For the sixth time, the Center for Entrepreneurship is conducting a pre-acceleration program for startups at an early stage to test hypotheses and clients. For 3 years not only the quality of the program, but also of the startups has grown. If at the beginning the applications were filled up to 15 teams, now, thanks to the possibility of selection, the teams are strong and show very good results and product quality.
Program results for the last 3 years:
- 80 Alumni startups
- 10 powerful mentors and teachers with practical experience on an ongoing basis
- 2 teams received the first pre-seed investment ($ 25,000 each)
This time, 9 teams reached the finals and Demo Day, several of which managed to present their startups to the Ukrainian Startup Fund during the program.
Here are the finalists of our program that made it to Demo Day:
Meet Bogdan and Alexander. They want to make this world safer and less unpredictable for people with diabetes. How exactly? With the help of Sugarrr, which, by collecting and analyzing important indicators, aims to prevent the biggest problem of diabetes – its complications, such as amputation of limbs, vision loss and kidney failure.
So what did the guys do on the program?
“What we have changed a lot is our approach to customer development. The program has helped us take hypothesis validation much more seriously. As a result, we were able to confirm some and reject some that we considered as key. Mentoring sessions were also very useful; experts shared information, contacts and practical advice on communication with clients, fundraising and market entry.
We left the Zoom call with big round eyes and an understanding of how much more we have to go through … that we need to think much more globally. Because we sit here 24/7 in our quarantine homes and do not always understand what to reach for. And to many startups 25-50 thousand dollars seem like a dream. But what kind of dream is this, if it’s just money, which will be enough for a maximum of 3-4 months of work. We need to think not only about money and not about our capabilities here in Ukrainie.
You should go to the program at least in order to jump out of the clouds of enthusiasm and start really working – because this is what gives the result and develops the product!”, – the guys share their thoughts.
These are Mykhailo and Vasyl from Frnds.studio. They came to the program with a cool idea of a product that should solve everyone’s painful problem – repair. And not just repair! frnds.studio are working to create an interior designer that will quickly, inexpensively and without special knowledge understand where to start repairs, personally develop interior design based on style templates from designers, and even select and purchase furniture and accessories from partner companies!
And what did the program give the team?
“The main thing that the program has given us is that we, as participants who had no previous experience in creating startups, were able to go the whole way from idea to understanding sales in a short time. For us, it was very valuable, as it gave us the opportunity to save time that we never have enough of , to validate the idea, and to understand how to properly analyze the product itself.
We’ve received the tools to develop the product, changed our initial business model, conducted in-depth interviews and experiments, and now that we’re developing the product itself, we understand customer needs in more detail. The experience of obtaining independent opinions from experts in various fields has also become priceless.
The main thing you gave us is a great push to rethink the original product we planned to launch. We came to you with questions, they, of course, remained, but they became structured, correct and we now understand how to answer them, ” – the team says.
We introduce you to Alexander, who together with his team makes magic happen!
Beware, content managers! To be short, Abrakadabra creates unique posts on social networks. Well, maybe not that short: Artificial intelligence is used here, but it does not change the result – thanks to the developed product, they save time and money for business!
What did Alexander discover on the program?
“We had a mistake that we discovered during the Customer Development module – we did not conduct a solution interview. Now we have returned to this path in time. We also revised our financial model. Previously, there was no clear understanding of how to build and track the income and expenses, how to understand how much we need to raise investment, but here we contacted the mentors of the program and it became clear.
I talked to different incubators and trained in various programs, including foreign ones, but I liked CfE’s the most! Why? Because there is an opportunity to communicate with the teacher tete-a-tete, and when I needed an additional session on cusdev, the teacher was able to devote time to me and the product specialist of our company. It was very important for me to ask the teachers specific questions and specifically for my challenges. I got this opportunity. And thanks to pre-acceleration, I got to another program of the Center – Boot Camp, where I found a mentor with 500 Startups, with whom I now communicate a lot, “- said Alexander.
Andriy, Natalia, Maxim and Nazar are doing something unreal. They went ahead to fight the land bureaucracy and built cadaster.io – the only information service where in one click you can get all the necessary data about land in the right formats, as well as detailed 3D visualization. They have already launched their MVP and received the first 1000+ users: congratulations!
And what does the team say about our program?
“All the time before the program, we made the product in a vacuum, without starting from the real needs and pain of users. It was just a set of future features that “should be useful.” The pre-acceleration program opened our eyes and conveyed the main thing – you need to listen to your customers. We conducted about ten customer interviews in a short period of time, collaborated on data sharing, and finally rolled out our first MVP as a chatbot, which has already brought in the first thousand users. Each pre-accelerator participant (both teams and lecturers) is unique in their own way, with their own personal experience and vision of the product. It’s priceless to work with such people and to finally form a vision for your product. “
Yura, Markiyan and Oleg work for Ukrainian diplomacy. They do not arrange diplomatic receptions with ambassadors, but make it a bit more difficult – they solve the problem of limited access to information on migration issues. Thus, the team is also struggling with inflated prices for legal services and fraud. How exactly? – with the help of MigrateBot, which in simple and clear language provides all the information about complicated procedures, reducing the fear of foreigners before the migration legislation and facilitating their movement to Ukraine.
The team says the following about working on the program:
“In general, we used to follow a classical pattern. We had process delays, a focus on the added functionality of our MVP for more added value, and several revenue streams options. Also recently a pretty significant pivot has happened, so we decided that it would be useful to hear the opinions of others, as well as to gather some “academic” models (if we can talk about a startup at all).
What I liked the most was the importance of testing and validating ideas and hypotheses as quickly as possible. Along with market research, this is something that will help you not to lose a huge amount of resources (primarily time) on non-viable ideas, as well as be the basis for mathematics (especially cash burn rate and break even point). This is really critical to do, no matter how much you want to believe in the idea and make / improve the product.
Therefore, if in doubt about the idea or how to move – pre-acceleration is just for that. There will be a better understanding of the algorithm, there will be an understanding of the basic metrics and, most importantly, a lot of feedback. “
We want to introduce you to Anatoly, who is working with his team on a startup called iTable . This service speeds up service in restaurants, it has two main functions. For visitors – to reduce contact with staff with a QR code with full functionality: from menu to payment. For owners – to get instant feedback and comprehensive analytics: from the speed of service to the profitability of a particular table.
And what impression did the program make on Anatoly?
“It’s cool that there are strong and interesting teams on the program! It is immediately obvious that there is a passion, time and starting competencies for the development of your product. The program also gave me a boost. I thought a lot about customer development, CRM and entering global markets. I managed to work on the idea and I now know what to do next. In January I will start working more actively in this direction, just when I receive the first feedback from customers. “
Did you know that autonomous agricultural robots are being created in Ukraine to protect crops? It’s almost like in the movie Interstellar, but the Robotec.ua team is working ahead of time: they are developing a robot that uses computer vision to kill weeds and treat only diseased plants. This way they try to solve the problem of crop loss and overuse of pesticides, while increasing food safety.
What does the team say about the program?
“Our Robotec.ua team really enjoyed the pre-acceleration program. It is very motivating to work with strong and interesting teams! The program provided new information to our team. We managed to refine the idea, as well as reconsider our approach to customer development and writing fouls for potential customers. Also one of the insights is the importance of testing and validating ideas and hypotheses at an early stage of project development. This is exactly what will help a startup not to lose a huge amount of time in its early stages of development. We are grateful for such a rich program and we want to thank all the mentors.
It is also very motivating that not only mentors but also other teams give their feedback, so you can hear the opinion of motivated people who are experts in different areas. This gives you the opportunity to understand your project from the other side. “
Igor, Irina and Victoria came to us with a mission – to make life easier for HR. During the program, the idea of stimulating the hiring of employees by companies was transformed into an application for recruiters PiHRate, which aims to make the search for information about professionals automatic and create quality lists of candidates using artificial intelligence technology.
About his experience on the program Igor – CEO of the startup, says the following:
“The Center for Entrepreneurship pre-acceleration program has been a real challenge for us as the authors of the product idea for HR and teamwork. We soaked up the idea right at the first meeting and then conducted research, interviews, studies, re-conduct research, form hypotheses, made a website www.pihrate.com, prepared for the experiment, ran the first experiment, learned from mistakes – and this is just the beginning?
To keep up with this pace you need a perfect team: Hustler (Igor took on this role), Hipster (Irina), Hound (Victoria), Hacker (wanted! For now it’s Igor too). There is nothing perfect, only continuous change. We made it to Lean Startup and are getting ready to take off. The program is great for training to test hypotheses for a startup, you can immediately avoid many mistakes at the start. After conducting a training flight with the tools offered by the mentors, you can detect the maximum number of errors.
Many thanks to the Center for Entrepreneurship team for the opportunity to take a significant step towards business development! ”
Do you like to travel the routes from your favorite movies? What if we say you don’t have to go to Hollywood to do that? Marina Chernovol and her team are not only working on creating such routes, but also promoting Ukrainian cinema and locations where world and national masterpieces were born. You can already take a walk along the cinema route through Odessa – a city where about two thousand movies were shot!
What does Marina say about participating in pre-acceleration?
“The pre-acceleration program of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Lviv Business School (LvBS) Ukrainian Catholic University UCU is my third (the first was Telecom Radar Tech from Kyivstar, the second was Startup-in-Residence UA).
Was it useful? Yes, very.
- Any acceleration is a “subscription” to work on the project. Either you have time, or you don’t have it, either there is inspiration, or no – you have to. The fact is that most startups are “done” outside of hours. Therefore, it is not always possible to work out all the processes on a high quality level. And here is the reason. Don’t just run through the checklists, but work through every aspect.
- Modules and teachers. It’s needed to write a separate post about this, because each of them is cool and does their absolute best. With Ivan Petrenko during the lecture on Customer Development you are already drafting a business plan for the sale of premium water with gold, with Andrey Milinevskiy on Customer Journey and Design Thinking you are interviewing, planning a series of marketing research, with Artyom Yaremchuk you open. Sales and Go-to-Market Strategy, the incomparable Martyn Kovalko and Mariia Khachatrian delicately comment on pitches and brainstorm with you, and there is the amazing Margaret Velebnyk, who enchantingly manages our entire channel of 40 people.
- Networking. Despite the diversity of projects and topics, teams. When you care for everyone. Whether it’s Sugarrr, or Abrakadabra, or cadaster.io, or MigrateBot … can’t list them all! We are very glad that our project morefilm.fun was selected for pre-acceleration! ”