Open call for CEE startups!

Startups, compete!

Last year, 56 startups from Slovakia applied to StartupAwards.SK, with just 8 making it to the finale after our top-notch mentors took them trough a rigorous 3 day bootcamp. This year, the competition is going to be even tougher! Do you think you’ve got what it takes?

Winning the competition has in many ways been a stamp of credibility when raising money from VCs.

Peter Kolesár, CEO of Neulogy, one of the co-organizers of FutureNow remarks: “Competing in the StartupAwards.SK final has always been very prestigious for Slovak startups. And winning the competition has in many ways been a stamp of credibility when raising money from VCs. So making the Awards better, bigger and opening up the startup competition to all the neighboring countries beyond Slovakia will draw larger crowds, attract more seasoned international investors and mean more visibility and exposure for the finalists in the CEE region.“

Who can apply to the startup competition?

Applications for the competition are now open at ! As we are opening the startup competition to our neighbouring countries, where all early-stage innovative companies coming from the CEE countries can apply. The company should not be in existence for more than 5 years, investments should not exceed 500K and the applicants should demonstrate potential to scale their innovative product globally.
From all the applied startups, only 24 startups will make it to the bootcamp happening from October 19th – 21st in X-Bionic Sphere!

How does the bootcamp work?

“The idea of the bootcamp is to bring the best, most innovative companies from the region together for an intense workshop valuable for everyone involved. The top 24 companies from the competition, a cut-throat selection guaranteeing quality, will gather for 3 days in one location and engage in group discussions and 1:1 sessions with various mentors. We’re talking about CEOs of corporate partners and relevant venture capitalists and investors that have an affinity for this community. You don’t get to sit down one-on-one with such skilled influential people who have a lot to bring to the table very often. During these three days, startups will be improving their presentations, business plans and also have a chance to present themselves in front of the whole group.” said Valentina Kasperova, the Conference Manager.

What is in the game for you?

If you prove you’ve got what it takes and make it through the bootcamp, you will get the chance to present your startup in front of our world-class jury at the FutureNow Conference on October 24th! Top 12 companies selected at bootcamp will pitch their company or product on the StartupStage during the most exciting tech and innovative conference in the region to persuade the international jury that they are the ones who have what it takes to make a difference. From these, 6 selected will get to the final gala to present on the Main Stage in the evening, with the best among them winning the main prize! The ultimate winner will receive a 20K cash prize for their startup on top of the exposure in the local and foreign media, high quality mentoring from real investors and successful entrepreneurs and valuable contacts from unique networking events.
Slovak early-stage startups are also in the game for winning the special US Connection prize in the amount of $35,000 and access to SAF’s networks and other resources. We wrote more about the US Connection prize here.

However, it is not only about the competition this year.

FutureNow is not only about a competitive spirit. Bootcamp participants automatically receive access to all events during the FutureNow Festival, an inspiring 2- day event in the capital of Slovakia with a rich and various program taking place before the Conference. During the bootcamp itself, participants will have the unprecedented chance to start new collaborations and partnerships and face time with top-notch mentors.
With the FutureNow Competition finale taking place at the Conference, you will have a chance to attend the most exciting tech event in the region, seeing inspirational speakers from all over the world and industries. Cherry on top of the cake? All FutureNow finalists will receive media recognition through our internal and external channels, reaching thousands of potential investors, customers and business partners. Find an investor like our alumni who have raised over 34 M € to this date. It all starts with applying for our FutureNow Competition ´18.
Sounds good?
Then don’t hesitate and apply! Applications are open till September 14th – don’t miss the chance to take your startup to the next level.