Based on our conversations with founders, we identified important questions that help you to find out if the APX Deal is the right fit for your startup.
That’s why we want to share the answers to these questions with you.
Why do you invest in startups?
We are a venture capitalist. Our business model is to invest in companies and sell our shares at a later point in time. Learn more about venture capital here.
What is the ticket size of your pre-seed deal?
We invest 50,000 EUR in cash and offer an intense 100-day tailor-made program to make startups ready for follow-on financing. We provide 6 months of free office space at our premises in Markgrafenstrasse in Berlin-Kreuzberg/ Mitte in addition to this. In return for our investment, we take 5% of equity. The startup is thus valued at 1,000,000 EUR post-money.
What types of companies do you invest in?
We invest in strong teams who build digital, customer-centric businesses.
Are there specific industries or verticals you focus on?
While we follow an industry-agnostic investment approach, there are certain areas that we find particularly exciting. These include, inter alia, lifestyle, travel, finance, mobility, media, esports, real estate, smart home, or healthcare. In general we look to invest in companies for whom we have relevant shortcuts in our networks.
Do you invest in international startups?
Our startups and founders are from all across the world. Check out our portfolio. Diversity is important to us.
At what stage do you invest in startups?
Our pre-seed deal is targeted at companies at a very early stage. We are typically the first investor in the company. Companies should already have an MVP (minimum viable product), or be able to build it within the first 70 days or so of our program, so there is enough time to generate first users/ customers and traction. From our experience, the chances of raising follow-on investment are highest when our support of getting your startup investor-ready is combined with some first traction.
How do you structure your investments?
Our pre-seed deal is standardized and includes common venture capital deal terms. They reflect, to our best knowledge and practice, a fair balance between the founders’ and our interest. We believe in fair terms because they are the prerequisite for any startup to raise follow-on financing from venture capitalists and business angels.
Can I negotiate the terms with you?
No. But we are happy to explain the terms to you.
Do you invest in single founders?
No. Your team must consist of at least two founders. We look for a complimentary skill set. During our >100 investments we have learned that companies are built by teams. So the first step on this journey is to have a team to start the company together.
Is it possible to receive investment without joining the 100-day tailor-made program?
No. At least two founders have to be in Berlin for 100 days.
Do you invest in companies building hardware products?
No. We only invest in digital business models.
Is it ok that we are not incorporated in Germany?
Yes, because we invest in global companies.
How do I find out if APX wants to invest in my company?
We want to tell you whether or not we want to invest in your company as soon as possible. That’s why we decided to be very specific about the data and documents we need from you before we can engage any process. It’s simple: please complete this form and upload your pitch deck.
What KPIs (ARR, number of clients, etc.) are you looking for when evaluating a company?
We don’t have any specific KPI requirements or minimum thresholds. Like every investor, we like traction. But we’re able to invest even before you demonstrate traction if we are convinced of your team, idea, and hypotheses.
Can we set up a phone call in order to discuss the program, our startup, or other questions with you before submitting the form and pitch deck?
No. Please understand that we can’t talk to you on the phone before you submit the form and pitch deck. The reason is: we don’t have the resources to do so. We focus all of our time and energy to support the companies we invest in, and those who are in the selection process. To get started, please complete this form and upload your pitch deck. That being said, you’re very welcome to visit us for our regular events (here’s an overview). We’d particularly like to point you to our Tuesday Pitch Sessions. It takes place every Tuesday from 5pm. It’s a great opportunity to talk to our portfolio companies. You can ask them about their experiences at APX. And you can also chat with APX team members.
When can I expect to hear back from you after submitting the pitch deck and additional information?
We try our best to review your application in a timely manner and get back to you as soon as possible. You can expect an answer within 14 days.
How long does it take APX to make a positive investment decision?
The average time it takes us to take you through our pre-seed selection process – from you submitting your pitch deck and information on our website, to our investment decision – is less than 4 weeks.
How long does it take to submit my pitch deck and additional information in the form?
This depends on how much thought you have put into your idea. If you filled in a lean canvas before and created a pitch deck in advance, you shouldn’t need more than 30 minutes to submit the pitch deck and additional information in the form.
When I submit my pitch deck and information now, would it be possible to start later?
Yes. We invest on a rolling basis and are quite flexible on when you’d like to join us in Berlin. Our new portfolio companies usually start their 100 days on the first Monday of a month.
What should I include in the pitch deck?
We wrote a blog post about what we believe a great pitch deck should include. Check it out.
How does the selection process look like?
Our selection process consists of several stages: after you submitted your pitch deck and additional information, we review it. If we want to continue the process, we will ask you to send us a video in which you address specific questions. If the answers convince us, we invite you to meet us in person (or via video) for a Venture Development Session. This is an eye-level conversation in which we want to learn more about your team, your strategic thinking, possible pivots you’ve undertaken, and how we can best support you. After this we undertake a brief due diligence. And then we’re ready to make a decision on whether we will offer you an investment.
VENTURE DEVELOPMENT & PROGRAM
How long is the APX tailormade program?
The program takes 100 days. After this time, companies can stay in our office for another three months free of charge. With some of our portfolio companies, the tailormade team decides to split the 100-day program into two episodes: a first episode to learn, then a time-out to execute and build, and then a second episode of connecting with investors and potential business partners.
How do you work with the companies within those 100 days?
We know that each startup is coming in with its own unique set of needs and challenges. That’s why we believe in the value of a tailormade program.
Tailormade means custom support through one-on-one venture development combined with specific group workshops. During 100 days, we leverage our team’s years of experience founding, investing in, and advising startups. Our venture developers challenge you to gain traction to make you ready to secure follow-on financing. Furthermore, we match founders individually to experts, mentors, investors, and corporate clients from our extensive international network.
Eventually, our success is measured in your success in raising the next round of investment, allowing you to build your dream.
How does your mentoring program look like?
We take pride in a strong network of mentors and experts. Mentors are usually experienced entrepreneurs who are keen to work with ambitious APX founders. Experts are specialists in a specific field that can help founders with specific challenges. We match you with both to support you throughout the 100 day program and even after.
We will match you with mentors (experienced entrepreneurs) and experts (specialists in specific fields) to support you during and even after the 100 day program.
One of founders’ favorite events at APX is Mentoring Day, where you are matched with up to 10 mentors in one day for several rounds of discussions around your strategy and plans.
Are mentors incentivized to work for APX or for the startups?
Our mentors don’t receive shares or stock options in return for their commitment. And we don’t encourage founders to give away equity or options in return for advice. Instead, our mentors simply enjoy giving back and getting to know exciting new businesses. As some of them are angel investors they might also use this opportunity as their dealflow. Experts do not expect remuneration either.
Nonetheless, a startup could ask a mentor or expert to join their company’s journey on a more permanent basis. This can involve granting of some sort of incentive.
Can we also meet relevant experts outside of the mentoring program and venture development?
Absolutely. There are plenty of opportunities and events where you can meet experts beyond those we match you with.
Do you guarantee any pilot projects with the APX shareholders or partners?
No. And we think this would not be a good idea. We are convinced people should work together because they want to and not because they have to. We will do our best to make meaningful connections and intros to both our shareholders and other partners. However, we trust you to convince the relevant decision-makers yourselves.
What happens after the 100 days?
The moment we invest, you will become part of our portfolio. One of our colleagues from our Portfolio Management team will then work with you on future financing rounds and other shareholder-related topics.
Does APX participate in further financing rounds?
We have the customary pro-rata right and are generally eager to exercise it – provided that you raised financing from another investor. There’s no automated follow-on investment by APX.
RELOCATING TO BERLIN
Do we have to relocate to Berlin for the 100 days?
Yes. And it is in your core interest to do so. We require at least two founders of the team to work from our office for a minimum of 100 days in order to work with us in person and get the most benefits from our program and networks.
Do you provide 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.
In addition to the 50,000 EUR cash investment in the company, does APX cover costs for transportation, accommodation, and other relocation expenses?
APX AND OUR SHAREHOLDERS
What is the relation between APX and Axel Springer Plug and Play?
APX is the successor of Axel Springer Plug and Play. From 2012 until 2017, ASPnP invested in 102 companies and participated in numerous portfolio financing rounds. Today, ASPnP focuses on supporting portfolio companies through networking and participating in select financing rounds, and selling stakes. If you’d like to learn more, please check out this blog post.
What are the roles of Porsche and Axel Springer?
APX is a 50/50 joint venture, owned by Porsche Digital and Axel Springer Digital Ventures. They are the reason we exist. APX is not a corporate VC, which is why we do industry-agnostic investments.
THE APX PORTFOLIO
Which companies have you invested in so far?
You can take a look at our APX portfolio here.
How likely is it for APX startups to raise their follow-on financing round?
We do our best to prepare our portfolio companies to successfully raise a follow-on financing round. We aim to have more than 50% of the companies to succeed in doing so.
APX SEED DEAL
What is the APX Seed Deal and which companies qualify for it?
From time to time, APX invests up to 200,000 EUR as a co-investor into early stage start-ups that have already raised 250,000 EUR or more. We only consider investment opportunities that were explicitly referred to us by a renowned venture capital fund, a trusted business angel, Porsche Digital, or Axel Springer Digital Ventures. If you’re interested in the APX Seed Deal, please engage with one of these four reference points to initiate the process.
Still can’t find what you’re looking for?
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