Startups in need of capital from investors can get an investment between €75,000 and €1,000,000 thanks to the CE-Connector call. The challenge facilitates capital from private investors (business angels) from across Central Europe and further supports this private financial investment by the public sector in a non-financial or financial way through additional support. Startups that are at an early stage and want to approach angel investors from the Czech Republic and abroad can apply. CE-Connector is currently still expanding its network of business angels and therefore registration is also possible for new angel investors to invest in startups. The CE-Connector call is open until the beginning of June. Negotiations between startups and investors are now underway.
Many start-up projects, ideas and companies have uncertain funding at start-up. The most common way to raise capital in the beginning is through family finance, financial support from friends or venture capital. Most of the time this is not enough, which is why the CE-Connector challenge helps to connect promising startups and investors. A unique network of private investors (called Business Angels), startups looking for early investment and institutions offering public support is being created in Central Europe. CE-Connector wants to expand this model of public-private co-investment in emerging companies as much as possible in Central European countries.
“This is an international programme where we are working with Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Germany. We have a network of about 70 investors from 6 countries in Central Europe and our goal is to help attract investment for interesting startups from both the Czech Republic and other participating countries,” says Michal Štefan, Head of Project Implementation and Communication at DEX Innovation Centre (DEX IC), who has 10 years of experience in supporting and accelerating startups at the pan-European level.
CE-Connector scouts suitable startups for angel investment through the programmes of all national and regional partners, helping them to better present themselves and prepare them for meetings with business angels. Once the investment it facilitates is secured, it assists in the next phase of business development towards Central European countries. In the pilot phase, the CE-Connector call targets the segments IT and software services, sustainable energy, transport, mechanical engineering, healthcare, health and nutrition or smart cities. A total of 7 startups have already invested in CE-Connector in the past months and weeks, raising hundreds of thousands of EUR from investors. They include:
EqualTo with an investment of €620,408
NineTailed with an investment of €305,000
Tilo Tech with an investment of €620,000
Heatventors (energy) with an investment of €530,191
WaterScope (energy) with an investment of €44,600
YourParking (IT) with an investment of € 192.900
ALBATROSS with an investment of € 49.300
Opportunities for Czech startups
The CE-Connector call has already attracted 31 Czech startups looking for an investor for their development. One of them is the company nullspaces from Liberec. founded by three experts in mixed reality and machine learning. Specifically, nullspaces helps industrial companies prevent production errors through computer visualization and Big Data analysis.
The CE-Connector Central European Challenge is looking for startups that:
- are based in the Czech Republic,
- are in the early stage of development,
- are looking for investment between EUR 75 000 and EUR 1 000 000,
- are involved in one of the following specializations: healthcare, IT and telecommunications, mechanical engineering.
How to get involved? Startups can register here: http://ceconnector.eu/startups Good luck!
Start investing? As an angel investor.
The CE-Connector call is also open to investors – the so-called business angels. If you are thinking about investing in startups, it’s a good idea to learn from long-standing and experienced investors and start co-investing, for example in a group or fund dedicated to early-stage startups. The most important thing is to understand the whole ecosystem and the investment process.
“Becoming an angel investor is an excellent opportunity to support startups with money, accumulated professional experience, contacts and help with a broader scope and strategy. Being an angel investor is risky, time consuming and requires a lot of people management. BUT IT IS INCREDIBLY FUN to be part of something new that you can make money from,” says Seen Aquin, who is an active and experienced angel investor. Seen Aquin, originally from Bolivia, invests regularly, mostly in startups with a B2C focus in Health and Healthcare. He is interested in the entire startup ecosystem in the country and follows promising startups across segments. In addition to investing, he is also an active mentor at CE-Connector, providing experience not only to new business angels but also to startups in preparation for negotiating with investors. Currently, he is also a partner at the startup fund StartGuide.
Currently, 26 candidates have signed up as angel investors in the Czech Republic, which is the most of any country. They cite learning about new successful ideas, interacting with exceptional teams, the opportunity to share their experiences and access to attractive investment cases as their biggest motivation for investing in early stage start-ups.
“Investing in business angels is not for everyone, but those with deep entrepreneurial experience, an interest in sharing that experience and some capital that is willing to take a risk can consider it. An easy first step is to get in touch with the Czech Business Angels Association and join one of the angel investor clubs, such as DepoVentures, and/or join a project like CE Connector,” says Petr Skrla of the Czech Business Angels Association (CBAA), which brings angel investors together. Skrla is a seasoned manager with 30 years of experience in startups, venture capital and business restructuring. He has been investing himself for about four years, and says CE-Connector is a quality channel that helps startups connect with investors.
If you want to become a business angel, sign up here: http://ceconnector.eu/businessangels
Meeting of start-ups and angel investors
On June 14, the virtual workshop 3. CE-Connector Day runs in the morning 10-12:30 and in the afternoon 13:30-15:00. The virtual meeting of representatives of start-ups and angel investors will be dedicated to education in the field of investment for early stage businesses – both for start-ups and newcomers who want to become angel investors.
OPENED TO ALL REGISTERED: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ce-connector-days-registration-154714419995