Frank Thelen: DNA for a sustainable technological future

29. November 2022 – Katharina Schlangenotto

Born in Bonn, Frank Thelen made his first million when he was 24 years old. However, the joy didn’t last long, as his first business idea turned out to be less than successful.

Frank Thelen didn’t let that stop him from continuing to invest in what he saw as profitable companies. He soon founded the investment company e42, which has been called Freigeist Capital since 2017, and in the meantime his money is invested in various other software companies and start-ups. Last year, he launched his own equity fund “10xDNA Fund,” with which he invests in listed companies that focus primarily on future topics such as blockchain or artificial intelligence.

Frank Thelen is one of the best-known investors and most successful IT experts in Germany. As an investor in the TV show “Die Höhle der Löwen”, the serial founder became known to a wide audience.

Frank Thelen knows the ups and downs of the investment business and entrepreneurship. Some of his ideas flopped, bringing him to the brink of private insolvency, while others went bombshell and helped him achieve the success and fame he enjoys today.

Frank Thelen: Creating awareness for a mindset of the future: 10xDNA

Thelen has a vision of the future that he wants to take out into the world. To this end, he has written a book entitled “10X DNA – The Mindset of the Future” and says: “I want to create awareness for technologies such as robotics, quantum computing or blockchain; Germany and Europe must not miss the boat here.”

In his book, Frank Thelen writes about the profound changes the world will undergo as a result of digitalization and technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing, 5G, quantum computing and synthetic biology: “This will have an impact on our lives and everyday life and, of course, will also influence the economic and political future of Germany and Europe. The age of exponential progress brings incredible opportunities. Germany now urgently needs a 10xDNA to seize these opportunities!”, says Frank Thelen.

In his book and lectures, the “Höhle der Löwen” juror Frank Thelen encourages people to think and uses concrete examples to show how life will change as a result of digitalization and new technologies. He wants to take away the fear of the new, and instead prepare for the future in a goal-oriented way.

In his keynotes, he talks about his gripping life story, which led him to outstanding successes, but also to tough defeats. His lecture topics include the technology of tomorrow or the tools for a sustainable future, as well as the mindset of the future and “10xDNA” and “Modern Technologies” and how life will look like in the future. As a start-up investor, he naturally takes us into the world of newcomers and the burning question of what comes when start-ups become companies.

How does Frank Thelen make investment decisions?

When asked which criteria are the most important in his own investment decisions, he answers, “I look at the founders in combination with their product. I have to see why the founders have an unfair advantage with their product. Financial planning comes at the very end.”

Frank Thelen advises founders to never take on private debt: “Never go below zero! Rather live on cornflakes and move back in with your parents. But never take on private debt.”

His inspiring lectures deal with future technologies and the developments and opportunities that arise from them. They are informative, educational and exciting at the same time. Frank Thelen sharpens our view of the future and vividly explains how technological change will influence and change all of our lives. His clear message is that no one need be afraid of this. We just have to make sure we don’t lose touch.

Frank Thelen

Founder, Investor, Expert for technology & innovation