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Eleven Season VI Now Open

 
 

Eleven Season VI Now Open

by Dilyan Dimitrov, founder at Eleven

 

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Hello, and welcome to Eleven’s sixth application window. As you probably know, we are one of the most active startup accelerators in Europe funding exceptional founders from CEE with up to EUR 50,000 in exchange for 8-13% stake in their projects. Our community has never been stronger with five batches, 57 funded companies, 150+ founders, an all-star cast of mentors and strong network of angel investors. Having that awesome community to support our startups, we are now confident enough to level up our program, and you can read all about it here.

You are probably super excited and keen to file your application, and so are we! But as we have seen great teams steam through their application, not letting it shine on the best side of their project, we want you to have a better grasp of what lies ahead and share with you some tips on how to tailor an application so that it immediately reveals your potential.

As usual, our application will be open for a month – starting February 1st and ending exactly at midnight on February 28 (GMT+2, that is). During this period we will most likely receive hundreds of applications, and in the course of following month we will carefully review, interview, interview again, and select the best of them. Our evaluation process goes through three stages.

 

1. We will REVIEW AND EVALUATE *all* applications. This usually takes about a week and in the next couple of days we discuss internally and boil down the list to the best 50 projects. Teams with high average scores, or teams with mixed (some high and some low) scores usually make it through.

 

2. Next, we send out invitations for SKYPE CALLS to the 50 teams. The interviews are 20 minutes each, and are scheduled over two days, with an extra backup date a day later. As interviews are back to back, we are always excited when teams have tested their skype connection ahead of the scheduled time, so we can focus on discussing projects instead of solving connectivity issues. Following the interviews, 20-25 teams receive an invitation to our Selection Days.

 

3. SELECTION DAYS is a two-day event, starting with several presentations, continues with meeting some fantastic mentors, and ends up with a workshop on the perfect pitch. This way we help teams refine their pitches, but also we use the opportunity to get initial feedback from our mentors. During the second day, each team has a 20 minute interview with our extended investment team, including a five-minute pitch and 15 minutes of Q&A. At the end of that day, we select and send out notices to the selected teams.

 

As you may guess, it is always easier to convey passion and commitment in a personal meeting. To get there, though, you need to go through the first stage, so aceing up your application is critical to stand out from the crowd and catch our interest. That said, and keeping in mind your application will have our undivided attention for a very limited time, here are a few tips to make it stand out.

1. START YOUR APPLICATION EARLY (as in, now)

This will give you more time to research some aspects of your project you may have not considered in detail, but we will want to hear about.

2. GET A REFERRAL

Think about who you know in our network, find them and pitch your idea. If they like it, we will hear about it. If not – you will at least get a different perspective, and some good advice on how to improve it.

3. BE CRYSTAL CLEAR in your answers

Do your homework before you respond, and try to be very concise, but comprehensive, in your answers. And please, respond to the question at hand, don’t beat around the bush in hinting us what the answer might be.

4. MAKE SURE YOU:

i) are not SINGLE FOUNDER, ii) are ready to COMMIT 100% on the project and join the program in Sofia; iii) have all the talent you need for your project in your *CORE* TEAM; and iv) provide a VIDEO. If you have a solution for global warming, or another problem of similar magnitude, you may skip some of the above, but otherwise, you will have very strong competition.

5. DON’T TRY TO BS

We value honesty and integrity, and if for a moment we feel someone is trying to hide something, we will be very quick in discarding them.

6. BE PREPARED

Know your product, market and competitors better than we do, and have the means to prove it. Because if we find a competitor you did not know about, you are busted.

7. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

Be realistic when talking markets, clients and potential, as if we hear that your market is every living person on Earth (or even everyone with a smartphone), we will probably just stop reading.

8. Finally, don’t repeat these COMMON MISTAKES in filling in your application

(i) Don’t password protect your demo/video – as I said earlier, we will have very limited time for each application, so keep it simple for us. You can always use an obscure URL for privacy.

(ii) Don’t make us download stuff – again, if we have to download and open a 100 MB video or 25 MB PowerPoint presentation, we may end up not waiting for the download to complete before moving to the next application.

(iii) If you have a demo make sure it works.

(iv) Don’t send tips via email after you finalize. It is hard to reconcile emails and applications. If you cannot provide something before the deadline, just skip it. If your project is good, we will call you anyhow.

(v) Invite each team member to the application. This tells us your whole team is committed.

(vi) Finalize your application! For us this means you said everything you had to say, and you are happy with it.

 

I am sure you can find a lot of resources on the Internet on how to impress an investor, and we have been very honest about the things we like and don’t like, as well as the projects we have already funded (here, here and here). So if you really want to impress us, walk the extra mile and read through some more posts. And we promise to do our part of the walking, paying special attention and going into detail with your application.

 

Looking forward to seeing your awesome projects at www.f6s.com/ElevenS6! Good luck!

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