It’s been close to a month since I first blogged about MachIQ’s experience at the MassChallenge Switzerland accelerator. August tends to be a bit slow in Europe, but at MachIQ we have been very busy. In the last month, we integrated what were 4 different offerings into two tightly-coupled products – APM, a SaaS for Industrial Assets Management and DCX, a SaaS for Spare Parts eCommerce & Remote Diagnostic Services. With this we have aligned our vision for the manufacturing industry with our value proposition and our revenue model. We are very grateful to Barry Callebaut, one of MassChallenge’s sponsors, whose feedback served as the impetus for this simplification.
In this post, I focus on MassChallenge’s Corporate Sponsors and how the accelerator has helped us build better relationships with them. Having worked in large companies before, I saw first hand how easy it is for startups to get lost in the maze of corporate organization charts and run out of cash before reaching the decision makers who mattered. I was hopeful that joining MassChallenge would make this process easier but I have been delighted with how accessible the leaders of some of the sponsors have been to us.
Barry Callebaut invited some of the startups working on problems relevant to them to their HQ and had us present to their top leaders. MachIQ’s focus being on the maintenance of Industrial Equipment and spare parts purchasing, we pitched to Dirk Poelman their COO, Massimo Selmo their Head of Global Sourcing and Emese Harai their Head of Indirect Purchasing. Our value proposition resonated with them and they offered to help us with our mission. Emese’s guidance and feedback saved us a lot of time and helped us refine not only our pricing model but also our product offering. Thank you Emese! And Dirk, Massimo, we can’t wait to get started working with your teams!
Another pillar of our strength has been Bühler. Not only have we benefitted immensely from having Bruno Mendler (their Chief Strategy Officer) as our adviser, but also the access to their teams has been a fantastic experience for us and many other startups. A lot of companies talk about how they want to “be like a startup”, “rediscover their innovative roots” and “build ecosystems” but very few have figured out where to start. In my opinion, Bühler not only understands the potential for disruption that digitization brings but also appreciates the opportunity to harness it to strengthen their leadership position. They have also mastered the give-get dynamic between startups and large enterprises. How many companies bring in their entire leadership team to spend a full day not only meeting startups but providing one-on-one executive coaching to people they have never met, to shape future leaders? I don’t know of many. As a MassChallenge startup, we feel fortunate to have this kind of exposure – I can’t wait for September 15th when we’ll pitch to Stefan Scheiber, their CEO and the rest of the Executive team.
In conclusion, I compare the acceleration that active sponsors have provided us to the Gravitational Sling-Shot Effect. As a young company, we at MachIQ have learnt to leverage the size, expertise and network of MassChallenge’s sponsors to emerge with much more momentum than we had coming in to the program. The time that the executives from all of our sponsors have spent (and are spending) with us is absolutely priceless. Thank you sponsors!