Ljubljana-based Silicon Gardens recently launched a micro fund programme backed by local and foreign investors to accelerate early-stage startups from Slovenia and the broader region to the international stage. Created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, the fund aims to provide budding businesses with initial funding and valuable coaching to increase the amount of global success stories that the region has been witnessingover the past years (read our coverage on Bellabeat, Celtra and successful Slovenian startups).
The project was put together after two years of relentless efforts by active members of Silicon Gardens, a community of Slovenian entrepreneurs created in 2010 to foster and promote the local startup ecosystem. Local business stars Gregor Rebolj of Klika/Sportradar, Boštjan Špetič and Andraz Tori of Zemanta, and Borut Rismal of Pasadena, were joined in their endeavour by prominent U.S. investors who believe in the potential of the SEE region – Fred Wilson, Brad Feld, Jerry Colonna and Paul Vidich.
The Fund will invest 20.000 euros to 40.000 euros in five to ten companies in the first year, in exchange for 5% to 15% equity share. In addition to receiving cash, each firm of the portfolio will also be assigned a mentor from the investment committee or investor board to help them develop their ideas and get ready for further funding. The teams will thus benefit from the mentor’s experience in building a fast growing company, as well as from his social and professional network.
Beyond the financial aspect, the Fund puts an emphasis on sharing know-how and knowledge transfer between local talents and seasoned entrepreneurs involved in the programme. First of its kind, the institution also aims to increase the investment activity in the region while setting up standards on funding. The fund will indeed operate in maximum transparency and open source the Fund’s legal documentation.
Applications to join the first round are now open. Whether you’d like to pitch your concept or just to seek advice from the committee members, learn more about the application process and on the Silicon Gardens Fund’s official website. Angels investors are also invited to get in touch to participate in the second round of funding.