Relying on the luck of the double sevens, the first regional demo day of the Macedonian SuperFounders acceleration program took place on 7 July showcasing nine startups from Skopje, Podgorica and Banja Luka, along with entries from the partnering Stage ONE accelerator from Greece.
The presenting startups had already gone through the accelerator’s Start program and were eager to show their progress to investors and mentors, competing for two awards: Most promising startup and Best pitch. The event also included talks by Superfounders Executive General Partner Aleksandar Tasev, who spoke about what it takes to be a visionary entrepreneur and by Nikola Bojkov, founder of digital marketing agency IM.MK, who focused on internet marketing for startups.
By far, the most expected talk was that by Mark Turrell, Founder and CEO of Orcasci. The author of the book Scaling: Small Smart Moves for Outsized Results got into the spirit of the Superfounders event and addressed the crowd in a Superman t-shirt. His interactive talk was focused on the concepts behind scaling, but he also took the opportunity to teach a lesson in pitching by presenting a new, still unnamed startup he is working on. His idea, to create a network of contacts allowing people to reach out across industries, is still very much a work in progress.
Much to the disappointment of the remaining teams one company managed to snag both awards – Bosnian Qorio, a startup geared towards musicians. Their idea is to offer an iOS and Android app that helps musicians improve their singing by going a step further than karaoke apps with added statistics and data. Or, as startup activist Dragan Antonic commented on twitter, it is an app that “ will help you sing better, even under shower.”
Softening the blow, there was also the Audience choice award, which went to a Greek contender. Volcanic Riddles is a startup aimed at the education sector, exploring the options of teaching children through games. Designed in cooperation with educators, to support teaching Mathematics in primary school and the first grades of secondary school, the gaming platform takes advantage of HTML5 to allow for the creation of personalised games with little or no programming experience.
The rest of the contenders – Aleksandra Fashion Design Studio, ArtUp, BikeSocket, Coordinate, EasyBuy-EasyPay, Midas Solutions and m:Student had to settle for the lessons learned during the lectures and mentoring sessions.
Despite having gone through an acceleration program, most companies seemed to be at the concept stage, Viktor Dano, editor of IT.com.mk noted. “Although some of them were excellent in presenting a well thought out business plan,” he said, “all of them presented ideas and concepts, and only two or three actually had a demo that they could show or test.”
Special thanks to Viktor Dano from lt.com.mk for his cooperation.