A new initiative was launched in Cluj this spring: Seed For Tech is a product development fund, with go-to-market support and seed investment. Through Seed For Tech, we want to help good ideas and talented people reach the next level while contributing to the development of the regional ecosystem of startups and tech products.
We're looking for business people or domain experts who have a business idea, a good market knowledge, are willing to build and lead a tech business and are in search for a solid partner to develop the idea and the software product.
The founders who partner with Seed For Tech will get a software development team, financial investment and support in market research and idea validation. Consultancy in marketing strategy, logistics support and connections with other potential investors, clients and mentors are included, if needed. The model is structured in three phases, each phase addressing a specific stage in the development of a startup.
Together with the founders, we will go through a period of customer discovery and validation, market research, business planning, with the goal to determine the business feasibility, get to problem-solution fit. The timeframe for this phase is up to 8 weeks. It is a period of understanding the business and getting to know to see how we can work together. Seed For Tech will help the founders in achieving the goal mentioned by working together (on a daily basis) and by committing up to 3 000 euro to spend on the various needs regarding this phase. In this phase we don't require a full-time focus. If a founder has already all these done, we can advance faster towards phase 2.
In this phase, the tech team will work on the product, under founder's lead and vision, getting the support needed to launch and acquire first customers. The goal for this phase is to build the core product, launch it and get to product-market fit, after a few iterations. Besides the product team, Seed For Tech can also commit seed funding for activities in marketing, sales and business development areas. The founders will lead the team and the work in the new venture and this should be a top priority for them.
In this phase, under founders' lead, the business should be expanding. The focus is on marketing, sales, business partnerships, product improvement. The goal is to scale the business regionally or globally, become profitable, so it can take a few years. Seed For Tech will take care of the product side, will support the business development and will facilitate connections with funds for growth or partners from our business network.
Overall, for us, what is important is the domain expertise and drive of the founders. We can step into the role of a tech co-founder, with equity varying on the effort involved and milestones set. Besides this, initially or later on, we can provide seed funding for additional equity. The founders remain the decision makers, as they are the experts in the domain and they lead the business.
So far, in just one month from the launch, we had more than 20 applicants and in June we will start working with 4 of these entrepreneurs/teams for phase 1. We aim to reach 10 startups in phase 1 and up to 5 partnerships for phase 2 until the end of the year. Our focus is on B2B field, but we definitely want to hear B2C ideas as well. Besides our usual process, we can also support entrepreneurs who already have a team and a product and they need funding for further business and tech development.
by Larisa Hogaș
by Kuki Edina