Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Last InvestHorizon Investment Forum at Webit Festival Europe Brings Startups from Across the World to Sofia

On 25-26 April, Webit Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria welcomed 5000 attendees from Fortune 500 companies, more than 200 global thought leaders among the speakers, major brands, policy makers, most innovative founders, scientists and hottest startups. The event took place in Sophia Tech Park and included a number of parallel summits and events related to marketing, policy, tech, startups and exhibitions. One of the major parts of this year’s Webit Festival was the last InvestHorizon Investment Forum, which was organized by EBAN and featured pitches from 26 startups in a variety of sectors, including:
  • Travel & Tourism,
  •  Digital Entertainment,
  • eCommerce,
  • Mobile,
  • AI/VR,
  • Metrix & Data,
  • Health,
  • Internet of Things,
  • Fintech & Money.
  • and more.
Entrepreneurs came from across the world to pitch at the InvestHorizon Investment Forum, the countries represented included: Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Macedonia, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, etc.

Along with getting great visibility and the chance to present in front of international investors, the startups were competing for the prize of € 200,000 in seed investment. With several pitching sessions divided by sector interspersed during the days of 25 and 26 April, the competition was fierce and the decisions the jury had to make were not the easiest

The 5 best startups got the opportunity to pitch on the main stage of Webit Festival at a closing awards ceremony – under actual fireworks no less. After a hard-fought battle of the startups, Conelum won first place and received the prize from Plamen Russev, organiser of Webit Festival Europe and Chairman of Webit Foundation. Conelum is a biotechnological startup founded in late 2012 and focused on development of rapid microbiological diagnostic tests for food and drink industry companies.

Startups participating in the Investment Forum also had the chance to hear many great speeches and panel discussions that took place as part of Webit Festival. The first day of the InvestHorizon Investment Forum itself was opened by Giovanni Seppia, External Relations manager at EURid, with a speech on “Bringing trust and multilingualism to the online environment”, while the opening of the second day included a keynote speech from Thimo Schmitt-Lord, Executive Director and Head of Bayer Foundations.

EBAN also brought great speakers and investor juries to the InvestHorizon crowd, such as EBAN Board Member Peter Braun, who, in addition to participating in the Investment Forum, gave a keynote speech on "Why being a Business Angel helps save the world" as part of the policy track of Webit Festival, and Nikolay Mavromatis, Founder and President of Bulgarian Association of Business Angels.

The 2017 Webit Festival Europe was a great success and a memorable final Investment Forum for the InvestHorizon project. EBAN would like to thank all of the investors and participants, as well as Webit Festival Europe for their collaboration!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Letter To A Young Entrepreneur: On fundraising

Dear T.,

Thanks for your candid email about fundraising for your startup. It looks like you have assembled your team, your first product, and you’re getting (very early) market traction. So you feel that it is time to raise funding, in order to fuel that growth (and more honestly, because cash is running out, and you’re not likely to finish the year if you don’t raise a round of funding).

If I may, let me share you a bit of advice, that stems from being on the receiving end of a total of 18 MEUR of venture funding (as an entrepreneur, shareholder or board member), and advising countless startups through the hoops of the fundraising circus.