Many logistics service providers partner up with startups to stay innovative. DB Schenker now invests in a completely new approach to this. The logistics service provider recently launched a venture capital and startup studio, “Schenker Ventures”, with an ambitious goal: to be the number one driver for innovations within the logistics and supply chain industry and top address for entrepreneurs, innovators, founders, and partners.

Logistics Matters met Patric Hoffmann, Head of Schenker Ventures at DB Schenker, to discuss “Schenker Ventures”, the ambitious goal, and why he believes this will be a real game-changer for DB Schenker as well as the whole industry.

Logistics Matters: “With “Schenker Ventures”, you are aiming for nothing less than becoming the number one driver for innovations within the logistics and supply chain industry. How do you want to achieve this?”

Patric Hoffmann: “Indeed, it is quite an ambitious goal, and at the same time, we are convinced that this has to be our goal. Being part of DB Schenker, one of the world’s leading logistics service providers, we have everything our venturing activities and startups need.

This is much more than capital only. We support them with contacts to the greatest customers around the globe and top-tier investors, with logistics infrastructure and supply chain experts.
Startups and founders can rely on our support and leverage a leading corporate logistics infrastructure and network. Just have a look at our recent investments in Volocopter and Gideon Brothers. True partnerships and great collaborations in terms of product development. This is what our ventures value most.”

Logistics Matters: “Venture capital and venture building are for companies in other industries quite common, but for the logistics industry, one can name you as a frontrunner with “Schenker Ventures”. Why is that, and why are you so optimistic that your approach adds value to the industry?”

Patric Hoffmann: “Frontrunner in our industry? This is music to my ears and indeed the goal. I don’t want to judge or compare the different programs and setups out there. Many of them are doing a great job, and each of them – including ourselves – needs to follow their conviction.

For us, some major principles are essential and part of our Schenker Ventures DNA. We are sure that successful innovations and new business models drive company value and that true entrepreneurship drives innovation and new business models. Therefore, we are convinced that founders need to stay in control of their idea, project, and company.

And this is what drives us and all of our venturing activities. This is how we set up our program and organization, and this is what we are convinced will make the difference and add value. Not only to our industry but as well to startups, founders, investors, and the entire ecosystem.”

Patric Hoffmann

Logistics Matters: “Last year DB Schenker already invested in Volocopter. The bar is high. So, what is next in the pipeline? What will be your focus for the upcoming months/years?”

Patric Hoffmann: “We are indeed enjoying the partnership with Volocopter. Seeing how VoloDrone is developing and how our teams develop use cases shows us every day that we are actively shaping the way our world connects. The investment itself is financially growing really well.

We are now in the stages of our next step. We recently participated in the Series A funding round of Gideon Brothers, a robotics and artificial intelligence company. And we are sure that we can help with much more than just capital. We will support the development of the AGVs, developing other uses cases and proofs of concepts, and support the company as a whole.

And this indeed is not the end. We are only starting now. We are delighted that LogTech companies and ventures share our vision and see the value-add and support we can provide. We are receiving so many great pitch decks from founders and startups all around Germany, Europe, and hopefully soon around the globe. And we are confident that we will be able to announce our next investments and ventures soon.”

Published: August 2021