Play hard but never risk more than you are willing to lose

DealMatrix SaaS platform for innovation scouting, matching and an intelligent workflow solution

Please introduce yourself and your startup DealMatrix to our readers!
My name is Christoph Drescher and I am the CEO and Co-Founder of DealMatrix. Happily married and father of a girl and a boy, 10 and 11 years old. With over 20 years of management experience in system integration and various technical driven industries I built up companies from scratch to 150 employees in 9 months to be fully operational.

I have a technical education combined with project management and an MBA in Entrepreneurship. Challenges are motivating for me and thinking in solutions and scenarios is one of my biggest assets to turn plans into accomplishments.

With DealMatrix we provide an independent end to end SaaS platform for innovation scouting, matching and an intelligent workflow solution. The structured process helps our clients to streamline the workflows involved in collecting and processing pitching- and business data, allowing for analysts and external advisors to add opinions and ratings – all in one system.
DealMatrix already increases the efficiency of applications processing by an average of 30% through higher accuracy, comparability and transparency. By the inclusion of intelligent algorithms and AI the efficiency will be increased to approx. 75% in the future.

My vision of DealMatrix is to support the venture eco-system stakeholders with better qualified and quantified data for better and smarter decisions.

How did you get the idea to DealMatrix?
I quit my last job as negotiations on the terms for a planned company succession failed. So I started talking with a lot of people. This way I got in contact with people from Venionaire Capital who had the original idea and a prototype in place. With my extensive execution experience I was offered the CEO position to build the company. After a couple of pivots we have finally figured out the perfect personas/clients – they have a high deal flow and/or a high need for collaboration.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
The beginning was difficult as the VC and start up industry was new to me including the processes and terms. One of our early mistakes was we attempted to build a high end Formula 1 car even though we had not even built a small standard car. This challenge proved to be too much for the team I hired which lacked the industry experience themselves to push back on certain features. We just weren’t able to correctly identify the real pain points for our customers. In hundreds of discussions in the first two years I gained these insights and learned a lot by combining my experiences from different sectors.

The previous companies I had built up as an intrapreneur had funding. It was given. In DealMatrix we had to go and get funding ourselves. This was harder than expected and we ran out of seed money in 12/2016. It was a tough spot, but I had to reduce the team drastically. Out of 8 people at the time some left on their own, some I had to let go and the most difficult time was when the core team left as well in 02/2017. This was the often quoted valley of death. It couldn’t get any worse. The product prototype was not finished and it was difficult to serve the existing customers without a technical team. In 04/2018 a new CTO joined with industry and start up experience.

We performed a reboot of the whole company with some of our trusted customers, put out any fires that appeared and released a brand new version of the DealMatrix platform in summer. Our biggest challenge right now is to find a balance between natural growth and getting us ready for the financing round that was planned a year ago but never has materialized.

Who is your target audience?
With our holistic approach we target all stakeholders of the venture eco-system. Investors, corporates in innovation scouting as well as startup event organizers. Indirectly we also serve startups via our clients.

When we think about connecting these groups to startups the application and evaluation process (collecting the data, deciding which are a good fit and act upon them) are always similar. The big difference between the categories is simply the ratio. An event organizer has a ratio of approx. 20% conversion from the number of startups that apply to those they invite to the event. A corporate will work with about 3-5% of applicants and an investor only invests in 1% of companies who apply. An HR process is very similar. You’re presenting yourself from your best side, but the recipients also need more precise information to make their decision.

We also work with intermediaries such as consultants and advisors (e.g. KPMG, PWC, Deloitte, EY, …). They act as multipliers for us, but also combine our offering with their own services to provide a full service package.

What is the USP of your startup?
No one so far has tried to build one common platform for all stakeholders of the venture eco-system. All of them are specialized in one of the sections such as incubators/accelerators, Angel/Angel Networks, VCs or Family Offices. The market for consultants, advisors, corporates and event organizers has been mostly ignored. Our main USP is that we standardize the processes across industries without losing the flexibility to adapt to specific needs within them. There are other solutions that have definitely been in the market longer but they are using older models, are less flexible and lack in continuing development. Our modern user experience based on our research allows users to identify faster than with other systems differences, red flags and the important information.

We are working on a new set of features that provide intelligent decision support to further increase the efficiency in processing applications. DealMatrix is your auto pilot assistant for venture related decisions.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
There is no such thing as a typical workday. Our market follows seasonal rules and peaks are during the conference season which is typically between February – June and September – December. During those weeks I travel approx. 3 times per month. Loving sales and being around with potential customers demonstrating our solutions gives me a lot of satisfaction. Office days are pretty comparable to that in other companies. Meetings, phone conferences, demo calls, system testing, creating offers, partner on boarding, administration, …
Typically I work a lot at night as this is a productive time getting things done because no disturbs me.

Where do you see yourself and your startup DealMatrix in five years?
My strengths are in building companies from scratch. I’ve done this in the past and handed them over once they have reached a certain level of stability. At this point in time other people with other priorities and capabilities may be more adequate. I could probably do it but my passion is in creating something from nothing. Therefore the plan is to make DealMatrix a serious contender in our space with significant market share and then exit in a few years. Afterwards I wish to remain in the innovation space and become an active business angel, moving to the next challenge and continue doing what I do best: building up companies.

What advice would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
• Play hard but never risk more than you are willing to lose. A kind of stop loss limit is a must. Like on the stock market you should adjust it on a regular base.
• Look always for complementary skills and think outside the box.
• Listen to your audience, sales is key and ask how you can help and what you can give back.
• I strongly believe that positive behavior pays off and you get rewarded. Maybe not immediately, maybe not the same currency but definitely in some way.
• To be an entrepreneur is not for everybody the right choice. You have to be mentally very stable and you have to be able to afford it from a financial perspective. Without savings or a plan how to survive with just little money don’t start.

More information you will find here

Thank you Christoph Drescher for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Markus Elsässer

Markus Elsässer ist 43 Jahre jung, Verleger und Herausgeber des StartupValley. Seine Karriere startete er, in verschiedenen internationalen Direktvertriebsunternehmen. Er ist ein Auto und Technik begeisterter Querdenker. Verliebt in die Startup-Szene, was Ihn dazu bewogen hat, mit StartupValley ein internationales Startup Magazin aufzubauen!

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