26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Marcus Böker, Phoenix Contact Innovation Ventures

Marcus Böker has been a managing director at Phoenix Contact Innovation Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of industrial equipment maker Phoenix Contact, from January 2015. He first joined the corporate in 2010 as a project manager of acquisitions before being promoted to head of acquisitions in 2013, a role he held for five years, overlapping partially with the corporate venturing duties.

Since January 2018, Böker also holds a senior director of M&A role simultaneously for the whole group, where he prepares the concept and financing structure of the new entity.

Böker explained: “Phoenix Contact Innovation Ventures acts as a strategic minority investor with similar financial conditions and expectations of a pure venture capital fund.

“With its approach to bring smart money with additional value to startups, for example, via joint exhibitions and opening the company sales channel, both companies can grow independently from each other.”

Frank Stührenberg, chief executive of Phoenix Contact said in his nomination of Böker: “With the Phoenix Contact Innovation Ventures we are much faster and flexible to interact and cooperate with startups and their ideas and technologies then in our core business. The established ecosystem by our venture team, headed by Marcus Böker, is one of the key elements of our strategy to the Industry 4.0 and industrial internet of things.”

Since 2015, Böker and his team have conducted six deals in five countries, in sectors as diverse as energy, wind, cybersecurity, network technology and inductive charging, totalling at $12m worth of seed to series A investments:

  • Germany-based electric vehicle wireless supercharger developer Blue Inductive Blue Inductive.
  • Austria-based renewables, robotics and sports-focused smart sensor producer Eologix.
  • Germany-based commercial building energy management system provider SmartB.
  • Netherlands-based network security software developer SecurityMatters.
  • US-based wind farm optimisation solution provider WindESCo.
  • Canada-based industrial cybersecurity technology producer iS5 Communications.

Böker said: “The 2-million-digit fund is structured as an evergreen fund to recycle the gained profits.

“With this structure, Phoenix Contact Innovation Ventures addresses the particularities of the industrial hardware and software business-to-business market which needs longer validation cycles.

“With the exit of SecurityMatters in 2018, it could be shown that Phoenix Contact Innovation Ventures acts as a serial investor including the validation of the self-financing investment approach.” The exit was valued at about $113m.

“Furthermore, in spring 2018, Phoenix Contact Innovation Ventures acted as a lead investor in the investment round with more than C$22m in the Canadian critical infrastructure company iS5 based in Toronto.”

The corporate has developed a complete original equipment manufacturer system for the wind industry based on the Phoenix Contact system together with its portfolio company Eologix.

Böker built the M&A department of Phoenix Contact in 2010 from scratch. Before joining Phoenix, he had worked for Germany-based energy supplier E.on in the M&A and corporate development department for two years from 2005, before becoming a project manager for two years from 2008 at Germany-based filling and packaging systems supplier KHS.

Böker holds a master of laws degree in mergers and acquisitions from the University of Münster.