Based on our conversations with founders, we have identified the most important questions that help you determine whether APX is the right partner for your team startup.
What’s your fund size?
In January 2021, we announced additional funding from our two investors Axel Springer and Porsche, significantly increasing our total investment amount for new and existing portfolio companies to a volume of 55 Million EUR. Article from Techcrunch here.
What are you looking for when investing in startups?
There’s no ‘too early’ for APX. Each month we invest in exceptional earliest-stage founders building startups with digital business models – to become Europe’s leading very-early-stage VC. We look for diverse teams that want to lead, execute and win. Our focus lies in a high financial return for our investors and a great impact on people and our planet.
To learn more about what we look for as an investor, you can read this article.
What is the ticket size of your pre-seed deal?
We invest up to EUR 500,000 in startups until a series A starting with a quick EUR 50,000 investment for 5% equity, and within three months, depending on traction and speed, we can invest further. We pledge to join market-standard follow-on financing rounds with other investors on board.
Which companies have you invested in so far?
You can find the full APX portfolio here.
What types of companies do you invest in?
We invest across all industries in companies in exceptional earliest-stage founders building startups with digital business models.
Are there specific industries or verticals you focus more on than others?
Do you invest in international startups?
We support and partner with the most ambitious pre-seed startups from Europe and beyond – often as their first investor. Most of our portfolio companies are incorporated in Germany, but the founders are coming from all over the world.
At what stage do you invest in startups?
As a very-early-stage VC, we focus on earliest-stage founders, and we e are often the first investor in the company. Comlpanies should already have an MVP (minimum viable product) or be able to build it shortly after the investment, so there is enough time to generate first users/ customers and traction. From our experience, the chance of raising a follow-on investment is highest when our support of getting your startup investor-ready is combined with some first traction.
How do you structure your investments?
We invest up to EUR 500k in multiple steps until series A.
We start with a quick EUR 50.000 investment for 5% in (usually) less than three weeks. This comes with a pledge to join any future financing round with market standard contracts and external investors on board.
Within three months, depending on your traction and speed, we can invest an additional EUR 150-200.000.
We can invest in keeping our 5% in the subsequent financing round, or if you and we agree on the LOI, we invest more in the next round (this is our goal, as we want to invest in fast-growing, venture-backed companies.)
In the subsequent financing round, we continue to invest as described above up to a series A.
Can I negotiate the terms with you?
Do you invest in single founders?
No. Your team must consist of at least two founders. We look for a complementary skill set. Why? Because 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 working with the APX team?
No. We believe strongly in working closely together close connections, and kicking up our journey with an intense month of hands-on venture development with multiple check-ins is key for this close connection. We ask at least two founders to take part.
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, but we encourage companies to be incorporated under German, other European, or US law. We want to prepare you for further fundraising and venture capital path, and in our experience these jurisdictions have proven to be most suitable for VC driven 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 in 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 APX, your venture development, our startup, or other questions with you before submitting the form and pitch deck?
No. We can’t talk to you on the phone before you submit the form and pitch deck. The reason is: resources. 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. You’re very welcome to visit us for our regular events (here’s an overview). We’d particularly like to point you to our Pitch Tuesday events taking place every second Tuesday from 5 pm CET. 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 to hear back from us within a week.
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 15 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 the venture development later?
Yes. We invest on a rolling basis and are quite flexible. Our new portfolio companies usually start 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 is the selection process?
Our selection process consists of several stages: after you have submitted your pitch deck and additional information, it will be reviewed by our team. 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.
What happens after the initial investment?
You become a part of the APX family – yay! Our team of venture developers sits down with your team to create a tailor-made first month of venture development, kick-starting our journey together. This will address your team’s exact needs and challenges to win your first paying customers, become investor-ready, and close a follow-on financing round. From here on, APX will be your long-term partner for continued venture support, connections, and follow-on investments.
How does mentoring at APX look like?
We take pride in a strong network of mentors and experts. Mentors are 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.
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 initial month?
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. APX will remain a part of the journey for guidance, connections and follow-on financing rounds.
Does APX participate in further financing rounds?
Yes. After the initial investment, we pledge to follow-on in your future market-standard financing rounds with external investors onboard and can invest up to EUR 500,000 in your startup before a series A.
RELOCATING TO BERLIN
Is it possible to join the APX virtually or do we have to relocate to Berlin for the first month of venture development?
It’s possible to join APX 100 % virtually. Having said that, it is our experience that founders benefit even more from being closer to our core team, network and the synergies they get from other founders who we work with here in Berlin.
Do you provide accreditation for non-EU founders and team members?
We have teamed up with Berlin Partner to support non-EU-founders and employees with their work permits and recruiting strategies.
In addition to the initial 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?
They are our investors. APX is owned by Porsche Digital and Axel Springer Digital Ventures, but we are 100 % independent to invest across industries in the startups and founders we believe in, and to connect our portfolio with experts, mentors and investors from all over the world. Having said that, Axel Springer and Porsche are two brands that value exceptional customer experiences and innovative technologies, and we obviously have a very strong connection benefitting APX and our portfolio.
Still can’t find what you’re looking for?
Email us your question at email@example.com