Paul Kolarik is the manager of the restaurant “Luftburg – KOLARIK im Prater”, which is the largest fully certified organic restaurant in the world with 1,200 seats, that means 100% organic food, 100% organic drinks. The Viennese restaurateur, who took over the reins of the business from his mother in 2020, emphasises the sustainable conservation of resources as the basis of all economic decisions. This is also what he does with his investments.
Together with Gateway Ventures, Paul Kolarik has invested in the Irish start-up Positive Carbon, which has developed intelligent software for catering businesses that measures food waste and thus makes it traceable for its containment.
We talked to Paul about his work as an investor and the Austrian start-up landscape.
What is your personal motivation for working with start-ups?
I am personally very interested in technology and like to follow what is happening in the start-up sector. It is always exciting to see what new, innovative ideas are emerging. If I like one particularly well, it’s an idea I believe in and it has a solid business model, I consider investing. For me, the founding team itself plays a big role, I “burn” for my ideas – I have to find the same enthusiasm there.
What makes start-up investments special for you?
It is an opportunity to be part of something new at an early stage. Not only to observe the development, but to be able to contribute to growth. To be there, so to speak, to make the company, the idea/the product bigger.
What are the hottest tech/health/sustainability trends that will change our lives in the coming years?
For me, these are clearly companies that deal with technology, sustainability and generate added value for society. I believe that AI will continue to find its way into our lives and automate and simplify processes, thereby improving people’s lives. Issues such as waste avoidance and circular economy are essential for the preservation of our planet. Careful use of our precious resources is essential. ESG and SDG will strongly guide companies and their development in the coming years, if not decades.
How established are start-up investments in Austrian society in your opinion? How could that be improved etc.?
I think that start-up investments in Austria are currently only seen and used by a smaller group. It would be important to take away people’s shyness about investing – to show – that you don’t have to be a millionaire to invest in start-ups. You can be part of it with smaller amounts.
Gateway Ventures is a straightforward, low-threshold way for me to explore my investment choices. The deal flow and the “all-round carefree package”, which is offered from due diligence to the legal handling of the deal, makes the process quite simple for investors.
What criteria do you use when examining an investment opportunity?
Personally, I’m very interested in technology, so this is also an area in the start-up scene that appeals to me a lot. For me, the aspect of sustainability is important; if a start-up combines both, it becomes interesting.
I have an investment vehicle together with partners. We exchange views on investment opportunities all the time. We think alike, but we bring different perspectives to the table when it comes to making an investment decision. And there is also a gut feeling – if we believe in the idea and the founding team is right for us, then we are in.
Gateway Venturesprovides access to start-up investments at venture capital level. We therefore invite anyone interested in investing in forward-looking start-ups like Positive Carbon to register on our platform and dive deeper into exciting start-up deals.