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The Vision Behind xdeck

Markus Gick: xdeck is Germany’s first early-stage venture platform, created by founders for founders. Our accelerator program was initiated by Cologne entrepreneur Dr. Oliver Steinki. Together with his FOND OF co-founders Florian Michajlezko and Sven-Oliver Pink, he established xdeck in 2019 to systematically foster entrepreneurial experience, expertise, and networks in the next generation of 

entrepreneurs. xdeck is currently run by Dr. Markus Gick and Dr. Robert Günther who are the managing partners.

Supporting B2B Tech Startups

Markus Gick: Early-stage B2B tech startups are supported with a focus on software-based process automation, artificial intelligence, and sustainability technology. Our partner network consists of best-in-class companies, experienced founders, mentors, and experts from various fields. These partners train startups in a tailored 3 ½ month program, held twice a year. 

To date, we have supported 74 startups and are privately financed. Since 2021, our platform has been complemented by the xdeck ventures venture capital fund, which has invested in 14 companies. The company is headquartered in the SHIP in Cologne, one of Germany’s most digital office buildings. As a Managing Partner, my goal is to build up the best network for our accelerator and find the best startups for our venture capital fund. We embrace the startup spirit and work with startups, partners, and investors on an equal level. Our goal is to become the leading B2B-Tech platform in Europe.

xdeck’s Achievements So Far

Markus Gick: As a newcomer, we have quickly established xdeck as a B2B-Tech platform for innovative companies. We attract national and international startups to both our accelerator and venture capital fund. I am especially proud that we are a startup ourselves, offering highly personalized support. We provide operational assistance for startups with a focus on specific, measurable impact. We are currently scouting for our 10th batch—look how far we’ve come! 

Without our partners, xdeck would not be possible. Apart from McKinsey, Kienbaum, and Igus, we always have top-tier partners in our network to help with every issue a startup faces. We especially value our partnership with Spread Group, our official merchandise partner. Our cool hoodies are loved by our team and particularly our founders. 

Robin Nitsch: The journey of Spread Group started in 2002 with the launch of Spreadshirt, the first e-commerce startup for on-demand printed t-shirts. For more than 20 years, we have evolved into one of the largest on-demand platforms for personalized fashion and merchandise products. With the addition of several more business fields and new brands, Spread Group is now transforming into a global leader in fashion tech and made-to-order e-commerce.

For us, fashion tech is a key technology to accelerate this growth. Therefore, we are observing the market and searching for new, exciting, and promising opportunities to invest in forward-thinking, young businesses in this area. To this end, we have established our own venture fund, Spreadventures. Robin, our Head of Venture Investments, is responsible for accompanying this transformation and initiating and developing suitable partnerships.

(Photo: Julian Wiedenhaus) – We’re happy to even share an amazing discount code with you. Use XDECK-PARTNER-2024  for 20 % off!

The Spread Group and xdeck Collaboration

Markus Gick: Since the beginning of our partnership, we’ve facilitated a deal flow exchange leading to an introduction to Saiz, which resulted in an investment from Spread Ventures. Additionally, Spread has enabled us to provide merchandise solutions for startups. 

Our collaborative efforts extended to organizing a joint kicker tournament for our local startup community with TK, where we handed out our ‘We merch together’ shirts. One of our priorities is to connect founders with other founders, VCs, and corporates to foster opportunities for the exchange of experience, funding, and pilot projects.

Robin Nitsch: The partnership with xdeck is very valuable for us, as it gives us an opportunity to connect with startups on a regular basis. xdeck supports us in finding young companies that are a good fit for us to invest in. The most successful partnership enabled through xdeck is SAIZ, which we have been supporting since the end of 2022. SAIZ is a female-led size advisor business dedicated to delivering the most accurate size predictions and analytics, benefiting both customers and businesses.

SAIZ completed xdeck’s acceleration program, gaining the best foundations for success through an individually tailored process. Soon after, Spreadventures came on board as a lead investor, continuously supporting their development with our extensive e-commerce know-how. We even see potential to implement SAIZ as a sizing solution on our platforms. Therefore, SAIZ is a continuing success story for both xdeck and Spread Group.

Markus Gick: Moreover, we have been able to recommend our partnership to other players in the entrepreneurial realm, such as between RHIVE and Spread. In Spread, we found a corporate partner that not only supports our founders but also aids in our personal team building. Stay tuned for content from Rock am Ring 😉