The Index Project
Index Award 2011 Finalists
HackFwd
An early-stage investment company designed to fuel tech innovation in Europe

HackFwd founder Lars Hinrichs is one of Europe’s internet icons. XING, the company he co-founded in 2003, was the first Web 2.0 business to go public in Europe; it now ranks among the world’s most popular social-networking sites for professionals. In 2008, the Startups Initiative named Hinrichs as the most important web entrepreneur in Germany. In 2009, the World Economic Forum recognized him as a Young Global Leader.

By providing pre-seed, evergreen venture backing, HackFwd frees top talent from their corporate jobs and helps them start their own companies. This allows developers, coders, and engineers to focus on doing what they do best—inventing—and encourages tech development in Europe. HackFwd’s mission is to revolutionize the European technology scene and put Europe on the global innovation map.

In exchange for financial support, creative and strategic advice, and marketing assistance, HackFwd gets 27 % of the equity; the start-up’s founders keep 70 %, and advisers who assisted receive up to 3 % in options. In other words, when new ventures succeed, everybody benefits. HackFwd founded and invested in seven start-ups in 2010 and plans to scale up in 2011. These investments have a halo effect on the broader European tech eco-system, by making potential entrepreneurs aware of career choices beyond keeping their day jobs. All participants receive at least one year of funding and education.

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