21 may was a Demo Day for the entrepreneurs of GVAccelerator 8 - accelerator program of GVA LaunchGurus. Traditionally 10-week course for entrepreneurs was completed by the final Demo Day – a closed presentation of startups in front of investors-partners of GVA LaunchGurus. The accelerator participants, the founders of 17 startups in various industries - from IT to industrial technologies - spoke about the progress of their projects, the trip to Silicon Valley and plans for the future.
On Demo Day 20 entrepreneurs of GVAccelerator 8, the founders of 17 companies presented the results of their collaborative 10-week work with business coaches and lecturers of GVA LaunchGurus. During this period, the teams refined their startups and improved their presentation skills under the guidance of the best Russian and international experts, including the heads of major foundations and companies, business leaders in Silicon Valley and in the accelerator Plug&Play Tech Center (USA). In short pitch presentations to investors, they talked about their startups business model, product benefits and investments required for further development.
"Before presenting to investors in Moscow the accelerator participants unveiled their startups during the three pitch-days in Silicon Valley, - said the Director of GVAccelerator Daniil Kozlov. - A two-week trip to the Valley is a part of GVAccelerator program, but out of the four groups that went there last year, startups of this enrolment have aroused unprecedented interest of American investors. Almost every one of our startups in a given day attracted the interest of investors or potential partners. The accelerator and Investment Fund Plug&Play became very interested in Mikhail Khusainov’s startup SpyLance. Private investors and business angels have shown interest in the startup IPv17 by Vasiliy Prosin and Arenza by Oleg Sinkov. Alexey Zhurik (HotelFace) found partners with whom he could develop his business in the United States. The startup Vitalize was well received by many investors, and currently there is an ongoing communication with them".
"The most surprising and impressive in the accelerator for me was a trip to Silicon Valley. Meetings that took place there were of a greatest value, free time did not exist. Networking with fellow entrepreneurs, various meetups gave useful experience of business relations," shared the participant of GVAccelerator 8 Natalia Popova, the founder of the project Natadent.
In Silicon Valley participants of GVAccelerator, in addition to meetings with stakeholders and investors, studied the ecosystem and opportunities for startups in the US. Meetings with experienced local entrepreneurs from same fields were organized for each of the participants. Students of GVAccelerator visited companies that had Russian founders, grew up in the Valley and became successful, such as Evernote and One World Online. Three startups were selected and invited to weekly Friday EIR panel to investors in the accelerator Plug&Play, where they gained expertise and feedback from experts. They are: HotelFace, IPv17 and a graduate of the 5th GVAccelerator, the company Labicom. "In the Valley the startups-graduates of previous accelerators regularly join us," says Daniil Kozlov. - At this time it was Labicom and Apps4all, these companies have partners and develop their business in the U.S. too".
Before heading to California participants of GVAccelerator spent eight weeks under the guidance of Russian and foreign mentors getting skills to evaluate promising markets, customer development, startup marketing and branding, sales, team building, negotiation, registration of intellectual property rights and resolving legal issues. Every entrepreneur had received a personal business coach who helped to develop the startup on an individual basis throughout the program. The founder of “Lunch It There” Teymur Shirin notes that the acceleration program has seriously changed his startup: "The Project has been changed quite a lot, at the initial stage we had a slightly different view on scaling the business. At the moment we have a clearer understanding of how to move forward. Initially, we set a goal to enter the international market, and we were pleased to learn about the tools that would allow us to do it."
Russian investors scoped out startups that had passed the 10-week acceleration of GVA LaunchGurus. Mentor and business angel Igor Avdonin compared the level of companies before and after the training course: "In GVAccelerator 8 very interesting projects from different sectors - small businesses, venture projects, a large industrial project in the field of LED technology – were presented. It is a very good thing to see serious progress in startups: I watched a pitch session of the project founders 6 weeks ago when they just came to the accelerator. Today, the same projects are perceived differently, and I gave them different grades."
Managing partner at an investment company Starta Capital and at the Fund Starta Capital Accessor Lyudmila Golubkova also appreciated the startups: "Demo Day was very interesting due to the very different startups by subject as well as by business model. As a venture investor, I noted the project “Payment service CODE” (the payment of any goods from your smartphone). There were several interesting projects at pre-seed stage, almost at the level of ideas, and it's great, because accelerators and investors often try to “disown” such projects. There are very mature companies in the new class of GVAccelerator also. For example, I was very impressed with the startup Harmonium Lighting, and if our Fund had a different investment focus, I would recommend it to our investment Committee".
As a result of Demo Day investors noted a number of interesting startups of the eighth enrollment of GVAccelerator. Among them, Harmonium Lighting by Irina Gudovich - a company that developed, patented and is already producing led lights in China, supplying products for Philips and planning to occupy a prominent place in a growing global market of LED lighting. Investors noticed the startups producing fashion travel accessories Just Case by Alexander Metelkin and Vladimir Pisarev, “Payment service CODE” by Alexander Kahn, that allows you to make an order and make payment for any purchase from your smartphone in 10 seconds, the startup Lifeway by Hovannes Mesropyan (mobile diary, allowing you to quickly build an interactive timeline and share it with your friends and acquaintances), startup on healthy eating Vitalize by Xenia Arshavskaya and Eugene Volikov.
Demo Day of the eighth enrollment of GVAccelerator ended with a networking with investors. The next enrollment to the accelerator is planned for this autumn. The graduates of the previous GVAccelerator enrollments have raised over $25 million investment, the estimated value of the established companies is $130 million.
About GVA LaunchGurus
GVA LaunchGurus provides a unique ecosystem to support entrepreneurs, including a business accelerator for startups GVAccelerator consisting of several modules, programs for investors, Seed Fund. During 3-year period, the acceleration program has proven its effectiveness by running 186 startups of which over 35% are developing successfully.
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