Just recently we wrapped up the sixth edition of our very own competition for startups – Betapitch.
In betahaus’s spirit of growing ideas together, our event space was full on a Friday eve with enthusiasts in discovering mode. And we are truly very thankful and appreciative to all that took part in one way or another.
For those who missed it, but wish they didn’t, you can follow the link below and watch a video recording of the full event. The recording and the live streaming was made possible thanks our to partners Edit.bg.
Under the skilful facilitation of our much appreciated moderator for the evening – Neil Cocker*, in store for the evening was: a short talk from an earlier edition betapitch winner, startup pitching, investor pitching, betahaus Berlin guests appearance**, jury’s decision, winner announcements and awarding.
And of course, all was followed up by celebration. But first the competition.
Through prior evaluation of all submitted applications, 10 startups were pre-selected and given the opportunity to pitch that day. With quite a refreshing diversity, we had:
- BioSeek JSC – Google-like platform for Life Sciences research;
- CastFolio – ‘the Linkedin’ for the entertainment industry;
- Connecto.ai – Connecting businesses with people through AI powered conversational interfaces;
- Empact – VR/360 studio focused on campaigns for good and on creating positive impact;
- HITL – A social enterprise that employs and trains refugees to deliver services to ML and AI companies;
- PRINTIVO – 3D-Bioprinting tech, creating human tissues for scientific experiments & patient treatment
- Majio‘s Sloth.Works – secure and anonymous hiring platform, connecting developers with companies;
- Soulify – app, assisting schizophrenia patients to lead an active and fulfilling life;
- Tool.Domains – different services for SEO and domaining;
- Yourtutor.us – a virtual “School of the Future”.
We began with a short talk from Konstantin Rangelov, who back in 2015 won Betapitch ‘15 Sofia with his team’s startup Dronamics and got to go to betapitch global in Berlin. He reflected on his experience with the competition and encouraged the competing startups this year on their path ahead.
Then.. game on for the startups!
Each startup got to present their best pitch within 4 minutes, followed by answering questions from the jury. The jury then shortly retired to discuss and decide on the big winner, as well as who gets the rest of the prizes.
The honoured jury of Betapitch ’17 Sofia, left to right: Daniel Lorer, Boris Georgiev, Sasha Bezuhanova, Vassil Terziev, Svetozar Georgiev
Meanwhile conventional pitch roles were switched, i.e. we had the opportunity to hear a so called reverse pitch, where investors, startup incubators, accelerators present their services within the same format, including Q&A. Momchil Vassilev, Yordan Zarev and Lyudmil Hubanov pitched the funds they represent – Endeavor Bulgaria, NEVEQ and LAUNCHub Ventures, respectively. Then our jury was back, ready with their decision. Without further ado, it’s pleasure to present..
The big winner of the event…
Part of the team behind Printivo: Vanio Vezirov, Radostin Stefanov, Rozalia Tsikandelova and Spas Kerimov /from left to right/
With elegant, elaborate and quite exhaustive presentation, matched with thorough and dedicated team on quite the solid science ground, they won the jury’s vote and with that – a place at the global betapitch competition in Berlin next month (incl. budget to attend). This one day event is 3 startup events in one: Investor’s day, future mobility camp and betapitch global, where Printivo and 8 more startups that have won their respective local competitions in Hamburg, Istanbul, Jönköping, Mostar, Lisbon, Tirana, Vienna and Cairo. They’re fighting for a Grand Prize of €5,000, a trip to Silicon Valley, and 6 months of betahaus Berlin membership.
The rest of the prizes went to…
Empact, the VR/360 interactive storytelling studio, aimed at creating positive impact, won 3 months membership in betahaus’s community. They will have the chance to develop their ideas, sharing space, inspiration and support with our colourful community of creative professionals.
Further, 4 of our jury members chose a startup they would like to offer two hours of mentoring.
Sasha Bezuhanova awarded her consulting time to Printivo. She also surprised them with an additional prize – an exclusive place in a close session with Matt Brittin – the president of EMEA Business & Operations for Google. He will be a special guest on an event organised by Edit.bg.
Serial entrepreneur and specialist in developer tools, Vassil Terziev’s awarded his mentorship to Tool.Domains. They offer services for SEO and domain related services, leaning on large databases of domain names and websites.
Co-founder of Telerik Academy, Svetozar Georgiev will be mentoring HITL Human-in-the-loop, a social enterprise that employs and trains refugees to deliver services to ML and AI companies.
Soulify, won the guidance of Daniel Lorer’s, whose immense experience and success with software products will surely benefit them. They are working on an application, assisting schizophrenia patients to lead an active and fulfilling life.
On their road to further developing a new breed of online research environment, the Google-like platform for Life Sciences research – BioSeek JSC, will be supported by jury member Boris Georgiev. Boris, who’s been building a career at Google since ‘13, gifted them with wildcard to join Google Cloud Platform For Startups. This will give chance to BioSeek to take advantage of Google’s infrastructure, access cloud credits and scaled support, mentorship, training, free credits, as well as foot-in-the-door to further tailored programs.
*Neil is the founder of Wales’s largest tech startup community and has co-founded and currently running his of own successful startup – Ramp (more about him – in an article here). Knowledgeable, sharp, and kind, he has become an integral part of betahaus’s community and pleasure for so many to know him and have him around.. For this and more it was wonderful to have him in the role of moderator, that we unanimously believe he executed with ease and flow.
**Lenny Leiter and Jon Sykes visited us from Berlin with a bigger group of people from Berlin’s betahaus community. They presented their new startups – Deskish (an online canvas that allows you to create and share web art and music) and Racemapper (a platform, aimed to help people discover running, triathlon or cycling races nearby, i.e their next challenge). With a lot of wit and upbeat mood, they gave us an interesting presentation and appreciated peak at betahaus community there and their involvement within.
***Of huge help in screening through the applications and evaluating were this year’s betapitch ambassadors – Valentina Milanova, Janet Todorova and Nikola Yanev. They also had a role in recruiting, finding, encouraging and training startups for application and pitching. We highly appreciate their collaboration for this event, as much as their overall support and contribution to the startup and business environment.
Big thank-you goes, of course, to our honoured jury team this year: Daniel Lorer, Boris Georgiev, Sasha Bezuhanova, Vassil Terziev, Svetozar Georgiev. Further, we appreciate the help of our partners – Bulgarian Venture Capital Association and Maria Marinova, Valentina Milanova, Momchil Vassilev, Yordan Zarev and Lyudmil Hubanov, per se, with their part in making a ‘reverse pitching’ possible this year as a step closer to fostering a better two-way communication between parties and boosting a healthier, more transparent and informed ecosystem.