Find the right introduction at the right time in the right place
Even though APX is industry agnostic, and not a corporate accelerator, we still assist startups who are interested in building their network in Axel Springer and Porsche.
As a representative of one of the shareholders (Porsche) of APX, it is my job to enable and facilitate the right introductions within the Porsche matrix, open our network for start-ups to access and find the right intros.
I love bringing people together and provide shortcuts that mean win-win situations. But that is not so easy in any company. On the one hand, the sheer size of our group is a challenge, on the other hand, of course, my colleagues are not necessarily always just waiting for such opportunities in their daily routine.
I am a big believer that if you understand your company network well, as well as what startups are looking for, you can really create strong connections. I can give you an example of the different touchpoints startups can have within your business.
This is how we worked with Trucksters, in order to help them grow their network and learn more about their product. The Co-founders Gabor and Louis were able to benefit several times from the Porsche network, read 3 examples from the team below:
“Liam (from Autovision, Volkswagen Group) gave us a deep insight into how Temporary Working Agencies work on an operational, legal and commercial perspective. This information made us rethink our initial strategy of becoming a TWA ourselves; We are now using TWAs as providers to make our solutions more scalable and less exposed to risks.”
“The introduction to Benedikt (from Porsche logistics) can potentially lead Trucksters to a pilot project with Porsche logistics. The pilot project would be of great importance for our international operations.”
“The introduction to Fabian (from MAN) could be very important to Trucksters due to a potential strategic partnership with MAN. In the long term, Trucksters could leverage MAN’s market presence to gain a more efficient supply of trucks, and join forces to help the industry transition into autonomous driving technologies.”
But I would also like to point out that, despite all efforts and good intentions, it is still hard work and dead-ends will arise again and again. And that’s totally okay. Don’t stop trying.
Here are some tips for startups on how to find the right contacts:
1. Research is key
Founders should have an idea of who they want to talk to. Nowadays you can already find out a lot about structures and responsibilities. LinkedIn is your best friend.
2. Know why
Make sure your founders think about why they want to contact somebody. You should put yourself in the position of the person you want an introduction to and anticipate the challenges and interests are.
3. Make a list
Create a list of your potential contact persons and prioritize them wisely. Add relevant background information (like topic-related history, has worked with startups before, etc.). Be very clear on how to individually approach them. One-size does not always fit all!
4. Many roads lead to Rome
Often the first reaction already shows how promising a contact is. If it turns out to be very cumbersome, it is usually advisable to quickly search for new paths that can lead faster to the goal you have. Don’t give up. Companies want to help build a better digital ecosystem, it’s a process that we are learning together!