Openfund II – Selection Results

We are happy to report the final results of the long yet fruitful selection process for the companies participating in our second round of operations. We will refer to the later from now on as ‘the Openfund Round II’ (or ‘Openfund II’).

We really set the bar high. In full alignment to our investors interests and our commitment to excellence, we ended up with a selection indicative of the projects we are looking for and a team being absolutely worth it. Within this context, we are announcing today the selection of Stockpodium, one more company joining the Openfund.

Stockpodium is a strong team of four from Sofia, Bulgaria, pursuing opportunities at the intersection of visual image search and stock photography.

We’re really excited to work closely with the team and make great things happen in the following months. At the same time, we’ll keep working at the same fast pace with all 4 companies of the Openfund I, taking their efforts to the next level. Finally, the call for proposals of the Openfund III will open in the following days, stay tuned for full details.

The Openfund – Demo Day I

We’re thrilled to invite you to the Openfund Demo Day, an event where all of our start-ups will finally reveal their products to the world. After months of hard work during our development phase, the first round’s companies are ready to graduate and share the fruits of their purpose and passion; we’re pretty sure that you’ll get excited with the results.

The event will take place in Athens on Wednesday April 28 and it will naturally be co-hosted with Open Coffee Greece, the vigorous local entrepreneurial community which also defined the DNA of the Openfund itself. The place to be is Benaki Museum at 138 Piraeus street, with presentations starting at 19.00 in the grand auditorium and plenty of coffee and drinks being served before and after in the cozy bar.

The founders of Fashinating, YouScan, Listiki & Sportmeets will all be there to pitch and share their experiences so far, while we’d like to invite each one of you to join us among entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and all those people who keep the entrepreneurial spirit going. So, save the date or book your flight and be there, tickets are free and access is open to everyone, you may just RSVP here.

At the same time, we at the Openfund consider this event as a tangible proof of our work up to date and we literally cannot wait to share great entrepreneurial stories in the making, or maybe get you to prepare your own one. By supporting great people to put their ideas to work, we see our vision taking shape and the pieces of the puzzle being put one after another into place.

In this context, Demo Day fully stands up to its name and you are all invited to join us and experience the next big things around the corner by yourself, see you there!

Round 2 applications are in, stay tuned for the winners!

We are happy to report the successful conclusion of our second round of applications on February 28. Similarly to the first round, we received a broad set of submissions, associated to software, the web and mobile, among other relevant areas. We are very pleased with the quality of the teams and potential of the ideas collected, while we are eagerly looking forward to work closer with the teams, starting from the reviewing phase.

The graphs below provide insights on the submissions collected, starting from the cumulative distribution of submissions per day, which in this round proved to be more gradual.

Applicants came from 20 countries around the globe, including ones as far as Brazil & Australia. Naturally, 15 countries were European ones, while 55% of all applicants originated from Greece. The map below provides a closer look to the European submissions.

Of equal interest is the self assessment of the applicants’ skills, according to the scale provided within the application template. Expectably, applicants consider themselves more technically than business experienced, while the distribution of self-assesed skills looks much better than that of official degrees.

Our part of the challenge has just started. In compliance to our schedule, the essential process of first stage reviewing is now under way, as the Executive Board is collaborating with our advisors to assess every application received. Applicants should be informed by next Monday March 15 on their success proceeding to the next round or not, while receiving extensive reviews on their initial applications.

To those applied, let us stretch that the real benchmark begins now. In the 1.5 months to follow we will be asking for things from these teams and will be measuring their turnaround time, their insights, their ability to filter noise and so on; this is how we get to know you better and eventually shape our decisions on working further with you.

Should you be willing to apply and you didn’t, please get prepared to do so in our next call for applications, which is expected to open in about two months; that’s really soon. In the meanwhile, we intend to leverage our experience thus far and return significant value to all participants and the ecosystem at large, while finally selecting the greatest of teams to work with during the second round of the Openfund.

The Openfund, Round II – The Schedule

Ten days before the submission deadline, we provide hereby the full schedule of selection operations for the second round of the Openfund:

Sunday February 28: Submission deadline

This is the hard deadline for submitting your application here. You may get some quick tips, or check our FAQ for more information.

Monday March 15: Notification

Applicants get notified on if they proceed to the next round of interviews or not. Successful applicants are provided with a business plan template to fill, while full reviews are shared with both successful and unsuccessful applicants.

Monday March 29: Submission deadline for business plans

Extensive feedback will be provided during this couple of weeks for your questions to be answered and your business plan to be further improved, before getting reviewed by our full Executive Board.

Friday April 9 & Saturday April 10: Openfund Interview day(s) II
During the interview day, 20′ interviews of all teams successful so far take place with our full Executive Board. Physical presence of remote teams is not required.

Sunday April 11: Notification

Successful applicants are invited to present at the Openfund Launch Day II.

Wednesday April 28: Openfund Demo Day I

This will be an open to everyone event, during which our first round’s start-ups will showcase to the public their progress and products created during the incubation period. More details on the event will follow soon.

Friday April 30: Openfund Launch Day II, presentations

Applications which made it thus far will pitch in front of our investors and advisors, so as to finally select up to 5 teams for our second round of operations.

Monday May 3: The 4-month incubation begins

We’re looking forward to leverage our expertise and experience thus far to return significant added value to all of you applying, and work together with the best teams out there to turn great ideas into fantastic products and successful companies.

Openfund Sweetens Deal for Entrepreneurs

We are happy to report that Openfund, the seed fund focusing on software, web & mobile services in Southeastern Europe, is sweetening its terms to entrepreneurs and providing them with an even more compelling offer.

The percentage that Entrepreneurs give to Openfund will drop from 20% to 15%.  What they get in return is seed funding (between 25K and 35K Euros) as well as access to the expertise and business networks of an exceptional group of advisors.

We were very pleased with the number and quality of applications on the first round and with this move we are hoping to build even more momentum and attract an even larger number of high quality applications in Round 2 and beyond.

We are also adjusting the allocation of Openfund’s 15% share between investors and the Executive board, in favor of investors. 10% is allocated to investors, and 5% to the Executive Board. This makes the terms more favorable to our investors, recognizing the importance of their contributions.

We believe that these changes, effective from the currently open round, will ensure that Openfund offers a highly compelling value proposition to leading edge entrepreneurs and investors, and will result in the gathering of an even larger number of quality applications.

Applications for the second round are open till February 28, you may apply here.

Creating Entrepreneurship – An Openfund event

Being in Athens and wanting to learn first hand about the Openfund, next to meeting us in person? Join us Saturday afternoon at Money Show Athens 09 for a 2h session including Q&A, featuring executive members, advisors and founders of selected companies. Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, December 19, 16.00-18.00
Place: Hilton Athens, Room Terpsihori B
Speakers:

  • George Tziralis, Executive Director, Openfund – The Vision and the Vehicle
  • George Kasselakis, Executive Director, Openfund – The Process and the Progress
  • Apostolos Apostolakis, Member of the Executive Board, co-founder & General Director, e-shop.gr – Replicating Success
  • George Saliaris-Fasseas, Advisor, Country Manager, Greece, Google – Multiplying Potential
  • Alexis Ballas, co-founder, Fashinating – The Inside Story

Looking forward to meeting you all there!

Second round of the Openfund – Applications now open

We are pleased to launch our second round of operations, with the reopening of our call for proposals. You may apply directly here, or check the process and FAQ for more info.

The call will remain open till the end February 28, 2010. However, you are strongly encouraged to submit your proposal much earlier, as we will be providing detailed feedback for you to improve and resubmit before the deadline.

The selection process will start on March 1st and will include extensive reviews, composition of a simple and to-the-point business plan, an interview and presentation, in between loops of feedback. Finally, the incubation of the companies that are selected to participate will start on May 1, 2010.

We’re looking forward to meshing our experience and your unlimited passion to come up with the best teams out there and help turn your great ideas into fantastic products and exceptional companies. It all starts with your proposal.

The Openfund, Round I: Start-ups Selected

The Openfund is excited to announce its first series of start-ups selected.

After an extensive screening process including various rounds of feedback and advice in between of the initial application, a full business plan and an interview, the procedure completed at the Openfund Launch Day that took place on Saturday, November 21 in Microsoft Innovation Center Athens.

Starting December 1, the teams will now work together with the Openfund towards building their product and launching their services, while receiving seed funding and extensive advice on all things start-up during the following 4 months.

image

Crawdoutis a meeting facilitation service, specifically targeted at recreational sports. Shifting the effort from organizing to participating, Crawdout removes the barriers to arranging sport events, while also helps you to find suitable people to play with and engage with them socially. Miroslav Solanka and Peter Crkon, its passionate founders, come from Slovakia, while they’re now based in Glasgow, UK, where the service will be launched from.

image

YouScan is working on a new service for social media monitoring and reputation management. Aiming at the rapidly growing markets of Russia and Ukraine, YouScan will be providing powerful tools to its customers for tracking, summarizing and reacting to the social-web. The team consists of 3 founders, Alexey Orap, Alexander Demidov and Dimitri Popov, combining knowledge of the local market with business development and technology skills.

image

Listiki is working on an innovative service for organizing and prioritizing online real-time data. The team aims at building an engaging service that changes the way we rank anything on the web. Listiki’s founders are Alex Schleifer, Davina Economou and Constantinos Demetriadis, a very experienced team from Cyprus and Greece.

fashinating[1]

Fashinating is building a platform that presents the latest offerings on the apparel market using an innovative fashion discovery engine and a series of engaging social games. Its services will function as a standalone project, but also as an add-on to online fashion magazines and retailers. Alexios Ballas, Maria-Loukia Tzempelikou and Petros Ziogas comprise the best team on a mission to make Fashinating happen.

Interview day, completed

In a rather complicated Saturday we held our interview day. To give you some insights on what’s happened behind the curtains, let us share here a few more details regarding the procedure.

We managed to perform within a day interviews for all the selected teams, which consisted of any mix of people with physical or virtual presence. We also had to enable partners of ours who reside in different countries to observe and directly interact with the other participants. From a technical perspective, this meant two screens, one for the presentation, one for the video of the participants and of course voice for the interaction.

The participating teams generally belonged to any of these four groups:

  • Entirely psysical, ie teams from Greece, which were requested to be there.
  • Mostly physical, with 1 or 2 members that were participating from abroad.
  • Mostly virtual, with just 1 member presenting live.
  • Entirely virtual, where we had screen sharing, and a voice/video call.

Having performed in this kind of setup for 10 hours and with the entire Executive Board including the participants of each team, I think it’s honest to say that this kind of operation would never be possible outside the confines of a purely tech oriented organization.

Each of the teams got the chance to present and showcase or demo their idea in front of our Board, while also having an extended Q&A session. We are happy with the results, as we believe that, through the initial application, business plan and interview process, we’ve formed a clear view of each one of the applications, enabling what we consider a robust judgement.

That said, the teams securing a ticket to the next phase have been already informed, while we’ll also put time on providing further details to the teams that didn’t make it, trying to improve their value proposition, and chances to succeed in a future Openfund call or elsewhere. Let us also mention that to us, being entrusted with each one of the applications containing your dreams was an honour. We tried hard to repay you for this trust by replying back with reviews of on average 3 times the extent of the original idea submission, from a number of executives and advisors.

For those who succeeded getting that far, we will be working closely overtime to iron out their business plans and demos in order to improve their chances of getting finally selected, while more details on the procedure and the forthcoming selection eevent will follow soon.

A departure from our board

Onic is presently focused on other matters that require his undivided attention. Consequently, he decided to resign from the OpenFund as he cannot devote the time he considers necessary to its affairs.

Onic thanks everyone that has helped-start this much needed ecosystem to Greek entrepreneurs and looks forward to maintaining a relationship with OpenFund’s members in the years to come.

Onic’s resignation was accepted by the executive board in terms of mutual understanding. The board thanks him for his considerable contribution in shaping the Openfund to what it is today, wishes him the best with his endeavors and looks forward to future cooperation.