Posted: 9 months ago

500 Georgia Winners on Participation in the Accelerator Program

Four-year cooperation between the Bank of Georgia, GITA, and the top global accelerator in the world, 500 Global, was announced about a week ago. This implies that 500 Global will retrain startups in Georgia over the course of the following four years.

As already known, the global acceleration program will be held twice a year on behalf of 500 Georgia, and startups from all over the world will have the opportunity to undergo an intensive training course, which will end with a demo day. The winning startup of each stream will participate in the international program organized by 500 Global.

Registration for the new stream of the program has already started and will continue until September 5. However, why should startups participate in an acceleration program? The founders of the startups Cardeal and Payze, winners of the first and second streams of the acceleration program, will answer this question.

"When we heard that the world-class accelerator 500 Global was coming to Georgia, getting into the program became our priority. By that time, we were already on the market and we knew our customers, but we did not have the most important thing - growth rate. We started working in this direction from the very first day, and by the end of the program, we already had a significant improvement, despite the fact that the pandemic crisis was not over yet", recalls Zura Bakuridze, co-founder of Cardeal, adding that 500 Georgia is a program focused on solving only one specific problem. There was change and improvement in almost every direction - marketing, sales, product development, investment, and more.

Kakha Gelashvili, the co-founder of fintech startup Payze, another winner of 500 Georgia, draws attention to the same issues - "The most important thing for a startup and its founding team is to get the knowledge that cannot be found anywhere except accelerators. This means such issues as the methodology of working on the product, the correct presentation of the product to future customers, relations with investors, and others.'' In addition, Kakha notes that the startup founders wanted to get into the program after watching the demo day presentations of the first stream of 500 Georgia.

What did they get from 500 Georgia? As Zura Bakuridze says, Cardeal had the main improvement in terms of product development - "Before that, we had already launched the update twice, but we still did not get the desired result. And the third update, which we released during 500 Georgia, was very close to product and market compatibility. After 2 weeks, we had 30-40% improvement in almost all metrics."

Notte was Cardeal's mentor in the program, who liked the startup theme and the team from the beginning, so they soon started working on improving the website. After 1 week of updating the website, the big problem of the startup – Bounce rate – decreased by 50%. When entering the platform, users knew where they had landed by the value proposition; They stayed and continued the process. At the same time, Cardeal significantly increased the conversion rate.

"The acceleration program was divided into several parts. First, there is the theoretical part, then the practice, and finally you move on to the metrics - you have to show what you have already learned in numbers, in real use. We were worried that this was a bad time for us. It is true that Cardeal had the right positioning during the pandemic, but the social background was still heavy in the country. A car is not something that a person buys during a pandemic. Despite this, we grew by 300% only during the program period", Zura noted with MVP. 

The venture capital platform 500 Global was introduced in Georgia by the initiative of the Innovation and Technology Agency of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and with the support of the Bank of Georgia. The first tripartite signing took place on February 20, 2020.

During 2020-2021, 500 Global conducted two acceleration programs in Georgia, which were attended by a total of 30 Georgian and international technology startups. Four of these startups – CARDEAL, Cargo, Payze, and Agrolabs – traveled to Silicon Valley to participate in the final component of the program, which included activities to establish new contacts and connect with investors.

Source: MVP