Incorporated in 2012 in Germany, marketing tech startup Wagawin was a participant in German Accelerator’s Southeast Asia program as a member of Class of 2018-3. Wagawin helps unlock actionable mobile audience data through their LivingAds. Their unique technology tracks user behavior during mobile ad consumption and gathers at least five times more unique data points than traditional marketing technologies, helping customers gain audience insights at scale, without relying on clicks.
We sat down with CEO and Co-Founder Nicolas Leonhardt, to talk in more detail about their time during the five-month Southeast Asia program, future plans, and why they applied for a program extension after the initial five months in Singapore.
How has Wagawin benefitted from the German Accelerator program?
Before we joined German Accelerator’s Southeast Asia program, we had already been present in Singapore for a few months. By November 2018, around the start of the program, we acquired seven clients within Southeast Asia.
One of the greatest benefits of the program was being able to work closely with our lead mentors Timo Josten during the main program and YC Yak during the extension, as well as with other expert mentors including Shufen Goh, David Shaw, Sunil Yadav and Sam Tsui, who all are highly renowned veterans in advertising and marketing in the Southeast Asian region. The program gave us access to a wide pool of mentors, but having a lead mentor to follow through our entire journey really helped us get broader, and at the same time deeper and crucial learnings.
VP Business Development Asia, Clement Simmoneau and Wagawin’s lead mentor Timo Josten
What are the biggest learnings or successes from participating in the program?
The program contributed to literally bringing a group of experts representing our various target groups to the table – people that we would not have had access to without German Accelerator’s connections. Through a series of focus group discussions with these customers, we were able to understand the true value of our solution: the data insights that we deliver, in addition to the rich media content. This series of validation workshops helped us to test the changes to Wagawin’s value proposition and sales approach in a more refined, granular and targeted way. As a result of this feedback, we have revamped our value proposition even at the global level as well as relaunched a new website using this proposition.
By taking part in the accelerator program, Wagawin gained more visibility with new customers and helped us and the team on the ground to truly deep dive into the Southeast Asian ecosystem. Overall, the program really helped to fast-forward our market expansion plans.
One of Wagawin’s validation workshops with industry experts
Why did you choose to apply for an extension?
In the initial five months, we gained highly valuable insights that contributed to scaling our company not just within Southeast Asia but also at a global level. We wanted to further build on the major learnings that came at the end of the program and were therefore very encouraged when we heard there was a possibility to apply for an extension, as five months flew by very quickly.
With an ambitious and dynamic team eager to push even further after the change of our value proposition, we applied for a three-month extension of the program.
What are the top tips/advice you would give to future program participants, to help them prepare for their time with German Accelerator?
One of the tips I would give is to really make use of the time and opportunities that German Accelerator provides. One of the biggest benefits that you will have is access to a wide pool of knowledgeable mentors. German Accelerator has established an extensive network of over 70 mentors from various industries in Southeast Asia alone, so you will have access to potential customers, investors, and partners, as well as a strong community of program participants and alumni.
This leads to my second tip – to use your mentor hours wisely! While the program has a great pool of mentors, we were matched with two fantastic lead mentors who helped us open doors and our eyes to new insights. The customized program gave us access to very specific types of industry experts who helped tremendously in re-defining our proposition. As such, we were able to secure meetings that would have taken months to schedule on our own within just a few weeks.
The team of German Accelerator Southeast Asia constantly looks out for events and trade shows and gives program participants the chance to get the word out. Besides their main event, German Startup Night, I would highly recommend taking advantage of any opportunities given by German Accelerator and participate in as many events or trade shows as possible. You will never know who you’ll meet and especially in Asia, it’s really all about relationships.
Nicolas and Clement at German Startup Night in Singapore
Lastly, don’t be afraid of change. Although we had a great product, we realized that we could improve the way we sold our product in all markets. This meant redefining our value proposition not only in Southeast Asia but also back in Germany, to focus on delivering data-driven insights to our customers.
What are the next plans for Wagawin in Asia?
With the completion of the extension in German Accelerator’s program, we have now nailed down our new value proposition at a global level. Our team in Southeast Asia has also grown with a new team member in Indonesia, and we are expanding our team based in the Singapore office.
More important than any target numbers is that the program has brought us closer to our goal of being the go-to destination for the most enjoyable and personalized mobile ad experience.