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In 2020 – investors, entrepreneurs, and start-ups alike – started talking about a ‘new normal’.

However, according to Tanja Koch, Investment & Portfolio Manager at Fluxunit – OSRAM Ventures, “The principles of the ‘new normal’ stay pretty much the same – start-ups need ideas that convince with a compelling and unique opportunity.”

One thing is certain: Even in challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic, there is enough money on the market.

In that relation, Fluxunit seeks to accelerate the growth of the tech companies that they invest in by leveraging the combined forces of ams/OSRAM as leading players in the field of optical solutions.

“For this reason, I look for extraordinary teams with a unique and IP-protected product. Favourably, a combination between optical sensor innovation and AI would spark my interest,” shares Ms. Koch.

At Tech Tour XR 2021, where Fluxunit will be present, Tanja and her team will be looking forward to investing in miniaturized sensing and imaging technologies, as well as new display solutions revolutionising the AR/VR/XR market.

Personal Background

Tanja Koch is currently working as an investment manager at Fluxunit, the corporate venture capital arm of ams & OSRAM. Prior to Fluxunit, Tanja founded and built a company in the VR/AR space.

She prides herself on profound knowledge in Design Thinking, which she gained at the Center for Design Research at Stanford University. In addition, Ms. Koch holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science with a focus on Biomedicine, as well as a Master of Science in Management from the Technical University of Munich.

Changes in the VC Campaigns Since COVID-19

The initial figures show that the overall deal volume in the VC industry has declined slightly. In fact, some VCs have been affected more severely than others. “I believe that start-ups will be brought to their limits and will face a hard time to survive, especially in the industry segments directly hit by COVID-19,” says Ms. Koch

In contrast, there will always be winners in such crisis periods. Let’s take the AR/VR market as an example. According to Bloomberg, the market grew at a CAGR of over 35% during 2020. This growth underlines the urgent need for new use cases and technical solutions to handle the impact of the crisis. In short, there is a pressing need for digital collaboration.

Trends in AR/VR/XR in the Last 12 Months

In the last year, Tanja Koch has noticed a fragmented market with promising dynamics.

On one hand, big tech players – such as Facebook – introduced promising products like the Oculus Quest 2. On the other hand, younger companies – such as Varjo – managed to raise $54 million just 18 months after the launch of their first mixed reality headset.

In addition, she also observed rising industry cooperation between both established and new players on the market. „ For instance VividQ, one of our portfolio companies, partnered up with ARM to to achieve a breakthrough in truly immersive AR perception, enabled by holographic display technology,“ proudly says Tanja Koch.

Regarding display solutions for AR glasses, Fluxunit has started seeing the combination of laser beam scanners and waveguides more frequently than in the past. In this context, the use of micro-LEDs as a fundament for very small display technologies has also been constantly rising in importance. An interesting fact about VR is that the form factors and designs of headsets have become more suitable for business use and less for the gaming industry.

“I am convinced that this technology segment can be considered as a unique breeding ground for unicorns,” concludes Tanja Koch.