Wasn’t it just a few days ago that I said that Europe had gone a little incubator crazy? Well, more news on that front, this time coming out of Sofia, Bulgaria, of all places: Eleven, backed by €12 million of European taxpayers’ money, gets its official unveiling today, along with announcing the first eleven startups to be accepted into the program. It also boasts some impressive partners, including Google and Springboard.
Targeting teams in Central and Eastern Europe (although, interestingly, the accelerator will accept applications from anywhere), Eleven is offering startups €50,000 in funding for 10-15% of equity with a remit to help them go from discovery to validation, taking them past an initial MVP to be seed and series A investment ready. To that end, a follow on seed investment of €150,000 will be on offer to around one third of the graduating startups for up to an additional 15% equity — so the opportunity really is their’s to lose.
There’s one caveat, of course. Applying startups must be willing to relocate to Bulgaria for 3-6 months, where they’ll be based out of Eleven’s co-working space. I’m told it’s an impressive building, however — dubbed the “roof” and currently undergoing renovation, it’s the former Bulgarian Telephone Chamber building, which was the headquarters of the communist-era state telephone company. The is new Europe after all.
Overall, Eleven has a mandate to spend its investment budget in 3.5 years and to fund between 100 and 200 startups. It’s being run by a team with a mostly financial (and some VC) background, while it also counts Springboard’s Jon Bradford as a co-founder. Its partner, advisory and mentor network extends much further, however, and includes “serial entrepreneurs, leading VCs, and many others”. In fact, Google’s London Campus is to play host to the team demo days in six month’s time after the first cohort are ready to present their wares.
Talking of which, here are the first twelve:
Eventyard – event platform where the events find you
Farmhopping – Farmville meets real farms
Filement – platform for data access and management on any device
GrabaLanguage – learning foreign languages in a fun and effortless way
KeenSkim – automatic highlight summaries of web pages, articles and news
La Koketa – solving every girl’s problem: what to wear on which occasion
Maistorplus – find the best handymen in town / region-flavouredMyBuilder
Playground Energy – kids’ playgrounds that generate electricity
Sensika – an in-house corporate information intelligence tool
Soccer Scout – a professional network for managers, players, coaches and teams
Ulympix – create competitions and challenge the world
For those who’d like to get in on the action next time round, applications will be opened in September 2012 for the December-March acceleration period.
Oh, and here’s that wonderful-looking building.