Romanian entrepreneur Emi Gal is on the board of a new Bucharest-based accelerator that promises you more than just cash: they’ll fix the problem of that elusive technical co-founder, too.
Nailing that elusive technical co-founder is a problem that plagues entrepreneurs the world over who have ideas but not the skills to build them into products. A new incubator fund, based in one of the largest developer communities in Europe, aims to solve it.
The new Digital Catalyst Fund is based in Bucharest and counts among its board members Emi Gal, well-known London entrepreneur and founder of video advertising company Brainient. Gal sits on a seven-strong investment committee that will decide which companies receive funding and three months’ access to a preselected technical advisor who will function as a CTO.
Based in Romania, the team will also be in close proximity to some of the world’s top tech talent and will be provided with regular opportunities to pitch to top-flight venture capitalists and investors for funding at the end of the incubation period. Founders can expect a working prototype by the end of their three-month stint.
DCF aims to solve two of the most challenging issues facing start-ups: access to low-cost developer talent and locating technical partners to take ideas to market. Gal told The Kernel: “We want to create – under one roof – a community of local tech experts, programmers, and developers with well-structured start-up projects, and to help bring their ideas to life and turn them into profitable entities.”
“Each founder – up to two of them – is given $5,000 to cover their costs for three months in Romania,” says Gal. “What happens during those 3 months is that we hook you up with tech people for you to choose the tech co-founder or CTO. You then spend 3 months in Romania with that person to build a prototype.
“After the prototype is built and you have your CTO, we may decide to fund you $25,000 to $100,000, if we think the prototype has legs. At that point you can take your CTO and fly away, or you can leave them there to build a tech team while you fly out to sell or raise more money.”
“A digital entrepreneur needs a place like this, where smart people with a project or simply an excellent idea can go to find solid development resources from where to turn dreams into business,” said Cristian Burci, founder of DCF. “Having a number of bright and motivated minds, investors, professionals, and academic or marketing representatives supporting the same project creates excellent opportunities for networking and building off each other’s experience and energy, fostering cross-border innovation.”
According to DCF, the fund will start its second round of investments in ten new companies in January 2013, and will follow up with two more rounds of investments each year. At the end of the three-month period, up to $500,000 of total capital will be invested by the Digital Catalyst Fund across the most promising start-ups. Applications close 5 July 2012.