Answers to the questions we get asked most
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ASPnP and APX
Are you a rebrand of Axel Springer Plug and Play?
Axel Springer Plug and Play is our sister company. ASPnP will focus on developing their existing portfolio of 102 startups by creating opportunities for these companies and with follow-on investments. They no longer invest in new companies.
Accordingly, APX will be continuing the investments in new pre-seed and seed stage startups. We are the new early stage investor and startup accelerator by Axel Springer & Porsche.
What is expected in the pitch deck?
On average pitch decks have no more than 20 slides. Here are 3 keys to powerful pitch decks to keep in mind:
- Clear and simple
- Easy to act on
Essentially the slides that you want to include inside your presentation
- Amount being raised
When applying now, would it be possible to start at a later date?
Since we have a rolling program we are to some extend flexible regarding the date that companies enter the accelerator. If you are accepted into the program, we aim for the closest possible starting date. If you would prefer to start at a later point in time, please let us know; in most of the cases this is possible.
What exactly happens during the selection process?
After a first evaluation by the investment team we will notify founders if they are selected to pitch. If this is the case, a virtual video pitch or a pitch on-site in Berlin is asked. Founders should prepare a 5-minute pitch with slides in English. This pitch will be recorded for internal purposes and founders will get a copy of the recording afterwards on request. The pitch will be followed by 10-15 minutes of Q&A. Shortly after the pitch, we may have some follow-up questions. If not, then we will let the founders know about the outcome.
If the founders managed to convince us of their idea and their team, then we will go into due diligence with the company. This process should take no longer than a week for pre-seed investments. If the outcome of the due diligence is positive, then the investment committee will decide on the deal and a term sheet will be drafted, then sent to the company.
Once the term sheet is signed, the company will receive all relevant information about their upcoming APX program participation.
How long does it take to apply?
This depends on how much thought you have already put into your idea. If you have filled in a lean canvas before and created a pitch deck, the whole application form should take about 15 minutes, no more than 30min.
When will the next round of startups be accepted into your program?
APX runs a rolling program in order to help pre-seed and seed startups become investor-ready. That means that we accept new startups every month, with no application deadline.
How long is the accelerator program?
The program lasts 100 days. After that time, portfolio startups can stay in our office for another 3 months free of charge.
How many companies will take part in the accelerator?
Up to 12 companies can participate in the 100-day program at any given time.
Is the working language German or English?
All program components are in English and working language in the accelerator is English as well.
Do you work with international startups?
We invest in international founding teams. Most of the companies have their headquarter in a European country but our founders come from all over the world.
What is the core business of the startups participating? What kind of startups are you looking for?
All our companies have digital business models which are highly scalable. We have an industry-agnostic focus.
How many people do you expect to come to Berlin? One person or a bigger team?
Our expectations from pre-seed startups that have at least 2 founders are that they are present in the accelerator during the program.
In the case of a seed company, we are more flexible. If you would like to work from the accelerator with a team that’s bigger than five, please let us know in advance.
What KPI’s are you looking for? (ARR, number of clients etc.)
For pre-seed companies, it is preferably that they already have some traction when they apply but there are no minimum KPI requirements.
For seed companies, this is different. They need to be able to first show market validation through revenues, paid pilots, license agreements, etc. The KPIs we look at when evaluating seed companies depend on their business model.
What are the expectations in the accelerator’s program?
Companies should be able to build an MVP during the 100-day program. Ideally, they can do this within the first 70 days so that there is enough time to generate initial traction. From our experience, the chances of raising follow-on investment are at their highest when the support that we provide, getting the startups investor-ready, is combined with some initial traction.
Is the program in Berlin or remote?
The program takes place on-site in Berlin at our offices on Markgrafenstraße 12-14, 10969 Berlin.
Does the whole team need to be in Berlin?
For pre-seed startups that have at least two founders, our expectations are that they are present in the accelerator during the program.
In the case of a seed companies we are more flexible. It is not a deal breaker if you choose not to work in Berlin. If you would like to work at the accelerator with a team that’s bigger than five, please let us know in advance.
Does the accelerator provide any kind of accreditation for non-EU founders and team members?
We teamed up with Berlin Partner to support non EU-founders and employees with their work permits and recruiting strategies. You can find more information here.
Do you pay for accommodation etc.? Do you cover expenses like flights and hotels?
No. Companies get investment to be able to pay (founder) salaries.
What are our chances to raise real money at the end of the program? (We are looking for 500K Euros!)
More than 50% of our companies raise money after the program.
Do you guarantee any pilots with shareholders and partner companies upon admittance into the program?
No. We do not commit to any pilot if we invest in a company. Obviously, we can open doors to companies that belong to our shareholders’ and partners’ network, but founders need to be able to convince the relevant decision makers themselves. Keep in mind that if we do decide to invest in you, that is because we believe that you have what it takes to convince the right people of your projects.
We are currently preparing a Series A; our seed funding stage is actually over. Do you have funding programs for this?
Our seed deal is for companies who have previously raised a seed round and are now on their way to Series A.