Eleven's 7th batch of companies demo day brings hope to CEE startup scene
As we reach the end of another year filled with entrepreneurial events in Sofia, earlier today the seed fund Eleven debuted the startups they have backed up with initial investments at the 7th Demo Day, held in Grand Hotel Sofia. This time the team had so much to show us, that instead of the usual round-up of 10 selected start-ups, Eleven showed us 15 impressive 5 minute pitches. Another notable fact is that more than 1/3 of presented companies were hardware, instead of the typical software or mobile app solutions. This displays an evident switch in investment interests towards actual physical products and the further shift towards the internet of things as the trend to follow in 2015.
And as each one of us does their own business recap of the year passed, one thing becomes clear – our entrepreneurial community and our global reach is growing stronger by the minute. Sofia is one of the top 3 European countries for accelerated start-ups, as stated in a report by the European Investment Fund’s Jeremie, released earlier this year. Something more, Sofia is becoming the preferred place for founders to start their tech businesses and a unique hub of brain talent, the results of which we all got to enjoy during Eleven’s Demo Day.
The event started by a key-note speech by Chris Chabot on the Mobile Future and the faster paces of innovation and development we see with new technologies every day. An avid supporter of the Bulgarian ecosystem, we saw Chris earlier this year during the DIGITALK conference. With an impressive tech background, which includes head of Google+ Developer Relations in California, a Head of international Developer Relations in Twitter, as well as a serious entrepreneur, when Chris is talking, there is always new things one can learn. Today’s presentation was no exception.
Technology changed the foundation of society, but it’s not technology that transformed us, it was the culture behind it
He stressed that our continuous development in everything digital has now given birth to a new era of innovation – that of contextual awareness and the usage of data to give actionable advice, to draw personalised customer conclusions and to customise the user experience. (ex: Google Now, Refresh)
And as we moved to the main event, here is the line-up of the 15 companies that we met during the event: Orel Soft, SoFly, AVSD, Coprix Media, CyberCity, Tryad Games, Dextrophobia Rooms, Golden Media, Melissa Climate, The Barba, U:Plug, Arthesis, Race Cloud, Dronamics, Traincamp.me
Each company presented has the potential to grow and realise their idea, here is short overview of what they do:
Orel Soft (Bulgaria) – keeping your device locked and safely locked. Provides ultimate security as most of the passwords are hackable. Mission – stop password hacking. Phantom Login is picture-based password – users never enter their own passwords but instead click on series of pictures who they identify as parts of the password. Over 5,000 active users for just 2 months. They have a visual template store so you can alter the imagery used to unlock your device. Bulgarian National Bank is their first an by far the biggest corporate customer. Besides Eleven there are three other angle investors among them Milen Velchev. Strong and experienced team, quite scalable concept. Wonder if there are companies and research groups who hold patents for visual passwords? Read our interview with Phantom Login founders.
SoFly (Portugal) – a companion that shares your passion for TV and allows you to socially interact, shop and effortlessly discover what’s on screen. Focus on an addictive product and make it immersive, revolutionise how television engages your time. Social television platform With SoFly you can listening to conversations on social media and guide producers and people that create shows, share data with them to guide the interests of the audience through their analytics system. SoFly helps TV companies better engage with their audiences. Some of their clients are XFactor Portugal, The Voice, sportal.bg
AVSD (Bulgaria) is a platform for designing, visualizing and analysing software in a 3D environment. They make the spaghetti code less spaghetti-like. As they stated during the presentation they read the software DNA” and help software specialists/developers better understand code. – AVSD stands for Amplified Visual Software Design and the tool will automatically analyse your system, simplify the complexity and visualise the whole architecture on a 3D model that can be easily understood
Coprix Media (Serbia) – how to best prepare my daughter for life. Schools are not preparing our children for the digital era. With Coprix Media you can draw and build interactive educational applications. It’s easy to gather and analyse vast amounts of data, provide customised, personal education through fun and play. They’ve started testing in schools this September. 300 kids are currently working with their software (public primary schools), 150 more schools in the pipeline. Targeting MENA markets
CyberCity (Serbia) is web and traffic builder for alternative sub cultures and lifestyles (steampunk, tattoo, gothic, comics, magic, alternative music. These alternative people are digitally unserved. CyberCity is a platform that gives alternative community all the tools they need to be digitally active. Tools to become prominent in the communities they belong to, promote a service, product, idea that belong to specific niches. Business model – monthly subscription. Releasing the private beta today. Looking for a gateway to the US market.
Tryad Games (Bulgaria) – massive real-time multiplayer competitive games for mobile devices. Their new game Scavenger Arena is coming to app stores next week. Tryad Games mission is to create an unique gameplay (World of Warcraft like) for the mobile devices. They want to position as Clash of Clans competitor, targeting the mid-core mobile gamers. Opened a seed round ($1.2M), raised almost half, looking for 500K.
Dextrophobia Rooms (Bulgaria) are the first in Bulgaria real-life room escape games. Rules are simple – one room, one team, one hour, one exit. They say it’s best way you can spend an hour with your friends in Sofia and that might be true as the facility is prebooked for the next 2 months. The concept is quite simple – physical environment where a team is locked in for an hour and their goal is to get out, using puzzles, tools. The physical obstacles reveal the true emotions of the player, making them forget other worries and focus on the challenge. Tripadvisor names Dextrophobia Rooms #1 attraction in Sofia in 4 months. They’ve made EUR 25,000 in revenues for the last 4 months out of 4,000 players. Next step is building a second, even bigger room. The team hopes this will berepeatable concept, potential for franchise so more rooms can be build in Bulgaria and in Europe.
Golden Media will acquire the existing Golden Pages brand, database and website and will provide classified advertising services to SMEs across Bulgaria via goldenpages.bg. The existing website will be improved to make it more attractive to and better used by consumers and easier for SMEs. New marketing and sales services, e.g. lead generation, direct selling via a call centre, sales and service of websites.
Melissa Climate (Bulgaria) is remotely accessed domestic air-conditioning system. It ontrols your air-conditioner through a machine algorithm to capture your preferences, saves up to 25% of the electricity bill. Targeting Europe through wholesalers, installers (air-conditioning specialists), online (through websites). The product will sell for 49 EUR and will offer premium app analytics to air-conditioning companies. With over EUR 20,000 in pre-orders Melissa is planning to expand via partners as Technopolis and Zora and initially getting to European expansions
The Barba (Serbia) is the connection between boat owners and people who are looking for boat transportation, or simply said Uber for boats. But it’s even more than just a service for renting boats. With the platform you can book and organize team-building on a luxury yacht. With clients like Microsoft, Sony, Intel this might be where the team-building industry is heading to (thebarba.co)
U:Plug (Croatia) – the power outlet reinvented. Beautifully designed, simple & elegant solution for charging all your electronics right from the wall outlet. The concept behind U:Plug is to create a product that won’t ask users to change their habits, but compliment what comes natural to you. In a nutshell it’s basically a plug that works atop a standard wall plug and adds two USB plugs, offers useful indicators if your device battery is charged. It serves also as a stand for your device while charging. The wholesale price will be $14-20. 5,500 pre-sold pieces so far. www.uplug.me
Arthesis (Bulgaria) Tailored prosthetic covers. Arthesis is for leg amputees who want to express their identity and feel comfortable in social settings. It is for those who look for alternatives to the mass made silicone covers. Arthesis is a cover that you put on your prosthesis, creating the shape of the other leg, returning balance and symmetry to the body form. It’s like a tattoo but customisable to the occasion of wear.
Race Cloud (Bulgaria) – platform (hardware and software) for live monitoring of the driver and kart’s performance on the racing track designed for karting drivers, race engineers, mechanics and fans. Empowered with the latest technology and implemented on the cloud. Race Cloud delivers 3-component live telemetry for race sports, monitoring in real time and analysis tools of the race. Sales orders for 100+ hardware units.
Dronamics (Bulgaria) – Development & production of Unmanned Aerial Systems for commercial use and special logistics missions. On a mission to fix problematic components in cargo industry – optimizing and shortening the delivery. No passengers, no crew. A drone that can carry 350 kg over 2,000 km distance. Dronamics will focus on emerging markets to avoid strict regulations and improve the technology for same-day international delivery. Premiere of the first prototype will be early next year so stay tuned.
Traincamp.me is an intelligent platform that takes the entire ecosystem of “on and off-line” resources and offers to people who like to learn new things. It’s a personalised platform for educational purposes using smart algorithms that learn preferences and adapt to customer needs.
If you think this is what Eleven have to offer, you are mistaken. That’s just the first half of a busy startup day. The second part – Founder Conference, our cover of the event will follow.