable exits have included Adyen, a Dutch payment group and rival to PayPal, which listed in 2018 and now has a market cap of €58 billion, and Thermondo, a renewable energy group, which was acquired by a much bigger rival in 2017 three years after Mutschler’s investment. 

Sylvie Mutschler is also well connected, not least through her brother Andreas von Specht, a big force in the recruitment of top executives for some of Europe’s biggest family businesses. Andreas von Specht was also one of Family Capital’s 100 Influencers in the world of family enterprises. 

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