The first batch of pre-acceleration program EstLat-Accelerate has finished with two Demo Days at loud startup conferences in Riga and Tartu! The improvements made by participant teams were extremely noticeable comparing their first steps of our program and their pitching performances at the Digital Freedom Festival and sTARTUp Day!
The EstLat-Accelerate pre-acceleration program is created by joining forces of active startup ecosystem representatives from Latvia and Estonia – TechHub Riga, Latvian Startup Association Startin.LV, Garage48, Tartu University idea Lab, and Baltic Innovation Agency. The main aim of EstLat-Accelerate is to help very early stage startups to become acceleration-ready through a two-month-long, hands-on learning program that offers workshops, speed mentoring sessions, and one-on-one tailored coaching hours with experienced entrepreneurs and startup founders. Pre-acceleration program also encourages cross-border cooperation and creation of startup teams with high international ambitions.
The first program started this year in september with the pre-hackathon ideation day, where all enthusiasts with ideas or IT experts had chance to meet before the Garage48 Hardware & Arts hackathon, that for the first time took place in Riga and has showed a big success by amount of attendees and impressive quality of ideas. The winner of the hackathon and two more teams got selected into the EstLat-Accelerate program. Overall in the program we had 12 early stage startups – six from Latvia and six from Estonia. The official start of the pre-acceleration program was on October 12 at Mentoring Academy in Tartu, where teams had speed mentoring sessions and workshop on finding your customers. Later the startups continued to work in their teams having regular one-on-one coaching sessions and special workshops. For example, marketing, pitch practice and fireside chat with successful startups, who already have experienced life in the world famous accelerators – Techstars and 500 Startups!
The first batch finished with two Demo Days – one in Riga and one in Tartu. In Riga teams have gathered at Digital Freedom Festival, where their pitched on the Green innovation lounge stage to audience and jury. The winning team of pitching competition “UpMatched” got the fast track to Latvia’s Business Angel Network (LatBAN) monthly presentation session and free tickets to the startup conference TechChill. First runner-up team “FoodyCheck” also got free tickets to the TechChill. Second Demo Day happened at STARTUp Day in Tartu, where our teams pitched on the Tartu University Idea Lab stage and the jury decided that winner is “FoodyCheck”, who got free tickets to the next Latitude59 conference in Tallinn, and the next runner-up “Ingenium” received a 3-month free use of TechHub Riga co-working space as their prize.
Co-founder of the winning team FoodyCheck Mara Lasmane says: EstLat-Accelerate is a motivating pre-acceleration program that helped us develop our startup. Within the framework of the program, we met with many professional mentors, both in business strategy and presentation ideas, and we got valuable contacts, including the ones that are specific to our industry.
Our participant teams:
– FoodyCheck (Latvia) – Food product rating & scanning app helps to make healthier shopping decisions fast & effortlessly;
– UpMatched (Latvia) – Engaging Messenger robots that search for and screen job leads for the employers;
– Ingenium (Latvia) – Ingenium is a tool that allows teachers to create,grade,edit and share tests easily and quickly;
– s’COOL (Latvia) – Smart phones as learning and research tool – interesting, educational content for kids;
– MullyCare (Latvia/Estonia) – Robot Assistant, helps young parents with 2-5 years old Child to entertain, educate and check health;
– SecretFlights (Latvia) – A global platform that would allow airlines to discreetly sell their excess inventory at a discount;
– GaGa (Estonia/Latvia) – A personal assistant and a companion in one device. Smart, mobile and personal, you can ask it to manage your smart home, your schedule or your play time;
– CreepyHeads (Estonia/Latvia) – Interactive art installation with horror experience, where heads on stands follow and talk to you;
– Bookly (Estonia) – Convenient environment for booking different services on mobile or in web;
– TIIU (Estonia) – Digital Assistant Tiiu for chronic diseases. Blood test referal &results .
– Brillo (Estonia) – Affordable e-reading device with braille alphabet for people with visual impairment;
– StartLegal (Estonia/ Russia) – A chatbot that helps startups to get access to legal help and receive legal advice.
EstLat-Accelerate is supported by ERDF programme ‘Interreg Estonia – Latvia 2014 – 2020’. The programme is implemented under the European territorial cooperation goal of the cohesion policy and it supports cross-border cooperation.