Metavallon: “Accelerators Should Vouch For A Stronger Ecosystem.”

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Phyllis Nikolaou of the Greek accelerator Metavallon talks about their current program, why startups should apply and why accelerators should vouch for a richer ecosystem.

Describe Metavallon in 50 or less words.

Metavallon is a vibrant social enterprise empowering and accelerating startups at their early stages. We work with budding entrepreneurs to build their capacities and potential, expose them to experienced entrepreneurs, experts and investors internationally, and provide them with the necessary resources to skyrocket their businesses. Our aim: to uplift enterprising spirits across Europe and create phenomenal future-shaping companies!

What is your role at Metavallon and how did you get involved?

As of January 2016, I am the Marketing and Communications Manager at Metavallon. I was familiar with the organization since I was already involved in the Greek startup ecosystem, working for a couple of startups in Editorial & Marketing positions.

Metavallon is highly esteemed for having set foundations in the Greek startup community, among others being the first and leading accelerator in the country with a distinctive global reach. Sharing the passion and vision, I was introduced to Metavallon’s Founder and Managing Director last December, we talked about all things Metavallon & Marketing, and that is how I got onboard: to realize the next bold steps together.

Which technologies, industries or regions do you focus on?

All tech startups with a dedicated team, a prototype and some initial market traction are welcome to apply.

This year, though, The Accelerator will be on-boarding startups in future-shaping fields, such as FinTech, B2B & Enterprise, Big Data & AI, Internet of Things, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality, Cloud services & SaaS, Telecommunications & Mobile, Energy & Cleantech, Health & Biotech, and Science.

Region-wise, The Accelerator 2016 is calling to all passionate entrepreneurs across Europe. With our internationally-competitive offering and our increasing involvement in the European ecosystem, we have seen the amazing future-shaping talent that the continent has to offer and we know how to enhance it.

Tell us a bit about your program – what can startups expect and what do you ask for in return?

Our current program is The Accelerator, a rigorous 4-month business acceleration process to select early-stage startups. The program transforms dedicated startups into powerful investment-worthy companies with a global reach. It offers a powerful setup, including:

  • €22.000 in pre-seed funding,
  • growth training and 1:1 execution coaching through our global network of experts and investors,
  • targeted networking internationally, plus a 1-month startup mission to SF and Silicon Valley,
  • over $220K in perks from our Program Allies (i.e. Microsoft and Amazon Web Services).

Applications are open and close on April 27. In return, we want our startups to show bold vision, passion for execution, and eagerness to work hard to grow their business.

Why should a startup apply at Metavallon?

The Accelerator can truly be a catalyst for growth for the right startup. How? From our work and experience, we have found that the European ecosystem has remarkable talent, ingenious concepts, and an undeniably promising future lying ahead. There is space for high growth and great progress. The only thing missing is a solid cross-border framework – something that is fundamental to more mature ecosystems.

What does this entail? Starting from a talented team with a promising concept and, through feedback from the right people, transforming the initial spark to a pioneering venture. The Accelerator provides this framework exactly. Participants are granted access to amazing expertise and a global network of powerful allies, experts, and investors. Along with the kickstarting seed funding and perks, we provide our startups with all necessary resources to forge a distinct solution, get a foothold in the market, and shape up for growth.

How can someone connect with you?

They can follow our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+) and our blog, subscribe for our monthly Top Stories Newsletter, and connect with us through our page.

What do you think makes a startup successful? Which of the mentioned qualities are usually missing?

Our formula for startup success includes three magical ingredients: talent, progress, and grit. By that we mean, the talent and passion to create restlessly, a sense of business acumen to execute vigorously and, last, the commitment, perseverance, and vision to achieve big.

As for what is missing from startups? Essentially, it is the combination and balance of the three, so that teams focus on bringing in step-by-step market results. Systematic results is what gives rise to great companies – and also what investors are actually looking for. Simple but not easy.This is why we have designed and shaped up The Accelerator to gear up participants for market growth and success.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

As a social enterprise, we build infrastructure that empowers entrepreneurs to start high-impact ventures, generate job & market opportunities, and grow their businesses – leading to entrepreneurial success and to a boost for local economies. It is on this basis that we measure our success: How effective and impactful are our startups? How fast are they growing? Have we created new and exciting opportunities? Essentially, we go much beyond tracking a next investment round, to include our societies, our living, and our future. Part of our job is researching and building on our findings: we review the progress of our alumni and evaluate our involvement. So far, we have made strong cases of our work and bold changes each year to deliver better.

With insane growth of accelerators joining the ecosystem in Europe – how do you make sure you stand out?

In three words: international, innovation-driven, business-minded. First, we act globally. We work with promising European startups, we bridge two major ecosystems through our US Mission, and we employ to the fullest our arsenal of experts, investors, and allies. Second, our allies also create opportunities for innovative solutions, market entry, and partnerships for our founders. Eventually, we work on what makes a brilliant startup and a killer investment: we focus on empowering each team to bring results and build an inspiring business. Last, our location is a secret weapon on its own. Sunny Athens is a strategic spot for startups that want to shape up for growth, connect globally, and stay productive during the summer.

Which startups success stories went through your program already?

Most of our startups started small but they keep growing. So far, our alumni have raised more than € 3 Million! A few of the success stories that we take pride in are: liateR, an interactive sales solution for retailers and brands in the apparel market that uses augmented reality technologies to create an environment where consumers can digitally try on and buy clothing. Roadcube, an app that helps users find the best services for their vehicle from all local companies, get the best price and pay with their smartphone. Roadcube recently partnered with ParkWhiz and Ford. Finally, myiArts, an online art exhibition marketplace that matches rising Artists to Art Enthusiasts, have recently secured follow-up investment and we’re excited for them.

If you had the chance to accept one particular startup right away, which one would it be?

SpaceX- we are big fans of how Elon Musk’s mind works and also we love just about anything about space, and time, and the great Unknown!

Theranos or anything from Elizabeth Holmes and brilliant women that aspire to change the world.

Oh, and Google. Along with any company whose pitch starts with “It’s Google for…” – we’d jump on that ship anytime! And yes, we are obviously joking.

If there is one thing you can wish for improving the European startup ecosystem, what would it be?

United we stand! Accelerators should vouch for a stronger and richer ecosystem. This can be achieved by enhancing the communication between them, by supporting each other, and by organizing more joint activities to empower startups. In other words, working collaboratively to make our ecosystem highly impactful.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs for their startup?

The journey from startup to success is usually rocky so brace yourself! Be fearless, persist, adapt, and keep moving forward!


StartUs Presents: Metavallon


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