Market entry in Mexico

Alxedo: a German clean tech start-up in Mexico

Alxedo is a German clean tech startup, operating in Mexico as its first market. Founded by Samuel Sellmann and Kai Werthmann in 2020, Alxedo is creating the world’s first digital ecosystem of water. It took them three years to find their “golden path” on how to succeed in the Mexican market. Read more in this success story.

The vision of a plastic-free world

How German Start-up Alxedo found its market entry strategy

During their postgraduate studies of Business Administration in London, Kai Werthmann and Samuel Sellmann developed the vision of a plastic free world. The initial spark was a documentary, published by the Gates Foundation, about the huge environmental problems caused by the usage of plastic bottles. From their time in Asia and Latin America, both knew that easy access to pure water is a big challenge in these regions. Tap water is often contaminated or not reliably available. One day, they brainstormed in a small pizza place in East London – and agreed: We want to offer people a convenient, accessible, and trustworthy alternative to bottled water.

Nick Junge, Business Development Manager at German Centre Mexico met with Co-Founder and Co-CEO Samuel Sellmann in the German Centre to learn more about the company’s journey and developing a business in country.

Product testing under real conditions

Showcase and pre-market test your innovations

For over 20 years, German Centre Mexico has been supporting companies with its business development in the Mexican market. Besides providing flexible workspace, the business centre is also a platform for networking and product showcasing. So does Alxedo and showcases its products in the German Centre’s pantries. This way, they get a easy access to their target group and direct feedback from users.

  • Use the German Centre for soft launches

  • Conduct product tests under real conditions

  • Get a budget-friendly access to a test market
  • Gain genuine user feedback


Hello Samuel. Thank you for meeting with me today. Let’s get right to the start: Tell our readers about your innovative product!

Hi Nick, thanks for having me. Of course, I would love to. We developed a smart water purifier, our ALX1, that monitors water quality in real-time via an intuitive mobile app. With our technology, households and companies can rest assured that their filtered tap water is safe for consumption without the need to continuously buy bottled water. Our latest product, the ALXfizz, extends our offer to sparkling water and even sugar free soda drinks. With our solutions, we provide easy access to clean drinking water and thus reduce the consumption of single-use plastics.

As you said, there are many regions, where you would find a market for your smart water purifying technology. Why did you choose Mexico to develop your company?

There are mainly two reasons, why we decided to start in Mexico: First, Mexico has the highest bottled water consumption per capita globally. In combination with further factors, such as a solid economic growth, a growing middle class, and the ease of doing business here, this led to our decision to start in Mexico.

inforgraphic plastic bottle consumption

And second, Kai has already lived in Mexico for a couple of years and he burns for the country. Knowing the country, its structures and culture helped us a lot, particularly with our first steps here.

We are the first sustainable brand for homemade beverages in Latin America – which makes us a little proud.

You have started your company’s journey three years ago. I‘m pretty sure that your experience will be helpful for start-ups in a similar situation. Maybe you can share some insights about the ups and downs you went through?

Of course and I will start with my most important advice to anybody who wants to start a company: Don’t be tricked to believe that your journey will be linear!

During the development phase of our product, we basically received only feedback from close friends and family and felt that our product is going to be absolutely amazing, and that it will be perceived as a game changer in the market.

This feeling of a “pre-market high” is relatively normal due to the fact that you are so invested in the development process and would obviously not create something you don’t like.

However, it is a very dangerous bias, since you are not necessarily the best representative of your own target market and therefore, you don’t know, if the market will really perceive it with the same enthusiasm. The hype and feeling is great to carry you through the bootstrapping time at the beginning, however, you should collect good feedback as quick as you can.

alxedo's journey to market entry

Then you started the product market testing. How did that go? Did you fall into any pitfalls?

In the product market testing phase, we actually gathered the first real feedback for our product. This was very positive and promising. The only thing we neglected at this time was how we use the feedback and the insights of our target market to derive a proper commercial strategy from that.

Thus, we spent a lot of time in the “How do we launch?” phase The neglection of the key question, how do we commercialize our product, led to the issue that we created a great product which received extremely positive feedback from our peers, but nevertheless, we did not know how to reach our future customers. A problem which cost us time and money, yet, could have been solved if we would have spent more time on this question before.

However, in the end you made it and found a suitable go-to-market strategy!

Yes, we found our golden path: After losing time and money for 6 months, figuring out how to commercialize our products, we found our “golden path” and realized that retail outlets are the best way to start selling our products. Luckily, the time of trial and error hasn’t been too long, and we recovered quickly from that.

The neglection of the key question, how do we commercialize our product, les to the issue that we created a great product which received extremely positive feedback from our peers, but nevertheless, we did not know how to reach our future customers.

Samuel Sellmann
Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Alxedo

The formal founding process in a foreign country can be tricky and time-consuming. How did you approach this task?

During the time we incorporated Alxedo legally in Mexico, Kai and I haven’t been physically present in Mexico and did not have any experience with the Mexican corporate laws. Therefore, we decided to initiate the process with the help of an international law, audit and consulting firm. However, I have to admit that we were not happy with their service. We contracted them through a contact, but it became obvious that our account wasn’t a big ticket for them and hence, they didn’t really care about it.
After several weeks had passed, we decided to contract someone smaller and local to help us. With the new service provider, we proceeded twice as fast with less expenses.

As a foreigner, doing it all by yourself when you don’t have the experience, is not recommendable. But the big names are not necessarily the best choice, despite being the costliest option. Retrospectively, I would recommend activating your personal network in Mexico and ask for feedback on how they started off their business and with whom they worked. The German Centre and its network is also a good source to find service providers. This helped us a lot, but we had to learn it the hard way.

Go-to-market in Mexico

Establishing a company in Mexico is an important step that should be well prepared.

Recommendations for founding a company in Mexico from Sabine Schulte, Manager Trade & Invest at CAMEXA.

Decide for the best location!

Mexico is very large and diverse, so define which location is suitable for the project. Not only in terms of potential customers, but also in terms of connection to suppliers and the required infrastructure.

Seek advice and support from a lawyer!

Work together with a law firm based in the country to support you in:

  • defining the best corporate form depending on the project,
  • managing all processes with authorities such as registration of the company in the Mexican Commercial Registry, registration with investment and tax authorities, and registration as employer in the Mexican Social Security,
  • establishing the Articles of Association,
  • drafting employment contracts,
  • opening a bank account,
  • and much more.

Benefit from intercultural coaching!

An intercultural training helps to bridge intercultural differences and better understand and adopt to business customs and the Mexican mentality.

How important are strong networks when starting a business in Mexico?

In Mexico, contacts and networks are key to being successful. Everything you do works faster and better, if you have contacts supporting you in your efforts. In sales, trust plays a big role to convince someone of our products and services. So it helps to build a relationship with decision makers. This can be challenging, when you are new in the country! But it is worth the effort.

I am very happy that you are a permanent guest in our German Centre and part of our broad business community. What benefits do you value?

Currently, we are strongly focusing on further developing our retail network in Mexico. We recently launched our retail presence in the shopping centers Centro Santa Fe and Paseo Interlomas in Mexico City. Further new stores are planned in the cities Acapulco, Querétaro, Puebla, and Cancún.

At the same time, we are working on expanding our product portfolio with a new water purifier and flavors for the sparkling water. And maybe new markets? Let’s see, stay tuned!

Glad to hear that! It is exactly that spirit that drives us every day. One last question: What are your plans for the future?

German Centre Mexico is an important first step for us to get exposure and feedback about our products. It is awesome that you provide the opportunity to showcase our product in the German Centre’s pantries, where all employees working in the German Centre can test them and give us feedback on how we can become better and better. And on top of that, we have even generated some revenue as some companies have bought one of our products already.

Furthermore, we have always enjoyed the collaboration with you, because we felt that there was a lot of respect from both sides. This is not always the case, when you are still a small and new company. The German Centre really cares for its customers and partners like us. And you are completely aligned with our mission to have a positive impact on sustainability in Mexico. In short: our collaboration is a win-win for both sides.

I also like your initiatives to support innovation and start-ups, like the I2 Innovation Camp event series. It was our great pleasure to share our best practices and experiences with the participants from the vibrant start-up scene here in Mexico.

Apart from the business aspect, we suppose any expat agrees with us that every once in a while, it feels also nice to have a bit of exposure to traditions and the culture of your origin which you make possible at the German Centre.

That sounds exciting! I wish you all the best and lots of success! Thank you, Samuel, for your insights!

Thank you, Nick. The pleasure was mine.

About Alxedo

By building the Alxedo Smart Water Purifier, Alxedo brings the Internet of Things technology to water purification. Enabling water purification with real-time water data access to transform our water consumption to a more healthy, cost-saving and sustainable way. Through its application, Alxedo extends the process of purification to a vibrant ecosystem and a multisided platform for sustainability.

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