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Eleven Ventures Launches a Fast-Track Program for Early-Stage Startups

Eleven Alpha team
Image credit: The team of Eleven Ventures
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  • Eleven Ventures introduces a new dedicated program for supporting outstanding early-stage founders from Southeast Europe – Eleven Alpha, with the goal to become the earliest institutional partner for regional entrepreneurs. 
  • The three-month program will run separate from their standard investment track and will streamline early-stage startup growth through a structured program and a fixed investment deal of €300K for 10% equity. 
  • By participating and completing Eleven Alpha, founders gain entry to the world of Eleven Ventures and receive a tailored game plan for growth, and access to the VC’s company-building expertise, network, and community of peers.


The team of Eleven dubs the terms of the program “Unicorn deal” as they invested on similar terms as the first institutional investor in Bulgarian-born fintech unicorn Payhawk. The Unicorn term sheet is publicly available on the website of the program

“We believe that by offering such a deal, which is a bit higher than the standard deal of first institutional investors, we provide founders with peace of mind. Our main goal is to allow them to work on what matters the most during these early stages of development – namely reaching a product-market fit,” Nikola Yanev, Marketing Manager at Eleven Ventures, explains. 

As one of the leading early-stage VCs in Southeast Europe, Eleven Ventures brings more than 10 years of investment experience, having made a total of 150 investments including those in Payhawk, Gtmhub, Dronamics, and SMSBump. The Eleven Alpha is managed by the whole VC team with Ivaylo Simov being the lead partner and advocate of the program. 

“We are looking for builders of the future with bold ideas. Eleven Alpha is bringing together all we have learned during the last 10 years and making it accessible in a structured form to aspiring founders, who are just starting their companies. We want to be their partner in their first steps, which we deem to be also the most important for their ultimate success,” Ivaylo Simov, Managing Partner at Eleven, comments in a press release. 

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Is Eleven Alpha for me?

With the aim to be the first institutional partner of bold entrepreneurs, the program targets SEE founders at a pre-seed stage. The four focus verticals of Eleven – Fintech, Healthcare, Future of Work, and Future of Food, will have priority, but the program will be open to entrepreneurs from other verticals as well. Eleven Alpha does not have a quota on the number of accepted startups, but ideally, there would be one company per vertical, or 4-5 in total. 

“As with our main investment track, we will be placing great focus on the founding team. We want to see that the founders have devotedly worked on their idea before applying for the program. In some cases, this may mean that the team comes to us with an idea and a prototype, in other cases with their first paying customers,” Yanev says. 

The application process is fast and simple, taking less than two months from application to closing of the deal. The application process consists of an application form, a meeting with Eleven’s investment team, and a meeting with the selection committee. Interested founders can apply until November 19, 2022. The program itself will run from the middle of January 2023 to April 2023. 

Why is there a need for a Sequoia Arc-like program in SEE?

The Alpha program is structured in a way that aims to address the needs of the regional innovation market. However, the team of Eleven Ventures has been inspired by the fast-track process and founders-first approach of Sequoia Arc. The mission behind Eleven Alpha corresponds with the mission of Sequoia Arc – providing founders with a streamlined growth process that doesn’t slow them down, and gives them capital and knowledge in the fastest way possible. 

“Every investor would agree with the fact that achieving a product-market fit is essential for the long-term growth of any startup. However, what we observe in the regional innovation market, is that it takes longer for companies to reach that stage than we would like,” Nikola Yanev explains, adding that the second gap they try to fill with Eleven Alpha is connected to the time-consuming fundraising process. 

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“Usually the fundraising process lasts more than 6 months. During that time, founders are distracted and shift their focus from building their product and business,” he continues. 

Tailor-made acceleration game plan

During the three months of Eleven Alpha, founders will go through three learning and development stages: discover, design, and deliver. All of that with the aim to help them reach their product-market fit.

With the support of Eleven’s team, wide network, and entrepreneurs in residence, founders will get to know their customers better, understand how to provide value to them, design their business model, build a go-to-market strategy, start selling, and prepare for future fundraising.

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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.