Team 2018-01-26T15:29:37+00:00

Meet The Team

Meet The Team

Our experience has taught us that simply infusing cash into a growing young company is only one element in our overall growth strategy.  Even at a fast-growing company, it takes time to develop expertise.  That’s where we come in — with a team ready to tackle unexpected challenges, and help start-ups come out on top.

Thomas R. Villinger
Chief Executive Officer & Founder

As one of the major providers of venture capital investment in Germany, we support innovative young companies, and establish long-term partnerships with them. ZFHN has a fund volume of about EUR 200 million, and effects investments ranging in size from EUR 2 million to EUR 10 million, acting primarily as a lead investor. In addition to providing founders with capital, we offer advice and know-how from the very beginning.

Our team of investment professionals and the members of our administrative board have, collectively, worked in a range of industries and branches of business management. From medical technology to materials science, and from controlling to legal and tax matters, we possess a vast range and depth of expertise. Our CEO has more than 12 years of experience in venture capital management, and before co-founding ZFHN in 2006, he was the co-founder and CEO of the Innovationsfabrik Heilbronn GmbH, a center providing space for 60 startups. Our other co-founder, Günter Steffen, has established nearly 50 companies, including the IT services provider tele-daten-service GmbH, which he ran from 1975 to the year 2000. The youngest investment professional on our team — Manuel Böhringer  – joined us in 2016, after completing a dual program of university studies and work, and now handles acquisitions at ZFHN’s seed fund, Born2Grow, in the areas of automation and industry, life sciences and IT.

The ZFHN Team


Thomas R. Villinger

Thomas Villinger has been with the ZFHN Zukunftsfonds Heilbronn since the beginning, as co-founder and CEO. Before co-founding ZFHN, he played a key role, as founder and chief executive, in establishing the Innovationsfabrik Heilbronn GmbH, a center offering a home to 60 start-up companies, with a focus on industry, electronics and communications. Thomas Villinger sits on the boards of a number of companies that are in the early investment stage. He has more than 12 years of experience in the venture capital business, during which time he has worked at firms such as CapGemini, KfW Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, and the World Bank, and focused on M & A and the raising of private/public capital for growth companies in Europe, the Gulf States, and the USA. Before that, he worked in the technology industry in the area of venture-capital-supported business.

Thomas Villinger studied Economics and Geography at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. In addition, he has a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Schiller International University (USA and France).


Günter Steffen
Fund Manager

Günter Steffen has founded nearly 50 companies, in addition to TDS, or tele-daten-service GmbH, an IT services company at which he was head of the management board until the year 2000. Later he also served on TDS’ supervisory board in various functions. From 1998 until 2005, Günter Steffen was president of the regional chamber of trade and commerce, the IHK Heilbronn-Franken, and in 2006 he was named honorary president of that organization. That same year, he co-founded the ZFHN Zukunftsfonds. 


Alexander Hofer
Investment Director, Authorized Officer

Alexander Hofer studied business administration at the University of Stuttgart and the University of Mannheim. He began working at ZFHN at the beginning of 2008 as an investment manager. Before joining the company, Mr. Hofer worked at several German and foreign companies, gaining experience in particular in the area of corporate finance. Mr. Hofer has many years of experience in dealing with the financing of start-up companies, and has supported companies through the life-cycle of the venture capital model from the seed-financing stage on through to successful exit a number of times. Mr. Hofer has also served a number of times as an interim manager, with a successful result each time. As an authorized officer and the company’s investment director, Mr. Hofer is also responsible for legal and administrative matters at ZFHN. 


Jürgen Heiderer
Head of Investment Controlling

Jürgen Heiderer was hired as head of investment controlling at ZFHN at the end of 2012. Before that, having worked in a number of different positions, mainly at medium-sized “Mittelstand”) industrial companies in a wide range of industries, his most recent position was with an American automobile-industry supplier, where he was the site manager for two plants.

Jürgen Heiderer has many years of experience in management, and has considerable expertise in the areas of Controlling and Financing (HGB, IAS and US-Gaap) as well as in logistics and marketing support.


Marius Diehl
Investment Manager 

Marius Diehl has been working for ZFHN since 2013, and he focuses on the acquisition and support of start-ups. Before coming to ZFHN, he worked as an analyst for a private equity company in Frankfurt in the area of restructuring and turnarounds. Marius Diehl has a degree in economics from Leibnitz University in Hanover.


Manuel Böhringer
Investment Manager

Manuel Böhringer acquired his knowledge of the theoretical foundations of corporate finance during his banking studies at the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart. Over the course of the internships that were part of his program of studies, he had the opportunity to put the theory he was learning into practice while working in controlling, treasury, and business support. After having completed internships in a range of areas in the financial industry, Mr. Böhringer began working as an investment manager at the Zukunftfonds Heilbronn’s Born2Grow unit, where he is responsible for investment acquisition in the areas of industry, life sciences, and IT.


Andrea Muth
Investment Controller

Andrea Muth has been working since the end of 2016 as a member of Jürgen Heiderer’s team, as an investment controller. Prior to that, Ms. Muth worked for a number of years as a researcher and instructor at the Hochschule Heilbronn in the subject area of strategy and controlling. She studied business administration and business management at the Hochschule Heilbronn, and received a dual master’s degree in international business at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.


Katharina Heim
Executive Assistant to the CEO

Ms. Heim began working at ZFHN at the end of 2012. Before that, she worked at various companies in Germany and abroad as a management assistant. As executive assistant to Mr. Villinger, she provides support in day-to-day operations, and also in activities involving planning and strategy. Ms. Heim studied business administration at the Berufsakademie Ravensburg. She also completed an MBA at the University of Bolton (UK) while she was working full time.


Rosa Daginnus
Executive Assistant to the Investment Director, Authorized Officer

Ms. Daginnus started working at ZFHN in 2007, as assistant to the investment director. She handles the areas of personnel management and internal finances. In the meantime, as an executive assistant at the management level, she has also taken on responsibility for operative functions in the areas of finance, taxation, and legal matters. In addition, she plays a role in tasks related to planning and strategy. Trained as a tax clerk, she became a certified accounting specialist after completing a professional development course. To round out her professional expertise, she participated in another training program, and received a certificate as a specialist in employment law.


Annabell Heine
Financial Accountant


Claire Böhme
Office Manager


Natascha Matkic
College – Study Intern


Bianka Mai


Office Dog

Please call us or send us an e-mail if you would like to get in touch with one of us, or would like more information about ZFHN.