CEO of eCAPITAL portfolio company Open-Xchange AG, Rafael Laguna, joins SprinD as designated Founding Director
Rafael Laguna, CEO role at Open-Xchange AG (OX), has been asked by Germany´s Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to become the founding director of SprinD, a new innovation agency. eCAPITAL congratulates Rafael Laguna on this outstanding opportunity.
Paul-Josef Patt, CEO and Managing Partner at eCAPITAL comments: “Rafael is well-known as an innovative entrepreneur and visionary for many years, which is why we are convinced that he is the ideal candidate for this additional important role. He has always seized every available opportunity to be part of innovation, from founding his first company at the age of 16 to championing the incredible ID4me and Chat-over-IMAP (in short COI) initiatives at Open-Xchange.”
OX will remain the core focus of his work and he just takes on this additional role while he is continuing to help drive Open-Xchange along the successful growth path that the company has been on for the past 14 years.
SprinD stands for “Agentur zur Förderung von Sprunginnovationen” which roughly translates to “agency that fosters disruptive innovations” and is a new public fund that helps finance large-scale, moonshot innovation projects that are failing to attract private investment or venture capital due to the level of funding or risk involved. The fund has €1 billion to invest over the next decade and Rafael Laguna has been offered the opportunity to become SprinD’s founding director to ultimately help decide how to allocate this money.
Rafael Laguna comments: “In Germany, we have a long tradition of outstanding scientists who, especially in the first half of the 20th century, created completely new branches of industry and thus contributed significantly to progress and prosperity in large parts of the world. Still, our basic research is among the best in the world. What we lack, however, are groundbreaking innovators and an infrastructure that transforms research results into profitable companies with innovative products and services. The task of creating an agency that provides a comparable environment again today is incredibly promising and attractive, and for me personally it is the logical continuation of my mission to create European humanist, business-oriented innovation.”
One can imagine the agency as the German DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). DARPA is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. In the past, (D)ARPA-funded projects have led to the development of some of the most innovative technologies of our time, including computer networking and the basis for the modern internet, graphical user interfaces in information technology, and even GPS. The German government is now building its own agency that follows the idea of DARPA, but without any military ambition and purely focused on fostering innovation. Under pressure that Germany could be left in the wake of Silicon Valley and China’s blistering forward momentum, it appears that the German government is now taking significant action to move the German innovation industry forward.
About Open-Xchange AG
Open-Xchange (OX) leads the fight to keep the digital landscape open, secure and transparent for all. Consistently committed to an open internet and software ecosystem, OX opens opportunities for over 100 of the world’s leading service providers and telecommunications without compromising the privacy or safety of users.
OX has been giving service providers the tools they need to prosper for more than a decade. With foundations deep within the open source movement, it has expanded rapidly to become a trusted partner for some of the world’s largest telcos and ISPs; supplying everything from robust, industrial-scale email for businesses and consumers to high-performance productivity software that matches the capabilities of much longer-established office application software. To date, more than 200 million commercial licenses for OX App Suite have been sold.
Offering a full stack of open source technology OX helps global IT businesses deliver innovative and high-quality customer experiences. Learn more about the benefits of working with OX: www.open-xchange.com
eCAPITAL AG, based in Münster, is a capital management company for alternative investment funds (AIF) in accordance with the EuVECA Regulation. The company is one of the leading venture capital investors in Germany and has been actively supporting innovative entrepreneurs in promising sectors since 1999. The focus is on fast-growing companies in the software / IT, industry 4.0, cleantech and new materials segments. eCAPITAL currently manages funds with a subscription capital of more than 220 million euros.
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