New York. When numbers speak louder than words.
«Make your mark in New York and you are a made man. Mark Twain»
2017 has been an eventful and momentous year for Starta Ventures, and 2018 is promising to be even more so. Our team is happy and excited to share with you our results for this year and the plans for the upcoming one.
In 2017 we added 20 new companies to our portfolio, expanding it to 44 projects, 36 of which have gone through the acceleration process here in New York. Their results once more proved our hypothesis that New York is a point of global entry for startup companies. It is a perfect place to test the viability of your idea and your team. Here, in the capital of global business, a 3-month acceleration program gives you an opportunity to validate the market, find your first clients and make your first sale. And then, depending on the outcome, start planning for future business development and attracting investment.
It is sink or swim; New York makes you scale up fast, and if for some reason you can’t get traction here, all the experience you gain helps you become number one in your home market. The other option is to fail fast, sparing yourself and others from pain — and New York can help with that too.
For most of the 36 companies that went through the program, our accelerator proved to be an excellent springboard. Some were able to successfully enter or significantly improve their positions in foreign markets, while others got into top industry or international programs.
Since Starta Ventures is not only a fund but also an accelerator and a crypto ICO launchpad, let us put the all the numbers and facts together in context.
Total investments attracted by Starta portfolio companies in 2017 have exceeded $30M, from which $8M was attracted in the traditional Angel & VC rounds. New rounds in the last year were raised by Navigine — $0,9M;
We will be providing more details on this later.
We would also like to mention that there’s still opportunity to take part in some of these rounds.
As well as successfully raising rounds, several companies were able to get into other international accelerator programs.
As much as we’d like our companies to have exits in the traditional sense, it looks like we’ll have to wait till the New Year for that. This could be explained by a relatively small age of our portfolio companies; only 5 of them are older than 3 years and more than half of them are less than 2.
However, some exits did happen, according to the new economic paradigm created by blockchain and tokenization. One of the biggest benefits of the new model is allowing for recording the results of any action at any given moment.
As a result of the ICOs of several of our portfolio companies, we received a distribution of their tokens, which reflect their potential for economic growth. This allowed us to record the results of our former efforts and investments.
According to the current price quotations the total value of these tokens comes to $1,5M. After the process of receiving the tokens and lifting of the sale restrictions , the results will be distributed among our investors.
We are also expecting 2017 dividend distribution from Send Pulse.
In 2017, Starta gained new ground in the New York startup ecosystem. This year we partnered with Synergy Forum and 2 blockchain conferences, took part in the World Funding Summit in Los Angeles and a blockchain conference in Abu Dhabi. Next year we are partnering with TechDay New York, one of the biggest startup events in the US.
In 2017 we received over a thousand applications from startups all over Europe. We organized and held 44 events all across the world, with 1957 registered attendees and 850 investor passes. We had our Batch 4 Demo day at Rise New York, one of the leading tech spaces in the US, with over 200 registered attendees.
In 2017 we felt like we were really able to bring together the Eastern European startup and New York VC communities.
To some extent this became possible because of our launch of Sputnik Space. Sputnik Space space is a fully operational co-working office, which helps bring together founders from eastern Europe and former Soviet republics, outside of our acceleration program.
Sputnik Space — is a foothold for eastern European companies in the center of Manhattan, New York.
Its benefits, besides the traditional hard infrastructure, include access to Starta’s networking and the opportunity to learn from the expertise of our mentors and managing partners. When visiting New York, even if just for a couple days, you can always get a desk, a conference room and of course a fresh cup of coffee, no matter if you’re a co-working resident or not. Lots of investors and startups coming to New York are already benefiting from this offer.
In January 2017, Starta began fundraising for its new Starta Capital Fund II, in which Starta Accelerator played a key part. In the hopes of finding financing for our next batches , as a part of our roadshow we went to Asia, followed by several meetings in Moscow and New York, but it seemed like our concept of a fund with an inside acceleration programme was too unfamiliar for the traditional LP venture funds.
Together with a Latvia-based accelerator, Eegloo Business Lab, we participated in a tender for EU financing. We competed with the leading European accelerators for the right of exclusive acceleration of Baltic and Latvian projects. Even though Starta didn’t win, we became one of the 3 finalists.
This has only added fire to our passion of accelerating projects from Eastern Europe and reinforced our belief in them.
As a result, we tried to see our situation from a different angle and learned to think more globally, finding alternative routes to finance and support what we believe in.
That’s why talking about the results of the year we cannot overlook Starta ICO- the first in the world Accelerator ICO for $5М that we conducted in July 2017 together with our Singapore partners . To some extent this event had its part in popularizing these ideas in Russia, even before the general hype started. Speaking about the ICO phenomenon, this year it is worth mentioning that for the first time in many years Russia and other Russian-speaking countries showed their technological leadership and proved to have some of the best experts in the blockchain industry.
Starta ICO has given us an opportunity to learn how to effectively work with over two thousand individual investors. We were among the first ones to go through the pains of the post-ico process, and we are working to make this process easier and more transparent not only for ourselves but for the whole world as well.
Learning from the experience we got from Starta ICO as well as our expert participation in the ICOs of several of our portfolio companies, we launched Token Rockets. Token Rockets works with blockchain projects, helping them conduct successful token sales. Snovio.io, the first decentralized lead-sourcing platform built entirely upon the blockchain has successfully raised 2.1 M in their ICO with the help of token rockets .
Marketing and PR
2017 has united all of our ideas and products under the roof of the Starta Ventures brand. There are currently 5 parts to our rocket — Starta Capital Fund, Starta Accelerator, Token Rockets, Sputnik Space and Starta ICO. All of them have different investors and are focused in different areas of work, but uniting them is our overarching goal of realizing the global potential of companies with Russian-speaking founders.
Starta has received a lot of publicity this year. Articles came out not only in the leading blockchain news portals but also many others. Our partners and us had articles written about them in Vator TV, RusBase, Firrma, RBK, TechCrunch, RBC, Forbes and others.
In the end of 2017 Starta Ventures released its first Market report, which presented our vision on the upcoming changes in the VC market in 2018. Hybrid Capital
The Future of Venture in The ICO Era was published in the US and received some very positive reviews from experts in the venture and crypto community
It is also available worldwide through Amazon, both in printed and e-book versions.
Of course our main objective is to maximize the returns for our investors. But our mission has more of a social side to it. In Starta we strive to provide the founders of our portfolio companies with the tools and opportunities needed to build a successful global business. We are always moving forward and are ready to give our support to outside projects that develop and improve the technology of social relations. In 2017 our managing partners showed their personal support to Vmeste1000, a project which for the first time fully employs transparent p2p technologies of social interaction in local urban development.
In 2017 we had great people join our team.
Serge Milman, a New York based investor and entrepreneur, became a new partner at Starta. Serge acts as our guide to the New York business and investment community.
Lena Kareva — is a project manager for the Starta ICO and our hybrid investment platform.
Kairat Kaliev was our Starta ICO partner , an integral part of Starta’s history.
Alla Levina — Head of Program for Starta Accelerator.
Daniil Rybkin — Head of Sputnik Space
Anastasia Lykova — PR.
A special thanks to those who showed us their support this year:
Evgenii Medvednikov, Nikolai Beluh, iCoinSoft team, WavesPlatform team and Alexandre Ivanov, Digital Finance team, Sasha Skalabnov, Sergey Solonin, Sergey Dashkov, Bogdan Yarovoi, Dmitrii Anchutkin. We would also like to thank all the Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian , Kazakh and american Entrepreneurs who worked and collaborated with Starta.
Talking about the results of the year, why not mention our plans for the upcoming one. We worked hard to fulfill our 2017 resolutions and are setting new and greater goals.
In the near future, we’ll be presenting an investment platform for which we have acted as co-founders. This platform would allow for holding of legal security token ICOs with venture funds participating as lead investors.
We are also planning to launch Starta Capital Fund II, a new fund for follow-on investment for $20M, which would be among the first funds using the platform mentioned above. The investment will be held according to the hybrid model, with the participation of accredited investors.
ICO and cryptocurrency investment will receive even more focus inside Starta Ventures, and we will be creating a separate structure to work in this field.
In the upcoming year, we are planning to expand our portfolio by 30–40 companies. We have already selected 15 companies to join our winter Starta Accelerator program, which is to start on January 8. The full list of these companies will be announced in the first week of January.
Our new paid program Sputnik Space is waiting for its new residents! Sputnik is designed for experienced teams, has a global focus and is meant to become an additional pipeline for our new fund, which will invest outside our standard Starta Accelerator program.
Together with «Continuing Education Institute in Europe» Starta Ventures is happy to announce the launch of Starta Academy!
Our first course for entrepreneurs, angels, Family offices, and others looking to immerse themselves in the VC world is planned for May 2018 in Amsterdam. The detailed description of the 2-day program can be found here.
Recently, we signed a partnership agreement with Skolkovo and we’re planning on close collaboration with them in the future. Before, this collaboration was limited to our investment into Skolkovo residents on a random basis.
What else do we need? Even more great people who support our views and are ready to join our rocket in its pursuit of leading positions in innovative approaches in modern day VC investing: be they startups, new co-investors , Starta team members or just our friends and collaborators.
On behalf of the Starta Ventures team we wish you Happy Holidays and a fantastic New Year!