European Commission
Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
TOBE 2014 – 3rd BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

"From sectors to system, from concept to reality"

Gunter Festel

Gunter Festel
Festel Capital - CEO

Gunter Festel is founder and CEO of the investment firm FESTEL CAPITAL (, which specialises in the commercialisation of technologies in the areas of energy, environment, health, materials and nutrition. He has co-founded, as a Founding Angel (, various start-ups in Germany and Switzerland.

For example, he was founder and CEO of TES Triton Environmental Solutions developing a waste water treatment technology, which was sold to Triton Water AG. He was also co-founder and CEO of Butalco, which was sold to the French company Lesaffre & Cie SA. Prior to that, he was a member of the management team and head of the consulting business for the chemical and healthcare industry with Arthur D. Little in Zurich and was co-head of the global chemicals and healthcare business.

He was a consultant with McKinsey in Brussels, Frankfurt and London and held various management positions with Bayer (head of a R&D laboratory, assistant to a member of Bayer’s Board of Directors, product manager).

Gunter Festel holds a MA and PhD in chemistry, a BA in business administration, a MA in economics, a PhD in management & economics as well as an Executive Master of Corporate Finance. At the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich he heads a scientific working group focused on start-ups/spin-offs ( and is researcher at the Technical University (TU) Berlin within the chair of entrepreneurship & innovation management.

He gives lectures at ETH Zurich, the University St. Gallen, the Kazan State Technical University, the University of Hong Kong and the National University of Singapore. He is co-founder and member of the advisory board of the Association for Chemistry & Economics, founding member and member of the executive council of the China Association for Management of Technology and chairman of the board of the Association of German Biotechnology Companies (VBU).



Importance of Private and Financial Investors for the Bioeconomy
As in the medical biotechnology area some decades ago, the fast technological de-velopment within industrial biotechnology (IB) has caused numerous new ventures. Venture capital (VC) has become a major capital source for these companies and VC investors have particularly allocated financing to research and development based companies.
Since early 2000, the net stock of VC investments in IB companies has continuously increased and at the end of 2013 exceeded 3.5 billion US dollars. In 2013, the gross amount of VC money was 386 million US dollars distributed to 20 companies corre-sponding to an average amount of 19.3 million US dollars for each company. The rising capital contribution into the IB sector indicates that it is meanwhile seen as an attractive investment opportunity for VC investors.
But there is also a worrying trend with severe financial consequences for new IB ventures. More than a decade ago, in the red biotechnology segment, most VC in-vestors shifted their focus towards more matured and thus less risky investment pro-jects and in IB a similar development started to take place. Before 2009, a significant share of the total VC investment volume was allocated to new companies with an age of less than three years. After the financial market crisis the vast majority of VC was directed to more matured companies with an age of four years or more.
This research was done by Festel Capital in co-operation with ETH Zurich and the Center for European Economic Research. The data were taken from the Zephyr da-tabase of the Bureau van Dijk. Zephyr is the most comprehensive data-base world-wide on corporate financing, initial public offering and mergers & acquisition activi-ties including VC deals.