Kaunas Startup Accelerator has reached the final selection stage. On October 8-9, experts and program mentors will evaluate and select the startups, which, thanks to the program, will have the possibility to gain knowledge, strengthen personal competences and adopt the invaluable know-how from international mentors. The program will run for eight weeks at the co-working space Happspce Fontanas.
From the pool of over 50 applications, the selection commission has pre-selected 25 startups with the highest growth potential that best met the selection criteria. They have been invited to the boot camp to compete for the place at the Kaunas Startup Accelerator.
On October 8, the first day of the boot camp, all selected startups will pitch their business ideas to the mentors. On this day, mentors will have an advisory role whereas they will share their feedback and opinion on the quality of the pitches; extend advice on what could help highlight the strengths of business ideas; which features of the product or service need more attention; and what arguments can be employed to catch and retain selection commission’s interest in the product.
On October 9, the second day of the boot camp, having advanced their pitches and incorporated suggestions from mentors, startups will pitch their ideas to a 10-member selection commision. Upon evaluating all startups, the commision will select the final 11 startups that for the upcoming two months will be invited to grow and develop their skills and business ideas at the first ever startup accelerator in Lithuania, Kaunas Startups 2018.
Among the honorary members of the selection commission is the legendary founder of Electronic Arts Jeff Burton, who currently serves as a strategic advisor to a number of organizations and helps businesses grow. Pitches will also be judged by Business Angels’ Fund representative Daiva Rakauskaitė, who has accumulated over 7 years of professional experience managing private capital funds and over 4 years of experience in investing into small businesses.
Startups will get valuable advice and inspiration for the future from Eglė Čiuoderienė – an innovator and co-founder of Youweler, a Nextury Ventures backed startup company. Ms Čiuoderienė has worked in gaming and virtual reality areas for a number of years and was named the finalist at the prestigious European Digital Women of the Year award in 2017.
Startup pitches will be evaluated by the representatives of the companies that are implementing the accelerator program: Civitta partners Danielius Stasiulis and Dmitrij Sosunov, Startup Division executive director Jonė Vaitulevičiūtė, Startup Wise Guys representative responsible for partnerships and programs Egita Polanska. The selection commission also includes: the head of Kaunas City Municipality Development Program and Investment Division Tadas Metelionis; Kaunas IN Business Division chief project manager Neringa Valantinė, Kaunas IN Marketing Division project manager Monika Zažeckytė, and Kaunas University of Technology Startup Space business development specialist Tomas Proscevičius.
Kaunas Startup Accelerator starts on October 15, and will run for consecutive two months. The final event, the Demo Day, will take place on December 6, whereby all accelerator participants will pitch their advanced business ideas to investors with the hope to find potential financial partners that will help grow their ideas in the future.