General Atlantic Lands in Germany With Apollis

Hoping to cash in on Europe’s emerging wireless market while simultaneously solidifying its reputation as an international venture player, General Atlantic Partners recently created an independent investment organization, Apollis AG. General Atlantic has already provided Apollis with an unspecified amount of initial capital and has announced its intentions to provide additional future funding as well as access to its portfolio companies.

Despite this founding relationship, however, Munich-based Apollis plans to carve out its own identity rather than just act as the German satellite office of an already successful firm. Indeed, Apollis has hired its own executive team and has laid out an early-stage investment strategy that differs sharply from General Atlantic’s usual Series B or Series C plays.

“We are a great believer in focus and we wanted to set up an independent company so that General Atlantic’s focus didn’t get confused with Apollis’ focus,” said Frank Henkelmann, a principal with General Atlantic and an advisor with Apollis.

Set to make its first investment within the next couple of months, Apollis will begin by funding German start-ups that specialize in wireless-enabled applications and solutions for business customers. The German launch location was chosen due to the country’s sizable wireless user base, although an expanded regional operation will be forthcoming.

Apollis plans to make between five and ten investments this year, with typical deals falling between one million Euros to three million Euros.

Recognizing that the VC complaint about too much money and too few deals is especially relevant in Europe’s still-developing wireless market, Apollis has made a strong effort to provide potential portfolio companies with a value-added product. Most significantly, Apollis recently brought consulting giant McKinsey & Co. on board as a strategic partner

“McKinsey is going to get quite involved by playing an active role in supporting the companies Apollis is involved with,” Henkelmann said. “They already have a very high [European] market share and are a very well-known name by most local business leaders.”

In addition to its traditional private equity activities, Apollis will also engage in actual wireless business creation and development.

“We’ve got a great team and it’s a pretty exciting time to be involved with wireless in Europe,” Henkelmann said.

He added that Apollis is currently expanding its executive team and that the official roster will most likely be unveiled within the next several months.