What is Eleven?
We are a pre-seed and seed VC firm based in Sofia, Bulgaria with a focus on high-growth projects, mostly coming from Southeast Europe. Eleven is one of the pioneers in early-stage investments in Eastern Europe, comprising a team of entrepreneurs and investment professionals passionate about the world of technology and innovation. With 150 investments over 5 years, we have gained the unfair advantage of how to transform a startup into a scale up in a capital efficient way in our part of the world.
May I arrange a meeting with the team of Eleven to discuss my idea?
Whilst we would love to meet everyone who is interested in Eleven, we receive a significant number of requests and this is not always possible. We attend many events. Look us up and track us down. We also have an extensive network of founders, mentors, and scouts, which is your best way to learn more about what we do and get an intro to us. At all times we have a rolling application open, so if you think you are a good fit fill it in.
Do I need to speak English to get an investment?
We are looking for smart ideas and great teams that have the potential to become global leaders. In order to take full advantage of the resources we provide, participants should be able to communicate fluently in English – mentors, speakers, and teams are oftentimes from abroad, so you should be able to understand them and be able to communicate in turn.
How much do you invest?
We invest a first round of EUR 100 000, having the ability to follow with up to EUR 200 000 more. We can mobilize rounds of EUR 500k+ from within our investors in Eleven Founders Fund, comprising some of the most active angel and seed investors in the region.
What do you get from this?
In exchange for our initial investment of EUR 100,000, we become a minority shareholder in each company getting anywhere between 10% and 12% equity in the company.
What is the application process for Eleven?
We have a rolling application, where at any time you can fill out and send your project for review. Every week we shall be inviting selected projects for first round of interviews. Your chances of getting to an interview increase dramatically, if your project is referred by an alumnus, mentor or investor of Eleven. If we like what we see/here during our first meeting, we shall request additional information, references and arrange several meetings with relevant people from our network who can help us to better assess the investment opportunity. In the final step, you shall be invited to present your Investment Deck to the Investment Committee of the Fund. We take our decisions at the end of the committee meeting unless we need some further due diligence. The whole process from the first meeting to potential approval for investment should not take more than a month. Once again, the best way to get our attention, though, is through a referral from someone we know and trust. We have hundreds of alumni, mentors, and partners and chances are, if a company is looking for funding in this part of the world, they know some of these people.
Do I need a business plan to apply?
No, you don’t, but if you have a good investment deck, it could help you during the selection process with us. We make our decisions based on the application form and personal interviews.
Do you only fund teams and projects from Bulgaria?
No, anybody from anywhere can Pitch us. However, teams may be asked to register a legal entity in Bulgaria and relocate to Sofia for such time, as needed to figure where to move next. Going home shortly after investment does not work for us.
Would you fund an idea that only targets the local market, but is very good and can be very profitable?
We are looking for great ideas that have early traction with its product or customers, and at the end of the funding we provide can either become cashflow positive and/or attract additional funding. As a general rule, we believe the most successful ideas will be easily scalable and can target global markets.
Would you fund a non-IT idea?
Our investment focus is currently in tech companies that have early traction and proof of concept. We strongly believe that technology can help solve many major challenges, so we want to see teams which utilize technology and have a global ambition for growth.
Could a not-for-profit project apply?
Sorry, no. We are dedicated to making the world a better place, just as NGOs are, but we are doing it by solving problems and ideally generating money from that. We are eager to work with and support for-profit social ventures.
If I don’t have a team, can I still apply?
We are looking to invest in projects that have early traction or proof of concept. If you got there alone – great! We will not automatically discard single-founder projects, but without a team, chances of getting an investment decrease dramatically. We strongly encourage you to seek co-founders to balance your skill-set and apply as a fully-fledged team.
Can the team work on other projects as well?
No. We want the teams we fund to be passionate, focused and committed to what they are doing.
What can we use the money for?
It’s entirely up to your discretion and best judgment, but we expect to see a projected use of funds before we take an investment decision and we will keep track on the actual costs as we go. We believe at this stage money should be primarily used to supplement your team, and run marketing and distribution experiments so as to find your repeatable growth mechanics.
Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?
No, we won’t sign an NDA. No early stage investor would. You can take our word that we’re certainly not in the business of stealing ideas, as this would damage our reputation irreparably.
Can I be a mentor? What are the criteria for mentor selection?
A mentor who can share his/her experience and say ‘when I was in that situation I did this and it didn’t work’ or ‘I did this and it worked’ is worth more than money. To be clear, mentorship at Eleven is on a strictly-volunteer basis, mentors are not compensated financially for participation.