On January 30, 2018 Manhattan’s Bohemian National Hall hosted the ceremonial launch of CzechAccelerator, a project implemented by Czech governmental agency CzechInvest. The first two Czech start-ups – TouchArt and Legito – began a three month-long program powered by renowned company VentureOut. The Czech Republic was joined by only a handful of countries, such as Canada and Germany, with their own national acceleration programs in New York.
The grand opening of CzechAccelerator in the Bohemian National Hall drew nearly 200 guests representing some of the best of New York’s tech community, giving our start-ups a great chance to start networking just one day after their arrival in the City. Welcome remarks from Jan Chmelik, CzechInvest’s Director of East Coast Operations, Deputy Consul General Karel Smekál, VentureOut Founder Brian Frumberg, and Economic Development Director from the NYC Mayor’s International Affairs Office Daniel Kadishson, were followed by videomapping showcasing some of the most important Czech innovations throughout history (from the lightning rod, blood types, soft contact lenses, to Semtex or cybersecurity by Avast). The impressive show was created by Czech company XLAB Realtime which has successfully penetrated the US market over the last year. Once the program was launched, the first two start-ups had their first introductory flash-pitch.
The program itself will be run by VentureOut, a wellestablished acceleration company focusing on such international start-up programs. Both CzechInvest and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic have previous experience with VentureOut, having cooperated on the first Czech Startup Week NYC aligned with participation at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC supported by the CzechDemo program. This year’s second edition continues with participation at TechDay NY in May, again with a week-long accompanying program.
The project first ran between 2011 and 2014 and in the United States brought start-ups, including from the Silicon Valley, to Boston, Massachusetts. The second edition, running from 2018 – 2020 specifically targets New York City as a location that topped Silicon Valley in the third quarter of 2017, reaching $4.2 billion in raised venture capital investments. The plans are to accelerate approximately 20 Czech companies over the next two years.
David Němec from Legito shares his thoughts on the first week saying, “It has been a blast since we landed – three days at the largest legal-tech conference in the world, LegalWeek, where we got valuable connections, followed by a classy CzechAccelerator Launch in the Bohemian National Hall. We have not had a chance to stop yet!”.
Roman Maštalíř from TouchArt just adds that “After the first week with the entire CzechAccelerator and VentureOut team we coud not be more excited! The chance to present our product at the program launch in the Bohemian National Hall was a great opportunity and experience already generating two new meetings that could help to move our business forward!”.