9 Things Not to Do When Talking to Investors

[Updated August 2016] We talk to a lot of startups, and we’ve talked to a lot of investors too, particularly since we published this piece way back in 2014. In that time, our portfolio companies have raised upwards of 4 million Euros, and many of the tips we’ve given them have been refined through their experiences, and our own.

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We’ve seen people make every single one of these mistakes, and we’ve made some of them ourselves. Live and learn. So here, updated for 2016, are 9 things not to do when talking to investors.

9 Things not to Do When Talking to Investors

Talk About Exits

Perhaps your dream is to found a startup, get some investment capital, pump up the valuation for a nice fat IPO, and blow town with a suitcase full of €500 notes, headed for a major tax haven. A noble dream, to be sure, but not one that inspires a great deal of confidence.

9 things not to do when talking to investors

Your investment opportunity sounds lucrative, if a little violent…

 

No, investors like to see that the stake you keep in your newly minted company is going to keep you properly motivated. And motivation is more than dollar signs: it is derived from satisfaction with your position, passion for your product, camaraderie with your team, and, of course, also money. So focus on those intangibles that you have that will keep your business moving forward. Don’t count the profit that someone’s investment is going to bring you, when you leave them holding the bag in 2 years. That’s not nice. And as the old adage goes, no investor wants to give money to a company that needs the money. They want to give money to a company that can use the money well.

Investors don't want to give money to a company that needs it. They want to give to companies who… Click To Tweet

Be Oblivious and Don’t Listen

In StartupLandia, obliviousness can be a good thing. Who would start a company like yours without being at least somewhat unaware of the potential drawbacks, the sleepless nights, the stress, the headaches, and the thought of near certain failure? Obliviousness can preserve your sanity while you attempt to do something that most ordinary people consider to be basically insane.

The thing is, while that kind of youthful naiveté can even be attractive to investors, it so often comes with a far less attractive trait attached: you don’t listen. Investors at least like to think they have some advice and experience you can learn from. Certainly, they want to you to fully understand what taking their money entails, concerning your responsibility to them and to your company. So you need to listen carefully to what investors say.

You don’t have to follow their advice, and you don’t have to take their money, but you do have to listen- now, and into the foreseeable future, until such a time as your leadership and the product you make have proved themselves repeatedly.

Ask for an NDA

Don’t ask for an NDA. You’re probably not working on anything sensitive enough to warrant this annoyance to an investor. I’ve written a more extensive piece on this, and you can read more about it there. But really, unless you’re dealing with technology so sensitive and valuable that some level of paranoia is truly healthy (cure for cancer, for example), then an NDA is not going to do anything but waste time.

Don't ask an interested investor to sign an NDA. It's pretty much never worth it. Click To Tweet

Say: “I have no competitors.”

We’ve all heard this: ‘if you have no competition, you have no market.” Besides, if your product asks for anything from a customer, be it money, time, or attention, you are by default in competition with all of the other things a customer could be doing with that money, time and attention. All businesses compete for customers. If they don’t, they aren’t businesses at all.

No, more often saying this is actually saying that you haven’t thought much about your market, your users, or your potential challenges. This past week, I ran a product positioning workshop with all of our startups. I asked them to position themselves against competitors based on relevant vertices for their market. The values on the X and Y axis are less important than the insight the teams can derive from comparing themselves to other businesses in the context of customer needs, wants, budget, or other factors. For example, a graph might look like this:

9 things not to do when talking to investors

Your graph has impressed us. Would you like that money in a suitcase, or do you prefer a novelty sized cheque?

As I noted, the values on the vertices can change to fit your market situation: is it about price, or time investment, or is it about the annoyingness of ad-support, or about some other value on the Y axis?

The X axis is also dependent on the market needs. But a successful business needs to find a suitable position graph that places their product somewhere that the competition isn’t competing well. In the above graph, the competition can offer good quality, but at the price of convenience. So my product has to be convenient and high quality. That is my market opportunity.

This sort of position graph also helps illustrate your market strategy. You wouldn’t market yourself as top-shelf quality if a competitor already holds that reputation- your quality would be a help, but it would not be enough to justify your product. If you can’t find a graph that shows a worthwhile market opportunity in concrete terms -something nobody and nothing else yet does well- then you may not have a viable product idea at all.

Tl;dr: If you can’t be better, be cheaper. If you can’t be better or cheaper, then you’re going to need a very good market strategy.

Don’t Have a Plan to Use The Investment

One VC I spoke to recently put this problem in terms of ambition. Wanting investment doesn’t make an entrepreneur particularly ambitious, except in the sense of possibly being greedy. Instead, a poorly laid or incompletely laid plan for go-to-market based on a number of possible investment outcomes is a sign that you don’t really care enough about your product and its future. If you did, you would have plans for any contingency, including a way to bootstrap your product.

Approaching investment this way, with an eye towards showing investors exactly what their money is going to do, also gives a founder much more leverage. It is a much more attractive argument to an investor that a founder *could* launch without his or her support, but that this support would only stoke the fire of success further. Being dependent on investment means being dependent on investors, and few investors want a founder who can’t stand on their own. This means being responsible, and having a solid, and detailed plan for how you would use money invested in your company.

In “A Unified Theory of VC Suckage,” which I recommend as good reading, Paul Graham theorizes that VCs suffer from perverse incentives to invest too much money into startups that don’t need it, and can’t properly use the investment. What can make such a situation doubly more dangerous (and frequently did in the late 90s and in the 2000s), is that founders also believed that a bigger valuation was actually going to make them rich. Which it did, at least on paper. This has caused more than a few companies to IPO when they shouldn’t have, and to crash spectacularly. It has also caused many worthwhile projects that needed much smaller seed-funding to struggle to get it.  But having a plan for what to do with the money you take in will show an investor that you’re ready for a big investment, or for a smaller one.

A high valuation does not make you rich. It makes you accountable. Click To Tweet

Project Your Growth Based on a Similar Product’s Success

Everyone knows a “me too” product when they see one. A “me too” market strategy may be no better than that. The old saying: “if it was easy, everyone would do it,” finds a perfect fit here. The success of another product, and that product’s similarities to yours, doesn’t mean much to the success of your product. Investors invest in people, just as much as in products, and execution, despite what we hear in the news, is 10 times as valuable as innovation for any company in the long term.

We often hear about innovation in the media, as if it were the sole distinction of success in technology. In fact, that isn’t remotely the case. While big companies that innovate create magnificent splashes and sell lots of their products, it takes just a bit of scratching at the surface to discover that the majority of that success is ensured by a strong execution of whatever plan the company has. That was as true a century ago for the Ford Model T as it was 10 years ago for the iPod. As true for Microsoft as for Facebook. These companies were not creating products that hadn’t been thought of before. But the background processes that they put in place to execute, reliably and efficiently, won them their market positions over time.

Think the Investors Must Be Smarter Than You

Our director Cedric Maloux told me a great story about an idea he had way back in 2008. He wanted to form a company to develop and market casual games for the newly launched iPhone. This was a market at that time, was worth much less than just a few years later. He discussed his idea with a VC he knew and respected, and the VC advised. “Video games need to be immersive and mobile phones don’t give this experience. Nobody wants to play games the way they used to [with the GameBoy],” the investor argued.

Cedric believed him and gave up on the idea. And today, the mobile games sector is worth 28% of the games market, according to ISSU. The market is worth some $13 Billion, which makes it bigger than the entire music industry. Growth in this sector has yet to slow since the release of the original iPhone. Investors are not necessarily visionaries.

Don't confuse smart money investors with visionaries. Click To Tweet

Last month, Techsquare hosted a meeting with StartupYard and another local accelerator. Its director and host listened to pitches from their startups, and from ours, and nearly without fail, addressed every single team with the same feedback, in sum: “I knew some people who tried what you’re doing. It didn’t work.” Experience is doubtless valuable. But failure in the past is in no wise a predictor of failure in the future. If that were true, the world would not know of most of the revolutionary products it has encountered in the past 30 years. Virtually every single one of them was tried without success, usually long before they were tried and succeeded. Listening to negative feedback like this is good. Letting it stop you is a shame.

Don’t Be Ready

Be Prepared. Always. Having and being prepared to share your financials, your projections, info about your team and your market is essential.

You can’t just chat up investors as a means of figuring out what they want to hear- that’s not the way the dance works. Your vision, your plan, and your goals are what the investors are buying into, so if you try to sell them their own ideas, they’ll know you don’t have a plan you really believe in. Having that plan, and sticking to it, only changing it for strong and valid reasons, is key to getting the right investors involved. So you need to be ready for what the investors might ask of you.

Luckily, there are plenty of investors who will tell you exactly what they would want to see from a potential investment. A great example is our own investment partner, Credo Ventures, and their own Andrej Kiska, who shares excellent tips on exactly that topic. He lists the number one failure point for startups as not building business forecasts ahead of a funding round.

in Kiska’s words:

The most frequent reason I hear for not building a model is that it is either too difficult or it just doesn’t make sense. But that makes me wonder what would happen if your startup will run into challenges that you consider too difficult or your market will desire a product you don’t believe makes sense and don’t bother to test it.”
 

There’s another pretty full-proof way of finding out what investors want to know before the meeting starts. Ask them. If the investor is a serious person you might actually want to cooperate with in the future, then they should be invested in you doing a good job, and making the best possible impression. The investor has a boss as well, in many cases, and needs to find justification in talking with you, just as you need to find justification in talking with them. So ask what they expect to find out from you, and plan accordingly. There’s no secret handshake. No checklist- every investor is different, and it’s ok to seek guidance.

Talk to the Wrong Investors

This seems basic, but it’s a mistake a lot of people make. You should know which kinds of investors you want to talk to. Don’t talk to a growth fund if what you need is seed money. Don’t talk to a VC firm unless you’re ready to do due diligence. Don’t talk to an Angel unless you’re looking for an Angel style investment. Each type of deal has its place, but not all money in investment is created equal. Each type of investment carries its own advantages and drawbacks, and you shouldn’t waste your time talking to investors who don’t have experience with companies in a similar situation. Andrej Kiska also has a lot to say on picking the right type of investor.

What’s Special About the Polish Tech Ecosystem?

StartupYard is about to embark on a month-long, 8 stop tour of Central European tech capitals. We’ll be visiting Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovenia, and have already been in Kosovo and Krakow.

Getting to Know The Polish Tech Ecosystem

But before we kick off StartupYard FastLane properly, we wanted to get to know the ecosystems we will be visiting even better. While we’ve met a lot of startups from these countries, and accelerated some of them as well, we wanted to hear from local accelerators, investors, and entrepreneurs what they thought was special about their local ecosystem. Since we’re asking startupers to come to Prague, which we think is pretty special, we wanted to see what our neighboring ecosystems really have to offer, according to some of their biggest fans.

We asked a group of entrepreneurs and influencers in the countries we’re visiting to tell us their perspective on their own ecosystem, and we will share that learning with you in a series of blog posts, starting with the first country we will visit, on August 31st, Poland. So we’re starting off the series with the Polish tech ecosystem.

Our Respondents

ASia Oparcik, Polish Tech ecosystem, OMGKRK, StartupYardAsia Oparcik: Operations Manager at OMGKRK, the Krakow Startup Community

Petr Piekos, Polish Tech ecosystem, TotemInteractive, StartupYard

Piotr Piekos: CEO and Founder of TotemInteractive, a StartupYard Alum

Tomasz Kowalczyk, Growth and Innovation Designer for HardGamma Ventures

Tomasz Kowalczyk: Growth and Innovation Designer for HardGamma Ventures, Warsaw

Polish Tech Ecosystem, Krakow

About the Respondents:

About Asia – a tech enthusiast and startup veteran from Krakow, Asia is a former Project Manager of Estimote and Project Lead at Vorm. She has worked with the biggest e-commerce startup in Poland: Showroom. She loves to organize, and often works an event manager. She is the current Operations Manager at OMGKRK, a community for Krakow based entrepreneurs.

About Pioter: Piotr is Co-Founder and CEO of TotemInteractive, a StartupYard company. He is a happy father and entrepreneur who grew from the corporate world. As an engineer he worked in the semiconductor industry, helping the largest players (Intel, Samsung) expand their production base. As a system expert in the Audio Visual industry, he traveled the world, focused on helping corporate customers in saving dozens of endangered projects.

About Tomasz: Tomasz is a member of the HardGamma Ventures team responsible for leveraging its actions using available support schemes and cooperation with external partners. Before joining HardGamma, Tomasz worked as Innovation Consulting project manager for one of the Big 4 companies.

What Do Poles Think of Local Polish Ecosystems?

What do you see as the greatest advantage of your tech ecosystem, particularly for young technology startups and entrepreneurs?

Asia: Krakow’s ecosystem has a great energy and is a place for many experienced entrepreneurs. People here are focused on IoT. There are many young people: tech students, developers which are here to make a change. We’re not only working on our own startups but also we’re very active community, offering help for any newcomer.

The ecosystem in Krakow is also condensed meaning it’s easy to reach your potential partners via intros or simply walking to a close by office because the majority of startups are located in one district.

Piotr: It’s the availability of talent. Thanks to that, plus the skills of Polish developers, we were able to relatively quickly build a complex, scalable IoT system available globally.

What about its most important current weaknesses? How would you like to see them addressed?

Asia: It’s hard to be always available and to attend every interesting event when your own startup is getting bigger and bigger. Especially since our startup community is already a few years old: many people grow from being freelance startup enthusiasts to having more defined job.

That’s why one of our main goals [at OMGKRK]  is to bring people together, integrate newcomers and older members and to organize great quality events which really will be useful and profitable in long term.

Piotr: The scarcity of sales resources. It is difficult for us to scale-up our salesforce – in opposition to Tech talent, professional salespeople with domain knowledge from the Audio Visual industry are not only hard to find but also significantly more expensive. We try to mitigate that by leveraging our relationships with partners. Nevertheless, in the mid-term an additional investment dedicated almost purely into salesforce will be necessary.

Piotr Piekos from @totemintractive: The main weakness of the Polish #startup ecosystem is lack of… Click To Tweet

Tomasz: Currently in Warsaw there is a lack of a broad mentor base with dedicated knowledge on supporting the development of startups and scaleups. While the sector develops, the number of mentors will grow, though, it’s only a matter of time.

There is an insufficient number of professional LPs, resulting in the lack of smart private money and which pushes startups to be too dependent on public funds and initatives.A way to go about improving these deficiencies could be the promotion of open innovation and constructing a capital market for innovative companies.

Tomasz from @hardgamma: Poland lacks a broad base of mentors. Needs more smart private money. Click To Tweet

What speciality would you say your ecosystem is most famous for, in terms of technology or business?

Asia: Many of Krakow’s startups are working on IoT solutions which is great, since it’s general trend in a global community.

Of course we’re famous for our beacons: Estimote and Kontakt are leaders not only in Poland but also around the world. There are companies working on Industrial Iot like Silvair or Elmodis. There are many educational/social like Brainly and Notatek, which are re-defining the way people learn.

One of the biggest successes of Krakow is definetly Base CRM.

Asia from @omgkrk : Krakow a world leader in beacon technology like @estimote and @kontakt_io .… Click To Tweet

Piotr: I think that we are touching a more general problem here – European startups are poor in scaling-up. This is especially true when it comes to  the CEE region. Startups from our ecosystem fall behind SV companies greatly in that aspect. Obviously, they do look into international markets, but they do not know how to do it efficiently. My personal thoughts revolve around the deficit of business tradition in the region.

Two and a half decades of the free market are not enough to develop a proper business culture. There is a certain level of cultural inertia that is not easy to overcome. The CEE startup scene is playing a catch-up game, maybe apart from Estonia, and legislation is not really helping that much. Therefore my personal advice to the founders would be: if you want to accelerate that process – learn from the best in the field who had been exposed to more mature ecosystems. It is the human capital that can drive the change eventually.

Piotr Piekos @totemintractive: Polish and CEE startups lack a business tradition. Click To Tweetv

Would you say the local ecosystem is dominated by more copycats, or by original, innovative solutions?

Asia: Although Krakow the ecosystem reacts fast to trends, we’re definitely the one to bring innovative solutions. The whole beacons craze started here and we’re not afraid to work on new or controversial ideas, for example like sexual health wearables.

What would you say your locally grown entrepreneurs are best at? What is their greatest strength in international business?

Asia: The main value they bring to the international table are working solutions. Ideas are great but in the end what win is working hardware and software.

Also we’re extremely hard working and focused on building the greatest things. What I love about many Krakow’s entrepreneurs is the fact that they’re not here to feel sorry for them or to being too shy about their work. That being said they’re extremely humble, but if they know something great is in their hand they will be not stopped to present it to the world. They love to try.

Asia from @omgkrk: Polish startups bring value by delivering solutions, and with hard work, not… Click To Tweet

In your opinion, does the Polish tech ecosystem look abroad for opportunities enough? Too much? What would you encourage local entrepreneurs to change in their approach to global business?

Asia: I think we are not shy to try outside Poland and we believe in our products and teams, but I am sure that we could be even more active. Programs like YC or Berlin’s Techstars are a great opportunity for Polish entrepreneurs too see what rest of the world has to offer and how different their approach can be.

What does your ecosystem offer that others can’t? What is your local “killer feature?”

Asia: Definitely one of the strongest features for Krakow is our big student community, with many tech universities. That can be crucial when you’re looking for new people, especially on a junior level.

Also the fact the city is quite small, but packed with startup people, makes it easier to network. You can meet people not only on events, but also just here and there in the city.

Asia from @omgkrk: Krakow #startups find strength in small, tight community Click To Tweet

How would you describe your government’s relationship to startups and tech? Is the government helpful or is it out of touch?

Asia: For many years startups were working rather parallel to the government, rather than with it. But slowly it’s starting to change. I think the successful stories of many polish startups show that those kind of companies are working on extremely innovative things, that could profit the whole polish economy. Startup focused programs are starting to show up, and I think the next few years will be very interesting in how government will try to help them and what actually can be done. As for local governments on city level ones are very helpful, others don’t really care.

Piotr: Recently, the polish government increased activities related to the widely understood startup scene in Poland. It seems that innovative startup companies have become an important part of the new national plan for economical transformation. The dedicated governmental programme “Start in Poland” will pump close to $1 billion into the ecosystem in the next 36 months. There is an undersecretary of Ministry of Economic Development designated solely to communicate with and develope the ecosystem, and co-architect the new legislation designed to make startups’ lives easier. Obviously, it will come down to the quality of execution.

Tomasz: The current government is taking a number of steps to try and increase startup activity in the economy. Startups were specifically targeted in the current Development Minister and Deputy PM Mateusz Morawiecki’s development plan, and there are steps being taken to provide more incentives and easier legislative and fiscal procedures for startups, including the introduction of a new type of business, the Prosta Spółka Akcyjna – Simplified Joint Stock Company. 

What about Angel investors? Do you have an active community? What types of people are doing angel investing in your ecosystem?

Asia: We have few Angels which were very helpful for startups in early stages. Rafal Han who run Silvair, Jakub Krzych from Estimote, Richard Lukas involved in many project and Rafal Targosz from PROIDEA (and now also Eventory) are the most active. That being said the angel scene is not big, it still a challenge to show people with money & experience in business that they could help and that startups are great investment. Most Angels have a tech background, so basically there were successful tech CEOs at some point.

Piotr: I recently participated in the annual EBAN (European Business Angel Network) Congress in Portugal. Unfortunately, I have to admit that the CEE representation of Business Angels in EBAN community is not proportional to the size and potential of the ecosystem. There are a few good examples, though, for instance, Michał Ciemiński managing the Polish fund PlatinumSeed is sitting on the EBAN board of directors from this year.

Tomasz: The backbone of the Polish market is formed by angel investors – private individuals who are bold enough to make initial investments. Investors in Poland are usually former founders of successful IT companies, as well as a new tech-savvy crowd with family money willing to invest.

In your opinion, what have been your greatest local successes, and in what areas do you think the ecosystem has the most potential to grow in the next few years?

Asia: The greatest success must be having international companies, which are still based in Krakow and the fact that they truly believe that Krakow is the place to be. It’s easy to move your business to the US; definitely it makes it easier talking to US investors or big clients, but startups like Estimote, Kontakt, Brainly, or Base CRM show that it can be done having your HQ in Poland.

Very interesting is the growing education scene and I think many startup doing that will evolve in the next few years.

Piotr: UxPin, Brainly, Estimote are headliners of the polish scene. Obviously, TotemInteractive will be the first one from AdTech industry 😉

For B2B – I would bet on companies like TotemInteractive, that are disrupting specific, often petrified, industries by redefining and simplifying the value creation chain. For B2C – I see the potential in mobile-first marketplaces oriented to help ever-connected urban consumers.

Tomasz: Most recently, Warsaw has been making waves in the CEE regional ecosystem. These include the choice of Warsaw for the location of Google Campus; a growing interest of foreign investors in the Polish market; and a growing presence of international startup support networks, such as EIT Digital, which has just partnered up with HardGamma. In order to thrive in the future, the ecosystem in Warsaw will need to find ways to create stronger support networks for startups which offer more than pitch-nights, free beer and pizza.

What would you say to an entrepreneur or a startup thinking about relocating to your city? Any Warnings? Hidden advantages? Quirks?

Asia: Krakow has an amazingly energetic and packed startup scene so it will be quite easy to find employees or partner for business.

The main disadvantage of the Polish tech ecosystem in my opinion is Polish law, which is quite tricky and not matched to startup reality. So you need be really careful dealing with papers.

As I said before – having an HQ and a whole business in Krakow is great: Poland is quite a big market, we have amazing developers and it’s easy to run an international team here. But probably I would recommend hiring some business people outside Europe, to deal with the US and Asian markets, since it would be that much easier for them to reach clients.

Tomasz: Warsaw is a great city to live in, the costs are low and the infrastructure is of a good quality. A number of legislative moves are being made which will make running a startup that much easier, but a word of warning that you still need to have a lot of patience to deal with fiscal and legal issues. Best to lawyer-up though.

Can you highlight 3 startups to watch for 2017 from your local ecosystem? Why would you highlight them?

Asia: Elmodis – startup that deals with efficiency of Industrial Electrical Engines. They are using over 70% of World’s power.

Contellio – recent graduate of TechStars Berlin on the way to creating Design as a Service.

NewByteOrder – A team that want to revolutionize Big Data and how we process it.

Piotr: Abyss glass – interesting and affordable ‘magic mirror’ tech. Potential in retail.

Brainly – great scalablity potential.

TotemInteractive – avant-garde of outdoor advertising transformation.

StartupYard, Central Europe Accelerator

StartupYard FastLane Brno, at Impact Hub Sep. 7th!

Stop 5 on our FastLane RoadShow will be ImpactHub Brno. We’re visiting 8 top Startup Capitals in Central Europe, as part of StartupYard’s FastLane road show: FastLane Brno will be at the Impact Hub on Wednesday, September 6th.

We will host open hours, and listen to pitches from some of the most interesting startups in Brno, and hopefully select a few to be “Fastlaned,” through the selection process for StartupYard.

Meet and Pitch to the StartupYard Team at Impact Hub, Brno

Fastlane Brno, StartupYard, Central Europe Accelerator

WHERE: Impact Hub -Cyrilská 7 Brno 602 00

 Looking forward to meeting @Startupyard Accelerator team @ImpactHubBrno on September6th! #startups #pitching Click To Tweet

How to Pitch StartupYard in Brno

StartupYard FastLane is your chance to pitch directly to one of Central Europe’s leading seed accelerators for technology startups, and move straight to the final selection rounds for StartupYard 2016/2, kicking off in November 2016. StartupYard will visit 9 cities in September 2016, providing workshops, office hours, and answering questions from tech communities around Central Europe.

On September 5th, StartupYard will join Impact Hub, to listen to pitches from interested startups, the best of which will be offered interviews with StartupYard’s Selection Committee.

Startups who are interested in Pitching at the event should sign up to pitch, and then come to the venue during our office hours, get a chance to meet us, and tell us about their idea first.

Event Details for StartupYard FastLane Brno

13h – 16h: open hours + mentoring (open to all startups)

16h: event will start

16:30 – 17:30: start of the official pitching    

17:30 – 18:30 (or more): networking + refreshments

About Us

Two members of the StartupYard team will represent the accelerator at FastLane Brno. Our Managing Director Cedric Maloux, and our Community Manager, Lloyd Waldo. 

What We’re Looking For

StartupYard accepts startups in the Idea Stage, all the way through to companies with their first clients, users, and revenues.

Are you a Data Focused Startup, working in Security & Trust, Iot & Big Data, or Machine Learning & Prediction? Then StartupYard is your chance to get funded, launch fast, and attack the global market with the backing of some of Central Europe’s leading venture investors, including Credo Ventures, and Rockaway Capital.

Applications for StartupYard close on September 30th, 2016 . Startups can apply directly for the program by clicking here.

Read More about the Open Call, and Find Out More About Our 3 Month Program Here.

StartupYard, Central Europe Accelerator

Pitch StartupYard in Bratislava, Sept 6th!

Stop 4 on our FastLane RoadShow is The Spot, Bratislava. We’re visiting 9 top Startup Capitals in Central Europe, as part of StartupYard’s FastLane road show: StartupYard’s management team will be at the The Spot on Tuesday, September 6th.

We will host open hours, and listen to pitches from some of the most interesting startups in Bratislava, and hopefully select a few to be “Fastlaned,” through the selection process for StartupYard.

Meet and Pitch to the StartupYard Team at The Spot, Bratislava

Spot-9

WHERE: The Spot – Námestie SNP 30 3rd floor OD Dunaj II, Bratislava, 81101

How to Pitch StartupYard in Bratislava

StartupYard FastLane is your chance to pitch directly to one of Central Europe’s leading seed accelerators for technology startups, and move straight to the final selection rounds for StartupYard 2016/2, kicking off in November 2016. StartupYard will visit 9 cities in September 2016, providing workshops, office hours, and answering questions from tech communities around Central Europe.

On September 5th, StartupYard will join The Spot, to listen to pitches from interested startups, the best of which will be offered interviews with StartupYard’s Selection Committee.

Startups who are interested in Pitching at the event should sign up to pitch, and then come to the venue during our office hours, get a chance to meet us, and tell us about their idea first.

Event Details for StartupYard FastLane: Bratislava

13h – 16h: open hours + mentoring (open to all startups)

16h: event will start

16:30 – 17:30: start of the official pitching    

17:30 – 18:30 (or more): networking + refreshments

About Us

Two members of the StartupYard team will represent the accelerator. Our Managing Director Cedric Maloux, and our Community Manager, Lloyd Waldo. 

What We’re Looking For

StartupYard accepts startups in the Idea Stage, all the way through to companies with their first clients, users, and revenues.

Are you a Data Focused Startup, working in Security & Trust, Iot & Big Data, or Machine Learning & Prediction? Then StartupYard is your chance to get funded, launch fast, and attack the global market with the backing of some of Central Europe’s leading venture investors, including Credo Ventures, and Rockaway Capital.

Applications for StartupYard close on September 30th, 2016 . Startups can apply directly for the program by clicking here.

Read More about the Open Call, and Find Out More About Our 3 Month Program Here.

StartupYard, Central Europe Accelerator

Pitch StartupYard at Mosaik, Budapest Sep. 5th!

We’re pleased to announce another upcoming event in on our tour of 9 top Startup Capitals in Central Europe, as part of StartupYard’s FastLane road show: StartupYard’s management team will be at the Mosaik Startup Hub on September 5th.

We will host open hours, and listen to pitches from some of the most interesting startups in Budapest, and hopefully select a few to be “Fastlaned,” through the selection process for StartupYard.

Meet and Pitch to the StartupYard Team at Mosaik, Budapest

Mosaik, Budapest, StartupYard Fastlane

 

WHERE: Mosaik Space – Pannónia utca 32., 1136 Budapest, Hungary

 Looking forward to meeting @Startupyard Accelerator team @MosaikBP on August 31st! #startups #pitching Click To Tweet

How to Pitch StartupYard in Budapest

StartupYard FastLane is your chance to pitch directly to one of Central Europe’s leading seed accelerators for technology startups, and move straight to the final selection rounds for StartupYard 2016/2, kicking off in November 2016. StartupYard will visit 9 cities in September 2016, providing workshops, office hours, and answering questions from tech communities around Central Europe.

On September 5th, StartupYard will join Mosaik Startup Hub, to listen to pitches from interested startups, the best of which will be offered interviews with StartupYard’s Selection Committee.

Startups who are interested in Pitching at the event should sign up to pitch, and then come to the venue during our office hours, get a chance to meet us, and tell us about their idea first.

 

Event Details for StartupYard FastLane: Budapest

13h – 16h: open hours + mentoring (open to all startups)

16h: event will start

16:30 – 17:30: start of the official pitching    

17:30 – 18:30 (or more): networking + refreshments

About Us

Two members of the StartupYard team will represent the accelerator. Our Managing Director Cedric Maloux, and our Community Manager, Lloyd Waldo. 

What We’re Looking For

StartupYard accepts startups in the Idea Stage, all the way through to companies with their first clients, users, and revenues.

Are you a Data Focused Startup, working in Security & Trust, Iot & Big Data, or Machine Learning & Prediction? Then StartupYard is your chance to get funded, launch fast, and attack the global market with the backing of some of Central Europe’s leading venture investors, including Credo Ventures, and Rockaway Capital.

Applications for StartupYard close on September 30th, 2016 . Startups can apply directly for the program by clicking here.

Read More about the Open Call, and Find Out More About Our 3 Month Program Here.

StartupYard Open House, Prague: September 9th and 15th

StartupYard will host an Open House on Friday, September 9th, and Thursday September 15th, at our home base of Node5, in Prague 5. Instead of a single event, the Open House will run throughout the day, giving startups and entrepreneurs a chance to drop in and talk to us about their startups, ideas, or anything else. The best startups will have the opportunity to be “FastLaned,” or pushed to the later rounds of selection for our 2016/2 Open Call. 

This is your startup’s chance to just meet StartupYard, ask any questions you have, or even pitch us your startup idea, get feedback, and start the process of applying for our program, if you want to.

 

StartupYard Open House! Get feedback on your #startup from @StartupYard @thenode5 Sept. 9th and 15. Click To Tweet

What We’re Looking For

StartupYard accepts startups in the Idea Stage, all the way through to companies with their first clients, users, and revenues.

Even if you’re not ready to apply to StartupYard, you’re more than welcome to come and visit, and get feedback on your ideas- even if they’re just ideas.

IMG_2377

Are you a Data Focused Startup, working in Security & Trust, Iot & Big Data, or Machine Learning & Prediction? Then StartupYard is your chance to get funded, launch fast, and attack the global market with the backing of some of Central Europe’s leading venture investors, including Credo Ventures, and Rockaway Capital.

Applications for StartupYard close on September 30th, 2016 . Startups can apply directly for the program by clicking here.

StartupYard, Central Europe Accelerator

Pitch StartupYard At Hub:raum, Krakow August 31st!

We are excited to announce that Hub:raum Krakow will be our second stop, after Pristina, Kosovo, on our tour of 9 top Startup Capitals in Central Europe, as part of StartupYard’s FastLane road show.

StartupYard will host open hours, and listen to pitches from some of the most interesting startups in Krakow, and hopefully select a few to be “Fastlaned,” through the selection process for StartupYard.

StartupYard Fastlane

WHEN: 

WHERE: Hub:raum, 30-701, Przemysłowa 12, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

 Looking forward to meeting @Startupyard Accelerator team @hubraumkrakow on August 31st! #startups #pitching Click To Tweet

How to Pitch StartupYard in Krakow

StartupYard FastLane is your chance to pitch directly to one of Central Europe’s leading seed accelerators for technology startups, and move straight to the final selection rounds for StartupYard 2016/2, kicking off in November 2016. StartupYard will visit 9 cities in September 2016, providing workshops, office hours, and answering questions from tech communities around Central Europe.

On 31.8.2016, StartupYard will join HubRaum in Krakow, to listen to pitches from interested startups, the best of which will be offered interviews with StartupYard’s Selection Committee.

Startups who are interested in Pitching at the event should sign up to pitch, and then come to the venue during our office hours, get a chance to meet us, and tell us about their idea first. Office hours at HubRaum Krakow will be from 2pm to 5pm.

Event Details for StartupYard FastLane: Krakow

14h – 17h: open hours + mentoring (open to all startups)

17h – 17:30h: event will start

17:30 – 18:30: start of the official pitching    

18:30 – 19:00 (or more): networking + refreshments

About Us

Two members of the StartupYard team will represent the accelerator. Our Managing Director Cedric Maloux, and our Community Manager, Lloyd Waldo. 

What We’re Looking For

StartupYard accepts startups in the Idea Stage, all the way through to companies with their first clients, users, and revenues.

Are you a Data Focused Startup, working in Security & Trust, Iot & Big Data, or Machine Learning & Prediction? Then StartupYard is your chance to get funded, launch fast, and attack the global market with the backing of some of Central Europe’s leading venture investors, including Credo Ventures, and Rockaway Capital.

Applications for StartupYard close on September 30th, 2016 . Startups can apply directly for the program by clicking here.

Read More about the Open Call, and Find Out More About Our 3 Month Program Here.

StartupYard Raises 6 Million CZK Via Fundlift

Campaign Met its Goal in Just 2.5 Weeks

Today we are pleased to announce that our recent private fundraising campaign, undertaken in partnership with FundLift.cz, has met its fundraising goal of 6 million CZK. The goal was met in less than 2.5 weeks and subscription closed on August 12th, with the participation of 40 selected private investors.

Feedback from our community and mentors generally was overwhelmingly positive. Well over 200 investors expressed interest, and community members and mentors were given priority. Still, many investors did not get the chance to participate this time. The funds committed by selected investors, StartupYard mentors, and friends of the accelerator will go towards accelerating up to 10 Startups in our upcoming round- StartupYard 2016/2, with applications closing September 30th.

This experience has shown us that the appetite for, and interest in, data focused startups in the CEE region is stronger now than ever. That’s good news for startups, and it’s good news for StartupYard. We would also like to take this opportunity to praise the team at FundLift for their professionalism, and their help in allowing our mentors and community members to participate as investors. This effort would not have been successful without FundLift.

StartupYard CEO and Managing Director Cedric Maloux had this to say:

“I am struck once again by the enthusiasm of our community for the work we do, and for helping startups in the region to gain the experience and investment they need to grow on the global market. Our mentors once again have shown they are committed and invested in the success of startups in the region, and that they are willing to step up when it counts the most. These funds are not only a big boost to the startups in our program, but a sign that Central Europe has a bright future as a center of innovation and smart risk-taking.” 

What Happens Next

Now we will need the help of our dedicated community and investors to put these funds to their best use. If you know a startup or a team of entrepreneurs who are ready to accelerate their data-focused startup, and launch on the global market, please let them know that StartupYard is looking for them to apply.

StartupYard is looking for #dataeconomy #startups to invest in. Application deadline Sep 30th!… Click To Tweet

Once again, we thank our community and investors for showing their faith in StartupYard, and we look forward to working with some of the most interesting startups in Central Europe this winter.

StartupYard Seeks Content Marketing Intern

We’re looking for a Content Marketing Intern! 

Are you an obsessive reader, and a technology lover? Do you love to read and share stories online with friends and colleagues? Do your friends recognize you as the source of the best content on Facebook, or Twitter?

StartupYard is seeking a content marketing intern to help us lead the conversation about startups, technology, and the region online. We’re looking for an intern who wants to learn all there is to know about startups, modern technologies, and content marketing, to join our team this fall.

Our ideal candidate is curious, a good communicator, and a great reader. He or She loves social media, and is a news junkie.

What You Will Learn:

  1. How to create a long term social media plan and marketing calendar.
  2. Relationship building with our online community by maintaining Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other media accounts.
  3. How to track social media analytics and report results and generate new ideas
  4. Use existing content to build compelling new offers to our followers and community, like ebooks, essay collections, slideshares, and more.
  5. Assist the Community Manager in creating and maintaining a social media strategy
  6. Additional opportunities to learn on multiple startup projects through our accelerator program.
  7. Attend multiple workshops on technology, business, sales, and marketing, hosted by professionals for the benefit of our Startup members and team.

What We Require:

  1. An organized person with a strong interest in technology, investment, and big data and a willingness to learn.
  2. A love of infographics, politics, history, business, and all kinds of media
  3. Strong communication skills.
  4. Proficient in Social Media applications like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, a plus. We will provide training as needed.
  5. Creative and Flexible.
  6. An interest in writing and creative work.

Opportunities:

Through StartupYard, interns gain not only valuable experience from a veteran team, but also a huge number of work opportunities with many of the Startups that we invest in, accelerate, or partner with. A successful intern at StartupYard has a very strong chance of being placed in a suitable and challenging position with one of our affiliated startups.

Of course, StartupYard can also recommend candidates to our corporate partners, including such companies as Google, Microsoft, KB, IBM, Vodafone, and many others. A StartupYard intern has the opportunity to meet and interact with high level representatives of many of the best technology companies in the Czech Republic.

Are you interested in becoming a part of the StartupYard team? Email us with your cover letter and a CV.

Know someone who might be a good candidate? Please share this post with them on Facebook or Twitter!