Eleven is a EUR 12 million venture fund that provides financing to early-stage startups using an incremental investment approach alongside iterative development – thereby, starting with many small experiments, filter out failures, and invest in successes.
We are focused on innovative ideas, providing EUR 50,000 for proof of concept during a 3+3 month acceleration program under one roof with the ability for up to EUR 150,000 follow-on seed investment.
Eleven is powered by Springboard, the leading European startup accelerator, and the teams will receive support through business insight and technical expertise from an all-star cast of mentors, including Googlers.
During the first 3 months your team goes through a very intensive process of shaping and building your idea, supported by Eleven and its exception mentors, including numerous Googlers. Eleven provides EUR 25,000 to your startup for an 8% equity stake in your company. And all the teams get together and collaborate under one roof.
During the second 3 months things do not get easier with a focus on improving your product or service. The acceleration phase culminates in a Demo-Day (actually a week) in The Campus in London or Silicon Valley where you pitch to Investors…and why not meet some potential clients and partners. Eleven provides additional EUR 25,000 to your startup for another 5% equity stake.
During the seed stage, you commercialize your product or service, with emphasis on hitting the global market. Eleven could provide the top teams with follow-on seed investment of up to EUR 150,000, often alongside other investors. The equity taken by Eleven at this stage is negotiable, but in any case the aggregate (acceleration and seed) stake is not expected to exceed 30%.
- Acceleration Stage
- Seed Stage
Dilyan DimitrovThe Wizard Dylan is the creative genius behind our name, which might not be obvious from his VC background. He is not only the fastest, but also actually gets things done. His multitasking skills will either make or break the whole thing (only the future will tell).
Daniel TomovChief Dreamer Dani is the opening doors guy at eleven and instrumental in attracting Google and Springbaord on board. He pioneered seed funding in IT in Bulgaria and was last seen as the founder of a successful renewable energy startup.
Ivaylo SimovVeto Partner Ivo devised eleven’s strategy. His notorious shyness can be overcome only with ample amounts of beer, preferably while skiing. He was previously a director in a private equity fund, but now wants to change the VC industry from the bottom up.
Jonathan BradfordMentor-in-chief Jon knows a thing or two about accelerators. He has helped launch 12 of them so far. His experience and network helps us immensely in speeding past corners and bumps. He is always busy, but always finds time to do more…
Mihaelena DamianovaStartup Scout Misha is always eager to start new initiatives by using her connections and anthropological observations We are not holding against her the long background in telecoms and new media businesses, as she has proven to be startups addicted – she loves entrepreneurs and they love her as well…
The European Investment Fund (EIF) has selected Eleven to manage a EUR 12 million Entrepreneurship Acceleration and Seed Financing Instrument under the JEREMIE Holding Fund.
The instrument is unique for South Eastern Europe (SEE) and is expected to help to establish Bulgaria as the hub for innovation and start-up business in SEE.
About the EIF
EIF’s central mission is to support Europe’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture capital and guarantees instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. The EIF total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 6bn at end 2011. With investments in over 370 funds, the EIF is a leading player in European venture due to the scale and the scope of its investments, especially in high-tech and early-stage segments. The EIF guarantees loan portfolio totalled over EUR 7.6bn in close to 220 operations at end 2011, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.
About the JEREMIE Initiative
JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) is a joint initiative launched by the European Commission (Directorate General Regional Policy) and the European Investment Bank group to improve access to finance for SMEs in the EU within the Structural Funds framework for the period 2007 – 2013. JEREMIE enables the EU Member States and Regions to put money from the structural funds and also national resources into holding funds that can finance SMEs in a flexible and innovative way. The new initiative aims at developing and fostering the role of entrepreneurship within the EU in order to meet the objectives of the Lisbon agenda and help structural funds to deliver greater benefits to the market. At the level of the European Union, the EIF has currently signed 8 national and 3 regional Holding Fund agreements. In Bulgaria, the JEREMIE Holding Fund is financed from the European Regional Development Fund and co-financed by 15% by the State Budget within the framework of the Operational Programme Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy 2007 – 2013. Under JEREMIE Initiative in Bulgaria, EIF has developed instruments providing support at all stages in the development of enterprises in Bulgaria – Pre-Seed and Seed for emerging entrepreneurs, VC for the enterprises in their early stages, as well as Growth and Mezzanine targeted at more mature, established companies seeking expansion opportunities.
We are doing what we are doing, because we believe that
is the new competitive advantage in a world of more
is all around us
is better than Slow
is the best tool to leap over hurdles
is essential for success
The way of the future is toDemocratize
the investment process
of choice should be in the hands of entrepreneurs
You should start local, but thinkGlobal
07 Mar 2013
Global Day 8200 EISP
Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Program
Tel Aviv, Israel
10 Mar 2013
Eleven Season III Selection Days, 8-10 March
04 Apr 2013
Invest in Bulgaria conference, Palo Alto, USA
05 Apr 2013
Seedcamp Belgrade, Serbia
06 Apr 2013
StartupStandup conference, Belgrade, Serbia
07 Apr 2013
Startup Weekend Mobile, Sofia 5-7 April
08 Apr 2013
Eleven Season III start of the program
18 Apr 2013
Startup Lithuania, Vilnius
23 Apr 2013
Eleven Season II Demo Day (invitation only)
No. 4 Gurko str.
30 Apr 2013
Seedcamp, Istanbul, Turkey
15 May 2013
Google I/O extended, Sofia, 15-17 May
21 May 2013
Balkan Venture Forum, Sofia
23 May 2013
LeanCamp by Salim Virani, Sofia
28 May 2013
Venture Connect, Bucharest, Romania
31 May 2013
Startup Weekend, Varna
03 Jun 2013
National Theater Ivan Vazov
08 Jun 2013
MSInnovate for GOOD
12 Jun 2013
ELEVEN OPEN MEETING
10:00 am – 12:00 am
No.30, Marin Drinov str.
20 Jun 2013
ELEVEN OPEN MEETING
10:00 am – 12:00 am
No.30, Marin Drinov str.
24 Jun 2013
Eleven Season III Demo Day
30 Jun 2013
Closing the application window for the fourth season at Eleven
25 Sep 2013
27 Sep 2013
London, United Kingdom
10 Oct 2013
14 Oct 2013 - 18 Oct 2013
Startup Trek 2013 (Balkans tour)
18 Oct 2013
Startup Weekend Plovdiv
26 Oct 2013
Techcrunch disrupt Europe 2013
27 Oct 2013
Macedonia StartUp Cup Competition Celebration
30 Oct 2013 - 31 Oct 2013
06 Nov 2013
14 Nov 2013
Balkan Venture Forum Tirana
20 Nov 2013
How To Web
22 Nov 2013
Balkan Venture Forum Serbia
13 Dec 2013
Eleven Christmas Party
13 Jan 2014
Batch 5 Induction Day
20 Jan 2014 - 24 Jan 2014
Batch 5 Mentor Week
18 Feb 2014
Eleven Open Meeting
betahaus Sofia, Krum Popov Street 56-58, Sofia, Bulgaria
28 Feb 2014
Close of Application Window #6
Why is this in English? Do I need to speak English to enter the programme?
We are looking for smart ideas and great teams that have the potential to disrupt both at a regional level but also have global potential. You should be able to communicate in English to take full advantage of the programme – we will have mentors, speakers and teams from abroad, so you should be able to understand them well. Your English does not need to be perfect, you simply need to feel at ease talking and understanding.
What is the Eleven Accelerator Venture Fund?
Eleven is an accelerator that combines a full time 13 week mentor-led bootcamp programme with seed investment. It is aimed at early stage high-potential startups, and will provide them with comprehensive set of entrepreneurial resources, including mentoring, expert business advice, hands-on technical assistance, and investment capital.
How much do you invest?
Our programme consists of three stages – First and Second Acceleration stages and a Seed stage. During each of the acceleration stages, we will invest €25,000 and up to a further €150,000 at the Seed stage. The goal is to shape a product or an idea well enough to attract larger investors at the end of the programme, so some projects may only need one stage of acceleration before they raise money, while others may need to go all the way through.
What do you get from this?
Against its investments, Eleven becomes a minority shareholder in each company getting anywhere between 10% and 15% at the acceleration stage and up to a cumulative 30% equity for fully funded (EUR 200k) companies.
I understand we get money and mentorship. What else do we get?
In addition to investment capital and the acceleration programme we will provide the teams office accommodation and full set of back office services (legal, accounting, etc.) for the duration of the first and second stages of the acceleration programme under one Roof. Furthermore, teams accepted on the accelerator have access to over €40k of free deals from technology service providers. Basically, we’ll help you get everything covered with minimal expenses so you can focus on creating a great product while you’re here, and not have to worry about all this other stuff.
What is the application process for Eleven?
We will be running quarterly cycles of our programme. Teams will be asked to fill-in a short online questionnaire and tell us about the team members and the idea. Each application window will be open for a few weeks. At the close of the application window we will review all submitted applications and shortlist about 50 projects to be interviewed. Then 25 teams shall be invited to personally pitch their ideas to the Investment Committee during a Selection Day, and ultimately 10-15 will enter the programme.
Our third application window is open right now and will close on February 3, 2013 at 2359EET. Apply now, here.
Do I need a business plan to apply?
Not for us. We take our decisions based on our application form and personal interviews. Even more, if you happen to have a business plan, we prefer not to see it.
This all sounds too good to be true. Where is the catch?
There is no catch. We will be successful only if our teams are successful. We believe there is an abundance of talent in the region, and enough successful entrepreneurs and proven professionals that can advise and lead the young entrepreneurs towards shaping their businesses. With our partners network and partnership with Google, we think you can do it.
Do you only fund teams and projects from Bulgaria?
No, anyone from anywhere can apply. However, teams will be expected to be in Bulgaria during the programme and to register a legal entity in Bulgaria, which should receive the funding from Eleven.
Would you fund an idea that only targets the local market, but is very good and can be very profitable?
We are looking for great ideas that at the end of the programme can either become cashfow positive and/or attract additional funding. As a general rule, we believe the most successful ideas will be easily scalable and can target the global markets.
Would you fund a non-IT idea?
Yes, we are looking for ideas that can greatly benefit from the resources we provide (funding, learning, networking and coaching) within the three plus three months of the acceleration phase of our programme. We are not limiting our investments to ICT, so if you believe your project is scalable and has real potential, go for it.
Can a company, that already has a product or services get financing directly from the Seed compartment of the fund?
It is possible, and we actually plan to have some projects go directly into Seed Stage. However, we strongly believe the we can help companies with fully developed products in the Acceleration programme by working with them on strategy, introductions and funding, so we may suggest some later-stage projects go through the entire programme.
Could a not-for-profit project apply?
Sorry, no. We are dedicated to making the world a better place, just as NGOs are, but we are doing it by solving problems and trying to make money from that. We would be excited to see for-profit social ventures.
If I don’t have a team, can I still apply for the programme?
While we will not automatically discard single-founder great idea without a team, your chances on getting into the programme will increase dramatically if you have co-founders and a team. We strongly encourage you to seek co-founders to balance your skill-set and apply as a fully fledged team.
Can the team work on other projects while in the programme?
No. We want the teams in our programme to be passionate and committed to what they are doing, and they must be focused. A lack of dedication will impact upon your ability to attract follow on capital from Eleven.
What can we use the money for? Will the founders get any salary?
Whilst the ultimate decision of how the money is spent is that of the founders – you will need to demonstrate how it benefits the business. Furthermore, how the funds are used will have an impact upon the Investment Committee for ongoing investment. Founders may take a salary and charge business related expenses, as they deem appropriate. The leaner you are, the better the chances of your startup are, so spend wisely.
What should the investment be used for? Would all funding go to pay for the services, provided by the fund (office space, professional services, etc.)?
The investment funds should be used to support the development of an impressive prototype or beta version of the product, so it can attract further funding. The costs include general operating expenses for a company , travel and accommodation for the founders if overseas meetings and events are attended, as well as founders’ living expenses (via their salaries) while the programme is happening. The rent and back office services will be charged at cost and the full package is currently estimated at about EUR 1,000 per month.
Is it possible that not all members of the startup team are founders? May we hire programmers, for example?
Where the success of the business is reliant upon the success of the product, we believe that it is essential that the core skills required to build both the business and product should not be outsourced. We believe this early in any company, the team should consist of individuals, sharing common values, and having the same amount of passion about the idea they are working on. This does not mean the teams cannot hire external expertise for their projects, but we will be very happy to see all the skills, needed for taking the idea to an impressive demo stage, available within the founders.
If the startup can hire people and pay them salaries from the provided funding, can the hiring take place after the project is approved?
When making the decision to invest in a team we want to know who is going to participate. Yet, we will strongly advise you not to make any commitments before your project is approved, be it to personnel or to service providers. Ultimately similarly to spending, hiring decisions are at the discretion of the founders.
What happens if a company does not go to the next stage in the programme, and there is still money available from the previous rounds?
Not proceeding to the next stage in the programme does not mean the company is a failure, the founders may still continue working on their project and make a big splash in the end. The money we invest is for equity and stays in the company, we will not be asking for it to be paid back, but we will keep our stake in the company, and share its success when it comes.
What if a project gets funding on the first stage of acceleration, but does not enter the second one? Can it still apply for the second Acceleration stage or the Seed stage later on if it makes progress?
Not going into the second phase of Acceleration or not getting Seed financing from Eleven is not the end of the world. We will be looking to preserve our value by assisting these projects (particularly not seeded Acceleration graduates) to raise further financing and keep improving and growing. We will not take second stage Acceleration programme applications, but some drop-offs may get a second chance and re-enter the programme in a next cycle.
What if one founder in a team of three drops out in the middle of the programme? Can he/she exit and what happens to his/her shares?
During a startup it is not uncommon for members of the team to leave and new members to join. Eleven believes that original founders should be rewarded upon the time that they commit to a startup and hence will require teams to sign a vesting schedule – for the protection of the other team members.
What is the Roof?
The Roof will be the designated home of eleven and the co-working space for all funded teams for the duration of the acceleration stages. It will have working area, meeting rooms and lounge. To the extent possible most events and mentor meetings will be held at the Roof. We believe that collaboration among the teams will be a defining element of their eleven experience.
Can we use our own computers in the Roof?
As a rule, you will use your own computers and equipment while in the programme. You will be strongly encouraged to use certain services to protect your projects, like using virtual machines and regular back-ups so you don’t lose all the value you create if your computer is destroyed or stolen.
Do I have to be there for the entire programme?
It’s your company so you can come and go as you see fit. But we do require that you be primarily based on site during the program. This benefits you because you can take advantage of the numerous learning opportunities, networking and coaching that will be provided. eleven is a major commitment, and we expect you to be around most of the time.
Will there be a smoking area in the common space?
Likely, smoking will be prohibited in public areas when the programme starts, so other than the outdoors Smoking area, there will be no smoking room in the Roof.
Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?
No, we won’t sign an NDA. No accelerator would. We’re certainly not in the business of stealing ideas, as this would certainly kill us, as no startup will ever trust us again.
Can I be a mentor? What are the criteria to select a mentor?
A mentor that can share his/her experience and say ‘when I was in that situation I did this and it didn’t work’ or ‘I did this and it worked’ is worth way more than any investment. Anyone that feels the above is true for himself/herself can jump in and become a mentor. To be clear, mentors do not get paid to participate in the programme.
May I arrange a meeting with the team of Eleven to discuss my idea?
Whilst we would love to meet everyone who is thinking of applying to Eleven, we do expect to receive a significant number of applications. We cannot formally consider any team without an application being completed. We will be attending many events. Look us up and track us down.
We look for mentors from all walks of life, but we would particularly like to speak with people who have been entrepreneurs in their own right. A mentor that can share their experience and say ‘when I was in that situation I did this and it didn’t work’ or ‘I did this and it worked’ is worth way more than any investment.
Who are the mentors?
The mentors are the key to the overall success of the accelerator and include: entrepreneurs, experts (technology, finance, marketing & PR, sales, etc.), angels, venture capital professionals.
What time do mentors need to commit?
We are looking for our mentors to commit to a day to meet the teams once every quarter or so, followed by one hour a week for mentor catch up meetings (via phone, skype, video conference or face to face) with the projects they like. Obviously if you can provide more time then the teams would be delighted.
We recognise that some mentors will struggle to provide this level of support, but may be prepared to provide limited phone support and or important connections, which can be just as valuable.
What will I do as a mentor?
You will meet with the teams who will present you with their current challenges. Using your experience, expertise or connections, you will help them overcome the challenges that their startup faces. This is an on-going process over 3-6 months.
What’s in it for me?
Firstly, this will be an exciting process and you will have the opportunity to work with some amazing teams and startups.
Some mentors and teams may choose to continue to work in a more formal way at the end of the programme as either trusted advisor’s or by joining the Board of Directors. For those with cash to invest it’s a great way of carrying out due diligence on the team and the business before you invest.
You will have the opportunity to meet and build connections with all the accelerator mentors (expected to be 100+). Your profile will be on the eleven website, raising your profile across the tech community and beyond.
It will be fun and you will be supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs.
How do I sign up?
Get in touch with us.
The financing provided hereunder by the Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises (JEREMIE) Initiative is implemented through the Operational Programme "Development of the competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy" 2007-2013, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the state budget.