April 15, 2021

APX Joerg Rheinboldt on building a successful VC-backed business, attributes of winning teams, and why people need more serendipity

Michel Gagnon
CEO of Stun&Awe

Today’s guest is an entrepreneur, investor, author, and mentor every German entrepreneur looks up to. He founded alando, which was acquired by ebay, then ran ebay Germany for 7 years.

He’s a Member of the Board of Bahlsen, Co-founder of betterplace.org, Co-Founder and Lecturer at UNTERNEHMERSCHULE from ESCP Europe and so much more. Most importantly, he’s just a great human being who played a significant role in turning Berlin into a startup hotspot.

Joerg Rheinboldt is Managing Director APX – a joint venture between Axel Springer and Porsche investing in early-stage startups from around the world.

In this episode, we talk about his experience in building and growing startups as an entrepreneur and as an investor, his investment strategy, and his views on the startup ecosystem in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What you’ll learn about:

  1. His experience with startups from opposite perspectives
  2. APX’s investments in teams with ideas
  3. How the pandemic impacted APX and the VC realm
  4. Common mistakes startups make on the venture path
  5. What APX looks for in a team to invest in
  6. Mental Mining: APX’s mental health programme

APX is also one of the few who has taken a stance and acted on startup founders’ mental health. Joerg discusses APX’s approach to equipping these people with the skills needed to maintain a healthy balance. He discusses how being busy is the new stupid and how imperative it is to own your time.

APX provides much needed support to startups with big ideas. If your business is just starting out and you want to know how to go about seeking out a VC or to approach APX, this episode will be your roadmap to success. A very captivating interview, thank you Joerg Rheinboldt!

Enjoy the show and happy listening!


"I think there is one shortcut to running a company and that is mentoring. Having mentors or people you can exchange your needs with at eye-level in a very trusting relationship, where you can share “this is how i did it and it didn't work” or “this is how i did it and it worked”. Creating networks that do this - i think is a really, really valuable shortcut. I think it's the other way to improve running a company, next to trying everything yourself. Using other people’s experience can be a very, very helpful shortcut."

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Show Notes

  1. What differentiates APX from other VCs [01:40]
  2. How the coronavirus affected APX [03:07]
  3. Patterns and pivots in startup business models [05:20]
  4. Common mistakes startups make when pursuing a venture path [06:55]
  5. APX’s financing plans [09:40]
  6. Key things APX looks for in a winning team [13:42]
  7. Skills that are lacking and hampering success [17:59]
  8. Micro-managing and letting go [20:31]
  9. What the most promising ideas and vertices are for the next few years [21:56]
  10. Serendipity and clubhouses [22:41]
  11. APX’s mental health programme, Mental Mining, for founders [26:07]
  12. Busy is the new stupid [29:58]

Selected Links

Joerg on LinkedIn

Joerg on Twitter

Joerg on Facebook

APX website

Getting big things done by Joerg