On the evening of its second anniversary, Bratislava’s creative space The Spot and its team announced their newest brainchild – a three-part programme for early-stage startups bound to launch this coming September. The initiative goes by the name Booster, and wants to admit mainly university graduates and first-time entrepreneurs, among others, from an idea to an investment-ready business.
“After two years of The Spot offering informal support through mentorship and lectures, we decided that the time is right to move a step forward and also work with financing,” Ivan Debnar, co-founder of The Spot, told inventures.eu.
Over the past two years, The Spot has supported and helped to launch over 100 ideas, according to the team, six of its teams have made it into Wayra CEE (read our story here) and eight, including the ones in Wayra, have raised funding of a total of 1.5 million euros.
Booster in three phases
Booster will kick off with the Idea Cup, a one-month stage, which in Debnar’s words should “serve as an idea marketplace” where participants will become aware of all the different ideas out there, and the business opportunities that may hide behind them.
Following Idea Cup willbe the incubation phase, which will accept both teams that have proven themselves during the initial stage and new applicants from a number of CEE countries, including Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria. There is currently no limitation as to what sector the ideas come from.
Hard work, however, will be on the line. “Once they join the incubator, teams are expected to work 24/7,” Debnar said. “They will be focusing on prototyping, reaching out to potential customers and collecting their feedback.”
This phase will go on for two months, during which participants will be supported by a grant of up to 15.000 euros and know-how coming from The Spot’s mentorship staff and network. At the end of the incubation, teams should be able “to have a prototype or an MVP, feedback from users, and to be confident enough to incorporate,” Debnar said.
The third part of the Booster programme will be the accelerator, which is planned to run for about four months, and to offer funding of up to 50.000 euros in exchange for equity.
In Debnar’s words, the goal is to maximise value by gradually developing entrepreneurs’ skills instead of investing early on. By the end of the acceleration phase, startups should be at the stage to pitch to VCs, he added. At this point, Booster is said to be backed by some of The Spot’s existing investor partners, while the team is looking to get additional ones onboard.
Expect more information on the official launch of Booster in September.