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Techboost: Deutsche Telekom’s Startup Program

Anyone wanting to make a startup a success needs more than just a good business idea. Deutsche Telekom has been committed to young companies for years and assists founders, regardless of whether they’re in an early or late stage, as partners in digitization. That makes it possible for founders to benefit from Telekom’s startup initiatives such as Techboost, the startup program from Deutschen Telekom.

Since its inception in 2017, the program has been looking for young companies with cloud-based business models and interesting ideas for Telekom’s corporate customers. More than 350 startups are now part of the Techboost program, including the startup Dataguard, which was also founded in 2017. Other successful startups in the Techboost community in Munich are Viond and E-bot7.

A very close cooperation has emerged with Dataguard. Telekom established a nationwide sales cooperation with the startup in Germany and since May, Telekom customers have been able to buy Dataguard products directly from Telekom. We spoke with Matthias Schievelbusch, head of Telekom Deutschland’s cooperative work with startups, about the program.

Techboost: The Deutsche Telekom startup program

Please introduce yourself!

Startups with digital business ideas need the right IT and appropriate infrastructure to implement their ideas and make a successful start. Having the right contacts, however, is key. In addition to smart IT solutions, Telekom also offers founders interesting support in different programs, for example with Techboost: We’re Deutsche Telekom’s startup program. We offer startups with cloud-based business models a partnership of equals. Our startups receive a balance of up to 100,000 euros for the Open Telekom Cloud. At Techboost, startups additionally benefit from individual support with sales, marketing, communication and from access to our customer network. Each startup receives guidance from their own partnership manager who also serves as their direct point of contact at the program.

What do you focus on when working with startups?

First and foremost, the Techboost program is meant for all young entrepreneurs with innovative, cloud-based business models who want to get their business up and running. Within the program, we put the focus on increasing the visibility and reach of startups. What’s particularly important to us when collaborating is to have partnership-based cooperation: We help startups increase the recognition of their businesses and hope in return for the startups to invest in the collaboration.

Always focus on the target group

To be successful, a startup needs to…

… in addition to having a good business idea and a well-thought out business model, always focus on your target group. Having the right contacts can also of course play a major role in becoming a success.

Why would a good startup even need a partner to back them?

Especially in the beginning, things are stressful enough for founders. A partner with know-how, a network and resources often serves as a springboard in the development stage.

What’s the biggest mistake a startup can make?

Many make the mistake of confusing their business idea with a business model. For example, no matter how great a technical innovation might be, it still won’t interest any customers if the product doesn’t satisfy a need. That’s why its use for the target group needs to be anchored in the business model.

“A partnership of equals”

What is key in the collaboration between startups and corporates?

For Techboost, a partnership of equals is the key to sustainably successful collaboration, which of course also applies to any kind of relationship between two companies. The more both sides invest in the collaboration, the stronger the positive results of the joint cooperation will be.

Last but not least: How can startups apply for your program?

Applying is easy and fast and takes just a few steps: Startups select the appropriate program – Techboost “Seed” for those in early stages and “Grow” for later stages. Then you simply fill out the application form online and send it off. We verify whether the startup is a good match for the Techboost program before the last step, which is setting up a contract.

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