In the world of entrepreneurship, trying to be innovative without getting international feedback is almost as effective as trying to make an omelet without the eggs. It just won’t work. By figuring that out, Bulgarian StatAce went from local to global andnow talks to inventures.eu about its recent international Betapitch experience.
StatAce is an online statistical system (read more here). The newly established startup – they teamed up only a month before the competition – made it twice in front of a local and then a global Betapitch audience. “Betapitch global, was a very focused event: Three hours of pitching after having prepared and received feedback the day before. Overall it did improve our pitch,” says co-founder Christian Mladenov. “Bulgaria is a small market, and the startup scene is very young. The plan always includes going after larger regional or global markets,” he adds.
The chances of finding an investor at such or similar international competitions Mladenov believes are quite good. “We might be able to find a future investor as a result of the contacts from betapitch global, including the organisers and the trip to the US.” he says.
Photo credit: Heisenberg Media, http://bit.ly/1aqMgFDApart from getting feedback and meeting important consultants and investors, Mladenov says the experience was quite helpful as “it is very important to go out and see what people from other countries are doing. Meeting startups from Denmark, Germany, Spain, Austria was really fascinating”. Western startups, he adds, have the advantage of finding financial support much earlier in the process. “In Bulgaria, there are only two accelerators, angels are virtually non-existent, and the society is quite risk-averse, so family and friends usually view startup activities as a waste of time and money, and are not very willing to participate. Also, people are generally poorer so money is harder to come by.” To see things – especially progress, from the perspective of a foreign company was therefore an advantage.
As far as the comparison between Bulgarian and Western startups go, StatAce’s CEO believes the bar of starting a company in his own country is relatively low. It’s not so hard to start with only an idea, he says. “There are several university programmes as well as organisations like Start It Smart that help, support and prepare newbies to apply for accelerators or events.” However, a successful startup would most probably need to relocate its headquarters.
“If we are successful we will move our HQ to the US, as this is where most investors, potential partners, acquirers, users of data and statistical software are. All the big vendors are US-based. We will keep development in Bulgaria because the qualified labour force here is more abundant and cheaper,” Mladenov says.
Currently, the startup is working on building its system and prioritising the features that they’re incorporating for the first version. At this stage their primary target is academia, but later on they will also target finance enterprises.