We’re off to a rolling start in 2013, with the 8 new Eleven teams starting at Eleven HQ in Sofia on January 7. In case you missed it, here are our exciting new companies:
- Catalogster | Bulgaria/Sweden | Deyan and Victor are two young but experienced techies, previously involved with rolling out major consumer internet products in large emerging markets. With Catalogster, the team is making an application to catalog and share all user items and belongings.
- Emotion Concept (Gameleon | Romania | The team from Bucharest is building a tool for publishing multiplatform games, which will allow marketers to easily create business-oriented gamification products.
- iSay| Bulgaria | The four-person team from Sofia is committed to raising live interaction measurements of events and media broadcasts to a new level.
- Naychi.me | Bulgaria | Naychi.me is tapping into the learning marketplace, providing a regional platform for students and teachers to find each other, and to host classes and trainings online.
- ShareYourCart | Romania | Adela and Andrei are two amazing entrepreneurs from Cluj-Napoca, and our second team from this Romanian city. With ShareYourCart, the team allows e-retailers to increase conversion through social interactions of their customers.
- Sponsia | Bulgaria | Milen and Teodosy are the founders of a disruptive marketplace that allows sponsors and event organizers to find each other and to build branding and sponsorship relationships online.
- Squee.it | Croatia | The Squee boys are building the app store of indie gadgets, leveraging the exploding global demand for niche gizmos, appliances, tech devices, and accessories.
- Vetcloud | Serbia | Ivan, Milan, and Mirza are three entrepreneurs from Nis in Serbia, who are building the first global platform for animal healthcare professionals. Think Basecamp for vets.
What the numbers say
Having completed a second application cycle, we are finally getting some comparable numbers on how the applications to Eleven look like statistically, which we decided to share with you in this infographic.
Based on the above, here are three main takeaways.
- It’s about the team - You’re most likely to get accepted into Eleven with a team size of three. Two or four are also an option, but you definitely need to be more than one.
- Eat your own dog food - While Eleven accepts teams at any stage of development, even ideas only put on paper, it is common sense that chances increase if effort and sweat have been put in. Teams that have put in some of their cash and time towards building a concept are almost three times more likely to get shortlisted.
- A (moving) picture says a thousand words - We have mentioned this in almost all our instructions to applicants and having reviewed 800 applications in the past two windows, the numbers confirm it’s true: applications with a video are five times as likely to get shortlisted than without one. It doesn’t matter whether the video is a professional production or two-guys-and-an-iPhone style: nothing captures the passion and character like a 2-min clip.
What the numbers don't say
Of course, numbers aren’t everything; someone said “lies, damn lies, and statistics” for a reason. Based on experiencing the progress of our first Eleven teams, and on the winning selection aspects of the eight new teams, here are a couple of takeaways on non-numerical traits that show commitment and fighter spirit:
- Getting out of the comfort zone - While common knowledge for everyone involved in startups, we actually noticed that getting out of the comfort zone is most evident in non-local teams. This is not to say that applicants from Bulgaria are less advantaged than foreign ones: thirteen out of nineteen Eleven teams are originally Bulgarian. Yet, going abroad, to a place where you don’t know anyone, don’t speak the local language, and pitching in an unknown environment certainly shows more eagerness and hustle.
- Practice matters - In continuation of the above, pitch practice matters a lot. In reality, most teams neither have the apparent experience or the killer MVP that makes an investment choice easy to make. So being good at convincingly telling a story is crucial. And as it goes, pitching can’t be learned from a book, it’s rather a matter of practice. We clearly see that teams that get out there and pitch at startup events and meetups are much stronger and better prepared for an acceleration program.
- Market awareness - Lastly, there is a clear difference between great teams with an enigmatic or overly theoretical concept, and those with an idea that makes everyone go “why didn’t I come up with this”. And the latter is always a result of solving a global problem, together with getting the numbers right. These numbers include but aren’t limited to an understanding of the global market, knowledge of device penetration and payment statistics, and getting a grip on what the current funding opportunities are. Teams that solve global issues and also get their homework done have a clear advantage over those that don’t.
So, with this in mind and having opened the application window for the third batch of Eleven companies (open until February 3), we wish all startups an absolutely awesome 2013, full of launches, funding rounds, and all-out blasting success.