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Equity Story

Of unicorns and zebras

 

Start-ups valued at more than a billion often proudly call themselves unicorns because of their rarity. They are almost exclusively focused on growth in order to achieve a monopoly position in their defined market in the shortest possible time. Other aspects such as employee satisfaction or social impact count for little, which often leads to a bubble forming. Not infrequently, it turns out that the billion-dollar value belongs just as much to the realm of fable as the namesake itself.

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In contrast, companies that focus on sustainability and cooperation are called zebras. They want to realise relevant solutions for social challenges of the 21st century with innovative, socio-ecological approaches. Often, however, they lack the clout, attention - and sometimes also a dash of megalomania to change the world. Yet it is precisely these companies that should grow ambitiously and sustainably, scale consistently and develop new technologies. In this case, "zebras" generate above-average returns with manageable risks.

In contrast, the traditional German SME sector, including its numerous hidden champions, has been an incredible success story over the past decades. Now, an enormous innovation backlog and an imminent loss of relevance are becoming apparent, especially in the area of digitalisation.

Maffei & Co. believes that Germany and the EU need new economic impulses to build greater resilience to crises and strengthen the innovative power of new business models that have a positive impact on society. This is the only way to secure prosperity, the environment and social peace in the future - chasing unicorns that broker pizzas, furniture and used cars and building castles in the air will not succeed.

In contrast, the traditional German SME sector, including its numerous hidden champions, has been an incredible success story over the past decades. Now, an enormous innovation backlog and an imminent loss of relevance are becoming apparent, especially in the area of digitalisation.

Maffei & Co. believes that Germany and the EU need new economic impulses to build greater resilience to crises and strengthen the innovative power of new business models that have a positive impact on society. This is the only way to secure prosperity, the environment and social peace in the future - chasing unicorns that broker pizzas, furniture and used cars and building castles in the air will not succeed.

Maffei & Co. is one of the leading developers of innovative digital business models, companies and eco-systems with social impact and purpose in Europe with a focus on the German-speaking region with fairness, expertise and Evergreen direct investments.

Our contribution

Maffei & Co. makes a relevant contribution as an entrepreneurial family holding company to promote the relevance of innovative business models with management, capital, technology and a strong eco-system with traditional commercial instruments and entrepreneurial virtues and to realise a social impact: Zebras instead of unicorns, earned returns instead of fantasy valuations, resilience instead of hype, participation and involvement in risks and growth.

Maffei & Co. uses its expertise to build the next generation of (hidden) champions by combining traditional medium-sized companies with innovative start-ups under the umbrella of themed holdings to realise sustainable growth strategies.

Maffei & Co. takes risks as a fair partner and bears joint entrepreneurial responsibility. Risks and complexity are proactively managed personally instead of (supposedly) avoiding, delegating or outsourcing them.

 

This approach is consciously in the tradition of private banks at the end of the 19th century, which created the foundations of our current prosperity with entrepreneurial financing, the establishment of technologically innovative companies and the driving of economic renewal processes. This is also the origin of our name: Maffei & Co.

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