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Startup Sauna Belgrade – A Royal Treatment for Serbian Startups

Startup Sauna Belgrade – A Royal Treatment for Serbian Startups

Startup Events are always exciting, even more so when they happen in inspiring environment such as Belgrade’s Royal Palace, add to this a great mix of local and foreign mentors and enthusiastic teams presenting their early stage startups and the feeling is unbeatable.
So when we were given the opportunity to present Althemy - CyberCity in front of European accelerator Startup Sauna from Finland, we jumped at it without a second thought.

On 4th of April 2014, Royal Council of Entrepreneurship organized a pitching event and meet and greet with Startup Sauna from Finland. Startup Sauna is the one of the top Scandinavian accelerators, connecting startups from North, Eastern Europe and Russia. So far 109 companies went through program, raising 34 million US dollars in investments.
After the initial presentation by Startup Sauna’s own Martin Talvari, it was pitching time.

We all had some 3 minutes each for pitches and 5 minutes for Q’n’A. And this was a lot of fun, as more than dozen startups pitched, with ideas ranging from car seat / heart beat sensors to self-watering plants and off course Althemy - CyberCity.

A Royal lunch followed (thank you very much indeed) and then selections were made for the second round, in which chosen startups had 10 minutes long sessions, but this time 1 on 1 with each mentor. Here we were presenting projects in detail and received specific and detailed feedback.

For us this was by far the most valuable part of the event, especially during our talks with David Schoch – Founder of Orion Telekom in Serbia. His excellent knowledge of communications and hosting environment allowed him to give us very deep insights and advices. He validated some of our ideas, but also made us very aware of certain loopholes in our approach to Althemy - CyberCity and our community.
By far one of the most inspiring mentoring sessions we had.

Other mentors we worked with during this session were:

Inka Mero – Head coach, Startup Sauna
Aleksandar Cabrilo – director, Serbian Business Angels Network
Martin Talvari – CMO, Startup Sauna
Nebojsa Lazic – Founder, Startlabs

Once all teams went through mentoring rounds, mentors chose 3 startups to enter the final selection for Startup Sauna acceleration program, which incorporates 5 weeks stay in Helsinki and participation at Slush - one of Europe’s biggest startup events.
But in fact anyone participating in this event was a winner in some way. And the reason for this was a great choice of mentors from all walks of business and startup backgrounds, who provided insightful feedbacks, advice and validations.

The networking part alone was worth being at this event. Not only did we meet some excellent people in startup scene, befriended many of them and got ourselves an invitation for beta testing of Awakening of Heroes, it gave encouragement to us and to all involved to pursue our goals, knowing that we are not alone in our struggles and endeavors and that Serbian startup scene is becoming one to keep an eye on.


Jagi Journal author