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German Tech Needs Politicians to Step Up, GetYourGuide COO Says

Sarah Syed

(Bloomberg) -- A lack of political will and understanding is hindering German sovereign wealth and pension funds from investing in the country’s startup and tech scene, the co-founder of GetYourGuide said.

“When our company goes public, we will benefit, our employees will benefit and non-European pension funds will benefit,” Tao Tao, who’s also chief operating officer, said in an interview at the Digital Life and Design conference in Munich Saturday. “It would be nice if European pension funds and insurers could also benefit.”

In May, the Berlin-based online seller of travel activities received a $484 million investment led by Softbank’s Vision Fund that valued the company at well over 1 billion euros, a person familiar with the matter said at the time. The company has no immediate plans to list on the stock exchange, Tao said.

Tao said it was time for a new wave of political leadership in Germany to push for change, and cited France’s President Emmanuel Macron as having taken a progressive view.

Macron was set to announce a multibillion-euro pledge by banks and insurers, including Axa SA and Aviva Plc, to invest in France’s technology companies, his office told reporters in September. The French daily La Lettre A said the commitment may amount to 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) over three years; his office declined to confirm the report at the time.

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“We’re lacking the right conditions to create an ecosystem,” Tao said in the interview. “We need to increase cooperation, increase investment, and become sovereign in our technology.”

GetYourGuide, which employs about 500 people, has sold more than 25 million tours for activities that include shark diving off Cape Town and helicopter rides over Arizona’s Grand Canyon.

--With assistance from Oliver Sachgau.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Syed in London at ssyed35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Steve Geimann

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