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Kármán Line Program’s Jury: Supporting Startups with Fundraising, International Scaling, and Industry Expertise

Impetus Capital's Karman Line jury will support startups wuth fundraising and international growth
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IMPETUS Capital’s Kármán Line program, offering a total fund of €900,000 and dedicated to emerging Bulgarian, Greek, and Romanian startups in space, mobility, and commerce, provides more than just financial support. 

With an application deadline coming up on January 15, 2024, the program’s jury, composed of experienced professionals, will play a critical role in mentoring and guiding the selected startups. Impetus’s investment thesis has always been that success requires knowledge within the investment domain. This jury’s rich and diverse background in both investments and operational parts of the businesses is a key aspect to the success of Impetus’s portfolio companies. This is a major element of the value-add of the competition when looking to help the chosen companies navigate international scaling challenges and achieve growth.

Viktor Manev: A Visionary in Investment and Strategy

As a co-founder and managing partner at IMPETUS Capital, Viktor Manev brings over two decades of experience in private equity, investment sourcing, and strategy implementation. His expertise lies in identifying and nurturing high-potential companies, guiding them from inception to IPO and a successful exit. Manev’s strategic approach is tailored to help startups optimize their growth trajectories. Manev’s role in the Kármán Line program goes beyond financial investment.

His experience in diverse sectors and working closely with global industry leaders like Shelly Group (formerly Allterco, ticker SLYG), the transportation leader Discordia and the US-based Storied Data provides a rich knowledge base, enabling startups to gain insights into various market dynamics and industry trends. “To us, in Impetus, within a broader context, mobility is a cross-cutting theme that touches various aspects of modern life, emphasizing accessibility, flexibility, and the ability to move seamlessly across different domains. It reflects the integration of technology to enable movement, access to information, and the delivery of services in a dynamic and interconnected world,” commented Viktor Manev, a judge at the Karman Line competition. 

Viktor Manev
Viktor Manev

Stefan Juhls: An Expert in Operational Excellence in the Commerce Industry

Stefan Juhls, with thirty years of experience in managing and restructuring companies, is a veteran in the European retail and FMCG landscape. His time at multinational companies like the Coca-Cola Co., REWE, and Metro Cash & Carry has given him a deep understanding of operational challenges and scalability strategies. Juhls’s cross-cultural experience has been vital in supporting business owners from MENA, Europe, and the Far East in transforming a family-owned business into thriving international operations. Stefan Juhls supports Impetus’s portfolio companies in building a clear vision while implementing a robust and sustainable strategy. His expertise is crucial for Kármán Line startups aiming to grow their operations while maintaining efficiency and quality.

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Stefan Juhls
Stefan Juhls

Walé Adepoju: Fostering Aerospace Innovation and Customer Experience

Walé Adepoju’s expertise in aviation, customer experience, and his active investments in aerospace and immersive technologies make him a unique asset to the Kármán Line jury. His career includes notable achievements as the Chief Strategy and Operations Officer at Global Eagle, where he significantly grew the company’s operations both via organic growth and acquisitions. Adepoju’s forward-thinking approach is key to helping startups innovate in technology-driven markets.

As a venture partner at IMPETUS Capital, Adepoju’s role in the program extends to advising startups on integrating cutting-edge technologies and customer-centric strategies into their business models. His insights are invaluable for startups aiming to lead in rapidly evolving sectors, like the Space Economy, where understanding and anticipating customer needs is essential for staying ahead of the competition. 

“Space tech plays a crucial role in advancing scientific knowledge, driving technological innovation, addressing global challenges, and shaping the future of humanity. The benefits derived from space endeavors extend beyond space itself, positively impacting various aspects of life on Earth. Space tech covers a wide range of market segments as well as enabling a number of other industries such as communication, navigation, fintech, insurance, agriculture and IoT.

“Promising verticals within space tech are satellite services, launch, ground networks, earth observation data, navigation services, space tourism, and satellite-based communications (SATCOMS). We’ve seen that there are great new opportunities for software companies entering into the space tech ecosystem and providing solutions here on earth,” commented Wale Adepoju, a judge at the Karman Line competition.

Walé Adepoju
Walé Adepoju

Angel Hadjiev and the SeedBlink Collaboration

Angel Hadjiev brings over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, with a strong background in capital raising and M&A. His expertise is crucial for startups navigating the complex financial landscape of early-stage growth. As SeedBlink’s Regional Manager for The Balkans, Hadjiev plays a pivotal role in bridging the Kármán Line program with SeedBlink’s resources.

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Besides the €300, 000 funding and personalized mentoring, the program’s winners will get a 30% discount in fees for fundraising campaigns of up to €100, 000 on the Seedblink investment platform. The finalists will also benefit from reduced fees when onboarding Nimity – SeedBlink’s platform for equity management, as well as from targeted training on financing readiness with a focus on cap table and ESOP management.

Angel Hadjiev
Angel Hadjiev

Apply for Kármán Line before January 15.

Please note that there will be a pre-selection online event in February, where shortlisted companies will present online in front of seasoned professionals from the relevant mobility, space and commerce industries.

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