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In search of the right VC and accelerator: a guide for SEE founders

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Take a detailed look behind the numbers, approaches, and terms of some of the venture capital funds and accelerators in Romania, Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria, which together make available more than €450M for investment in innovative regional businesses. The Recursive put together this listicle to help regional founders and teams find the right investment and acceleration opportunities. 

Romania

GapMinder VC 

  • Amount of funds under management – $45M
  • Ticket size – up to $1.5M in seed funding and up to $6M in follow-up investments
  • Target verticals – SaaS, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, AI, Advanced Analytics, Predictive Marketing, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Medtech, and Fintech
  • Stages – focus on pre-seed, seed, and Series A companies from Romania and Central Eastern Europe that have achieved some initial traction
  • Key investments – FintechOS, TypingDNA, Deepstash

 

Cleverage VC – a newly formed business angels association between Wargha Enayati, Voicu Oprean, Alexandru Popescu, Sergiu Negut, and Georgios Sofianos (Romanian entrepreneurs with years-long business and healthcare experience) 

  • Amount of funds under management – currently €1M but it aims to reach funding of €20M in 5 years by attracting new partners
  • Ticket size – as of now it varies between around €100K – 500K
  • Target verticals – Medtech
  • Stages – pre-seed and seed startups in Romania and the SEE region
  • Key investments – SanoPass and Oncochain

 

TechAngels Romania is a group of more than 30 business angels that aims to support and educate entrepreneurs through investments, acceleration opportunities, and mentorship

  • Amount of funds under management – new business angels join and contribute with funds but over the past three years the group has invested more than €14M
  • Ticket size – varies between €10K – 200K
  • Target verticals – technology startups especially ones that develop web, mobile, software, and hardware solutions
  • Stages – companies that have at least developed a prototype or have reached the product-market fit stage 
  • Key investments – Machinations, VoxiKids, and Telios

 

Early Game Ventures

  • Amount of funds under management – €28M
  • Ticket size – for seed companies around €500K but for the next Series A stage investments can go well beyond that (up €4.5M) in exchange for 5% to 15% equity and a place in the board of directors of the company
  • Target verticals – enterprise technology, consumer technology, hardware and electronics, and other technology and IP-driven startups
  • Stages – early-stage companies that have the potential to reach big markets
  • Key investments – Druid, Hyperhuman, Questo

 

Early Game Accelerator 

  • Ticket size – between €50K and €200K in exchange for 5% to 15% common stock
  • Target verticals – future of mobility, proptech, future of agriculture, future of coding, smart cities, and fintech

 

Sparking Capital – focuses on pre-seed & seed investments in Romania in consumer internet, marketing-tech, supply chain-tech, fintech, property-tech, travel-tech, circular economy startups

  • Ticket size – up to €300K
  • Target verticals – industry agnostics but has a preference for marketing and supply chain tech solutions as well as fintech and proptech
  • Stages – pre-seed and seed startups
  • Key investments – Bright Spaces, Hyperhuman, and Questo

 

Simple Capital – a private investment vehicle that is founded by the tech entrepreneur and angel investor Andrei Pitis 

  • Ticket size – so far investments vary between €500K and €800K
  • Target verticals – cybersecurity and enterprise software and AI technologies
  • Stages – pre-seed and seed startups
  • Key investments – Uniapply, Deepstash, and Neomobility

 

Roca X is an investment platform that supports disruptive business models in their initial stages. 

  • Amount of funds under management – €4M
  • Target verticals and stages – tech startups in the MVP or prototype stage
  • Key investments – SuperOkay, Milluu, Machinations
Read more:  Bulgarian-led Scaleflex will help more marketers and developers manage their digital assets with new €2.5M funding

 

StepFWD is a pre-accelerator for tech startups

  • Stages – first-time and early-stage founders who want to develop their prototypes into profitable businesses. 
  • Investments and benefits – mentorship and funding opportunities on the Demo Day.

 

The Climate Vertical is a pre-accelerator that aims to inspire and support entrepreneurs to develop solutions addressing critical climate challenges. It runs a boot camp, a hackathon, open call challenges, and an accelerator program.

  • Stages – ideation, MVP
  • Benefits – mentoring, access to testing clients and early-adopters, access to investment and grants, access to a network of founders and experts

 

Rubik Garage is a free and no-equity pre-accelerator program for founders with high levels of commitment.

  • Stages – early-stage, pre-MVP
  • Benefits – access to a co-working space, startup library with more than 150 titles, mentorship, funding opportunities, and connections with investors and accelerators

Serbia 

ICT Hub Ventures – a private investment fund, focused on early-stage technology startups in the SEE region.  

  • Ticket size – up to €50K in exchange for 5% to 15% equity and a place in the board of directors of the company
  • Target verticals – tech B2B companies
  • Stages – startups that have a complete team and a scalable solution with an innovative business model 
  • Key investments – Typist, One Assessment, GiftsUwish 

 

Innovation Fund Serbia – a governmental fund supported by the EU

  • Amount of funds under management – so far it has invested over €20M in nearly 700 projects. 
  • Ticket size – different for each program but overall it varies between €20K and €300K 
  • Target verticals – R&D and technology, 
  • Stages – The fund operates six different programs that target startups and R&D consortiums at various levels of development

 

South Central Ventures 

  • Amount of funds under management – €40M
  • Ticket size – up to €100K for seed and up to €3M for growth startups
  • Target verticals – Adtech, agritech, and SaaS companies
  • Stages – early-stage and Series A tech companies from the Western Balkans region
  • Key investments -Orgnostic, Sentinel, and Cognism

Greece

Big Pi Ventures – The Big Pi Ventures is an investment fund targeting the B2B segment, focusing on deep-tech and science-based innovation

  • Amount of funds under management – €50M
  • Target verticals – currently looking for research-based projects and companies that have a distinctive competitive IP and tech advantage over their competitors 
  • Stages – seed-stage companies with solutions that can address relatively large market size going beyond the Greek market 
  • Key investments – Bryq, Dataviva, Biomimetic

 

Marathon VC

  • Amount of funds under management – €40M (its second fund, while the first fund allocated €32M to 10 startups)
  • Ticket size – around €1M to €1.5M in exchange for 15-20% of equity
  • Target verticals – tech B2B startups
  • Stages – early-stage companies founded by Greek entrepreneurs
  • Key investments – Hack The Box, Netdata, Augmenta

 

Metavallon VC 

  • Amount of funds under management – €32M 
  • Ticket size – €200K initial ticket for pre-seed companies and €400K for seed companies.
  • Target verticals – startups with tech B2B and enterprise solutions
  • Stages – pre-seed and seed startups
  • Key investments – Better Origin, FerryHopper, and Useberry

 

Uni.Fund 

  • Amount of funds under management – €27M 
  • Ticket size – up to €250K for pre-seed companies and €500K for seed companies
  • Target verticals – companies in the R&D, ICT and e-business, and tech space
  • Stages – pre-seed and seed startups  
  • Key investments – Bespot, Allcancode, FoodOxys

 

Velocity.Partners VC 

  • Amount of funds under management – €24M 
  • Ticket size – up €500K for pre-seed, seed, and follow-up rounds.
  • Target verticals – industry agonist but has an affinity for B2B, SaaS, and IoT
  • Stages – pre-seed and seed startups.  
  • Key investments – Loceye, Syncbnb, Pushme
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Venture Friends

  • Amount of funds under management – €50M 
  • Ticket size – between €300K – €2.5M for early-stage investments and €5 – 10M for follow-ups. 
  • Target verticals – tech B2C and B2B startups with sustainable business models, PropTech, FinTech, Marketplaces, TravelTech and SaaS
  • Stages – seed and Series A  
  • Key investments – InstaShop, Plum, Blueground

 

Found.ation operates the EIT Digital Venture Program that supports projects and early startups from Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania

  • Ticket size – up €25K 
  • Target verticals – deep tech business ideas 
  • Stages – startups and teams that have not yet developed their MVP

 

Crowdpolicy runs different open innovation initiatives, hackathons, and acceleration programs such as the Visa Innovation Program.

  • Target verticals – Health, Travel, Pandemic, Environment, Trade, Energy, Smart City, Tourism
  • Stages – pre-MVP startups 

 

Endeavor operates different acceleration and scaling programs such as the Scale-up program, Young Talent Program, OPAP Forward, and the Trophy Challenge. 

  • Stages – the different programs target entrepreneurs at all stages of development, from university students to established founders.   
  • Key investments – Augmenta, Apifon, Hack The Box

 

ACEin – part of the Athens University of Economics and Business and organizes annual 8-months Open Innovation programs that connect corporate innovators with tech talents and research teams.

  • Stages – seed startups and teams at the idea stage, pre-MVP 
  • Key investments – Placeme, Solar Energy Land, Marine Remote Sensing Group

Bulgaria

Blackpeak Capital – a private equity co-investment fund that invests in equity, mezzanine, and other forms of hybrid capital

  • Amount of funds under management – €27M
  • Ticket size – between €1M and €8M
  • Target verticals – industry agnostic with a focus on startups from Romania, Bulgaria Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia
  • Stages – growth companies with an established business model and recurring revenue
  • Key investments – SoftwareGroup, Bulpros, and Pulso

 

BrightCap Ventures

  • Amount of funds under management – €26M
  • Ticket size – between €50K and €200K for early-stage startups and up to €3M for growth companies
  • Target verticals and stages – tech companies with defensible technology and significant global growth potential
  • Key investments – FITE, Vedamo, Cloudpipes, Pliant

 

Eleven 

  • Amount of funds under management – the second fund of Eleven manages €6M
  • Ticket size – between €250K and €1M for the initial investment and an opportunity for up to €2.5 follow up investments
  • Target verticals – Fintech, B2B, SaaS, Healthtech, Future of Food, Future of Work, Stages – pre-seed and seed companies
  • Key investments – Dronamics, Payhawk, SMSBump

 

Empower Capital

  • Amount of funds under management – €21M. 
  • Ticket size – between €1M and €5M equity and quasi-equity funding 
  • Target verticals – Healthtech, SaaS, manufacturing
  • Stages – from early-stage to growth companies that are based in Bulgaria. 
  • Key investments – Fidelis Research, Cremio, Mammoth DB.

 

Innovation Capital 

  • Amount of funds under management – €21M. 
  • Ticket size – between €25-50K for pre-seed companies and €50K-1M for growth companies
  • Target verticals – Fintech, healthcare tech, e-commerce, and entertainment 
  • Stages – from early state and growth companies 
  • Key investments – EconicOne, TokWise, and RPA Consulting

 

Impetus Capital

  • Amount of funds under management – €4M
  • Ticket size – between €100K and 400K
  • Target verticals – SaaS, Big Data, AI, RetailTech, Life Sciences, services
  • Stages – sector agnostic, companies with a Bulgarian angle and double-digit growth, scalable world-wide
  • Key investments – A4E, Allterco, Biodit

 

LAUNCHub Ventures

  • Amount of funds under management – €44M. 
  • Ticket size – between €25-50K for seed companies and €50K-1M for growth companies
  • Target verticals – SaaS, Fintech and blockchain, Proptech, AI, Digital Health
  • Stages – Seed and Series A companies from SEE and CEE
  • Key investments – Gtmhub, FITE, Cleanshelf 
Read more:  SEE founders predict the tech trends of 2022

 

Vitosha Venture Partners 

  • Amount of funds under management – €26M. 
  • Ticket size – between €25K and €1M 
  • Target verticals – industry agnostic, but founders need to be related to Bulgaria
  • Stages – from early-stage to growth companies that are based in Bulgaria. 
  • Key investments – Quendoo, Econic One, Hobo

 

Morningside Hill Capital Management 

  • Amount of funds under management – €38.5M. 
  • Ticket size – between €1750K and €3.5M 
  • Target verticals – industry agnostic with a focus on companies that generate at least 50% of their revenue in Bulgaria, at least 50% of the company’s staff is based in Bulgaria; at least 50% of the company’s assets are held in a Bulgarian subsidiary
  • Stages – early-stage, post-seed, have a validated POC
  • Key investments – Nasekomo

 

 Sofia Angels Venture

  • Amount of funds under management – €13M, aims to co-invest with angel investors
  • Ticket size – between €200K and €500K 
  • Target verticals – sector agnostic, but the startups need to develop scalable tech solutions
  • Stages – pre-seed and seed-stage startups from Bulgaria, SEE, and CEE

 

 Urban Impact Ventures – a VC with a mission to improve the urban quality of life in Europe

  • Amount of funds under management – €30M. 
  • Ticket size – between a few hundred thousand up to €2.5M 
  • Target verticals – Mobility, Digital Infrastructure, Physical Infrastructure, Liveability
  • Stages – startups with a POC with solutions that have been tested in at least a small market. 

 

Neo Ventures – one of the first open-ended VCs in nEstearn Europe

  • Amount of funds under management – started off with €3M but raises capital continuously. 
  • Target verticals – Space, AI platforms, Healthtech
  • Stages – early-stage startups with no geographical limitations
  • Key investments – Bulpros, Biodit, EnduroSat

 

New Vision 3 (NV3) 

  • Amount of funds under management – €23M. 
  • Ticket size – up to €1M. 
  • Target verticals – FinTech, AI, Blockchain Technologies, and Shared Economy
  • Stages – early-stage startups with validated value proposition 
  • Key investments – Nasekomo, FantasticStay, Boleron

 

Silverline Capital  

  • Amount of funds under management – €42M. 
  • Ticket size – between €2.5M and €7M in mezzanine debt, convertible loans and equity investments
  • Target verticals – Healthcare, Transportation, Logistics, Manufacturing, Consumer, Retail, Services, Industrials
  • Stages – established companies with revenue more than €3M which are based in Bulgaria

 

 Innovation Starter 

  • Amount of funds under management – €1M. 
  • Ticket size – between €10K and €60K equity and quasi-equity funding 
  • Target verticals – EdTech, HealthTech, FoodTech, Mobility, Sustainability 
  • Stages – pre-seed startups
  • Key investments – Cardinal Bites, Cintelly 

 

 Bulgaria Innovation Hub

  • Benefits –  $10K in free AWS technology credits, $50K technology credits and other products and services, network access, mentoring, and accelerator programs 
  • Target verticals – industry agnostic, but exclusively for scalable Bulgarian tech startups that aim to expand into the U.S. market 
  • Stages – established companies with traction 
  • Key investments – EnduroSat, Dronamics, LogSentinel

 

Endeavor operates different acceleration and scaling programs for high-impact entrepreneurship such as the Dare to Scale program as well as its own Endeavor Catalyst fund which co-invests in Endeavor entrepreneurs.

  • Stages – founders with innovative ideas who are willing to reinvest their time and money to help other entrepreneurs grow; companies with the potential to scale regionally and globally; companies that are at inflection point for growth.
  • Key portfolio companies – EnduroSat, PubGalaxy, ScaleFocus

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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.
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