Bulgarian startup accelerator Eleven has cofirmed to Netocratic 9 startups it’s investing in through its second batch that, unlike the first, includes far more startups from outside Bulgaria, including VetCloud from Serbia and Squee from Croatia. Eleven invest 25.000 Euros in each team for 8 to 10 percent of equity.
- iSay, Bulgaria A web app that enables unlimited crowdsourcing of real time reactions during live events and media broadcasts;
- Catalogster, Bulgaria/Sweden Catalogster catalogs your belongings for free. We make it easy to organize, trade, valuate, find and interact based on one’s catalog;
- Naychi.me, Bulgaria A marketplace where teachers and learners meet, allowing users to search existing classes and activities, to teach, and to host classes of their own;
- ShareYourCart, Romania – ShareYourCart changes how retailers use social networks, by increasing customer acquisition and activation;
- VetCloud, Serbia – The first cloud-based animal healthcare platform available worldwide;
- Squee, Croatia – Squee is the best possible way to discover, share and buy your favorite indie gadgets. Imagine Fab meets open hardware & 3D printer junkies;
- Sponsia, Bulgaria – Sponsia is the global online marketplace linking sponsors to organizers of branding- friendly local events, activities & causes;
- Quadrodynamics, Bulgaria – We are developing a range of economical and adaptable electrically-powered unmanned aerial systems, for a wide field of business applications;
- eMotion (Gameleon), Romania – A platform to create and publish multiplatform games and business-oriented gamification products.
Squee’s Ivan Kapulica says that they in particular are going to use the funding for marketing and further development. Kapulica shares how their trip to Sofia looked:
The guys from Eleven were great and very supportive! The coworking space is beautifully designed, a very cool environment to work at, all of our experiences in Sofia and Eleven are more than positive. What was it like to get accepted? First we had Skype calls with the guys from Eleven, when we found out that we were among finalists, we packed and headed for Sofia, we stayed in Sofia for 4 days. After a long trip and we went to our hotel, fell asleep and started the next day with silly smiles on our faces. Yea, right! The first day was all about mingle among mentors and other candidates, when we saw the teams that are our competitors for Eleven, we panicked. We went back to our hotel room earlier than everyone else! We continued that trend. No sleep – just work for the next 3 days and nights :), and it was worth it. On the last day we pitched infront of investors and mentors it went great!
Eleven’s Maxim Gurvits told Netocratic that they expect the teams to perform to “industry standards”, to use Eleven’s resources in Sofia. The selected teams will spend 3 months at Eleven’s coworking space, nicknamed “The Roof” in the center of the Bulgarian capital. There, they will have access to both local and international mentors:
After the 3 months each team must have reached and tested MVP, and have an excellent understanding of product-market fit (either achieved, or what’s missing to achieve it). We focus heavily on metrics, pitch practice, and investor readiness. When Demo Days come in spring 2013, the teams must impress top VCs and corporate investors.
Eleven Goes International
Gurvits also says that their second batch is far more international, since the interest for the first call was predominantly Bulgarian. He says:
- This time around we started engaging heavily with the startup communities in the region, and it’s paying off.
Specifically, the number of Bulgarian applications decreased from 2/3 to little over half. Interestingly, Gurvits shares that foreign teams are morel likely to be shortlisted, compared to Bulgarian teams – they guess that it just takes more hustling to go abroad. VetCloud’s Ivan Vesić confirms Maxim’s claims, saying that Eleven was involved in mentoring and supporting VetCloud from the early stages of development. It was only natural for them to work with Eleven further along their development process:
Eleven is young accelerator with crew that have a lot of positive energy, nice working space and great network of mentors and investors from Europe and Silicon Valley.
Eleven and a Californian Angel Invest in VetCloud
VetCloud is a special case, as Ivan Vesić shared with Netocratic. The team found a Californian angel investor involved in the veterinary industry that is investing with Eleven in this seed round, which does show the many ways startups can find funding with accelerators.
What is even more challenging to startups from Centra and Eastern Europe actually makes Eleven’s core criteria: hustling, commitment to leaving a job and moving to Sofia and an understanding of the market and how to solve its problems. For a lot of these startups the investment is important but because their background, mentoring will be even more important, as Squee’s Kapulica confirms:
We believe that the best thing that we are going to get from Eleven is all the networking with mentors and investors that are here to help us. The investment and the acceptance to Elevens accelerator program is proof that we are doing something right. We are pround and humbled.
Eleven’s startups will soon leave for Sofia, VetCloud even going this Saturday. Good luck to the teams and good luck to Eleven with its second batch!