Ако се интересувате от възможностите за правене на бизнес у нас, вероятно вече знаете, че два нови фонда предстои да разпределят 21 млн. евро от JEREMIE за нови идеи и стартиращи компании. За Eleven (12 млн. евро) и LAUNCHub (9 млн. евро) се изписа и изговори много (например), затова решихме да ви запознаем с тях и започваме с Eleven…
Една от най-модерните думи в България в момента е „предприемачество„. Оставяме коментарите по темата на специалистите и просто ще дадем възможност на най-любопитните да научат повече за Eleven. Те отвориха апликационната си форма (известна още като „формуляр за кандидатстване„) на 15 май и според неофициални данни вече има над 50 екипа, които са решили да се пробват…
Преди да решите да кандидатствате или да дойдете да ги питате нещо на срещата, препоръчваме да се запознаете с тяхното кратко представяне в картинки (и да – логото на Google не е случйано там), както и да прочетете често задаваните въпроси. Отговорите са на английски, защото това ще бъде работният език на програмата. Приятно четене!
Q1. Why is this in English? Do I need to speak English to enter the programme?
A. We are looking for smart ideas and great teams that have the potential to disrupt both at a regional level but also have global potential. You should be able to communicate in English to take full advantage of the programme – we will have mentors, speakers and teams from abroad, so you should be able to understand them well. Your English does not need to be perfect, you simply need to feel at ease talking and understanding.
Q2. What is the Eleven Accelerator?
A. The Eleven Accelerator is an accelerator that combines a full time 13 week mentor-led bootcamp programme with seed investment. It is aimed at early stage high-potential startups, and will provide them with comprehensive set of entrepreneurial resources, including mentoring, expert business advice, hands-on technical assistance, and investment capital.
Q3. How much do you invest?
A. Our programme consists of three stages – First and Second Acceleration stages and a Seed stage. During each of the acceleration stages, we will invest €25,000 and up to a further €150,000 at the Seed stage. The goal is to shape a product or an idea well enough to attract larger investors at the end of the programme, so some projects may only need one stage of acceleration before they raise money, while others may need to go all the way through.
Q4. What do you get from this?
A. In exchange for participating in the acceleration programme, Eleven will accept 8% during the first stage of the accelerator, a further 4-6% for the second phase of the accelerator and up to a cumulative 30% equity for fully funded (EUR 200k) companies.
The net effect is that teams can participate in both stages of the acceleration programme and receive up to €200,000 for no more than 30% of the companies’ equity.
Q5. I understand we get money and mentorship. What else do we get?
A. In addition to investment capital and the acceleration programme we will provide the teams office accommodation and full set of back office services (legal, accounting, etc.) for the duration of the first and second stages of the acceleration programme under one Roof. Furthermore, teams accepted on the accelerator have access to over €40k of free deals from technology service providers. Basically, we’ll help you get everything covered with minimal expenses so you can focus on creating a great product while you’re here, and not have to worry about all this other stuff.
Q6. Do you only fund teams and projects from Bulgaria?
A. No, anyone from anywhere can apply. However, teams will be expected to be in Bulgaria during the programme and to register a legal entity in Bulgaria, which should receive the funding from Eleven.
Q7. Would you fund an idea that only targets the local market, but is very good and can be very profitable?
A. We are looking for great ideas that at the end of the programme can either become cashfow positive and/or attract additional funding. As a general rule, we believe the most successful ideas will be easily scalable and can target the global markets.
Q8. Would you fund a non-IT idea?
A. Yes, we are looking for ideas that can greatly benefit from the resources we provide (funding, learning, networking and coaching) within the three plus three months of the acceleration phase of our programme. We are not limiting our investments to ICT, so if you believe your project is scalable and has real potential, go for it.
Q9. Can a company, that already has a product or services get financing directly from the Seed compartment of the fund?
A. It is possible, and we actually plan to have some projects go directly into Seed stage. However, we strongly believe the we can help companies with fully developed products in the Acceleration programme by working with them on strategy, introductions and funding, so we may suggest some later-stage projects go through the entire programme.
Q10. Could a not-for-profit project apply?
A. Sorry, no. We are dedicated to making the world a better place, just as NGOs are, but we are doing it by solving problems and trying to make money from that. We would be excited to see for-profit social ventures.
Q11. What is the application process for Eleven Accelerator?
A. We will be running quarterly cycles of our programme. You will be able to apply at any time and your application will be prioritised for the next available programme. Teams will be asked to fill-in a short informal questionnaire and tell us about the team members and the idea.
Q12. Do I need a business plan to apply?
A. Not for us. We take our decisions based on our application form and personal interviews. Even more, if you happen to have a business plan, we prefer not to see it.
Q13. This all sounds too good to be true. Where is the catch?
A. There is no catch. We will be successful only if our teams are successful. We believe there is an abundance of talent in Bulgaria and the region, and enough successful entrepreneurs and proven professionals that can advise and lead the young entrepreneurs towards shaping their businesses. With our partners network and partnership with Google, we think you can do it.
Q14. If I don’t have a team, can I still apply for the programme?
A. While we will not automatically discard single-founder great idea without a team, your chances on getting into the programme will increase dramatically if you have co-founders and a team. We strongly encourage you to seek co-founders to balance your skill-set and apply as a fully fledged team.
Q15. Can the team work on other projects while in the programme?
A. No. We want the teams in our programme to be passionate and committed to what they are doing, and they must be focused. A lack of dedication will impact upon your ability to attract follow on capital from Eleven.
Q16. What can we use the money for? Will the founders get any salary?
A. Whilst the ultimate decision of how the money is spent is that of the founders – you will need to demonstrate how it benefits the business. Furthermore, how the funds are used will have an impact upon the Investment Committee for ongoing investment. Founders may take a salary and charge business related expenses, as they deem appropriate. The leaner you are, the better the chances of your startup are, so spend wisely.
Q17. What should the investment be used for? Would all funding go to pay for the services, provided by the fund?
A. The investment funds should be used to support the development of an impressive prototype or beta version of the product, so it can attract further funding. The costs include general operating expenses for a company , travel and accommodation for the founders if overseas meetings and events are attended, as well as founders’ living expenses (via their salaries) while the programme is happening. The rent and back office services will be charged at cost and the full package is currently estimated at about EUR 1,000 per month.
Q18. Is it possible that not all members of the startup team are founders? May we hire programmers, for example?
A. Where the success of the business is reliant upon the success of the product, we believe that it is essential that the core skills required to build both the business and product should not be outsourced. We believe this early in any company, the team should consist of individuals, sharing common values, and having the same amount of passion about the idea they are working on. This does not mean the teams cannot hire external expertise for their projects, but we will be very happy to see all the skills, needed for taking the idea to an impressive demo stage, available within the founders.
Q19. If the startup can hire people and pay them salaries from the provided funding, can the hiring take place after approval?
A. When making the decision to invest in a team we want to know who is going to participate. Yet, we will strongly advise you not to make any commitments before your project is approved, be it to personnel or to service providers. Ultimately similarly to spending, hiring decisions are at the discretion of the founders.
Q20. What happens if a company does not go to the next stage in the programme, and there is still money available?
A. Not proceeding to the next stage in the programme does not mean the company is a failure, the founders may still continue working on their project and make a big splash in the end. The money we invest is for equity and stays in the company, we will not be asking for it to be paid back, but we will keep our stake in the company, and share its success when it comes.
Q21. What if a first-stage acceleration project does not enter the second one? Can it still apply to it later on?
A. Not going into the second phase of Acceleration or not getting Seed financing from Eleven is not the end of the world. We will be looking to preserve our value by assisting these projects (particularly not seeded Acceleration graduates) to raise further financing and keep improving and growing. We will not take second stage Acceleration programme applications, but some drop-offs may get a second chance and re-enter the programme in a next cycle.
Q22. What if one founder in a team of three drops out mid programme? Can he/she exit and what happens to his/her shares?
A. During a startup it is not uncommon for members of the team to leave and new members to join. Eleven believe that original founders should be rewarded upon the time that they commit to a startup and hence will require teams to sign a vesting schedule – for the protection of the other team members.
Q23. What is the Roof?
A. The Roof will be the designated home of eleven and the co-working space for all funded teams for the duration of the acceleration stages. It will have working area, meeting rooms and lounge. To the extent possible most events and mentor meetings will be held at the Roof. We believe that collaboration among the teams will be a defining element of…
Q24. Can we use our own computers in the Roof?
A. As a rule, you will use your own computers and equipment while in the programme. You will be strongly encouraged to use certain services to protect your projects, like using virtual machines and regular back-ups so you don’t lose all the value you create if your computer is destroyed or stolen.
Q25. Do I have to be there for the entire programme?
Yes, the Accelerator programme is incredibly intensive and we believe it is essential to focus entirely on your startup for the duration of the programme. We do, however, recognise that on occasions it may be necessary to travel to meet with contacts and people you are introduced to.
Q26. Will there be a smoking area in the common space?
A. Likely, smoking will be prohibited in public areas when the programme starts, so other than the outdoors Smoking area, there will be no smoking room in the Roof.
Q27. Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?
A. No, we won’t sign an NDA. No accelerator would. We’re certainly not in the business of stealing ideas, as this would certainly kill us, as no startup will ever trust us again. So, don’t worry, we will not sign an NDA and we will not steal any ideas.
Q28. Can I be a mentor? What are the criteria to select a mentor?
A. A mentor that can share his/her experience and say ‘when I was in that situation I did this and it didn’t work’ or ‘I did this and it worked’ is worth way more than any investment. Anyone that feels the above is true for himself/herself can jump in and become a mentor. To be clear, mentors do not get paid to participate in the programme.
Q29. May I arrange a meeting with the team of Eleven to discuss my idea?
A. Whilst we would love to meet everyone who is thinking of applying to Eleven, we do expect to receive a significant number of applications. We cannot formally consider any team without an application being completed. We will be attending many events. Look us up and track us down.