Between 19-20th November we visited Belgrade Venture Forum at invitation of Serbian Venture Network (SeVeN) (http://www.belgradeventureforum.org). BgVF is a largest event covering business angels, venture capital and and private equity in Serbia. The conference was opened by Minister of Economy, Saša Radulović, who inaugurated creation of initiative displaying vast resemblance to KFK program in Poland (http://www.kfk.org.pl/en). In a country which is not a member of the European Union such programs arouse tremendous attention and give rise to hopes for development of economy.
First day of the conference was dedicated to speeches of invited guests and panel meeting and presentations. Panel members included Marek Rusiecki, who discussed our Ukrainian investment, Hilt.com, and human resources selection criteria in startups.
Second day consisted mostly of startup presentations, separated into 6 blocks. International jury rated a total number of 37 projects. We have actively participated in these works and had pleasure, sometimes questionable, to rate more than half of them; discrepancy in their quality had us astounded. We have managed to select to winner – Strawberry Energy (www.senergy.rs) and the runner-up company – LiveViewStudio (www.liveviewstudio.com).
In the evening we have been invited to Royal Palace, where the party was hosted by Duchess Alison Andrews (http://www.royalfamily.org/?291%2Cen_venture-capital-reception-at-the-royal-palace#display/0/). Royal family very actively supports the spirit of enterpreneurship and willingly becomes involved in such initiatives as BgVF. The Duchess is a startup owner as well – Accel Partners fund has invested in her Galoo.com project.
BgVF consitutes an important initiative for Serbia, as well as for entire Balkan region. These two days provided opportunity to most active players – both those holding capital and those seeking one. As far as we are concerned, we have returned with a list of projects, which are to be talked with in close future and promising new connections, which we aim to tap into starting up one of our new copartnerships during the 1st quarter of 2014 in…Turkey J
In closing, we would like to thank Milosz Dosen for invitation and genuine Serbian hospitality. See you next year… or even sooner, in Poland!
Handful of useful info on Belgrad:
Direct LOT plane flies on mondays and thursdays.
A ticket bought early enough amounts to approximately 400 złotys.
At the airport we take the taxi from the relevant spot. Travel to the centre of Belgrad costs a fixed fee of 1800 dinara.
We recommend to order taxis from PinkTaxi or AlphaTaxi. If circumstances force you to take taxi from the taxi parking lot, make sure its licence plate lacks TX letters.
Best local restaurants are located at Skadarska St. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skadarlija).
Belgrad is also famous for its night life, starting after midnight. Recommended clubs include: Stefan Braun (http://www.mrstefanbraun.rs/en), Plastik (http://www.clubplastic.rs/) and Cinema. :)