Startup Hub Poland invites Balkan startups to apply

2016-07-22

The City of Warsaw and Startup Hub Poland are about to have a “last call” for applications to the acceleration program Startup Hub Warsaw, a startup accelerator dedicated to technology intensive international startup projects. International and Polish teams (ICT, IoT, Life Science) will have to compete for 30k PLN prize award and an invitation to start talks with leading Polish VC funds for a 1M PLN (Around 260k Euros).

 

Acceleration? Worth a try?

“Seed-stage startups usually look for ways to optimize their business models, raise capital, chose a corporate structure and legally secure the IP. Such an approach lets a startup win prospective contracts and translate the idea into a growing stream of cash. You cannot afford to lose time for preparations. A startup should be ready to start its business within several weeks. This is the main goal of an accelerator” – highlights Maciej Sadowski, Director at Startup Hub Poland foundation.

Startup Hub Warsaw offer workshops with carefully selected mentors and investment experts (inter alia investors like Anna Hejka and Marek Borzestowski or experts like Olga Kozierowska). Other incentives include a chance to learn startup and science environment in Warsaw, hands-on approach to capital rising, and a PLN 30k prize. During the workshops, participants will visit the most exciting spots on Warsaw map as well as meet key influencers in the Warsaw startup scene. All will be done in an international-oriented atmosphere and in English. “Facing breakthrough ideas from across the globe in one hot-spot is a recipe for a success proven in Silicon Valley and in Tel Aviv. Warsaw is a new spot on the global map where VC investors are ready to finance prospective project poised for growth in the global markets” – adds Maciej Sadowski.

Capital after proof-of-concept

VC funds in Poland, just like in other markets, receive hundreds of proposal but only a few projects have a chance to raise capital. “For us, a startup accelerator is an important partner in processing the selection. A risk of wrong assessment is at its full at the earliest stage of projects. A face-to-face contact and a chance to see how someone works is the best way for an investor to get a proper view of the team and to select the best projects” – declares Zygmunt Grajkowski, the Managing Partner at Giza Polish Ventures.

It is a worldwide phenomenon that VC funds look very closely at finalists of acceleration programs. “In our portfolio, there are companies that we met exactly through acceleration programs. Working together for few weeks let us learn more about the team, their work pace and culture, see the reaction to our feedback and create a precondition to let the “chemistry” work between us and the startup team. All that gives us a picture of the future relation between the startup and its investor. It is particularly important, since such relations can last for 5-8 years” – adds BartÅ‚omiej Gola, General Partner at Speedup Venture Capital Group.

“Taking part in an acceleration program is a chance for startup teams that were just below the line to meet our investment criteria. We always try to give a clear feedback to startupers where they need to progress while approaching an investor” – indicates Kinga StanisÅ‚awska, Managing Partner at Experior Venture Fund. “An acceleration program is a great opportunity to cover up some gaps under a helping supervision of experts” – she adds.

The VC funds are eager to participate in acceleration programs as investors. Following Startup Hub Warsaw, the best projects will have an invitation to negotiate investment terms up in 7 digit numbers. “Generally, investment talks are much faster if we had the chance to know each other more” – summarizes Zygmunt Grajkowski.

 

Corporations keep startups in their sight range

The finalists of Startup Hub Warsaw program will receive prizes from technology and market leaders. Adamed Group has offered a price of PLN 10k for a team with the highest potential. “We have invested in innovations for years, we have proven to go many times on path from prototype to product commercialization. The digital medicine, a global trend now, has inspired us to search for projects in their early stage within IT, medical applications and mobile diagnostic devices” – says PaweÅ‚ Roszczyk, Managing Director at Adamed Group.

Orange Polska will provide also for a seamless communication with Hub’s finalists: “Smartphones for the best team and mobile starters for all participants are only a part of our offer for Startup Hub Warsaw. We plan to have a close look at the participants and their ideas. We believe there will be a space for cooperation with the finalists who develop solutions for Orange customers” – cheers up Krzysztof KozÅ‚owski, Director at Orange Lab Polska. Microsoft has also joined Startup Hub Warsaw as a partner.

The global leader in IT market will offer a free-of-charge access to a range of Microsoft products in BizSpark. Selected projects will have a chance to get technology grants worth USD 20k and USD 120k to be used in Microsoft Azure cloud. Facebook took care of a social-digital side of the program. “The startup environment is totally natural for us, not only because we came from that place but also because we provide early stage entrepreneurs with a tool to plan and execute precisely promotion campaigns on our platform, with a truly global reach to potential customers” – says Kuba Turowski, responsible for Public Policy at Facebook. The hub’s Facebook profile is a place for information exchange and news about innovations.

 

A Warsaw dream …

The organizers wish to show the best faces of Warsaw to in-coming entrepreneurs. “We will work in a brand-new Creativity Centre at Targowa street, inspiring New Theater building, Business Link offices at the National Stadium and of course at Warsaw Google Campus” – enumerates Karolina Sochacka, PR expert at the Startup Hub Warsaw. “Everyone appreciates Vistula river banks and Łazienki Park for their uniqueness – we wish to leave a footprint in the in-coming startupers’ memory. Warsaw is also an airport hub ready to service more than 20 million passengers and that gives Warsaw an advantage over other local centers in the CEE region” – says MichaÅ‚ Olszewski, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw.

The deadline for applications to Startup Hub Warsaw is on July 24. Information about awards and application form are available on www.startuphub.pl/warsaw.

 

Key dates:

– July 24: application deadline.

– August 3: 20 selected projects announced.

– August 17-26: trainings, workshops and 1:1 meetings with mentors in Warsaw.

– August 27 – September 24: projects development supervised online by mentors

– 27 September: Demo Day  – projects presentation in front of VC and media.