You have finally scheduled a meeting with a potential investor to fund your new company.
You only have a few minutes to convince them that you are their perfect future partner.
Your marketing department (you) has spoken with your controller (your co-founder) and your engineering department (both of you), and you have developed the perfect pitch deck to present to this investor. It has nice graphics, it has numbers, it has a description of your product.
The investor is not impressed.
But why? You have a great product and all you need is some seed money to make yourself and your investor millions. How could the investor not see your potential?
Maybe it’s because you didn’t address the 5 essential things that your pitch deck should say about you. Continue reading →
Valley in Berlin 2017, hosted by Scout24, brought together close to 400 professionals in Berlin’s startup industry for a day of talks, pitches, and networking. There were many speakers whose words I found valuable and inspiring. One thread that connected several of the presentations was the importance of “fluid intelligence” in the new economy – the ability to use past experience to apply to new problems.
It’s not just a matter of individuals needing fluid intel to bring all of their experience and knowledge into the new economy. It’s a matter of vital importance to corporations that have been around for decades, and who must adapt to the new marketplace with either new products or new uses for the products they know how to make. Scout24 is an example of this, itself: it began as an online classified marketplace but has moved into creating a networked marketplace – “to inspire people’s best decisions.” Christian Bubenheim, Senior Vice President of AutoScout24, said in his remarks that this has come to include inspiring innovation not only within larger companies, but also from outside the companies, arising from the needs of the marketplace. Continue reading →
From time to time, I report on business events I attend in Berlin, most of which focus on the startup community.
On 9 March 2017, Viva Technology hosted a panel at Factory Berlin to discuss Growth for European Startups. The panel was moderated by Tolgay Azman, editor-in-chief of Business Punk, and the panelists were
KATHARINA LÜTH (Weltsparen/Raisin)
JOHN FRIJTERS (ReWalk Robotics)
ANTON WAITZ (Project A)
JULIE RANTY (Viva Technology)
MAXIME BAFFERT (Viva Technology)
Much of the discussion revolved around differences between the major European cities with respect to startup culture, activities, and investment. According to Ranty, France expects 3 more unicorns to emerge from its ecosystem, which they anticipate will grow following the Brexit. However, Lüth concedes that London will need to lose a lot of startups to become weaker than Berlin or Paris. Continue reading →
Welcome to the fourth in my series of blog posts presenting my takeaways from podcasts I’ve recently enjoyed. Now that this is becoming a regular feature of the blog — and I’ve run out of ways to say “Even more things I’ve learned…” — I’ve decided to simply number the series so readers can tell at-a-glance whether they’ve already read this post or not.
Here are two episodes I listened to recently, along with “my takeaways” from each.
1. The Startup Success Podcast – Episode 3.19: Hosts Bob Walsh and Patrick Foley talk about Bob’s Microconsulting venture.
My takeaways on to-do lists: While the discussion focused on startup founders and their incredibly long to-do lists, the tips I thought most valuable are applicable to anyone who finds themselves overwhelmed by the number of things on their to-do list. Bob advised taking a careful look at your to-do list and noting the 8-10 most important things that need to be accomplished. Continue reading →
On 6 April 2016, the Institut für Strategieentwicklung (IFSE) – which translates to Institute for Strategy Development – released “Booming Berlin: A closer look at Berlin’s startup scene,” published in partnership with Factory Berlin. The study examined the state of the internet-related startup scene in the city, as well as how it has grown and changed between 2012 and 2016.
The study defined a “startup” as: no more than five years old; could not exist without the internet (no hardware-based companies were included); and has an independent management. Startups were categorized by their provided service:
Marketplace – provides a trade platform for suppliers and demanders without being traders themselves
Commission Business – channeling selected product offers to customer and customers to selected shops based on payment of a commission
E-Commerce – trade in physical or digital goods from their own, or foreign, production
Social – service consists of the creation of (social) contacts that are not directly aiming at the trade of goods
Content – creation, administration, and presentation of digital content
Services – provides services to other businesses or end customers
Regardless of your own personal opinion of businesses labeled as ‘startups’ or which exist only on the internet, the quantitative analysis of Berlin’s startup ecosystem provides some compelling numbers. Continue reading →
The first floor of the building – where the accelerator program is located – used to be the “emergency” editing suite for Axel Springer journalists during politically charged times. The Axel Springer building is nearby and during bomb threats the editors would relocate to the Markgrafenstrasse location so that the Bild newspaper could continue to publish on time. More recently, the artist Clemens von Wedel used the space, and the graffiti he left on the walls remains to provide atmosphere for the visiting startups who participate in the accelerator program.
Axel Springer Plug&Play Accelerator was founded in 2013 as a joint effort between German publisher Axel Springer SE and the Plug and Play Tech Center, an accelerator founded in California. Three times per year, the Accelerator offers a three-month program to startups whose projects are accepted from among the many applicants. Continue reading →
The second of three events I attended through Startup Safary Berlin 2015 was held in the offices of Remerge, on Oranienburger Strasse in the Hackescher Markt neighborhood of Berlin.
Remerge, which launched in 2014 in Berlin, helps app developers re-engage users who may have gone inactive, by targeting those users through personalized ads or messages outside of the app – across more than 330,000 other apps.
The office event began with a brief overview of the origins of the company by co-founder and CEO Pan Katsukis. In his presentation, Katsukis referenced a blog post he wrote in 2014, as the company was acquiring seed funding – How We Raised $1M Seed Money in 5 Weeks in Berlin. In August 2015, Remerge announced a $3M Series A round, to support the opening of a San Francisco office.
While I enjoyed hearing about the history of the company itself, the presentation by co-founder and CTO Martin Karlsch really resonated with me. Continue reading →