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accelerator of the month- demium by vestbee
13 June 2022·7 min read

Dorota Potępa

Community Builder, Vestbee

Accelerator Of The Month - Demium

Demium is a talent investment company founded in Spain in 2013 with the aim of supporting the best professionals and helping them to carry out successful projects, always with an eminently digital and technological component. In November 2020, Demium's asset management company started operating with a first €50M fund to invest in more than 75 early-stage startups per year (pre-seed/seed), becoming the most active venture capital fund in Spain. Startups such as Hannun, Voicemod, Swipcar, Citibox, Singularu or Landbot, among others, have been created in the incubator. The company is present in five countries: Spain, Portugal, Poland, Czechia and Ukraine.

Accelerator Strategy Overview 


Geography: Spain, Portugal, Poland, Czechia and Ukraine
Preferred industries: Industry agnostic
Company stage: Idea (pre-seed), launch (seed)
Product stage: Concept, demo, MVP/beta, ready product
Product type: B2B, B2C, B2B2C, B2D, B2G, 
Revenues: No


Duration: 6 months
Participation fee:  No
Equity Investment: Yes - 10%
Grant: No 
No of batches per year: Ongoing selection
No of startups in a cohort: N/A

Q&A with Karolina Wilk-Tryjanowska, Head of Incubation

What are the 5 most important things you look for in a startup applying to your program?

What’s very important for Demium, it’s people. The starting point for us is to help our startups establish a strong founding team. What we need to see is full commitment and proactivity to use all opportunities to develop the business. Regarding an idea, as we’re industry agnostic, we search for ideas that are scalable with a clear vision of expanding to foreign markets. Last but not least, as a registered fund, it’s important for our fundraising purposes that a startup is (or will be) incorporated anywhere within the EU and OECD zone. 

What startups should take into account before applying to your acceleration program? 

Each startup (team) joining Demium is treated uniquely as the local team provides a highly customised path for the project to grow. With this approach, we expect founders to fully engage and understand the challenges along the way. On the Demium side, we constantly search for more resources to help us provide high-quality mentoring, workshops, pitch training, etc.  as at the end, it’s all about the team having the initiative and willingness to succeed. 

Investors have almost zero objective data in the early stages of funding, it’s a new project so they would seek talents. More explicitly, they would want the entrepreneur to: 

  1. Know the sector they’re going to operate in,
  2. Have an ardent thirst for growth and success,
  3. Have a highly optimistic attitude.

Sometimes, younger entrepreneurs lack the first essential (knowledge of the sector) owing to their age, still, their zeal and attitude make up for it. 

Can you share some of the red flags that can disqualify a startup from joining your accelerator?

One of the important criterium is the startup's stage. As a VC we support early-stage startups, meaning pre-seed and seed rounds. Not only is it related to tickets which we can provide, but also to know-how and expertise we share with the teams. 

However, what can potentially disqualify a startup from joining our program is a lack of commitment and coachability. Working with ideas in the early-stage we see how important it is to stay focused but open to advice, pivots, etc.

What are the most valuable skills that selected startups can develop thanks to your program?

While searching for individual talents as well as startup teams, it’s very important for us to see critical thinking and creative skills. We welcome people of various backgrounds (technology, business, marketing, etc.) who are willing to train their communication and leadership skills within the Program. 

Of course, at later stages, it’s also crucial for us to develop expertise in financial modeling, market analysis, marketing techniques, unit economics and, of course, pitching.

How does your accelerator support portfolio companies during and after the program?

During our Incubation Program, we have several activities that are obligatory for each team. The most crucial one is a weekly sprint during which the Demium team can easily identify challenges and needs to provide relevant tools and resources. Every two weeks we have our mentoring panels during which our projects can meet with several mentors and start a relationship. Also, we organise bi-weekly pitching sessions with an aim of helping teams to get ready for the committee at Demium.

Apart from that, we really care about the community of our entrepreneurs - we believe that it’s one of the key empowering factors of success. For this reason, there are several community-driven initiatives in the hub and online, having renowned startup founders and ecosystem guests. 

After the initial investment, Demium keeps working with the entrepreneurs in order to further develop their business by raising a seed investment round. When the company raises its seed round, it passes the baton to the lead investor in the seed round who takes an active role in supporting the startup. We want to be our startups’ partner in the long-term. 

What are the best-performing companies in your portfolio? 

There are several startups that we couldn’t be more proud of - Swipcar with its recent 30M€ exit, citibox raising €11M in the last round or CityRobotics which increased its valuation 8.1 times in just 15 months.

In our First Fund, we’ve managed to support 110 companies and with our current 50M€ fund we want to invest in 225 startups in the pre-seed/seed stage until the end of 2023.

What key lessons have you learned from projects that didn’t work out the way you expected?

One crucial lesson learnt for us is that you cannot provide the same program to all startups, even if all of them are theoretically early-stage. What we see as an improvement and value that entrepreneurs mention is a full focus on their challenges and opportunities, while not wasting any minute on content, workshop, consultation that won’t help them get closer from receiving funds and developing their business.

Why, in your opinion, accelerators are becoming more popular nowadays?

In our view, the need of exchanging ideas, but also successes and failures is what encourages people to join certain programs. With the popularity of online courses, tutorials or books, it’s possible (to some extent) to learn some part of the knowledge ourselves. But what makes some of the programs valuable is the expertise and guidance coming straight from industry specialists, ex-founders, investors or business angels. 

What we see on a daily basis, it’s not necessarily easy to network and start building a community alone. With the help of all entrepreneurs in the hub, several events which we join together or amazing guests that visit us, we help to speed it up. Apart from that, reaching potential partners, clients and co-investors is crucial for the future of each startup.

What are the hottest markets you currently look at as an accelerator and where do you see the biggest hype?

We try to stay really open-minded but we obviously love to discover new territories. Currently, we pay close attention to trends such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, metaverse, NFT and of course Artificial Intelligence or Computer Vision. 

Do you have any predictions about the key trends that will shape the European accelerator scene in the near future?

We see a very promising trend of international accelerators and VCs joining the across-European startup scene. For sure accelerators will need to optimise their value proposition to adjust to a changing startup landscape. Despite the fact that Demium will also need to keep its position in the ecosystem, we are happy to see that the awareness of founders increases year by year. 

In the tech sector, the use of blockchain technology like metaverse or tokenization are a clear point of reference. Then again, solutions based on AI data, NLP (Natural Language Processing), computer vision and Web 3.0 are paramount as well. 

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