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CEE investors will look for the next best in SaaS at SummerSaaS 2021

A man making an online pitch, SaaS competition
Image credit: Unsplash

For the second year, the international investment group Flashpoint will gather over 30 investors from Central and Eastern Europe to provide seed and late-seed stage founders of SaaS startups with a chance to pitch in front of regional VCs. Divided into two parallel event streams, SummerSaaS will take place on the 2nd of September in an online format and will consist of a Pitch Competition and a VC panel discussion on trending topics for the SaaS industry.

At the startup competition, Flashpoint and the selected panel of investors will be looking for emerging European companies from CEE, Israel, Baltics, Finland, and CIS (the post-Soviet countries) that fit in one of the five technology tracks: vertical AI, horizontal SaaS, healthtech, edutech, and deeptech.  

Some of the VCs who will be present at the event are the European Sequoia, SpeedInvest, and Earlybird, as well as the regional LAUNCHub, Early Game Ventures, Vitosha Venture Partners, BrightCap Ventures, South Central Ventures, and Venture Friends. Interested founders and entrepreneurs, tech executives, and corporate representatives, angel and institutional investors, media representatives, and SaaS enthusiasts can register for free before the 2nd of September. 

“Most VC investors are looking for innovative solutions that solve real problems and that are operating in big markets. Traction wise startups might differ in terms of this initially, but solutions with recurring revenue, scalable go-to-market strategy, and recognizable potential to grow are always in favor,” Alex Konoplyasty, General Partner at Flashpoint Venture Capital notes.

What insights will the investors share?

During the VC panel discussions, the investors will delve into the effects of Covid on the funding ecosystem and will share whether they think online communication and Zoom pitching has accelerated the speed of investing. VC partners will also talk about the liquidity options available for founders in private markets and the importance of considering future secondary liquidity early on.

Other topics for discussion include the not-so-popular in the CEE region option for venture debt financing. Тo make the founders better acquainted with the product, the panelists will try to demystify some of the common misconceptions about venture debt. Lastly, the investors will share their perspectives and experiences on the topic of venture capital firms’ digitization and on the option of founders to exit through SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies).

The SaaS Pitch Competition

“The SummerSaaS pitch event seeks to be in sync with what is trending in the market. Vertical AI and Horizontal SaaS are more generic tracks that allow us to compare companies that solve problems in already existing markets. Education and Health technologies are one of the biggest industry winners in a post-Covid world and typically moved slower compared to other industries. We would like to swiften the fundraising speed for the founders in those niches. New economy and Deep tech are frontier markets when it comes to user adoption, and despite the fact that those new markets normally take time to mature, some companies are already solving global-scale problems with their innovative tech,” Konoplyasty points out.

The pitch event stream will kick off with a pre-selection process during which Flashpoint will go through all the applications and select the 5 best SaaS startups per each technology track. It is important to note that the applying companies need to be in a seed or post-seed stage which means that they need to have a monthly recurring revenue between $10K and $100K and/or have raised between $300K and $3M.  

During the next stage of the competition, the selected group of 25 startups will pitch in front of the VC panel which will choose 1 winner for each category. Next, the 5 SaaS finalists will present at the Grand Finale, at the end of which the VCs will identify the best pitch and award the startup with sponsor prizes. 

In-kind prizes for fast growth

Last year, the event gathered over 50 VCs with a total of $10B assets under management and provided 25 selected SaaS companies from Emerging Europe with a pitching opportunity. The prizes and perks allocated to the 5 winners from each category (among whom was the Romanian cloud security platform Cyscale), were sponsor prizes from the portfolio companies of Flashpoint and tech corporations. They included up to $10K AWS credits, Hubspot discounts, and free courses, as well as an annual license for a recruitment automation platform, email outreach credits, and remote sales coaching from established ecosystem partners. 

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.