Source: Blic | Thursday, 19.01.2017.| 15:58
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First private equity fund worth EUR 1 million founded in Serbia – Startup contest open till March 17

(Photo: isak55/shutterstock.com)
Seven business people from Serbia founded the first private equity fund in Serbia for startups worth a million euros on January 15. The ICT Hub Venture fund has opened a contest within which it will invest up to EUR 30,000 in the next 24 months in 30 newly founded companies at the most. What makes the fund stand out from others is their willingness to invest in startups in very early phases of development.

The contest, as Blic learns, will be open until March 17, 2017, with an additional two invitation cycles. Businessmen such as Ilija Setka, director of Imlek, Slobodan Djinovic, director of Orion Telekom, and Dejan Randjic, founder of ICT Hhub, have invested in this fund.

The investments are also meant to encourage young professionals to leave their well paid jobs and set off into uncertain waters of entrepreneurship, says Kosta Andric, director of ICT Hub Venture.

– The difference between our fund and the others is that we want to invest in the earliest phases of a company's development, in which sometimes there's only an idea. This money can be used by entrepreneurs to expand the team, buy the know-how, but also to finance their wages in the period of six to twelve months, before the product is developed and they are able to stand on their feet – explains Andric.

In order to invest in it, the startup needs to have at least a prototype in the earliest phase, a research showing that there will be demand for their product or the first purchasers, who are ready to pay money for the product.

In addition to young programmers and people who are already a part of the startup community, the aim, as Andric says, is for them to also reach the professionals who already have experience in various industries and who know what corporations need and what each concrete industry needs.

Startups to get training and contacts

ICT Hub, which has been developing startups in Zvezdara IT park for two years, will offer expertise, various types of training, as well as contacts with potential clients and investors to companies selected at the contest.

– We will analyze several main aspects: what the startup founders' relation is to the problem they want to solve, whether they have direct experience in the industry, whether the team members' skills are complementary to support the business and the technical side of such a project. The focus is on team composition – Andric explains.

In addition to the investment, he adds, the fund will organize a special program for each startup, which should meet their specific needs.

Seven businessmen from Serbia – Slavko Andrejic, Stevan Radak, Ilija Setka, Dragoljub Vasic, Slobodan Djinovic, Dejan Randjic and Marko Hinic – have invested their personal money in the fund and will become the co-owners of a share in the startups, ranging from 5% to 15%.

More information on the contest, as well as the application form, are available at the fund's website.
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