Pitch Deck Crafting Webinar

16th of April 2:00 pm CET

11 May 2023·10 min read

Martyna Konys

Program Manager, Vestbee

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Labena Ventures

Take your startup to new heights with Labena Ventures which through highly-customized programs, mentoring dedicated experts, and access to vast network of business partners and investors, helps promising innovative Biotech, Pharma and Health value chains startups from all stages in achieving international success.

Accelerator Strategy Overview

Geography: preferred Central and East Europe, but open to other geographies as well

Preferred industries: Biotech, Healthtech, Pharmatech, Food, and Environment 

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Product stage: min TRL 3

Product type: -

Revenues: -

Program Details

Duration: 4 months

Participation fee:  No

Equity Investment: No

Grant: up to 20.000 EUR

No. of batches per year (+ months when you collect applications): 1 (January, February, March, April, May)

No. of startups in a cohort: 10


Q&A with Borut Čeh, Co-Director

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

A startup applying to the Labena Ventures acceleration program should showcase the following things:

Unique Value Proposition: The startup should have a clear and unique value proposition that differentiates it from competitors. The value proposition should be compelling and relevant to the target audience, proven through some form of market research.

Scalable Business Model: The startup should have a business model that can scale rapidly and sustainably, including a clear revenue and profit-generating business plan.

Strong Team: The startup should be run by an experienced team with a diverse set of skills and expertise, complementing each other in areas of expertise required for the development of the business and business growth. The team should have a track record of working together effectively and achieving results.

Coachability: The startup should be coachable and willing to take advice from mentors and experts. This demonstrates a willingness to learn and grow, essential for success in an acceleration program.

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

Startups considering applying to the Labena Ventures acceleration program should pay attention to the following:

  • Ensure that your startup aligns with program focus areas, which include areas of life sciences such as biotech, medtech, health tech, pharma, food, and the environment. This increases the chances of being accepted into the program.
  • Labena Ventures typically takes in startups in the early to mid-stage of development, such as pre-seed, seed stage, or even (early) revenue stage.
  • Startups with a strong market potential are preferred. You should be able to demonstrate that there is a significant market need for your product or service and potential for growth and scalability.
  • A strong emphasis is placed on the team, as the driving force of the startup. A diverse team with the necessary complementary skills, experience, and commitment to take your startup to the next level is a prerequisite for a successful business.

Our corporate accelerator, Labena Ventures is backed by Labena Group, a research and development services company in life sciences. Consequently, we understand how innovation is developed, and launched to the market and what it takes to be successful in this business. At Labena Ventures we are interested in startups that have the potential to benefit from partnerships with the program's corporate partners. Consider how your startup product or service could fit into Labena group’s focus and other partner businesses and how this partnership could benefit all parties. If you believe your startup aligns with program focus areas, is at the right stage of development, has strong market potential, has a great team, and is coachable, you may be a good fit for the Labena Ventures acceleration program.

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

Some of the most significant criteria that may prevent a startup from being accepted into the Labena Ventures accelerator program are:    

Lack of Alignment with Programme Focus: If your startup does not align with Labena Ventures' focus areas in life sciences such as biotech, medtech, health tech, pharma, food, and the environment, then it is unlikely that you will be accepted into the program.

  Inadequate Team: If your startup's team lacks the necessary skills, experience, or commitment to execute the business plan successfully, then it may not be accepted into the program. We are typically looking for strong, cohesive teams that have a track record of working well together.

 Legal or Regulatory Issues: If your startup has legal or regulatory issues, such as pending lawsuits or non-compliance with regulations, then it may be disqualified from joining the Labena Ventures accelerator program.

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

The Labena Ventures program offers a comprehensive learning experience for startups to refine their business strategy, acquire and retain customers, raise capital, build effective teams, and gain industry-specific knowledge. This involves working with our pool of over a 100 experienced mentors and industry experts who are there to provide feedback, direction, and insights on various aspects of the startup's strategy and operations. Through the program, startups can identify target markets, refine their value propositions, and develop go-to-market strategies. They can also learn effective marketing and sales strategies, including developing marketing materials and optimizing sales processes. Additionally, startups can learn more about how to become investable or attractive to investors, navigate the fundraising process, build and manage effective teams, and stay up-to-date with regulatory requirements and emerging technologies. 

All in all, the Labena Ventures program provides startups with valuable knowledge, skills, and connections to accelerate their growth and drive toward success. 

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

Our accelerator provides various types of support to its portfolio companies during and after the program to help them achieve their business goals. Here are some ways Labena Ventures supports its portfolio companies:

  • Mentoring and Coaching: Labena Ventures provides its portfolio companies access to a network of experienced mentors and coaches who offer guidance on business strategy, product development, fundraising, and other business opportunity development areas.
  • Access to Corporate Partners: As a corporate accelerator, Labena Ventures has established partnerships with several companies in the healthcare, biotech, pharma, food, and environmental industries. Portfolio companies have the opportunity to engage with these partners, which can provide access to potential customers, distribution channels, and other resources.
  • Investor Connections: Labena Ventures helps its portfolio companies connect with investors during and after the program. This includes introductions to angel investors and venture capitalists and sharing information about other potential funding sources.
  • Workshops and Training: Labena Ventures provides workshops and training sessions on various topics relevant to startups, such as fundraising, sales, marketing, and customer development.

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

Accelerators have become increasingly popular for several reasons. Firstly, they provide access to early-stage funding crucial for growth and development of startups. 

Secondly, accelerators offer startups mentorship and support from experienced mentors who can provide guidance, advice, and connections. This support is essential for startups to navigate the challenges of starting and scaling a business.

Thirdly, they bring together a network of startups, investors, mentors, and industry experts, thus providing valuable opportunities for startups to find new customers, partners, and investors.

Fourthly, accelerator programs often offer a structured curriculum that covers essential topics such as business strategy, marketing, and fundraising. This curriculum can help startup teams learn new skills and knowledge crucial for building a successful business.

Finally, participating in a reputable accelerator program can help startups gain visibility, exposure, and credibility in the industry. This can be particularly important for early-stage startups trying to establish themselves in the market.

In summary, this type of program offers startups a unique opportunity to access funding, mentorship, support, networking opportunities, a structured curriculum, and brand recognition. These benefits can be instrumental in helping startups succeed in today's competitive business environment.

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

In the present-day world, biotech, health tech, pharma, food, and environmental startups are gaining significant interest. Biotech startups are focusing on areas such as personalized medicine, gene editing, and drug discovery. They are also exploring new approaches to treat diseases like Alzheimer's, cancer, and infectious diseases. Health tech startups are developing new medical devices and digital health solutions to address various healthcare challenges, from improving access to healthcare services to providing telemedicine and digital therapeutics. Pharma startups are developing new treatments and drugs for rare genetic disorders and chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. They are also exploring new approaches to drug delivery and personalized therapies. Medtech startups on the other hand are developing innovative medical devices, supportive systems, and aids to alleviate disabilities and improve the quality of life of people. Food startups are working towards reducing food waste and developing sustainable and healthy food products like plant-based and functional foods. Finally, environmental startups are developing solutions to address pressing environmental challenges like air pollution, water scarcity, and climate change. They are exploring sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and carbon capture and storage as their areas of interest. All things considered, there is a growing recognition of the importance of developing sustainable, socially responsible, and impactful solutions that will improve the quality of life of humans and the environment we live in.

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

 Since accelerators are adapting to changing market conditions and the evolving needs of startups, the following trends are likely to continue shaping the European accelerator scene:

  • Specialization: In recent years, we have seen a trend towards accelerator programs that specialize in specific industries or verticals, such as also biotech, medtech, and healthtech. This specialization allows accelerators to provide more tailored support to startups in those industries and can also attract more specialized mentors and investors.
  • Sustainability and Impact: There is a growing interest in accelerator programs focused on sustainability and impact, particularly in areas like clean energy, social entrepreneurship, and sustainable agriculture. These programs aim to support startups addressing pressing environmental and social issues.
  • Virtual and Hybrid Programs: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend towards virtual and hybrid accelerator programs, which allow startups to participate from anywhere in the world. While virtual programs offer greater flexibility and accessibility, they also present new challenges regarding community-building and networking.
  • Corporate Accelerators: These types of programs are gaining more attention and momentum as corporations seek to tap into innovation and collaborate with startups, to either expand their portfolio of products and services or seek innovations to retain their competitive advantage in the market. Corporate Accelerators offer startups access to corporate resources, networks, and expertise while providing corporations with new ideas and talent.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: There is growing recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the startup ecosystem, so accelerators are taking steps to integrate these values into their programs. This includes initiatives to support underrepresented founders, such as women and minorities.

Related Posts:

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Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Impact Hub Belgrade (by Martyna Konys, Program Manager, Vestbee)

Startup Accelerator Of The Month - Sting (by Martyna Konys, Program Manager, Vestbee)

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