High Growth Studio

Running a startup isn’t easy – but every challenge out there has a solution. Welcome to PwC’s High Growth Studio!

What does PwC’s High Growth Studio offer?

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PwC’s Startup High Growth Studio offers workshops throughout Germany on specific startup-related topics, designed to prepare you for the challenges of today and tomorrow. From setting up employee stock ownership programmes to legal issues and leadership recommendations, our experts are on hand with concise content and practical knowledge to help you deepen your understanding – saving you time and money. You can book exclusive deep level programmes with your chosen expert after completing the workshops.

Funding support

Our workshops will take place virtually due to current conditions. Note: The BAFA is subsidising young companies that would like to take advantage of consulting services like the High Growth Studio through a support programme called "Förderung unternehmerischen Know-hows". You can find more information here.

Join our workshops and learn from our experts


Learn from the best in the business!
PwC’s experts are not only among the best in their field, but also have significant real-world experience that you can benefit from – and the knack for getting things done.

Productive environment. Maximum content.
We hold our workshops in small groups – the perfect  environment for you to learn how to leverage the potential of your business.   

Time is money!
Seize the opportunity to broaden your knowledge and get affordable answers to your questions – don’t waste your resources on endless days of research!

Workshop overview

Phantom stocks

Use shares to retain key talent!
Ramon Toossi’s “Phantom stock – employee stock ownership plan” workshop provides an in-depth look at how virtual shares can be used for employee stock ownership in startups. After two workshops with intensive input, you will have a step-by-step guide to setting up an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), along with the tools and knowledge you need to set up your programme independently and cost-effectively.

Ramon Toossi and Minkus Fischer are long-standing PwC experts and have since successfully advised many fast-growing companies on the topic of employee ownership.

What you’ll take away

  • Work with a lawyer to effectively set up an ESOP 
  • Communicate a clear plan to staff: Ways to raise the awareness of the employee for the value of the shares granted to him and discussing possible (critical) question from your employees.
  • How to size your ESOP? How do the others do it? What are the standards in the market?
  • Legal Framework: How to shape the relationship between company and employee and the relationship between the shareholders and the company.
  • Tax Treament: How is the taxation on the company and on the employee level. Excursion to the differences in taxation of "real" shares.
  • Accounting Treatment of Phantom Stocks

Deep-level programme
In a 1on1 you will subsequently design an ESOP standard contract set (framework agreement + standard statement of work) together with our experts to suit the needs of your company. This includes practical knowledge about the specific legal set-up of your startup and the reduction of net proceeds. With experienced sparring partners you can get tips for termsheets individually for your company and the existing contracts. 

Target group
Founders, startups and scale-ups of any size and at any stage that have not yet implemented a comprehensive phantom stock program (from pre-seed onwards).

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Startup leadership

Motivate and lead your employees better than ever before!
Nick Lawitzke’s “Startup leadership” workshop is aimed at all current and prospective leaders who want to develop or expand their leadership skills to help shape the growth of their startup. The workshop includes a mix of theoretical and practical aspects, covering leadership tools and techniques which you can put straight into practice to guide the teams in your own startup.

Nick Lawitzke is a systemic change manager, organisational developer and coach. He advises managers and organisations on change and transformation.

What you’ll take away

  • Importance of leadership and leadership roles: what do employees in startups expect from their managers?
  • Communication, part 1: the golden circle and inspiring communication
  • Building credibility and creating compelling mission statements that pave the way for the future of the company
  • Communication, part 2: feedback as a component of leadership,
    establishing feedback as part of corporate culture, working with the results
  • Leadership styles and situational leadership in growth-oriented companies
  • Phase model team development for sustainable team building

Deep-level programme
Nick Lawitzke’s deep-level programme features individual management training and workshops for your startup. You can also book coaching and consultancy by the hour for your managers, or develop concepts for other relevant topics such as changing management or altering leadership models, values and structures. 

Target group
Startups and scaleups in need to hire and manage more and more new employees as they grow (from seed).

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Investor Readiness and Valuation of Startups

Get ready for investment with us!
Dr. Anne Hinze and Christoph Haß’s “Investor readiness” workshop is designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of the options available for your next round of financing. This includes an overview of the fundraising process, key dos and don’ts, which financing model is right for you, and what makes a good equity story. We’ll be using our special eValuation Startup tool to calculate the value of your startup, and you’ll also get three months’ access to the tool for yourself.

Christoph Haß coordinates PwC’s NextLevel initiative in Hamburg, Kiel, Hanover and Bremen. Together with Dr. Anne Hinze, he already has worked on a number of venture capital transactions and business development projects, ranging from online affiliate marketing and software as a service (SaaS) companies to startups and online platform-based businesses.

What you’ll take away

  • An overview of financing and investment models for startups: which is the right one for me?
  • A holistic overview of the fundraising process: sequence of events, timescale, preparation, milestones
  • Key elements of good equity stories and financial models: review, discussion and direct feedback on your pitch deck, business plan and financial plan
  • Three months’ use of PwC’s eValuation tool to know the value of your startup

Deep-level programme
You’ll have the chance to work out your next investment plan in detail in a one-on-one session with our investment experts. Our coaches are highly experienced in relevant venture capital deals, and are well-placed to advise you on your finance model and on determining parameters for valuation.

Target group
Early-stage startups working towards obtaining seed financing (pre-seed).

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Corporate readiness

Learn how to create the perfect framework for working with corporates.
Florian Nöll’s “Corporate readiness” workshop is intended to show you what to look out for when going into partnership with established companies. Working together with corporates can be very beneficial, but the corporate and the startup need to be a good match for this to happen. You’ll learn to understand the corporate dynamics depending on structure, size and processes in established companies, and how to make targeted preparations for a successful collaboration.

Florian Nöll is a committed entrepreneur. He has launched several startups of his own, and he is an angel investor, co-founder and long-standing chairman of the executive committee of the Bundesverband Deutsche Startups e. V. (BVDS). This has allowed him to gain proven expertise in startups and digital economics. Since October 2019, Florian has been a Director at PwC and Head of the NextLevel initiative, where he aims to promote further integration of tech startups, politics and industry.

What you’ll take away

  • Why should a startup aim to partner up with a larger company? Which kinds of partnerships can be achieved?
  • How do you identify and approach potential partners?
  • What do you need to do before going into partnership with corporates? Procurement, compliance, data protection etc.
  • How to build a successful partnership

Deep-level programme
You’ll define the objectives for a partnership with established companies in a one-on-one session with Florian. You’ll also work out your company’s selling points, which – ideally – match the objectives of potential partners. There will also be a chance to talk to PwC experts who are already familiar with your target partner, helping you to gain an understanding of your intended partner’s goals. During these discussions, we’ll work with you to develop a strategy for the best possible access to your partner. We’ll also be very happy to help through the PwC network if required.

Target group
Scaleups which have successfully established themselves in the market and now want to work with larger companies (seed).

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Building and growing HR

Discover how to prepare your HR function for success and growth!
This workshop examines best practices for creating sustainable, efficient HR structures and processes. We live in a rapidly changing world with increasingly complex processes, ever-shorter innovation cycles and ever-greater competition for talent. Against this backdrop, employees are a company’s greatest asset, both for well-established companies and for startups. Startups often face particularly large challenges in finding and retaining the right talent, establishing compliant HR processes and exploiting the power of positive company culture. Real-life exercises and a highly interactive structure offer effective learning experiences, providing insights on how to scale recruitment, teambuilding and culture to help you make HR into a lever for your startup.

Our team is made up of experts in business and psychology.

Markus Fichtner is a seasoned Talent and Leadership specialist, with thorough HR expertise acquired over many years. His experience covers various sectors, in both major international corporations and small startups. He now uses his expertise to advise companies on how to deal with talent and leadership challenges in today’s world. 

Maria Epstein is an organisational psychologist and part of the PwC Germany People and Organisation team. Having worked in internal HR functions both in traditional companies and startups, she understands the HR challenges companies face on a daily basis.

Stephan Weber is a Director in PwC Germany’s HR Assurance and Compliance Practice. He is a certified Data Privacy Officer (DSC) and an expert in HR systems and process structures. He joined PwC in 2006, was previously founder and owner of several online companies and brings an outstanding working spirit to the role.

Stephanie Schwittay is a member of PwC Germany’s HR Assurance and Compliance team and assists companies in maintaining compliant HR services. She previously worked in the recruiting team of a startup, and therefore has an excellent understanding of the HR challenges that startups face every day.

What you’ll take away

  • Discover how to use evidence-based recruiting to find the right people for your startup.
  • Learn the key elements of high-quality recruiting, including the tools and techniques you need to find people with the right skills, personality, motivation and values for your startup.
  • Find out how to set up compliant HR structures and processes and how to deal with compliance challenges in HR. Once you understand the challenges, you’ll be in the best position to avoid the pitfalls.
  • Discover how to foster team building and employee development on a daily basis, and learn the best approaches to acknowledging team needs throughout the journey towards a goal-oriented, collaborative, high-performing team.
  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast? Learn how to get a grip on company culture, how to build it and how to strengthen it.

Deep-level programme
Book a one-on-one session with one of our experts and develop an HR approach tailored to the needs of your startup. Possible topics for this session include developing a competency model for you to use in recruiting or employee development, or designing interview guides based on the competency model.

Target group
Startups and scaleups in need to hire and manage more and more new employees as they grow (from seed).

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Tax and legal issues

Tax and legal issues give you headaches? We have the solution!
In the workshop "tax and legal challenges and contents before incorporation" the team of Dr. Leila Momen, Nina Drücks and Volker Wetzstein will give you a comprehensive understanding of the tax and legal basics you should know before founding your company. Which legal form is best suited for me? What do I have to consider when founding my company? What are the most important legal and tax obligations? What are the stumbling blocks? What does the fiscal ecosystem look like? We will answer all these questions in the workshop.You can also send your questions to the team in advance if you would like answers specific to your own company.

Dr. Leila Momen is a tax advisor and senior manager in the International Tax Services division of PwC in Frankfurt. Previously, she worked for 10 years at EY in Transaction Tax and National Office Tax and also spent several years in tax departments of industrial companies. She has more than 20 years of experience in international tax structuring and M&A projects from the inbound and outbound perspective in consulting and industry. She also has a broad tax compliance experience from a consultant and industry perspective (e.g. assistance in tax audits and preparation of tax returns, processes in tax departments, conducting tax audits / tax calculations). Leila has also been advising startups in various phases for about 2 years. She lectures and publishes on various tax topics, also for startups.

Nina Drücks is a Manager with PwC Legal in Germany focusing on national and international mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations and general advice in corporate law matters.She has been admitted to practice law in Germany (Rechtsanwältin) for four years. On a regular basis, she is giving lectures about specific current corporate law topics and is conducting training sessions for startups. Nina is highly experienced in coordinating international corporate projects and has more than four years of experience advising on corporate reorganizations and transactions, including numerous cross-border projects. She has experience in managing due diligence processes, in the drafting of sale and purchase agreements and in drafting necessary documentation for restructuring processes and in advising startups in all phases.

Volker Wetzstein is tax advisor and German CPA and is a senior manager in the Middle Market and Family Business division of PwC in Essen. Previously, he worked for 10 years at PwC in Frankfurt in the corporate tax Korean Business Group. He has 13 years of experience in international tax projects regarding corporate Tax, VAT, transfer pricing, tax structuring and tax due diligences, both from the inbound and outbound perspective. He also has a broad tax compliance experience with respect to defending tax audits, preparation of tax returns, processes in tax departments and tax calculations. Since 4 years, Volker also advises startups on tax matters in all phases and is giving lectures on tax matters for start-ups.

What you’ll take away

  • Advantages and disadvantages of various company structures with regard to legal and tax issues: comprehensive analysis of various legal structures (both partnerships and corporations, focusing on partnerships under civil law [Gesesllschaft bürgerlichen Rechts, or GbR], limited liability companies [Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, or GmbH] and entrepreneurial companies [Unternehmergesellschaft, or UG]).
  • Initial structure from a tax perspective: legal perspective on the key steps and documentation for starting your company, insights into company registration, articles of association etc.
  • Tax registration: applying for a German tax ID number, European tax ID number (EORI) or VAT ID
  • Key compliance obligations, including:
    • Legal: obligation to maintain capital
    • Tax: production of annual tax returns
    • Commercial: production and (if necessary) publication of annual accounts
  • Handy tax tips for your business: insights into accounting, income tax, sales tax etc.
  • Pitfalls and how to avoid them: following the realisation principle, no foreign transfers of tax base, forms of financing (equity vs. debt capital)
  • Overview of useful institutions: administrative bodies, enablers and supporters, associations and other organisations

Deep-level programme
In a one-on-one session we will provide you with a time and action plan for the incorporation and tax registration. As a follow-up to the one-on-one session (as consultation), you can work out the legal form and company structure tailored to your startup together with our experts and, if you wish, we can also provide you with the documents necessary for the foundation (as standard versions).

Target group
Young entrepreneurs who are in the process of establishing their startup (pre-founded).

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„The Investor Readiness Workshop allowed us to gain valuable insights about what investors actually expect from a startup. Looking from that angle at our company motivated us rethink established methods and processes. In particular, the best practice equity stories and reference financial KPIs that PwC shared with us were both inspiring and enlightening.”

Felix Brüggemann,CFO bei jetlite

Contact us

Florian Nöll

Florian Nöll

Head of Digital Ecosystems, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 30 2636-4176

Christoph Haß

Christoph Haß

Co-Lead Startup Services | Scale-up Driver, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 431 9969-373

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