Photos: Alex Zakharov

We recently had the privilege of hosting Mag. Berthold Baurek-Karlic, founder and managing director of Venionaire Capital, at our Fireplace Talk. As a recognized figure in the realms of mergers, acquisitions, and venture capital, Mr. Baurek-Karlic shared insights from his extensive career, focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment strategies.

A Journey of Entrepreneurial Spirit

Mr. Baurek-Karlic ecounted his early forays into entrepreneurship, which included trading Eurotrenders collectibles at school when he was seven – a misadventure that eventually led him to switch schools but keep all his heard-earned money. It was clear that by the time he reached his teenage years, his entrepreneurial spirit would remain undeterred. This spirit manifested in organizing large-scale clubbing events for his peers during his high school years, because his other dream- becoming an NHL player was not an option for one living in Vienna. Eventually, the event organising business, which ended up becoming a rite-of-passage for all graduating students called Summer Splash, set the stage for his future ventures.

From Startup to Investment Expertise

Berthold’s career path did not have the linear trajectory his parents might have expected – it bears the mark of his innovative thinking. He studied Management Science at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, majoring in finance and controlling. After dabbling in various industries and companies (Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Reiffeisen Bank, Trans Europe Financials), he focused on leveraging his business acumen into venture capital and corporate finance consulting. He detailed his academic journey, which paralleled his business ventures, highlighting his role in educational initiatives like the Business Angel Institute and lecturing at institutions like the Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at WU Vienna.

Building a Venture Ecosystem

In September 2012 he founded the company Venionaire Capital, which specializes in angel investments, venture capital and corporate finance consulting. As the founder of Venionaire Capital, Berthold has been pivotal in nurturing a robust investment ecosystem. His work with the Business Angel Institute and various roles in startups across Europe reflect his commitment to fostering innovation and contributing to the community. In 2023, his efforts were recognized when he was honored with the Austrian State Prize for Business Angel of the Year.

Vision for the Future

Looking ahead, Mr. Baurek-Karlic expressed his excitement about the future of venture capital, particularly in emerging technologies and sustainable investments. He shared his experiences with recent successful exits and the launch of Austria’s first crypto hedge fund, emphasizing the dynamic nature of the venture capital field.

An Invitation to Innovate

Concluding the talk, Mr. Baurek-Karlic encouraged the LBS students to embrace the entrepreneurial journey. He highlighted the importance of resilience, the excitement of venture capital, and the satisfaction of contributing to transformative projects that have a global impact.

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