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On our vision for APX, the journey from accelerator to very-early-stage VC, and the goal to support even more of the best startups from Europe and beyond.

At APX, our dream is systemically investing in the best founder teams.

We launched APX in 2018 as a tailor-made accelerator program succeeding the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator (AS PnP), which from 2013 to 2017 was the first investor in more than 100 startups, including fintech unicorn N26. With a small team that included my colleague Melanie and backed by our investors Axel Springer and Porsche, we had the ambition to do quite a few things differently: a rolling program, stronger networks, and more individual support for the companies. …

How can you put, keep, and lead your company on the venture capital growth path? Should you (more on this later)?

There are lots of questions around early-stage venture capital. Here are some thoughts of Tilman and me on how very early stage valuation works.

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The Path by Lilliana Lee Chung

Some preconditions for this to work:

Your company can be a venture capital case.

What makes a startup a venture case? Good question — people have written entire books on this. In a nutshell, here is how we at APX look at it: market, timing, (un-)fair advantage, scalability. Let’s go in order.

First and foremost, do you have a market, and is it big enough? There are several dimensions when evaluating your market. The most obvious one is size. Based on data, you need to be able to claim that the possibility even exists for a venture case to be built. How would you be able to generate $100M in revenues in a market of only $60M in size? You won’t. Aside from size, it would be best if you looked at the growth pattern (typically calculated as a cumulated annual growth rate — CAGR), market fragmentation versus consolidation, market maturity, and entry barriers. …

I just finished reading Unignorable by Oliver Aust. I read it over the last few days, and as I had a few days off, I worked a bit on my “reading system.”

Oliver’s book is about building your personal brand, and one of the things to do is sharing. This post is a book review and a look at my current “reading tech stack.” Let’s go:

My reading system

I read quite a lot. When I read fiction, I just read and enjoy it. For non-fiction, I often take notes and highlight. …

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Illustration by Lilliana Lee Chung

Going from idea to execution is easier said than done. Or it simply doesn’t work. With reality always looking different than anticipated, this should not be frustrating. Instead, it should be motivating to emphasize the missing link in the middle: strategy.

At APX, we love to share best practices. One of the big topics we continuously work on is turning dreams into reality.

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Tl:dr We decided to double our pre-seed deal: companies we invest in now get EUR 50,000 at a EUR 1 million post-money valuation. This means we become a 5% shareholder.

Towards the end of 2018, my co-managing director Henric and I were in the US for a few weeks meeting with industry leaders. The objective was to understand key trends in America, investigate the state of investing and get an even better understanding of the competition that European startups are up against.

American (and Chinese startups) have become pioneers and leaders in many technologies and businesses, while Europe is still playing catch up. For financing, this is facilitated by higher amounts of cash that these companies are able to raise early on. “Seed is the new series A” is something we have heard many times. For pre-seed, investors told us that the average pre-seed deal in Silicon Valley is now around $2 Million. …

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Great you are here. This is my new website. It’s actually an aggregation of most of the things I post online. It’s automatic. And the best thing is: it was created by one of my sons as a gift. How cool is this?

Please enjoy!

Cheers, Joerg

This is my speech at HHL Handelshochschule Leipzig. Since I gave it in German and the translator asked for a transcript I have written it down. I have published it on my blog already some days ago but I want to share it here as well.

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Festrede HHL

25. August 2018

Jörg Rheinboldt

Guten Tag, danke, dass ich hier sein darf!

Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Was für ein großer Tag!

Ich bin Jörg Rheinboldt. 46, verheiratet und Vater 14 jährige Zwillingssöhne.

Seit Anfang des Jahres bin ich Geschäftsführer bei APX, Axel Springer Porsche. Wir finanzieren junge Firmen als Frühphasen Venture Capital Investor.

Als ich mit Stephan darüber sprach, worüber ich an diesem Tag sprechen könnte, meinte er: Erzähl doch etwas aus Deinem Leben und ein paar Learnings, die hoffentlich inspirierend sind. Ich glaube nicht daran, dass Ratschläge gut funktionieren, Los geht's. …

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Anne talking and creating.

Yesterday we had the second founder confessions session here at APX. Anne Kjaer Riechert talked with the audience and Corinne and Robert about ReDI School. While Anne was in discussion with us she did one of her favourite things to relax: Ikebana. There were lots of learnings shared and discussed but the one I was and am thinking about most were some comments from Anne and one guest from South Korea: About the path to do something and the result you want to get at the end. A lot of times and especially in high performance environments the result is valued a lot higher than the way you achieve it. …

I am reposting a post I wrote for our APX Blog since I am still figuring out where to publish what.

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Picture of a wall in our APX office.

As a founder, you need a never-ending supply of energy and optimism. You also need to be able to imagine the future you are building. In my experience, the challenge is to also always stay connected with the reality of everyone else.

You have a dream, and you imagine how things will be. Then, you turn this into hypotheses that you and your cofounders test and hopefully turn them into products, a business, and in the end, a reality. …

Hamburg, Germany, July 7th and 8th

Friday July 7th 2017 and Saturday morning I spent with two journalist colleagues in Hamburg at the G20 Summit. Actually not at the summit but in the streets. Here are some observations.

When Anne suggested I should join her for G20 summit two months ago I did not hesitate. I have been part of the mentoring program of my company for the last 2 years and this year I am working with Anne. Part of the mentoring program is shadowing each other. And since Anne is a video editor I really liked the idea to join her when she is reporting. We met with Mario, a photographer colleague of Anne in Hamburg Friday morning at the hotel Altan where I stayed and had a coffe. We then walked towards Fischmarkt. Anne and Mario had their cameras with them and I walked with them. …


Joerg Rheinboldt

serial starter, Axel Springer Porsche MD, Bahlsen Board, co-founder, Berliner Stadtmission, tech enthusiast.

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