The program for innovation and entrepreneurship promotion “Kaunas Startups” organized for the fourth year has come to an end: the acceleration part of the program went off with a bang and ovations; the best startups from eleven accelerated teams were rewarded, and the networking program, which have been giving the Kaunas innovators free lectures, workshops and training for two months, last week invited everyone to the last event where the participants of the program presented their ideas to the honorable commission.
11 teams + 40 experts = 8 weeks of startup accelerator
Half a hundred applications and eleven selected teams – this was a start of an intense and dynamic eight-week Accelerator of “Kaunas Startups 2018”, whose participants had the opportunity not only to analyze and enhance their products but also to gain invaluable knowledge from well-experienced international experts and mentors.
Business accelerator is an intensive program designed to develop a product, expand its market and attract investments.
The accelerated teams focused on the above-mentioned goals, the participants were given personal consultations and attended quick meetings with more than 40 local and international mentors and experts in their field. Over 30 representatives of business and public sector institutions contributed to the development of startups during the accelerator training: such companies as “Civitta”, “Craft Bearings”, “Cocos.lt”, “Mio Robots”, “Sales Up”, “Be&Do”, ISM University of Management and Economics, “Social marketing”, “Startup Wise Guys”, “SEB”, “JurisConsultus”, “NEO Finance”, “Katalista Ventures”, „Svaros broliai”, “Startup Division”, “BitDegree”, “Triniti”, and others. International experts – M Wallace Green, Mario Krivokapic and Cristobal Alonso – helped teams develop business plans, position their products, sell them, pitch to investors and convince them to work together.
At the end of the program, the participants stated that they found the assistance in identifying the initial user of the service, insights on how to position their business idea and changed perceptions of business risk to be the most beneficial. The teams have changed the functionality of their product according to the mentors’ recommendations, re-branded the product, adjusted market entry strategies and made new contacts with potential partners for the first sales. Several accelerator teams have attracted new, internationally experienced team members, and there were 4 preliminary investment proposals received in total.
The commission selected the winners
The final chord of the accelerator program was the closing event on December 6, Demo Day, where the teams presented their projects that were evaluated by investors and rewarded with valuable prizes.
The commission gave the first place to the Kaunas citizens, medical technology startup “BrachyDOSE”: they won the 1,000 Eur “Civitta” Consulting Voucher and the “Startup Division” prize – a foreign startup ecosystem exploration mission to a chosen destination.
As the winners Neringa Šeperienė and Rolandas Jakelis said during the Acceleration program, they were driven by the desire to present their product – a quality assurance system during cancer treatment procedures – in a representative and attractive manner.
“All presentations were so strong that we really did not expect to win. The first place for us means the opportunity to make new contacts and bring our product to the market faster,” said Neringa from “BrachyDOSE” after the awards.
Second place also went to the Kaunas citizens, “Dear Deer Eyewear” – the startup creating exclusive glasses made by using 3D printing technology. They received a 500 Eur “Civitta” Consulting Voucher and a 3-month membership in the collaboration space “Talent Garden Kaunas”.
The third-place winner is a team from Vilnius “Flow Recuperator” – developers of innovative ventilation systems. They also received a “Civitta” Consulting Voucher worth 500 Eur.
Even three startups were invited to participate in the prestigious “Startup Wise Guys” acceleration program’s selection camp in the spring of 2019.
The startup of the beauty services market, “Colourist Guide”, earned the special “KTU Startup Space” prize – the opportunity to work at “KTU Startup Space” all year round and get all the necessary advice for further product development. As a member of this startup team Ainius Obolevičius said, they came to the accelerator hoping to gain more knowledge on how to further develop their product: “But we were surprised how mentors turned our idea upside down and showed us sides that we have not previously seen, and which actually have a bigger potential. During these weeks, we have developed a different vision, and we are now twice as motivated to continue working on our idea and its development.”
Another special prize was created by the legal services company “JurisConsultus”, who also contributed by mentoring and consulting the teams. The team of the startup creating innovations in the field of real estate “Superhost” received a 1,000 Eur voucher for legal services.
The most important questions answered during networking events
Over the course of the “Kaunas Startups 2018” networking program, which lasted for almost three months, more than 20 free events were hosted and visited by more than 1,000 participants.
How do existing employees communicate with the potential ones? How to create a company website? What investments do the startups need? What kind of EU business support can I expect after 2020? What should I know about the Lithuanian tax base before starting a business? Many of such and similar issues have been thoroughly analyzed and discussed during the networking program in the free lectures, seminars, workshops and training. More than 15 business and public sector partners – professionals in their fields – joined the networking activities: “Kayak”, “Global Bridges”, “Data Dog”, UAB “Marketologai”, “JurisConsultus”, UAB “Millo Appliances”, UAB “Helis LT”, “Alchemetrics”, “ADEO WEB”, UAB “FIMA”, “ŽaismoDNR.lt”, “Rubee”, “Kaunas Coding School”, Lithuanian Innovation Centre (LIC), Technological innovation and business support agency (TIPVA), Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA), “Šiaulių bankas”, Kaunas University of Technology and BÜRO.
One of the most impressive events in the networking process was the “Open Data Kaunas” Hackathon, when over 130 participants generated original ideas for the city, while working with data from the different Kaunas public institutions for 48 hours. As the success of the Hackathon has shown, Kaunas is hungry for such events, therefore, the organizers have no doubt that there will be more of them in the future.
The joint team of Kaunas University of Technology and UAB BÜRO, who organized networking events, were happy to see so many Kaunas residents and guests actively participating. “We hope that we have managed to get the city moving and next year we will “harvest” the results: we will see new businesses, innovative and bold ideas that will turn into real businesses,” said Tomas Proscevičius, the representative of “KTU Startup Space”.
Information by Kaunas IN Business Division.