LAUNCHub kicks off 2014 with new investments
The selection followed the fourth Long Weekend Event held at the end of November in Bulgaria, where 14 teams fiercely competed to receive seed investment of up to 200.000 euros during four days of intensive pitching, coaching and mentoring.
Created a year and a half ago, this fund has invested approximately 2,8 million euros in the digital tech sector in the SEE region. With those recent investments, LAUNCHub’s portfolio has grown to 35 companies from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia, Greece, and is now stepping into Slovenia and Ukraine.
Partner at LAUNCHub Stanislav Sirakov told inventures.eu that an increased number of mature companies having already developed product and users, generated revenue, and/or having received angel money or participated in accelerator programmes applied for this round. He also explained the reason for backing Bulgarian company EdHub a second time:
“EdHub is a typical example of a company targeting quite a big problem in a very interesting industry – EduTech. Our team is very positive on how technology is changing the way education is both delivered and consumed, but this comes with a new skill-set in all the people involved in it. EdHub is staying on the intersection of these two, allowing teachers to better utilise tech applications. This is a long-term shift, which requires a lot of patience and support from your investors, and this is why we decided to support the company” he said.
In terms of industries, the 2014 batch consists of startups from typical digital sectors such as software development tools, end-consumer basic markets and gaming, with a breakthrough in health tech, represented by two new companies – Greenpie and Mediately.
Croatian startup Greenpie has developed a web-based application that allows nutritionists, dieticians and other nutrition health providers to set up their virtual clinic or e-office, thus automating the nutrition counselling process and connecting them to their patients in real time.
Meanwhile, with two geeky MDs on board, the Slovenian team of Mediately has created a mobile app and web application making a drug registry and an extensive database of medications easily and immediately availableto doctors.
Who else is on board?
Created by a Romanian team, Appticles is a platform based on the Open Web concept & HTML5 that allows publishers to package their web content into apps, thus creating great user experience.
Bulgarian Prefer.ly is an e-commerce tool that aims to facilitate social decision-making by extracting online reviews for different products and transforming them into purchase decision advice.
Developed for bloggers and webmasters, Bulgarian WPToolbox is a directory for WordPress plugins, themes and training, as well as a marketplace for add-ons and pack of tools. It also includes a unique platform for WP installation packs.
Sofia-based Equafy provides a time-saving multi-browser testing service. The IaaS/SaaS solution allows for tests to be run on any browser and for automatic bug identification and analysis in just two clicks, by first recording all your browser activities and then with a second click replaying these activities in its cloud based tool. The beta version is expected to be launched in February.
Developed by Ukrainian researchers and engineers, IQFriends offers social brain training games on mobile aimed to increase users’ logic, memory, arithmetic, reaction speed and mental flexibility in a fun way.
Romanian GameMatch is a mobile game discovery platform for iOS that helps players discovering great games and news fitting their tastes, as well as a way for developers to find their target audience.
Last but not least, Sofia-based BGMENU is an online platform for food ordering and delivery including over 250 restaurants in Bulgaria classified by cuisine types and location and offering an interface both in Bulgarian and English.
Sirakov said that these young companies will receive support in multiple ways besides funding through the programme. “We do not come simply as an investor, but more like a team member and an engaged partner,” he said. “We sit together with the founders and discuss all the important issues sometimes challenging the strategy. Our whole network, consisting of tech vendors, successful entrepreneurs and investors is opened to all the founders… All this could speed the development of the companies, but basically most of the time great founders are winning their way in and we are there just to facilitate the process,” he added.