CzechLink StartUp is a unique programme that helps startups to find investors in a particular phase of their development. Startups often face obstacles with financing and, in many cases, finding a suitable investor is an important milestone for their future business operations. And that’s where Tomas Sohlich comes in. With his know-how in the world of startups and his knowledge of startups and investors, Tomas is able to bring the two sides together, work with the micro- and macroeconomic characteristics of the environment and offer them specific solutions.
How does the whole process work? Who can get involved? And what does your participation in the programme entail? We posed these questions and more to Tomas Sohlich of CzechInvest, who is responsible for the entire CzechLink StartUp programme.
1) Tomas, we are already aware of the basic concept, but can you tell what makes your programme unique as compared to other, similar paid services?
I would say that we are well known among more than 90% of the startups, as they have gone through one of our programmes and we are further working with them. This knowledge enables us to better link startups with potential investors. Furthermore, I see a major advantage for both parties in the fact that CzechInvest does not take any fees or commissions from arranged investments.
2) Let’s imagine I’m a startup and I want to find an investor. What can I expect? I would approach you and then what happens?
During an in-person meeting, I will be interested in the startup’s complete business model. We will then clarify the investment needs. I am interested in what type of investor startups looking for, what they expect from the investor, what they can offer to the investor, the conditions under which startups want to implement the investment, and so on. I will explain how the CzechLink StartUp project works and what startup can expect. Then I’ll just try to link startup with a suitable investor.
3) And if I’m an investor? How will you help me find a preferred startup?
At the initial meeting, I will be interested in your investment preferences, the sectors of your choice, what stage of a startup development you find attractive and how much money you want to invest. We’ll also talk about your experience with investing in startups and then harmonise our ideas. Based on all of that, we are able to connect the you with a preferred startup. At last but not least I always attend the initial meeting between the investor and the startup.
4) In the database, you have a respectable 160 startups that are seeking investors and the portfolio is continuously expanding. You know these startups and have personal experience with them. How do investors perceive this fact?
The investors that I’ve had an opportunity to meet in person clearly have a positive view of that fact. In the early phase of startup´s development, they go through a turbulent period during which their needs change rapidly and they make adjustments and adapt to their situation. We strive to continuously monitor and respond to their needs. We subsequently use this knowledge in connecting them with investors, who also appreciate the fact that we are able to match them with startups precisely according to their investment preferences.
5) My final question is about your day-to-day work. In your opinion, what must still be improved and what is the greatest persistent barrier?
There is always something to improve. Currently, it’s crucial to convince investors of potential of the registered startups and I truly believe that they have something to offer.
Thank you for the interview. We wish you luck!