The Hydra of Greek mythology was able to regrow its heads when it had one cut off. Germany-based sportswear company Adidas Group will be hoping its corporate venturing unit Hydra Ventures will demonstrate a similar durability.
During the last two years Hydra has maintained a low profile. Yet this does not mean it has been shy of dealmaking.
Brett Hiltscher, of Adidas’s corporate venturing unit Hydra Ventures, spoke with Global Corporate Venturing ahead of a board meeting last week, where four investment opportunities were set to be vetted by its board.
Hiltscher said the unit expects to do two to four investments this year. He declined to disclose the names of any of the group’s five-strong portfolio, which the group has been assembling since it was founded in 2011. He added: “We have a board seat on all five companies and on one of them we have two board seats. It generally suits the investment company for us to have a board seat, due to our industry knowledge.”
Hiltscher said: “One of our key criteria is that a deal should have a fit within the Adidas Group and a strong correlation with sports or sports lifestyle. Doing so offers more opportunity for synergies.”
The unit is looking to investments with a revenue potential of between €50m to €100m, and it is looking to generally invest between €1m to €5m.
The corporate venturing unit has a deal team of two. Hiltscher works alongside Hydra’s Martin Ott, Adidas’ head of M&A. Ott sits on Hydra’s board alongside Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer and the Germany-based sportswear group’s chief financial officer Robin Stalker. Also on Hydra’s board are Toby Hoare, chief executive of marketing company JWT Europe, and Duncan Fitzwilliams, chairman of fund management group Nash Fitzwilliams.
Expect a splashier profile for Hydra from here on out, as the group is keen to increase its dealflow from the market. Yet we await with baited breath, like the Hydra, news of what their actual deals have been.