StartersHub, an early-stage tech investment fund based in Istanbul and San Francisco, will back 60 eastern European startups over the next four years in an effort to bridge the gap between pre-seed and seed funding.
Arda Aşkin, managing director at StartersHub, explained: “Despite the fact that a record €0.7 billion was invested in CEE startups in 2018, there is still a predetermined gap between pre-seed and seed funding that yet detain a potential the market has. We address this issue by offering a beneficial investment model — it implies quick tranche investment along with the mentoring. It lasts for two to three months and includes business optimization, legal and financial assistance, and networking support. This kind of full and consistent mentoring is highly needed and is really missing now in the whole CEE startup ecosystem.”
As he mentioned, there is a monitoring stage of about two to three months, consisting of mentoring, business optimisation, and an immediate $25-50,000 investment. Following this initial stretch, startups may receive additional funding of up to $250,000. StartersHub is also an Amazon Credit partner, so every portfolio company could receive $100,000 in AWS services credit. The goal is to help promising tech companies, from any vertical, scale internationally.
Touching on why the micro VC has decided to focus on central and eastern Europe (CEE), Aşkin continued: “[The] CEE region is booming with over one million developers. The market proliferates with tech solutions where fintech enterprise software and SaaS are the leading categories. In this era of expansion opportunities we are planning to increase our scope around CEE to promote business growth for uprising innovative startups of the region.”
StartersHub’s portfolio includes more than 60 startups from all over the world, with a total valuation over $250 million. The firm is known for early-stage investments in Zeplin, Meditopia, Sixa and Segmentify.
In the last three months, StartersHub has invested in Latvian startup Asya.ai, an app for “mindful conversation” powered by ethical AI, and Romanian online video editing tool Flixier. By the end of this year, the micro VC aims to finalize three more investments in eastern Europe. In 2020 the firm will partner with local accelerators to identify more promising entrepreneurs.