We participated on the panel at the Innovation Talk Belgrade 2020 conference where the key topics were around investments in the startup ecosystem and cooperation between startups and corporations.
Our panel was focused on the topic of the development of the VC community in Serbia with the intention to answer the question of how VCs decide on specific markets and how startups environment in Serbia can continue to grow and how optimal conditions for startups can be ensured.
We are sharing key highlights from the panel that were discussed by our Investment Manager Pedja Predin:
1) Please briefly explain the history of your fund – how it all began, where did you get the funds, why have you decided to raise a fund, how does it work etc.
The ENIF fund is managed by South Central Ventures and it was founded in 2015. It is a continuation of the first VC fund in the region RSG Capital which was focused on the Slovenian and Croatian markets. The € 40 million are dedicated to early-stage investments in tech companies in the Western Balkans. The funds were raised from institutional investors such as EIF, EBRD, KFW as well as limited partners from the region. With offices in Zagreb, Belgrade and Skopje we cover the entire Western Balkan region. By now we have successfully allocated 60% of the fund into 27 portfolio companies, from which 14 investments were made in Serbia.
2) What was your initial investment strategy? Has anything changed over the years?
We are pretty agnostic in terms of the sectors we invest in, although admittedly 80% of our investments are in B2B software. Otherwise, what we find to be far more important is the team creating the tech solution. Our aim is to support the teams with a strong technical background and the desire to change the world in their respective fields of business. With the investment from a few hundred thousand and up to € 3 million, we wish to help them scale from Belgrade, Novi Sad, Zagreb or Skopje all the way to London, Berlin, New York, Silicon Valley and the rest of the world.
3) … and your plans for 2020?
This year our main focus will be helping with the growth of our portfolio, which is now comprised of 27 companies and we are very pleased to have an opportunity to work with such extraordinary set of young intelligent founders with great energy. Based on the current state we believe we will be seeing some great exits soon and we hope to be back here next year explaining their story of success. In 2020, we plan to continue sourcing new investments since we are constantly meeting interesting and mature teams that show great promise. Last but not least, it is important to share that we have started to raise the third fund exactly because we see a lot of potential in the region and we want to continue to support the best companies with investments, as we have done from 2015 on being the only VC fund that continuously supports the success stories of the Western Balkan region.
You can read more about the event in this recap by Nova energija news portal.