First Techstars Demo Day in Berlin

The first Techstars demo day in Berlin was something! I know it is Sunday, I will be quick I promise. ūüôā

Techstars Demo Day 2015

Hosted in Hebbel-Theater in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district Jens Lapinski and his team presented their¬†first batch of startups. The gorgeous Art Nouveau styled building was built in 1907/1908 and¬†was the¬†early and unique work of the famous architect Oskar Kaufmann. It was the breakthrough¬†that shot him to fame. Let’s wish the same to the first Techstars batch!

The startups pitched in 2 batches of 5 and the presentations all looked super well done Рfor me this means crisp, elaborated and well timed. Founders walked to the stage accompanied by the thundering tunes of charging music pieces and presented with a sleek looking deck of slides outlining market opportunities, user growth, expansion plans. The best part though is that at least 2 of the companies have secured funding during the programme Р1x Seed and 1x Series A. You could feel that some founders are still fundraising and pretty nervous. Yet, I am confident that more news is coming soon.  I have seen the products of these companies 3 months ago and am amazed by the progress they have achieved.

Jens has closed the demo session with some kind words to all involved but I would like to share one of his slides summarising the Techstars values.

Techstars principles


Powerful message – nothing to add!

That was not all though. The event moved on in the Factory Berlin and continued with networking first and last but not least Рan afterparty .

It was¬†a well spent day¬†ūüôā

Good luck to all teams, and keep sending me updates. Looking forward to hear from you!

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Have a great rest of the weekend.

Mentoring at Techstars

Last Friday I had the pleasure to sit down with an impressive crowd here in Berlin. I was talking to the first Techstars cohort which brought a wide range of marketplaces and software/infrastructure as a service businesses. For quite some years this has been a core expertise of mine and I could provide startups with metrics, conversion hints plus a number of other insights. I found it surprising I could contribute to some other solutions too e.g. app security. But in the end it is not only about sector expertise but also about network and introductions you can make.

These talks have reminded me about two common patterns with startups.

1. Business Intelligence

Startups start gathering and analyzing metrics too late. Founders, metrics show your understanding of your own business. And investors base their investment decisions on metrics e.g. traction, growth etc.. Not measuring the drivers of your business adds to your risk as investment and eventually hinders your investment rounds and valuation.

2. Viral Growth

Founders often ask me how to scale their marketing and sigh how expensive is to acquire qualified traffic. At the same time I see perfectly plausible platforms just missing one brink in order to grow organically. So my advice may sound too philosophical but is quite applicable to many of you: Founders, grasp your platform fully and fix that missing brink to virality first. Money facilitates growth but does not create it.

Special Kudos to @Jens, Brian and the Techstars team. I found the organisation, location and team very strong and focused. Was also pleasantly surprised by the many follow ups from founders. I wish them all the luck and of course I will deliver to my commitments as agreed.