How to find money for start-up outside of Russia
Three examples of attraction of investments: in Chile, Singapore and the United States. Venture capitalists, business angels and programmes supporting startups in the world much more than in Russia. How to participate? That they give? Here are three stories about the experiences of Russian businessmen.
Pavel Timofeev and its partners on startup-Canadian Evan Shoemaker and American Andrew Dzhozuajt got $40 000000 from the Government of Chile. What do you need, says Pavel:
A few years ago, I worked as a programmer in Kuala Lumpur, where he met his future business partners, Evan (from Canada) and Andy (from United States). In the past two years we have worked together through the Internet and developed software for clients from different countries. All this time the idea of creating your own business never left us. However, as citizens of different countries, it was difficult for us to get together somewhere in one place longer than a tourist visa.
At the end of 2011 the year we learned about the program of the Government of Chile called start-up Chile, which provides $40 000000 and residence permits for talented entrepreneurs to create business. The program is designed for 24 weeks and suggests that during this time you can create a working prototype of his project.
We just have to prove the existence of talent, to apply, where to show that our expertise can help local entrepreneurs gain new knowledge, and to obtain recommendation letters.
The last couple of years I have organized in St. Petersburg by regular meetings for Ruby programmers (those who use technology to Ruby On Rails) in the form of mini-conferences for each Piter.rb came to 50-60 programmers. In the application I did not fail to mention that happily spend several such meetings and in Chile. With regard to recommendation letter, then all was solved simply enough: we asked for feedback from clients, with whom we worked. In December we brought into the program, saying that in February we are in Santiago.
What market oriented project for the program is not so important. Our project called Student Loan Hero-for students and graduates in the United States. Since education in America pay, to cover the cost of study most students taking loans from banks. By the end of the graduation average debt American Student tuition is $26 000000 (officially, the average debt of a user in our system $47 000000 and in some cases he comes to $100 000-300 000, especially such debts often occur among those who went to the lawyer or doctor).
Imagine you 20 years, you just finished University, you have no job, but you're already hanging duty fees and you each day call collection agencies (this is the real situation of my business partner). Credits to take each new academic year, and the total number of loans from one student can reach 30, and from different institutions and kredityh with different conditions.
Our project aggregates financial data on student debt of public and private banks and later, based on the financial situation of the user, provides financial strategies, how to get rid of the debt faster and spend less money. We will license our platform for universities and colleges to get their students to first-year students a clear understanding of how much money they need for school and how it will affect their lives.
For 24 weeks in Chile, we have been able to undertake a study on the market from scratch, create a working version of your project and find the first customers. Now negotiating with two American banks about a potential collaboration and are looking for additional investment to continue to develop the project. Start-up Chile is a very interesting and rewarding experience. Teams from Russia yet. The creators of the program trying to reach out to the whole world and want to see more international teams, so the chance to get into the program.
Alexey Guiasov, author of the idea of bank cards in the style of Angry online store Cards and credit cards, about his experience in startup attract money Twistock.com Simulator trading exchanges, where shares are sold and bought Twitter accounts:
On may holidays we with the brother (Oleg Guiasov-co-founder startups in refining) went to Singapore just to see the city and bask. On the fourth day I wanted more meaningful holiday. Brother phoned a friend from a local venture fund. The same evening we've sat with him at a family dinner. And in early September I from Moscow signed the investment agreement-National Research Foundation of Singapore, a structural subdivision of the Government contributed about $200 000000 for the development of my project. But it all started, certainly not in Singapore.
I work in a Bank, my partner on the project Nikolai Yegorov had recently developed the voice search in Yandex. In the fall of 2011, we accidentally met at the higher school of economics. After a month in Runet appeared service which assessed the popularity of everyone on Twitter, appointed him the price, and you could buy shares of this user. But the creator wanted to develop it.
I liked the idea. In April 2012, I called Kole and suggested that Twistock already in the English-speaking audience, as the number of Russian fans Twitter background is lost on Americans. So work began on the Exchange Twitter accounts. In their spare time, we perezvanivlis on Skype.
Then there were the holidays in Singapore. Of course, two dinners there. To attract government investment had to prepare a set of applications and documents. Short project description is sent to experts, accredited to the National Research Foundation of Singapore. They may not be interested in the idea and, accordingly, do not reply to the letter.
If the three experts were asked to answer a detailed description of the project-the game continues. Interested experts preparing conclusions. If two of the three opinions positive, you can structure the deal and sign the investment agreement. This is exactly what happened in our case.
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What is the essence of the project, which approved in Singapore? Twistock.com is a simulator trading exchange, where you can earn virtual currency in order to spend it on real products in the Twistock Store is the online store on the site. Web robots Twistock estimated value of shares of each Twitter account, this value depends on its "social weight" (robot takes into account about 20 parameters).
At the start of every new player gets as many virtual money deserves. If a person has a great "social weight"-he'll get a lot of virtual currency and immediately be able to spend it in the Twistock Store. If a person is not so popular, he can earn virtual money by buying and selling shares of other Twitter users. The stock price also depends on the operations of purchase and sale: when buying a stock price rises, while selling-falls. All quite simple.
The first open version Twistock.com we recently launched in Russia. Certainly, there are mistakes that we didn't have time to catch during private testing. Certainly, we would scold for modest features and primitive design. But it's best to start as soon as possible to collect more user reviews and sit down for refinement. We are ready to listen to all the comments.
The money we received from the Singapore Fund, of course, compact and arrive at the expense they are not all at once, but in two tranches (second tranche is transferred during specific KPIs). But the money from the State is a sign of quality. With this "mark" can be easily attract additional funding on the open market from the same business angels who no longer need to spend time on your own deep expertise of the project.
Entrepreneur Alexander Dresen that starts in Moscow, a start-up aksellerator MoscowTech about his experience in American business-akselleracii Seedcamp:
Overseas start-up competitions often perceived domestic start-ups seriously-entrepreneurs want to experience the fate of his first project at home and believe that they will be able to immediately find investment. However, participation in foreign events can provide valuable knowledge.
Last year I applied for participation in the akselleracionnoj programme Seedcamp New York and successfully passed her by becoming a finalist. How was it? I met with the team of Seedcamp in pizzeria in Manhattan along with several graduates from Seedcamp and novice teams. After a few beers we moved into a hotel. The next morning everything has become seriously.
Training on the presentation speeches took place at the offices of Google. We are all presented their projects and received "bucket of water. Actually, pretty hard when other people say that your speech is complete nonsense, and product positioning is fundamentally wrong. But it helps in the future.
The next day we started working on performances, to speak before several faculty mentors from and entrepreneurs from New York. Then all teams moved to the Office together with faculty mentors from, organised in groups of 5-6 people. They chatted one-on-one with each a startup entrepreneur. This was the most severe test and the best that ever happened to me.
Opportunity to ask questions to experts and get honest answers-it's pretty cool. But in the end all will be your opinion and you, like me, have to do still a lot of A-B tests to develop that actually has meaning and value to the project. The next morning I was invited to a private event for investors, where the present venture capitalists started Seedcamp swamp me issues. A day later, I learned that was the winner and a member of the Seedcamp community.
The following paragraph akselleracii program became week Seedcamp in London, which resembled a reinforced version of the mini Seedcamp. It's been 7 days with faculty mentors from sessions, seminars, master-classes, lectures, together with the day of presentations at the very end. For all this week I was able to meet with all those who in Europe engaged in venture capital investment.
A few months later, the portfolio companies Seedcamp 2011 model year went to New York, Boston, Seattle, Austin, Los Angeles and San Diego. In each of these cities were mentoring meetings with famous people level Pascal Fineta and local entrepreneurs, as well as visiting technology companies. Most important for me became a meeting with venture capital funds (including Greylock, Andreesen Horowitz, O'Reilly, Softtechvc, Khosla) when we can present their projects directly partners with leading venture capitalists.
I became a member of the Club of Seedcamp. Got a bit of an investment, but a lot of relationships with investors worldwide as Dave Mcclure, Jeff Clavier, Fred Wilson, Shol Klein … in General, their really was very much. Be a member of Seedcamp-perhaps the best investment for me as a businessman.
At Seedcamp, mini session organized across Europe and in New York, and every time they are invited to these events by 20 European startups and after choose 1 or 2 of them winners.
This year I've been a mentor 12 teams from Moscow, of which 4 project (My-apps, Dish.FM, Kula, Beatthebushes) were accepted for the competition Seedcamp in New York, Ljubljana and London. I think it's invaluable experience.