News | Bertelsmann Investments | Gütersloh, 05/25/2022

‘Huge Opportunities And Disruptive Potential’

On May 12 and 13, 21 start-ups and 400 investors convened for a virtual “Web3Connect – Global Demo Day” hosted by Bertelsmann Investments and BAI Capital. The start-ups presented their ideas and business models around “Web3,” a topic that is also becoming increasingly interesting for Bertelsmann. Many of the start-ups subsequently received inquiries from investors.

“Web3” is the term used to describe the next evolutionary stage of the Internet. While “Web2” still represents a centralized Internet of information exchange, “Web3” describes a decentralized “Internet of Value” in which the creation and exchange of real, digital value is made possible through blockchain technology. Some Web3 applications, e.g. cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, are now familiar to many people. Concepts such as non-fungible tokens (NFT), which are unique digital assets, are poised to enter the mass market, especially in the art scene, but also facilitate a variety of new business models in the content and service industries. Some are already changing processes taken completely for granted in the past, while others are finding unexpected new use cases. On May 12 and 13, Web3 founders accepted an invitation from Bertelsmann Investments (BI) and BAI Capital to present their Web3 ideas at the first “BI Web3Connect – Global Demo Day.” A total of 1,300 participants, including more than 400 investors, watched the presentations by 21 BI start-ups from Asia, Europe, and the U.S. on Zoom.

From digital fashion to decentralized finance applications to infrastructure protocols – the variety of Web3 business models presented made for exciting presentations and demonstrated the great relevance of the rapidly growing Web3 ecosystem for Bertelsmann Investments and the Group. For example, Jamiel Sheikh, entrepreneur and founder of the largest blockchain community in New York, ranked the relevance of Web3 applications for the media and services industry. Carsten Mönning, Vice President Technology at Bertelsmann, emphasized the importance of the new ecosystem for our Group. At the end of the event, BI unveiled its own “Web3Connect-NFT”. This will contain special features for future BI events, about which no details have yet been revealed. Currently, BI’s portfolio includes 18 direct investments in blockchain, including four alone that use NFT technology for digital collectibles. 

“Innovation, dedication, collaboration. These three words characterize much of the Global Web3 community,” says Martin El-Khouri, Senior Director Bertelsmann Investments. “The transformative impact coming out of the ecosystem in the content and services industries is maturing, and indicative for huge opportunities and disruptive potential. BI has been participating in Web3 innovation for a while now, particularly via BDMI and BAI.” The Web3Connect event, he said, bridged the continents, and connected the Group’s portfolio companies and partners to a global community of more than 400 investors. BAI Capital Partner Will Wang, who co-hosted „Web3Connect Global Demo Day” with Martin El-Khouri: What motivated us to host this global online demo day is how much we can do to connect founder and investors from Europe, the U.S. and Asia while at the same time showing Bertelsmann Investments’ belief in this rising community.” The result, Wang concluded, was more than encouraging. More than 1,300 participants and 21 founders enjoyed the four-hour event as well as the exchange on the connected communication platforms, he said. The young companies also received numerous inquiries from investors who are considering investing in them.