This panel of the Innovative Krakow Forum, moderated wonderfully by Mr.Richard Lucas aims to seek answers to the most sought after questions for startups based in Poland. Starting this discussion of with comparison of the startups here and the startups in other cities nationally, and internationally, this panel gives away a lot of insight for budding startups to establish a funding and attract investors.
Here are the key take-aways from the panelists:
Artur Karczykowski, Partner at Sunfish Partners:
- One of the primary virtues seeked by VCs of budding startups, are ofcourse the ideas, but also good teams. A suggestion relative to this, is to keep pitch decks short and to the point. The only thing lacking in Krakow based startups lies in the marketing area. Arthur encourages startups to grow in that particular field as he believes that startups here are highly motivated.
- A major area lacking in Krakow growth eco-system is success stories, that would drive the attention of investors to this city. There are not enoigh smart VCs in Krakow.
- An insight based on Arthur’s background suggests that VCs generally search for startups that are open to scaling up and out of Poland.
- A very important suggestion, is to search for similar ideas and competitors, to spend time Googling, and Youtubing pitches to see your competition and improve your ideas. Never assume that your idea is unique and always look to build on it, and work on it.
Paulina Białek, Director at Expara Europe:
- In a comparison with Singapore, Paulina reveals that the quality of startups is relatively the same in both the countries. However in comparison to Warsawa, there is a high amount of good startups hailing from Warsawa compared to those hailing from Krakow.
- As a comment on the VCs in Krakow, Paulina suggests that this is only due to the comparitively young eco-system in Krakow. With time, there will be more investors and better help from the government too.
- Another insight for attracting investors, is to invest in your teams. What attracts the investor the most, is a dedicated team especially that dealing with management. Be aware and embrace the competitors that you have, and be open to present it to the investors. It is also helpful to show the investors your exit plan.
- The problem with attracting foreign investors, which is very important for growing the eco-system, is that it is not their natural direction. Hence it is very important to actively seek foreign investors, and gain their attention.
Szymon Janicki, CEO at HCM Deck:
- Hailing from a similar background, Szymon shares his experiences. His suggestion regarding marketing is to shorten the pitch deck to a maximum of 5 slides. Overloading information is not suggested as it will lose the attention of the investors.
- Regarding the question of the eco-system and its ability to promote growth, there is no guidance for support and fast growth. Also lacking is the knowledge of this route to success.
- With VCs in mind, Szymon says,noting from his experience, that most of them come to Krakow to study the market rather than invest,.
- Events that bring together an investor and a startup are really important, such as one on one meetings, that can be organised or larger- scale events such as the Innovative Krakow Forum
Richard Lucas , #OMGKRK Amassador:
- Being an angel investor, Richard shares his suggestions and ideas for better pitching skills. The idea is very important, however more so, it is important to see the future of the startup and how they will make money. It is also important to hear the suggestions of the potential clients, rather than the investors.
- It is tricky to find top talent at entrepreneurial level. Startups need to broaden their market to a global level rather than a local level. It is important not to restrict competition to Poland, but broaden the search through Google and Youtube to other countries too.
- A great tip is to try to buy what you are selling, to gain better and more insight on the areas to improve for your product. Expand your search by going to trade fairs, and talking to potential clients and asking them for suggestions.
- In this ecosystem, there are several components lacking in strength, such as bankers, angel investors as well as business schools that would offer guidance for growth in business.