As we are slowly walking towards the post-pandemic world, ecosystems should focus on facilitating the development of innovative business solutions that respond to the needs of the post-pandemic times. In parallel with funding the visionary entrepreneurs who have already developed working products and services, there is a need for ecosystems to find and offer initial support to entrepreneurs with emerging ideas that have the potential to reshape the ways we work and live. With this goal in mind, the Bulgarian venture capital fund Innovation Capital that manages €21.1M and operates its own Innovation Accelerator fund recently announced the start of its new May – June program called XL Radar 21.
“We are living in very turbulent times and we need to adapt our everyday life to the post-pandemic reality. That creates opportunities and we want to support the people who have the vision of how business and society are going to change,” explains for The Recursive what is the gap in the ecosystem that the accelerator aims to bridge with the Investment Manager of Innovation Capital Yavor Gochev who is also a Program Director of the XL Radar 21.
Ecommerce, education, healthcare, and entertainment on focus
Interested entrepreneurs can apply online before 30th May and the XL Radar 21 welcomes teams who are in the pre-revenue phase without them having to have registered a company, but they need to have worked on their ideas for at least 3 months and have some domain expertise. The ideas for products and services need to fit into the four focus vertices – e-commerce, education, healthcare, and entertainment. The teams will be supported with mentorship from some of the key experts in the focus vertices from the local ecosystem including Evgeni Yordanov who is a Partner at the platform for e-commerce solutions CloudCart, the CEO of the teams’ productivity platform Kanbanize Dimitar Karaivanov, and Mihail Stoychev who is the founder of the SMS automation company SMSBump.
Startup roadshow and post-program opportunities
The accelerator program will start with a country-wide startup roadshow in Sofia, Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Varna, Burgas, Ruse, and Veliko Tarnovo during which aspiring founders will have the chance to meet the team members of the XL Radar 21 accelerator. The winners of the program will be awarded a €25K equity investment from Innovation Capital and €15K worth of in-kind services such as software development, legal services, digital marketing, and PR. Therefore, the graduates of the program will get €40K funding for 8% equity and will be offered additional opportunities to receive follow-up funding, co-investments at Demo Day, meet with business development partners and find the right co-working space to develop their ideas.
During the 1-month intensive program, the participants will be supported through visual and physical events and will be offered 8-month post-accelerator monitoring that aims to support them in the implementation of sustainable business models. In addition, during the post-acceleration monitoring some of the companies will be offered a €25,000 additional funding and opportunities to benefit from co-investment, while in the longer-term when the startups reach some more advanced development stage, they will have the chance to scale with follow-on rounds of up to €1M.