CzechInvest’s CzechAccelerator project, which sends promising Czech start-ups for three-month stays in selected incubators around the world, began operating in Silicon Valley at the beginning of February. Two Czech start-ups – Nanits Universe and Integromat – are currently being accelerated in the American incubator US Market Access Center (US MAC).
The US MAC incubator is assisting the Czech start-ups with their entry into the local market and providing them with the necessary know-how. The young firms are working intensively on their development with top mentors and the head of CzechInvest’s San Francisco office, Miroslav Tenkl, who prepared, among other things, a celebratory kick-off event for the start-ups following their arrival.
“The Czech firms were not in an easy situation. Soon after arrival, they were subjected to a litmus test in the form of an initial pitch to the demanding expert public in Silicon Valley. However, they definitely didn’t disappoint. The inimitably friendly, creative and entrepreneurial atmosphere of the subsequent networking captivated our firms and they easily set up a full range of follow-up meetings. The event completely fulfilled our expectations and we very much look forward to the progress that the firms will be able to display in later events of this type. We are preparing the next pitch event for the firms in March,” says Tenkl.
Participation in networking events and contact with the start-up community form the foundation of success for firms in Silicon Valley. The kick-off event was attended by approximately 80 guests, a very respectable number in the face of strong local competition. The guests included mentors, venture capitalists, attorneys, experts in protection of intellectual property and representatives of corporations and partner government organisations. Besides Miroslav Tenkl, speakers included Alfred Coppola, head of the US Market Access Center; Mark Chandler, head of the department of international relations of the city of San Francisco; the operations manager of the firm STRV, which participated in the CzechAccelerator project in 2012; and representatives of Nanits Universe and Integromat.
“They say that Silicon Valley is a Mecca for technology firms and business – and it’s true! Immediately on the first day in CzechAccelerator, we were thrown into events and we have been going nonstop since then. Business is the top priority here. The extensive experience and valuable advice that we are getting are priceless. And our initial meetings with potential partners and customers only confirms that,” says Ondřej Gazda of Integromat, describing his impressions of the first weeks in the programme.
“After the first weeks in San Francisco, we can gladly say that we are seeing the initial signs of the tremendous potential that this programme has for our project. After such a short time, several firms to which our product was presented and with which we met have expressed interest. The cooperation with the mentors and preparation of a plan tailored for us are also great. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we believe that we are on the right track,” adds Veronika Siřinová of Nanits Universe.