October 22, 2019

From Expanding Your Business To Expanding Yourself

The German Accelerator Class 2019-4 has arrived in New York and Silicon Valley

“We’ve only been here for two weeks, but it already feels like a year!”, Visen Matkovic exclaims Friday evening while pouring himself another cup of coffee. The weekend will have to wait for the 35-year old founder and CEO of HOSS, the first online cluster of furniture manufacturers curating renowned European furniture brands. He still has work to do!

HOSS is one of seven newly arrived German startups in New York City: “fresh off the boat” as an American would say. They have been selected from a competitive pool of applicants to participate in German Accelerator’s three-month U.S. main program. During this time, they will drive forward their U.S. expansion plans with the help of experienced mentors and entrepreneurs who have gone through a similar journey. They will also receive support from the German Accelerator teams on the ground. So what does Visen mean when he says it feels like he has already spent a year in the Big Apple when it’s only been two weeks?

Visen Matkovic, Hoss

HOSS-Founder and CEO Visen Matkovic while presenting himself and his business during the welcome round on the day of his arrival in New York.

“We’ve received an incredible amount of valuable input and feedback. I couldn’t think of any other way of learning so much within two weeks. How much time would it take to gather all this information and make all these connections on your own!” Visen explains. As part of the German Accelerator Bootcamp Week, the companies had several workshops on topics such as pitching and storytelling, setting up a company in the U.S., and fundraising, among others.

Furthermore, the participants have already started working with their respective mentors. “The mentors in the German Accelerator network are amazing. We have already had multiple great sessions and got some extremely valuable insights to help us scale various aspects of our business in the U.S. The only real limiting factor is time: There are so many great experts to meet — but unlike our business, we can’t grow our days beyond their current 24 hour limit,” jokes Sven Merten, Managing Director U.S. at COMATCH, an online marketplace that connects independent consultants and industry experts with companies for consulting projects.

Sven Merten, COMATCH

Sven Merten, Managing Director U.S. at COMATCH, during German Accelerator’s traditional Welcome Breakfast in New York

Meanwhile, on the West Coast, five new startups have begun the German Accelerator’s Silicon Valley program at the same time as their NYC counterparts. Throughout the next three months, they have the option to either work out of the San Francisco or the Sunnyvale office. Since commuting times are long in the Valley, German Accelerator offers two office spaces there.

“It’s great to be based in a co-working space. We’ve been working alongside local startups and founders from day one, it feels like we’re a part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem already,” says Hendrik Schubert, co-founder of Roamlike, a startup that helps bring sponsored products, such as art objects and bedroom essentials to vacation rentals. What both the New York City and the Silicon Valley Class have in common is that they come from very different industries, for example, cryptocurrency, construction, fashion, and sports.

Silicon Valley Workshop

A warm welcome and deep insights during the on-boarding session in Silicon Valley

This is the rationale behind the program: “We are an industry-agnostic program with a focus on high-growth, innovative companies with strong founders. We encourage the companies to obtain new perspectives during their time with us to gain learnings even when they don’t expect it, for example, when the founder of a furniture startup, is talking to the founder of a cryptocurrency startup. This lively mixture of topics and people leads to some great discussions and lots of inspiration,” states Christian Busch, CEO of German Accelerator’s New York program.

Oftentimes, these conversations with other participants, mentors, and the German Accelerator team go way beyond the mere business side of life. As Visen confirms: “Now I see that in this program we are not just learning how to expand our business, but also how to expand ourselves.”