APX is an early-stage accelerator in Berlin, but it’s not quite your average accelerator — it’s essentially a joint venture between giant European publishing house Axel Springer and Porsche, the German automaker. Earlier this month, we sat down with APX managing director Jörg Rheinboldt to discuss what makes APX different and how it’s weathering the coronavirus pandemic.
Rheinboldt has quite a bit of experience as both an entrepreneur and investor. He co-founded Alando.de, which was acquired by eBay in 1999 and donation platform betterplace.org in 2007. In 2013, he became CEO of Axel Springer Plug and Play and during his time as an investor, he put money into companies like N26, Zizoo, Blogfoster and Careship.
“We started APX because Plug and Play wanted to become more of a platform for matchmaking between startups and corporates,” Rheinboldt said when I asked him about the project’s origin. “We, the team, enjoyed investing in early-stage companies a lot and Axel Springer also enjoyed investing in early-stage startups a lot. So we decided to stop investing in new companies Axel Springer Plug and Play. We had invested in 102 companies — and focus[ed] on finding interesting teams to invest in with a new company that we needed to found.”
Rheinboldt took this discussion to his boss, Mathias Döpfner, the current CEO of Axel Springer, who encouraged him to find another shareholder. “If it’s only us, you might have to do what we want — and maybe you don’t want that,” he said Döpfner told him. In looking for a partner, Rheinboldt approached the Porsche family, which he had met at some of his previous investor events. The family was looking to diversify its portfolio, so after a few more meetings, including a presentation at Porsche’s leadership summit, the two companies decided to get into this business together.
One interesting thing Rheinboldt noted — and this isn’t so much about the Porsche family as a general observation — is that family offices are often resistant to getting into venture capital, at least in Germany.
If You’re Not Using a CRM System for Your Small Business, You’re Wasting Time and Money
4 min read
Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.
If you run a business that sells anything—whether it’s home appliances, web design, hand-knit sweaters, pool cleaning, books, dance lessons, you name it—one of the most important things you have to do is generate leads, convert them into actual customers, and then keep them coming back for more. However, when you’re busy with all the other things your business requires, the last thing you need to be doing is manually entering customer information into a database, manually sending followup emails to leads and clients, manually recording customers sales and interactions, manually creating invoices, or manually booking appointments.
Luckily, we have technology to make all that easier. With a robust all-in-one CRM platform like Keap, you can automate all sorts of essential data management, sales, and marketing tasks, so you can grow your business without having to waste precious time on tedious data entry.
What is CRM?
Customer relationship management, or CRM, is a system that businesses use to manage contacts, foster relationships with customers or potential customers, engage in successful marketing, and track leads through the sales pipeline.
The idea behind CRM has its origins in the 1970s and 1980s, when companies first started conducting surveys, collecting customer data, and analyzing it to help improve sales. By the early 1990s, software companies began developing dedicated CRM applications that automated the collection and sorting of customer data, as well as a number of other tasks. These applications became more advanced as technology improved. But because they required a lot of in-house computing power, they were only available to larger, more established businesses .
Luckily, today those technological limitations no longer exist. Instead of buying copies of a program and installing it on an office full of computers, we buy subscriptions to powerful cloud-based apps that can run on a single laptop, tablet, or smartphone from anywhere. As a result, now even small businesses and startups can afford cutting edge CRM tools that can kickstart exponential growth.
Today’s CRM platforms can do more than anyone had ever dreamed. And that brings us to Keap.
Keap CRM, sales, and marketing automation.
The Keap platform was designed to automate customer relationship management, sales, and marketing, so you can get more done in less time.
With Keap, you can automatically add and update contacts, and automatically record every communication and interaction so you know exactly where customers or potential customers are in the sales pipeline. You can also see customer details and easily call up a history of all meetings, payment, quotes, conversations, and emails. Plus contact segmentation lets you apply tags to contacts so you can sort customers and create custom demographics.
Keap also lets you automate sales and marketing communications so nothing slips through the cracks. By using Keap’s simple “when/then” templates, you can generate automatic responses when someone sends an email, fills out a form, or schedules an appointment. You can also create more complicated sequences of automatic email messages that get sent based on time triggers or client interactions.
Need an easy way to create web forms or landing pages and generate automatic quotes and invoices? Looking for online appointment scheduling? Want to create an email marketing campaign to nurture new leads or drive clients to specific promotions, products, or services? Keap can do it all. They send over a billion marketing emails a month with a 20-percent open rate and 13-percent click rate, both of which surpass industry standards. Keap also integrates with other business tools, like social media marketing apps, so everything stays connected. And it comes with a phone line and SMS messaging, so you can connect with clients via text, too.
Go ahead, take a test drive.
Keap offers three different plans at three different price points. And right now, all three are 50-percent off for the first three months. And if you want, you can even try before you buy, because Keap offers a free 14-day trial.
If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, your time is extremely valuable. Don’t spend it doing things that algorithms can do faster and more efficiently. So take a look at Keap today, and see how their CRM, sales, and marketing automation tools can help grow your business. Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/357920
It’s Time for You to Rise Up!
The founder of the Wake Up Warrior movement discusses the obstacles men are facing and what they can do to overcome them.
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1 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Garrett J. White is the founder of Wake Up Warrior, a series of self-help programs for men, including the Warrior Week boot camps. He is also the author of Warrior Book and the host of the podcasts Warrior on Fire, Warrior Wealth and Date Your Wife. These related projects aim to help men achieve success, balance and happiness physically, spiritually, in family and business. In this episode of Leaders Create Leaders, White discusses with host Gerard Adams how he has scaled his business to transform thousands of men’s lives and create a global movement.
White talks about the current state of culture, the importance of certainty compared to information and generational leadership tools. He explains how to face facts, flip the script and play the “Impossible Game.” He also gives tips for becoming a successful speaker and teacher.
This CEO Doesn’t Look at Resumes When Hiring
Working in software engineering, Aline Lerner saw firms overlook promising candidates who didn’t have fancy schools or top companies on their resumes. Her company, Interviewing.io, helps them get a foot in the door.
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4 min read
This story originally appeared on PC Mag
Ivy League degrees and stints at top firms don’t necessarily impress Aline Lerner.
Lerner, the co-founder and CEO of Interviewing.io, started her company after becoming frustrated by the lack of a meritocracy in software engineering. Resumes don’t tell the whole story, she found, and more candidates deserve a shot at the interview table.
Just look at Lerner’s own path. After studying brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, she decided to become a chef. “After spending some time in professional kitchens, I got exposed to how hiring in those kitchens happens, and it’s very, very different from what you might expect,” she says. “It’s extremely meritocratic. Basically, you come in in the morning with your knives, and then they teach you how to do the dishes that you’re responsible for. They also watch you chop stuff and watch you multitask, and if at the end of the night you did a good job, they hire you.”
When Lerner returned to software engineering, she soon realized it was nothing like working in a kitchen. “It wasn’t meritocratic at all,” she says. Companies fixated on where people had gone to school, or where they had worked previously, instead of what they could actually do.
This annoyed Lerner so much that after four years working as the first female software developer at her company, she went into recruiting and eventually founded Interviewing.io, which allows people to anonymously practice their technical interview skills with senior engineers from companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and more.
“Our goal is to make hiring fair and more about what you can do than how you look on paper,” Lerner says.
How They Do It
First are mock interviews, which are a bit more academic than the work software engineers do every day. If people do well in the practice interviews, they unlock interviews with real companies, bypassing the resume review altogether.
“Let’s say you want to interview at Twitter,” Lerner says. “You can do that as early as tomorrow if you’re one of our top performers, even if you didn’t go to a top school and even if your resume doesn’t look very good. No one’s going to look at it.”
Forty percent of Interviewing.io’s top performers are nontraditional, meaning they took an alternate route to get to software engineering. Many have been rejected by a company only to be hired by the same firm after rigorous interview prep with Interviewing.io, Lerner says.
On Imposter Syndrome and Hiring Internally
Lerner is proud of the work she does, but she still struggles with an issue many women in tech face: imposter syndrome, or feeling like a fraud.
“I don’t think it ever really goes away.” she says. “What helps is one, being so busy that you don’t have time to doubt yourself. And two is repetition and proving to yourself and others that you belong. There’s no shortcut, I think.”
Lerner saw a lack of gender diversity in her time at MIT and while working at companies like TrialPay and Clicktime.com. Now that she’s CEO of her own company, she gets to set the culture for 10 employees and hundreds of contractors.
One of the things she’s most proud of is hiring internally. “I just don’t look at resumes,” Lerner says. “Until it comes up in conversation much later, I generally don’t know what school my employees have attended. We try to interview people based on their ability, and try to make interviews very practical.”
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