Thorsten Wittmütz, Managing Partner NCA
“Direct contact with companies is important for startups. They profit from successful companies, get access to possible customers.”
September 2018 - On the initiative of HSH Nordbank start-ups from the Next Commerce Accelerator (NCA) meet experienced entrepreneurs. The aim is to make contacts, set up businesses - and learn from each other.
Colourful furniture, billiard tables, table football, posters on the walls - in a coworking space where start-ups cavort, things look different than in the classic Hamburg office. But that doesn't mean that the founders aren't serious about it. On the contrary. The business plans are in place, the focus is clear: winning customers, rolling up the market, earning money - the best thing is to become the next big thing.
The ambition and professionalism of the founders became clear at the speed dating event "Meet and Greet - Trade & Logistics" organized on the initiative of HSH Nordbank in the rent24 coworking space. Five startups from the sector trading and logistics met more than a dozen clients of HSH Nordbank, who are also active in this sector and have been doing business for many decades in some cases, all established big names of the Hamburg trading team.
At the Speed Dating, the startups - including a mail-order company for men's underwear, two logistics specialists, an e-commerce shop developer and a marketer of care foot masks - were available for talks for the companies after their brief introduction. The entrepreneurs visit the founders they are most interested in, after 15 minutes a gong rings the bell for the change - speed dating.
"Direct contact with companies is important for startups," says Thorsten Wittmütz, Managing Director of Next Commerce Accelerators. "In larger companies, the founders often find it difficult to present their ideas to the decision-makers. They first have to work their way past the reception desk. A tedious intermediate step, which is not necessary for NCA Speed Dating. "The founders profit from the contact to successful companies in different ways. On the one hand, they can learn from companies that have been on the market for some time. On the other hand, they gain access to potential customers."
The coworking-space of the startups looks different than in classic working environments
Beyond, established companies benefit from contact with the start-up scene, says Patrick Miljes, Head of Corporate Clients at HSH Nordbank. "They get to know new business ideas and the entrepreneurial spirit that inspires and gives them an insight into how young people think and act. The latter in particular is an important aspect. "After all, these are the customers of today and tomorrow. In order to get to know as much as possible of the entrepreneurial spirit, a large Hamburg company participating in the NCA invites five start-ups every six months. They present their ideas to the company's employees and discuss them - Start-up culture meets everyday corporate life.
"Many classic entrepreneurs are very open-minded about start-ups," says Patrick Miljes. "As a rule, established companies think very long-term. That's another reason why they don't want to miss out on any significant developments and always want to know in good time how markets are developing. Contact with start-ups will help you to do this." And there is something else that is important: "Some companies are thinking about investing directly in start-ups.
Next Commerce Accelerator
Next Commerce Accelerator (NCA) is an innovation driver founded in 2017 and initiated by HSH Nordbank and Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa). The City of Hamburg is also on board as a partner. The joint venture, in which other well-known Hamburg companies are also involved, brings together start-ups, established companies and experts in order to jointly develop new ideas in the area of commerce and e-commerce. The NCA supports start-ups and start-up teams from all over Europe in the development of innovative business models. In addition to equity capital of up to 50,000 euros, it offers access to potential customers and business partners, a coaching programme and premises. In return, the start-ups sell between three and ten percent of their shares to the NCA shareholders. They relocate their work focus to Hamburg for at least six months in order to promote their company growth there under ideal conditions. The coaching is carried out by a mentoring group of around 200 entrepreneurs, specialists and representatives of large companies.