Accelerator UKIM’s DEMO DAY #1

BAU - Demo Day #1
Discover the most talented tech-entrepreneurs in Macedonia, and help them create successful companies

On Thursday, 20 June 2019, at the Center for Technology Transfer and Innovation – INNOFEIT, BAU organized its first Demo Day, marking the end of its first Acceleration Program. At the Demo Day, six startups demo-ed theur innovative business solutions to BAU’s investment committee, other external investors and business angels, Macedonia’s startup ecosystems, and other guests and friends.

Out of 42 applicants, BAU selected the six startups for its first acceleration program (Spring 2019). During 12 weeks of acceleration, BAU extensively worked on enhancing the business models of the startups, allowed them to take part in numerous startup related workshops supported by SwissEP, connected them with teams from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (www.hslu.ch), and with mentors from the United Macedonian Diaspora (www.umdiaspora.org). 

At the event the following startups presented their ventures:

Araig Global – ARAIG is a multi-sensory feedback gaming vest that allows the user to feel the game with a complete physical experience. The vest provides a variety of sensations from tingling, to motion, and locking of the wearer. In combination, these 3 forms of feedback create full coverage of the torso and shoulders.

Inellipse – AWSome is a set of development tools that integrate with most widely used enterprise messaging applications that simplify and streamline the daily work of software development teams and management of their cloud platforms. 

Bio ICT – Agrosense is an IoT platform that effectively measures and analyses multiple parameters in the field of agriculture, livestock management and beekeeping, and provides appropriate agro-technical measures that lead to cost optimization and increased food production.  

Davvero.Io – smart jewelry  that helps users to track and share their emotions, and help them to stay connected with their inner self. 

Elevate Global – ASAP is a latency-bounded and adaptive analytics platform for the manufacturing and utility industries. ASAP significantly reduces the time that companies need to implement autonomous time series forecasting, by providing detailed analytics on targeted process or equipment, and by generating multiple forecasting models and detecting anomalous behavior. 

Citechsuite – Metricity is a cloud based platform that helps financial institutions meet Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism compliance by automatically verifying client’s identity and risk levels.

The Demo Day also included a Panel Discussion on  the topic of “Complementarity of existing financial instruments and support services to accelerate startups innovation and business growth”. Participants in the panel were Ms. Tanja Ilijevska, Fund for Innovations and Technology Development (FITR); Prof. D-r Vladimir Atanasovski, INNOFEIT – Centre for Technology Transfer and Innovations; Ms. Dijana Janevska, Science Park Graz, Austria; Robin Zimbakov, Business angel, CEED Business Angels Club; and Karolina Karovska Bozinoska, Macedonian Stock Exchange. THe panel was modereted by BAU’s Vojdan Jordanov. 

”Accelerators have become an increasingly dynamic part of the tech startup/angel investing ecosystem with programs that provide startups with mentorship, advice, practical training, and contacts to guide them from idea to product development and product launch. Following the launch of the product, the next development phase is crowdfunding.  Macedonian stock exchange as an exclusive partner of Funderbeam SEE in our country and Business Accelerator UKIM will further cooperate to support services to accelerate startups innovation and business growth”, explained Ms. Karolina Karovska Bozinoska, Head of Division for promotion, education and development, Macedonian Stock Exchange.

If you missed the chance to attend BAU DEMO DAY #1, please watch our live stream at:  

https://www.facebook.com/acceleratorukim/.

For more info. on BAU and our programs, please follow us at:
https://www.facebook.com/acceleratorukim/
https://www.instagram.com/accelerator.ukim/?hl=en

Smart investments in advanced technology solutions with a global business potential

Startups have changed our lives, both the personal and professional aspects of it. On the personal side, they have changed the way we go on vacation, where we stay when we travel, how we shop, or even how we choose and meet our partner(s). On the professional side, we have definitely become more productive and efficient thanks to startups, who have simplified the manner in which we target new markets, recruit employees, advertise, analyze, etc.; basically, every single aspect of conducting business.

There is no precise definition of what a startup is, but we must make a clear differentiation between a startup and a newly established micro or small company/business. Startups are newly established companies (usually less than 5 years old) with replicable and scalable business models, based on innovative and technology related products and/or services. The key part of this definition is the replicable and scalable business model, which means that these businesses can easily and quickly target new and larger markets. These are typically businesses that offer innovative and technology related products and services, which are not capital intensive, hence can penetrate new markets without dedicating large amount of resources. As an example, these are companies such as: Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, Outfit7, Uber, etc.

There are various types of programs and organizations that provide support to early stage technology and innovation driven companies or startups. However, the most effective programs directly target the reasons why startups fail. According to CB Insights, US based tech-market intelligence platform, the top reasons why startups fail are (in order of importance): 1) No market need 2) Ran out of money 3) Not the right team / team structure 4) Get outcompeted 5) Pricing / cost issues 6) Poor product and 7) Poor or no business model.

Startup / Business Accelerators are organizations which directly assist startups with funding and business guidance. The business guidance or educational component, is usually an intensive three months program, which using international best practices and frameworks, mentors, and experts assist startups to effectively plan their business, and monitor their progress. The funding is usually the earliest stage of funding for startups, or pre-seed round, and ranges from EUR 10,000 to more than EUR 150,000. In exchange for the program and funding, the startups usually give percentage of ownership (equity) to the accelerator. In addition, the role of accelerators is to assist startups to secure additional / follow-on rounds of funding. Startup accelerators have drastically increased the speed of development of startups, and have systematized the manner of early stage funding.

The concept of accelerator was introduced by Y Combinator (www.ycombinator.com) in 2005, by Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, Trevor Blackwell and Robert Tappan Morris, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Since then, Y Combinator has invested in more 1,800 companies, including Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, Quora, WePay, etc.

Although there is no single model for an accelerator, in general we can group them in four categories:

  • General Purpose Accelerator: independent organization which is agnostic in terms of the startups and industries that it targets. However, they all have to be innovation and technology related, and tend to be geographically tied to a particular area.
  • Corporate Accelerator: accelerators that are started, funded and/or managed by a large corporation. Corporate Accelerators usually target startups operating in markets of interest to the corporation (examples include HUB:RAUM, accelerator of Deutsche Telekom, and Porsche Accelerator).
  • Vertical Market Accelerator: accelerators which only target startups in particular industry, such as FinTech, Life Sciences, Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, etc.
  • Venture Capital (VC) Backed Accelerator: accelerators that have been established by a Venture Capital organization/fund, in order to help them with their deal-flow (development of investment pipeline).

In 2019, co-financed by the Fund for Innovations and Technology Development of the Republic Macedonia, we have established Business Accelerator UKIM (BAU), with the mission to identify and support the growth of the most promising technology entrepreneurs, startups, and spin-offs in Macedonia. BAU was established by Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje (UKIM), Crimson Development Foundation (CDF), CEED Hub Skopje, RSM Macedonia, and the Foundation Prof. Dr. Dimitar Stamboliev. The first startup accelerator in Macedonia, combines the expertise and resources of the biggest and most technologically advanced university in Macedonia, a finance fund, financial advisory firm, and other business support organization. Apart from the acceleration program, BAU will finance startups in the amounts of EUR 25,000, and follow-on financing of up to EUR 75,000. BAU targets technology startups at a pre or early revenue stage. These are usually startups that have just completed, or are about to complete their product / service development process.

At BAU, we have just started our first acceleration program for startups. We envision to implement two acceleration programs per year, including two investment cycles each year. For our inaugural acceleration program, out of 40 applicants we selected six startups in the field of big data, IoT, haptic vest, smart wearables, FinTech, and enterprise messaging and management.

Even though there have been many successful companies coming out of accelerators, the reality is that most startups fail. Therefore, when selecting a startup for our programs and funding we must truly be convinced of their business model, team structure, market potential, and scalability. The ultimate goal is to provide enough funding for the startups to reach their next milestone, product revenue or additional investments. At BAU, we will utilize our extensive network of EU investors to help our startups to reach this next milestone.

We hope that this article will inspire some of the audience who have identified a real market need, to work on their ideas and/or product and apply to our next acceleration program in autumn 2019. For more information on BAU, please follow us at: www.facebook.com/acceleratorukim.

Read the article in Macedonian as published in “Presing”