Apply for Eleven
 
 

Do I need to speak English to enter the program?

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 program, participants should be able to communicate 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.

What is the Eleven Accelerator Venture Fund?

Eleven is an accelerator that combines a full-time 13 week mentor-led bootcamp program with seed investment. It is aimed at early stage high-potential startups, and will provide them with a comprehensive set of entrepreneurial resources, including mentoring, expert business advice, hands-on technical assistance, and investment capital.

How much do you invest?

Our standard program consists of three stages – the first and second acceleration stages
and a seed stage. Initially we invest €25,000 for 8% equity, followed by another up to €75,000 as a convertible loan and up to €100,000 more at the seed stage. The goal is to shape a product or an idea well enough to attract larger investors at the end of the program.
Some projects may only need one stage of acceleration before they raise money, while others may need to go all the way through the three stages. We sometimes have specific batches like Eleven 100 (for more advanced startups) or Eleven Games (in a specific vertical) that have modified investment terms and criteria.

What do you get from this?

Against its investments, Eleven becomes a minority shareholder in each company getting anywhere between 8% and 15% at the acceleration stage and up to a cumulative 20-30% equity for fully funded (EUR 200k) companies.

I understand we get money and mentorship. What else do we get?

In addition to investment capital and the acceleration program, we provide
office accommodation for the team and a full set of back office services (legal, accounting, etc.)
for the duration of the first stage of the acceleration program in our co-working space “the Roof”.
Furthermore, teams accepted on the accelerator have access to over €100k of free deals from
technology service providers. Basically, we’ll help you get off to a flying start with minimal
expenses so that you can focus on creating a great product while you’re here, and not have to
worry about all the other stuff.

What is the application process for Eleven?

We are running quarterly cycles of our program. Teams are asked to fill-in a short online questionnaire about their team, market and project. Each application window is open for a few weeks. At the close of the application window we review all submitted applications and short-list about 50 projects for interview. The top 25 teams are invited to our Selection Days, where they first meet with founders from other Eleven funded companies and then pitch their ideas to the Investment Committee. We accept 10-15 teams to the program each time.

We are currently in our 10th application cycle. For details – follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Do I need a business plan to apply?

Not for us. We make our decisions based on the application form and personal interviews.
Even more, if you happen to have a business plan, we prefer not to see it.

Do you only fund teams and projects from Bulgaria?

No, anyone from anywhere can apply. However, teams will be expected to be in Sofia during the
3-month program and to register a legal entity in Bulgaria, in order to receive the funding from Eleven.

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 at the end of the program 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?

Yes, we are looking for ideas that can greatly benefit from the resources we provide (funding, learning, networking and coaching). We are not limiting our investments to ICT, so if you believe your project is scalable and has real potential, go for it.

Can a company, that already has a product or services get financing directly from the seed compartment of the fund?

We believe that we can still help companies with fully developed products in the acceleration program by working with them on strategy, introductions and funding. To that end, we usually encourage later-stage projects to still go through the entire program. We also believe in incremental investments, so the chances of a full EUR 200k investment from day one are slim to none.

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 for the program?

While we will not automatically discard a single-founder with a great idea, without a team, chances of getting into the program 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 while in the program?

No. We want the teams in our program to be passionate, focused and committed to what they are doing.

What can we use the money for? Will the founders get any salary?

It’s entirely up to your discretion and best judgement. Efficient use of funds will impact positively the Investment Committee and ongoing investments. Founders may take a salary and charge business related expenses, as they deem appropriate. The leaner you are in spending, the better the chances are for your startup.

What should the investment be used for? Would any funding go to pay for the services, provided by the fund (office space, professional services, etc.)?

The investment funds should be used to support the development of an impressive product or service, so that it can attract further funding. The costs include general operating expenses for a company, travel and accommodation, founders’ living expenses (via their salaries), etc.

The rent, back office services and other program related expenses are charged at cost. The full package is currently estimated at about EUR 2,000 per company for the 3-month program.

Is it possible that not all members of the startup team are founders? May we hire programmers, for example?

Where the success of the business is reliant upon the success of the product, we believe that it is essential that the core skills required to build both the business and product should not be outsourced. We strongly believe that for the early stages in any company, the team should be comprised of individuals who share common values and the same level of passion about their ideas and their work.  This does not mean that the teams cannot hire external expertise for their projects, but we would ideally see that 90% of the skills essential for taking the project to an impressive next stage, are found in the founders.

If the startup can hire people and pay them salaries from the provided funding, can the hiring take place after the project is approved?

When making the decision to invest in a team we want to know who will be on that team. Yet, we will strongly advise you not to make any commitments before your project is approved, whether to people or service providers. Hiring decisions, and spending, are ultimately at the discretion of the founders.

What happens if a company does not progress to the next stage in the program, and there is still money available from the previous rounds?

Not proceeding to the next stage in the program does not mean the company has failed, the founders may still continue working on their project and make a big splash in the end. The money that Eleven invests is for equity or quasi equity and stays in the company. We will not request that the funding be paid back, but we will keep our stake in the company, and share in its success when it comes.

What if a project gets funding on the first stage of acceleration, but does not enter the second one? Can it still apply for
the second acceleration stage or the seed stage later on if it makes progress?

Not entering into the second phase of acceleration or not getting seed financing from Eleven is not the end of the world. We will be looking to preserve our value by assisting these projects to raise additional financing and to continue improving and growing. The 3-month benchmark is not cut in stone and teams have a few extra months to show us better progress. Still preserving the momentum is important, so the longer it takes you to reach a next milestone, the slimmer your chances to impress us become.

What is the Roof?

The Roof is the designated home of Eleven and the co-working space for all funded teams for the duration of the acceleration stages. It offers a working area, meeting rooms and a lounge.  Events and mentor meetings will be held at the Roof whenever possible.

We believe that collaboration among the teams will be a defining element of their Eleven experience.

 

Can we use our own computers in the Roof?

As a rule, you will use your own computers and equipment throughout the course of the program.

Do I have to be there for the entire programme?

It’s your company so you can come and go as you see fit but we do expect your onsite presence for the bulk of the program. This allows you to take advantage of various learning, networking and coaching opportunities that evolve throughout the program. Eleven is a major commitment–we expect you to be around most of the time.

Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?

No, we won’t sign an NDA. No accelerator would. You can take our word that we’re certainly not in the business of stealing ideas, as this would certainly 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. Anyone that feels the above is true for himself/herself can jump in and become a mentor. To be clear, mentorship at Eleven is on a strictly volunteer basis, mentors are not compensated financially for participation.

May I arrange a meeting with the team of Eleven to discuss my idea?

Whilst we would love to meet everyone who is thinking of applying to Eleven, we receive a significant number of requests and this is not always possible. We are attending 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.