Eleven, the €12M Bulgarian accelerator, to bring in a cohort of gaming startups in its next batchBY Vukašin Stojkov ON January 16
Eleven, the €12M accelerator venture fund from Bulgaria, has confirmed that it will be upgrading its third batch of startups this spring by bringing in an additional cohort made up entirely of — gaming startups.
The young accelerator which started up last year with the help of EU funds currently houses its second batch of startups in their coworking space in Sofia.
At “The Roof” they provide them with mentorship and the sort of support customary to startup accelerators in the EU and the US, yet quite unique to the region of South-East Europe.
Even though this region lacks in terms of startup ecosystems maturity it does not lack in terms of talent, perhaps even more so when it comes to gaming. Nordeus, the social gaming star hailing from Belgrade, for instance, is one of the 15 fastest growing Internet companies in whole of Europe.
By taking in a batch of gaming startups Eleven is not only tapping into the region’s game design talent pool, but will also be able to provide a more streamlined support system to these companies.
Focusing on one particular category of tech businesses and working with them through smaller mentor groups and a custom tailored programme does seem like a sound plan for providing significant value.
“We have seen a number of gaming startups in our previous rounds and it’s only natural given the concentration of game shops in the region and respectively the large pool of talent working in the segment.” says Eleven’s Dilyan Dimitrov.
Eleven’s partner on this is the top Bulgarian gaming company XS Software, which has 9 years of experience in this area and a presence in more than 80 countries around the world.
The 100+ strong team of professionals of XS Software will be providing the new cohort with expert advice, know-how and support on multiple levels, from development to distribution (including their own gaming portal).
What’s the deal?
Eleven will be offering a variation of their standard deal by giving up to 25.000€ for up to 8% stake in these startups.
In addition to this, XS Software will be taking an additional stake (also up to 8%) for which the startups will recieve the abundant support from this company, effectively making it a co-founder in the startup.
“The mechanism of investments with this batch will be a bit different from the usual Eleven model.
The process and the investment will run on a stage by stage basis, based on the needs and circumstances of individual teams.
This way the high risk profile of gaming startups, which don’t pivot or take to lean startup methodology that well, can be better managed.”
Who should apply?
The guys from Eleven are looking for experienced teams who already have something in the making, ideally a product that has been launched as a first release or a beta version.
As is usual with investors and accelerators, the quality of the team is paramount, while having just a Powerpoint will not get you far.
The application window will open tomorrow, on January 16th 2013 and remain open until February 17th.
Eleven, alongside with the complementary and also Sofia-based LAUNCHub, seems to be doing wonders in terms of injecting not only funds but energy and vitality to the wider SEE startup scene, and it’s great to see them going into a high potential category such as gaming, thus pushing the teams and the entire scene from this region quite a few steps ahead.
Transparency: the author is a mentor at Eleven and also the fund’s scout for Serbia.