The Builder’s Series –
Masterclasses presented by the German Startups Association

4 August – 2 September 2021 – Online

You are scaling a startup but don’t belong to the fortunate who have done this multiple times already?

Those who scale tech companies for the first time can quickly become lost in a maze of topics: setting the company direction, building a talent acquisition muscle, developing a scalable tech platform, excelling in product management, firing up a strong marketing arm, acquiring growth capital – and that’s just to name a few.

This is why we’d like to invite you to the Builder’s Series: Masterclasses Presented by the German Startup Association. The aim of this series is to reduce your learning curves when scaling a tech company. Hosted by Dr Martin Schilling (Author of The Builder’s Guide to the Tech Galaxy – 99 Practices to Scale a Startup into a Unicorn Company), each 90-minute session consists of an introductory overview of the theme of the day (more information below) along with an interactive Q&A with the host and one guest.

You want to participate? Here is how it works.

  • Your company is a member of the German Startup Association.
  • You are working in a startup with 10 or more employees which is close to or at product-market fit (usually Series A and beyond).
  • You are in a leadership position with significant influence on your startup’s growth trajectory (e.g. CXO, VP, Director, Head of).
  • We can admit only 20 participants per masterclass and will allocate spots on an application process (one person per company per session).

You can apply for up to 3 sessions.

All events will be held in English.

Masterclass Sessions

Session 1: “Setting an Attractive North Star”

4.08.2021, 15.00-16.30

When upgrading a “pirate ship” startup to a “spaceship” scale-up, it is essential to become more explicit on direction and goals. Doing so increases valuation and turns startups into magnets for talent and customers. There are six mutually reinforcing dimensions for defining a meaningful “North Star” which many unicorns follow at least in part. How to sharpen your thinking in these six dimensions is the topic of this masterclass. They include: Purpose beyond profit, company values, business ambition, North Star metric, company value proposition, Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

Host: Dr. Martin Schilling, Author

Application Deadline: 28 July 2021 (12:00)

Session 2: “Technology Excellence“

04.08.2021, 17.00-18.30

A scalable, secure tech platform is a primary engine in any scale-up rocket. Developer productivity is key here, as is quality of software and platform performance and reliability. Topics of the masterclass include: setting the right objectives and key results for technology teams; defining your agile software development trajectory; establishing the right DevOps (Development Operations) principles and culture; creating a “good enough” software architecture that can evolve over time; establishing a resilient cloud architecture.

Guest: Dr Christoph Richter, COO and CoFounder of Humanitec

Application Deadline: 28 July 2021 (12:00)

Session 3: “B2C Marketing Excellence”

05.08.2021, 15.00-16.30

New and active customers are the initial thrust to kickstart your scale-up journey. The trick is to spend as efficiently as possible on attracting these customers – which is where your marketing teams come in. Topics of the masterclass include: setting the right objectives and key results for marketing teams; finding product-channel fit quickly; leveraging the power of organic conversions to drive down customer acquisition costs; harnessing the six key hacks for buying online ads efficiently; establishing cross-divisional growth hacking teams for activation retention and monetization; nailing your monetization strategy to drive revenue.

Guest: Kelly Ford, Angel Investor, Command Comma; former CMO N26

Application Deadline: 28 July 2021 (12:00)

Session 4: “Hiring an AAA Team”

12.08.2021, 15.00-16.30

If growing a startup is akin to jumping off a cliff and assembling a plane on the way down, having an AAA team is the difference between flying and hitting the ground. To attract a top team with the right mindset, ramping up a people team that builds a talent acquisition machine and powers a superior employee experience is key. Topics of the masterclass include: setting the right objectives and key results for people teams; developing a candidate sourcing muscle; crafting career paths and a job architecture; getting promotion and appraisal right; driving employee happiness; creating shining employer brands.

Guest: Constanze Buchheim, Managing Partner, i-potentials

Application Deadline: 4 August 2021 (12:00)

Session 5: “B2B Sales Excellence”

18.08.2021, 15.00-16.30

A sales division can become an engine of growth in a B2B start-up. Building a good one gets aspiring unicorn companies where they need to go. The primary aim is often to meet your total annual revenue goals with competitive sales efficiency. Topics of the masterclass include: setting the right objectives and key results for B2B sales teams; getting the sales funnel management right; attracting and hiring a world-class sales team; creating a commission plan that fits your growth stage; training and coaching a “challenger” sales team; becoming rigorous with lead qualification; measuring customer health to predict and prevent customer churn.

Guest: Karan Sharma, Managing Director hubsell

Application Deadline: 11 August 2021 (12:00)

Session 6: “Supply Chain Excellence”

18.08.2021, 17.00-18.30

We may be living in the digital age, but moving atoms, not only electrons, still matters for many scale-ups. From meal-kit companies to businesses that ship physical goods – they all understand that getting the supply chain right counts. Topics of the masterclass include: setting the right objectives and key results for supply chain teams; balancing delivery experience, cost per order, cash efficiency and supply chain resilience; boosting partner and supplier relationships with smart and scalable contracts; becoming proficient in supply chain operational excellence.

Guest: Matthias Wilrich, VP Vehicles & Supply Chain, TIER Mobility; former co-founder Lesara

Application Deadline: 11 August 2021 (12:00)

Session 7: “Service Operations Excellence”

19.08.2021, 15.00-16.30

Building a great tech product is no longer enough to win the growth race. To set a startup on the unicorn track, exceling both with products and the service experience is key. Here, the service operations teams come into play; they are the masters of the contact centers and back offices. Topics of the masterclass include: setting the right objectives and key results for service operations teams; preventing unnecessary contacts in the first place; deflecting transactional contacts to automated self-help; investing in a hybrid operating model with in-house and external contact centers; investing in Lean Six Sigma processes; boosting back-office performance.

Guest: Dr. Nikola Glusac, Partner Bain & Company

Application Deadline: 11 August 2021 (12:00)

Session 8: “Product Management Excellence”

01.09.2021, 17.00-18.30

For many aspiring unicorn companies getting product management right is a matter of life or death. The best-performing product management teams are central hubs for customer value, not feature factories. Topics of the masterclass include: dealing with shifting objectives such as retention, acquisition, monetization and expansion; setting the right objectives and key results for product teams; creating cross-functional product teams with low technical dependency and high end-to-end responsibility; building a thriving user research engine; designing roadmaps as communication tools.

Guest: Sven Grajetzki, CPO, TechHub (Softbank Group); Former CPO, Delivery Hero

Application Deadline: 25 August 2021 (12:00)

Session 9: “Attracting Growth Capital”

02.09.2021, 15:00 – 16.30

While a strong vision and an outstanding team is enough to attract capital in the startup phase, obtaining growth capital plays to different rules. Later-stage investors want answers to six questions before writing the big cheques. The masterclass focuses on these areas: fund fit, timing, market potential, category leadership, business model and scale-up team.

Guests: Vanessa Pinter, Growth Investor, Digital+ Partners; Robert Lacher, Founding Partner Visionaries Club

Application Deadline: 25 August 2021 (12:00)



Constanze Buchheim
Managing Partner, i-potentials


Karan Sharma
Managing Director,


Sven Grajetzki
CPTO & Founder, JOKR


Dr. Christoph Richter
COO and CoFounder, Humanitec


Matthias Wilrich
VP Vehicles & Supply Chain, Tier Mobility


Vanessa Pinter
Growth Investor, Digital+ Partners


Dr. Martin Schilling


Kelly Ford
Angel Investor, Command Comma; former CMO N26


Dr. Nikola Glusac
Bain & Company


Robert Lacher
Founding Partner Visionaries Club

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