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Timing: Is ‘now’ a good time to start your company? | The Early Stages Podcast S02E01

Is now a good time to start the company you are thinking of? How do you know? In the latest episode of The Early Stages Podcast by APX host Søren is talking to his guest about that exact topic — and how they solved this problem.

In this first episode of the second season, Søren is talking to Jörg Rheinboldt, managing director at APX, and Teddy Kim, Head of Venture Development and Investor at APX. Other guests are the founders of Piggit, Sofia Bennis and Aida Chafik.

All of them know that it’s one of the hardest tasks to find the right timing for one’s own business: Jörg Rheinboldt himself founded the online auction house alando.de in 1999, which was bought by eBay just six months later. “What we had was more of a feeling, that the time might be good since the Internet had just started up and we thought if we execute fast and gain traction and momentum — alando.de could be a real hit. And it was,” Rheinboldt says in the podcast.

Teddy Kim, who oversees more than 120 startups in APX’s portfolio, knows the questions many founders ask themselves. “There are always two levels on which every founder should check if it’s the right time. First, there are the personal factors: Do I have the time? Do I have the necessary startup capital? Am I willing to give up a lot of security? On the other hand, there are the external factors that are determined by the market and the community: Does my product fit the times? Which gap do I close?”

The founders of Piggit, a savings app that helps users reduce their debt quickly, Sofia Bennis and Aida Chafik are familiar with all of these considerations. Both have had completely different approaches to their startup timing. “Although I wanted to start my own business”, Sofia says “my boss at my job wanted to promote me. A difficult decision: Either I could invest a lot more time to meet my new requirements or I start investing time in my own product.” She has chosen the latter. And that was without any product idea at all! Sofia quit her job without a real alternative — a gamble not everyone would take.

Her partner, Aida Chafik, has been almost as brave. She, too, decided to go into business for herself — even though she had just bought an apartment in Paris and was strapped for cash. “But that also had its good side,” Aida recounts. “After all, the idea of Piggit is that customers can quickly pay off their debts. What psychological and financial pressure they are under, I — as someone who had just taken out a bank loan for the apartment myself — could perfectly understand.” So her own story was a piece of the puzzle to help decide that Piggit could indeed help people and fill a gap in the market.

Finding the right time to start a business is considered to depend on numerous factors. But probably the most crucial role is played by the founders themselves. “For us at APX, it is therefore often less important which KPIs a company can show at the very beginning, but how dedicated the founders are to their cause,” says Teddy Kim.

And Jörg Rheinboldt adds in conclusion: “The most important quality a founder has to bring to the table at the beginning is to be able to bridge the uncertainty and to follow a steep learning curve. They must be able to cope with not knowing what’s next for a long time but be ready to learn new things at any time so that the company can move forward.”

Listen to the full episode for more insights, and subscribe to our podcast series on your preferred podcast platform to receive a new episode every second week. If you have feedback or topic ideas, send an email to soren@apx.vc or comment on the episode via our social media channels. We hope you enjoy it!

Our podcast series “The Early Stages” discusses all the relevant questions for your “Startup-Journey” in 24 episodes. We touch on topics like hiring a team or brand building, fundraising and leadership. In each episode, host Søren comes together with founders and an APX expert to discuss one stage the process of building a company, sharing their personal experiences, learnings, and advice for other up-and-coming entrepreneurs.




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Europe’s leading earliest stage VC. Based in Berlin and backed by Axel Springer and Porsche, we support the most ambitious pre-seed startups. APX.vc.

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