For six years, the iDealMachine accelerator has been a point of growth in entrepreneurial activity at the ITMO University site. Students have the opportunity to take part in events and present their projects to investors and business representatives, as well as get advice on creating their own startup, and understand what business needs from science.
We greatly appreciate the partnership and are confident that we have many joint initiatives that are useful for the development of entrepreneurship.
At Untitled ventures, we invest at the seed stage in Eastern European projects that have initially high export potential. Therefore, we are interested in partnering with three main markets (European, American, Asian) that are actively helping our projects quickly adapt to the local business environment. In one of the main areas with projects of interests regarding American retail, fashion and advertising, we most appreciate in our colleagues from iDealMachine a very flexible tariff policy and the lack of desire to acquire a share in the project itself, which is very important for more mature companies than the usual acceleration stage. We full heartedly give our recommendations on cooperation with iDM to a project from our Sarafan (https://getsarafan.com/) portfolio, which grew so quickly in terms of revenue in the local market that it decided to reach American advertisers and partners as soon as possible, whose concentration in New York is as high as possible.
I reached out to iDM 4 months after the company opened in the US. I had serious problems opening a bank account, accepting payments and building sales. I managed to muck up and spend a lot of time without knowing the peculiarities of doing business in America. Thanks to Sergei and Mikhail, I managed to open an account in a few days, connect card acceptance, and deal with issues that slowed down the launch of the business. They also saved us from dangerous mistakes in hiring employees! There are many specifics regarding Eastern Europe: how to conduct accounting, build marketing and sales, how to hire staff and build production. All assistance regarding the above is easily available from our colleagues at IDM, and they are ready to share this experience. We continue to work together.
Participation in the iDealMachine acceleration program helped us finalize the project idea, change the business model, think over the pricing strategy, calculate the unit economy and financial model, and make around 1 million rubles in sales. As a result, we received the first investment from iDealMachine, thanks to which we were able to build sales and reach self-sufficiency.
Although starting a business in the United States is no small feat, US companies and entrepreneurs enjoy certain conveniences that are not available in Europe. Still, I was far from that realization before the opening of LoyaltyPlant's New York office. The IDM acceleration program helped a lot to get to this - we found a partner who had the competencies that we lacked (and he generously shared with us) - experience of work and life in the United States. IDM helped with the preparatory stage - office, housing rental , recommended reliable and inexpensive lawyers (an extremely rare combination), helped organize accounting in accordance with local legislation. This helped to dramatically save effort, time and money at the start and direct resources to business tasks. We did not expect the accelerator to solve our business problems for us, but we regularly turned to IDM for help on general issues, and always received help - in hiring the first employees, organizing participation in conferences, building a sales department, and on a wide variety of other issues. IDM partners have significant experience with technology companies in the United States and a huge network. Most startups are determined to learn only from their mistakes, but those who are open to someone else's experience can benefit significantly from a partnership with IDM.
During acceleration, our team built out several sales channels, determined the goals for each, as well as the criteria by which the effectiveness of each channel was assessed. We chose to send letters in conjunction with a cold calling, attend specialized workshop events and participate in specialized exhibitions. The customer profiling was also clearly defined. As a result of the program, seven pilots and 10 sales were made for a total of 3 million. In addition, we managed to form a pipeline of customers worth 94 million.