Eleven, LaunchHub, Neveq and Voivoda Ventures at StartUP

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  • 2013-04-01 14:17:35
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Representatives of the investment funds Eleven, LaunchHub, Neveq and Voivoda Ventures gathered together on March 31 - the second day of the StartUP Conference 2013. Daniel Tomov, Irina Dimitrova, Valentin Oreshkov, Georgi Kadriev,   Zlatolina Mukova and Avgustina Pasheeva introduced the audience to the important role that venture funds can play for the future of starting entrepreneurs. [caption id="attachment_13609" align="alignleft" width="252" caption="Daniel Tomov"][/caption] Daniel Tomov, the co-founder of the Accelerator Venture fund Eleven started the presentation. He explained that Eleven is a fund that supports ideas in their initial phase. Tomov said that the Accelerator program lasts for 3+3 months where the chosen businesses receive 25 000 euro for the first 3 months in exchange to 8% stake in the company for the investors and 25 000 euro for the second 3 months with 4 to 6 % stake.  After that, Eleven can provide up to 200 000 euro for the starting company. Tomov also explained the application process. After online application at the site of the fund, the candidates pass a pre-selection and eventually go to interviews. Those who are selected, work with mentors intensely to improve their ideas and then they present those ideas. If their product is approved, young entrepreneurs further improve it, commercialize it and finally present it at the official Demo Days in Sofia and London. Valentin Oreshkov, a scout for new ideas, and team advisor and mentor for LauncHub, explained the function of the fund. LauncHub is an accelerator that mainly invests in IT sector projects from Eastern and Central Europe. Georgi Kadriev, also a scout for LauncHub and one of the founders of Imagga, focused more on the steps required for successful application. He said that the dedicated team is the crucial element for success. Kadriev also stressed on the importance of the business potential of the project- it should serve a large market. Irina Dimitrova, Chief Financial Officer of LauncHub also joined the conversation later on. Zlatolina Mukova presented Neveq, where she is an executive investor. She explained that Neveq is a fund that invests in companies that are already on the next level- they have developed a product and have some customers. Mukova said that the companies that Neveq has invested in are now selling their products all over the world and have clients such as Lufthansa and Amadeus. [caption id="attachment_13611" align="alignright" width="252" caption="Avgustina Pasheeva"][/caption] The next lecturer was Avgustina Pasheeva-an AUBG alumnus and part of the VoiVoda Ventures team.VoiVoda Ventures is a family fund that is angel financed. “Angel financing'' means that we invest our own money that we acquired from companies that we started and then sold,” Pasheeva explained. VoiVoda Ventures works in the B2B (Business to Business) sphere and has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sofia. VoiVoda Ventures provides funding in the range of $500 000 to $1 500 000. The presentations were followed by a blitz interview conducted by a StartUP representative. What are the main problems entrepreneurs can encounter? Georgi Kadriev: Low self- esteem. Valentin Oreshkov: Lack of big dreaming. Irina Dimitrova: Having an idea and not working on it. Daniel Tomov: Being shy. Zlatolina Mukova: Lack of management skills. Avgustina Pashova: Culture differences. What is more important: the team or the idea? Georgi Kadriev: The combination between the two. Valentin Oreshkov: Both are important, but if I have to choose one, it is the team. Irina Dimitrova: The team. Daniel Tomov: The team. Zlatolina Mukova: The team. Avgustina Pasheeva: The team. Do you invest in a one-person team? Irina Dimitrova: Usually we don’t but there are exceptions. Avgustina Pasheeva: In general we look for companies with two co-founders, however we do have an exception of a company with a sole founder. What do accelerator funds provide, besides money? Georgi Kadriev: Most importantly, the network of contacts that the investor has. Valentin Oreshkov: 6 week educational program; Irina Dimitrova: The mentoring part is more important than the money. Daniel Tomov: network of mentors, global reach. Zlatolina Mukova: Independent evaluation of your idea. We have gathered a lot of “Know-how” and we are giving it for free. Avgustina Pasheeva: Reaching the clients through the mentors.