European accelerators are going by way of an fascinating time proper now. As an example, TechStars Stockholm was all set to launch after which abruptly shut down. And I feel it’s now generally accepted that almost all accelerators exterior of YCombinator can too be usually ‘lower than satisfactory’, to place it diplomatically. Maybe an exception to this oft-repeated phrase, in my expertise, is Entrepreneur First out of London/Europe (however now additionally in Asia), and even then that entity is barely nearer to a pre-accelerator in the best way it assembles expertise earlier than it assembles the startups (though it does additionally fund its startups).
Having mentioned that, accelerators nonetheless have a task to play in Europe’s rising ecosystem. Admittedly, within the ‘developed’ international locations of Western Europe, startups are usually higher off skipping accelerators and elevating instantly from Angels, HNWs and pre-seed funds. After all, “your mileage might fluctuate.” Nevertheless, it’s in Jap Europe that — I feel, at the least — that accelerators have their finest impact in markets the place the place the tech startup ecosystem barely exists, if in any respect.
Central, South Jap, and Jap Europe have already seen a lot of new VCs acknowledge the expertise popping out of these areas (see Inovo, Credo, LauncHub, Vitosha, VentureFriends, Marathon VC and so on). Plus, 500 Istanbul final 12 months relaunched istelf as 500 Rising Europe with a €70 million early-stage fund. The latter has made investements such in Greece (Plum), Latvia (Printify), and Bulgaria (Cloudpipes).
So it’s positively of curiosity that there’s a brand new child on the block in accelerator land within the form of 500 World’s new program in Georgia (the nation, not the US state, for these on the again).
As a part of this they’ve bagged a former accomplice at Shilling VC in Lisbon, Pedro Santos Vieira. Fortunately, Georgia’s achieve shouldn’t be Shilling VC’s loss, as he isn’t leaving Shilling utterly, stay on the Funding Committee as as non-Exec. Shilling continues to be amongst these Lisbon-based VCs having fun with the tech growth that’s been occurring in Lisbon these previous few years.
Fortunately, that is no ‘left area’ transfer for Vieira, who is not any stranger to the area, having served as a mentor beforehand for 500 World in that a part of the world.
As a newly-appointed Companion for 500 World, Vieira will oversee this system, based mostly out of Tblisi, Georgia, which plans to speed up upwards of 100 pre-seed to seed stage firms from international locations within the Caucasus, Jap Europe, Central Asia, and the Baltics, with pre-seed investments beginning at US$100,000.
This system is a continuation of 500 World’s partnership with Georgia’s Innovation and Expertise Company (GITA) and the Financial institution of Georgia to deliver one of many first startup accelerator packages to the nation
Certainly, since 2016, there have been three batches with a complete of 43 startups out of the area, resembling Payze (Georgia), Cargon (Georgia), Finmap (Ukraine), and TASS Imaginative and prescient (Uzbekistan), with many occurring to lift vital additional rounds.
Vieira informed me: “Three years in the past, earlier than Shilling, I used to be working with 500 World, doing accelerators for them around the globe. And considered one of considered one of them was Georgia. We had skilled 30 firms right here and the outcomes have been actually good.”
“We’ll spend money on 100+ firms and prepare them with an accelerator out of Georgia. But it surely’s not only for Georgia firms, however vastly regional, throughout the entire of Jap and Southern Europe, the Baltics, and the Caucuses,” he informed me.
He mentioned it’s a really ‘fascinating’ time in Georgia: “You will have Ukrainians and Russians co-living right here! You even have Azerbaijani and Armenians in fact. We’re dedicated for the long term within the area to constructing a big portfolio within the subsequent few years.”
It looks as if a really fascinating transfer, and complimentary to 500 Rising Europe in Istanbul, which doesn’t have an accelerator program and tends to spend money on extra mature firms with larger checks, therefore why this new 500 entity out of Gerogia is smart.
With TechStars’ European technique wobbling and YCombinator withdrawing from the worldwide stage, maybe it’s 500 World’s ‘day within the solar’, as soon as extra?