From Germany to the U.S.: How an Amazon Adtech Startup Made the Leap

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Company Name:
BidX GmbH

About:
BidX helps Amazon sellers grow and scale their business by optimizing advertisements on and off Amazon with their software.

Founded:
2018

Headquarters:
Darmstadt

Founder:
Max Hofmann
Nadine Schöpper
Dominik Thüsing

Industries:
E-Commerce, Advertising

Founded in 2018, BidX GmbH helps Amazon sellers grow and scale their business by optimizing advertisements on and off Amazon using their machine learning software. BidX was founded by Max Hofmann, Nadine Schöpper, and Dominik Thüsing and is currently headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany.

When Hofmann first started selling on Amazon, he realized that advertising was a crucial part in launching new products and maintaining best sellers. In fact, it would be a waste of money if advertisements weren’t optimized.

When Amazon first offered advertisement options on its site, its ad revenue was worth US$1.5 billion. In 2022, advertising on Amazon is a US$30 billion business. BidX is a global first mover in this exploding e-commerce adtech market. They built their own software for optimizing Amazon ads in 2016, before Amazon had even released any relevant APIs for advertisers. As a result, BidX has been a leader in Amazon advertising both globally and in DACH, shaping the entire e-commerce advertising industry with their approach.

Why BidX Chose German Accelerator for Their International Expansion

The Amazon market in the United States is eleven times larger than that of Germany, so the BidX team had always planned on expanding to the U.S. Still, since the BidX co-founders weren’t as familiar with how the U.S. market operates, they decided to apply for German Accelerator’s U.S. Market Access Program.

Headshot of Trinh Le-Fiedler

“At the beginning, we were complete newbies and didn’t know much about the U.S. or how its whole system works, so it was quite overwhelming. But with German Accelerator’s program being well known in Germany’s startup space, we decided to apply. It worked out well for us!”

 

Max Hofmann | Co-Founder of BidX

How German Accelerator Helped BidX on Their U.S. Expansion Journey

The BidX team started the German Accelerator program virtually in 2020 but weren’t able to complete their market entry due to the pandemic.

In 2021, Hofmann and Schöpper journeyed to the U.S. and created a local business entity for BidX. German Accelerator connected them with the resources, network, and attorneys to overcome the initial hurdles of filing legal documents, trademarks, and other employment paperwork. The BidX team also learned from the other startups in the same cohort who were completing their international expansion.

Another big challenge BidX faced was the difference in how the B2B sales process works in the U.S. compared to Germany and the rest of Europe.

“You have to be on the ground, be at conferences, get speaking slots, get a booth, and make personal connections with your first clients and other service providers. These steps were a must in the industry, especially in terms of generating word-of-mouth referrals.”

 

Max Hofmann | Co-Founder of BidX

The BidX team also had to have an internal huddle to get their German team on board with the U.S. expansion. That included renegotiating working hours to support early American clients, and other cultural adjustments to fit the U.S. market.

“It took several months to get the change accepted internally,” said Schöpper.

But the startup mentors at German Accelerator helped the BidX co-founders overcome these challenges and helped them with a step-by-step approach on how to conquer the U.S. market.

“They made sure we had regular meetings with our lead mentor,” said Schöpper. “They pushed us to do our homework every two weeks, which really helped us stay on task and work continuously on the U.S. expansion. The milestone meetings were really helpful.”

Just a few of the mentors that the BidX team would like to thank include:

  • Susan Lindner helped them communicate the BidX story in terms of customer pains, problems, and feelings and not just numbers and facts.
  • Kevin Indig helped BidX with SEO: creating a content pipeline, building backlinks, and conducting keyword research.
  • Dominik Gunkel had also worked in Amazon advertising and helped another marketing agency expand to the U.S., so he helped BidX do the same.

After creating their local subsidiary, the BidX team hired their first U.S. employee in April 2022, with several more hires following throughout the year. They also did a roadshow to meet many of their early American clients in person, strengthening their business relationships.

BidX’s successful international expansion to the United States also helped them get more clients in Germany, since the internationalization raised a lot of awareness about the startup. Soon enough, other Amazon service providers and advertising agencies were approaching BidX to learn from them.

What BidX Achieved Post-Program & Beyond

After completing the German Accelerator program, the BidX team has found further success in the United States. Financially, the BidX team reached their break-even point this past year, having only used their own resources to fund the U.S. expansion. In addition, they’ve found twelve local business partners who help them bring in more business – and in turn, BidX helps introduce them to new clients in Germany.

BidX feels like they’ve become a global adtech company. Their employees come from many different cultural backgrounds, and their local teams have accepted a remote-first work culture.

Both co-founders learned a lot from their internationalization journey. Schöpper’s key takeaway was networking.

Headshot of Trinh Le-Fiedler

“Use your network, and make sure you’re always building your network, because it will help you a lot – whatever you might want to accomplish in the future.”

 

Nadine Schöpper | Co-Founder at BidX

For Hofmann, he learned that BidX’s European background could be a strength – and not a disadvantage – when entering the U.S. market.

“If your main competitors are in the U.S., you might struggle at the beginning,” Hofmann said. “It might take a while for U.S. customers to accept you as an EU business, but you have competitive advantages from what made you successful in Europe – use those! Make sure you get people on the ground in the U.S. and plan for at least 18 months to give everything you’ve got. If no employees are based there and you try for only three months, you’ll lose out on all the money you’ve invested.”

The international expansion with German Accelerator took the BidX team to the next level, both as a startup and as founders on a personal level.

“This is only the beginning,” said Schöpper. “This internationalization experience will help us in the future with other products and services as we expand to new markets. The German Accelerator programs in Asia sound like a great next possibility.”

Looking back, BidX is glad they did the U.S. Market Access program.

“We’d like to give a huge shout out to the German Accelerator team for their continuous support,” said Hofmann. “It would not have been possible without them.”