Katapult Accelerator is closed!
Katapult is the Innovation Fund’s acceleration program that targets growth oriented innovative startups and offers intensive training, including mentoring and support for businesses, as well as grants in the form of At-Entry and Co-Investment Grants.
The 3-month program will be organized twice a year with up to 20 selected companies in each of the terms.
The emphasis will be on mentoring and training programs tailored to the needs of selected companies, in line with their specific challenges and growth potential. If the conditions permit, training will be realized in Belgrade or its surroundings, which will include different types of activities, such as lectures, workshops, sessions with mentors, etc.
All Applications are handled through the Katapult portal. To register an account, the Applicant must have a valid Tax Identification Number (PIB). An email address given during the registration will be used for all future correspondence with the Applicants.
The Innovation Fund will publish two Public Calls per year until the completion of the Serbia Accelerating Innovation and Growth Entrepreneurship Project (SAIGE), of which the Katapult program is a part.
Startups outside Serbia can apply provided they are willing to register their business and establish an operational base in Serbia. In other words, key team members must be present in Serbia.
Participating companies can be internationally registered (for example, Delaware C-Corp.) as long as they also have a locally registered legal entity engaged in day-to-day business.
The applicant must meet the following eligibility criteria:
The applicant is a legally registered business unit, not older than six (6) years, at the time of application for the program.
The applicant is a private (at least 80% privately owned), micro or small enterprise.
It is desirable that the founding teams have at least two co-founders to be considered for the Katapult program. The strength of the founding team for the problem they solve and the complementarity of business skills, technical skills, experience and knowledge in the relevant field will be the subject of assessment.
Katapult is an intensive program that expects co-founders to be engaged full-time in their companies. Investors also tend to invest in startups with fully committed founding teams.
To take full advantage of the Katapult's support and resources, teams should be able to offer at least an initial MVP version of the product with the necessary functionality to first users or customers.
For the Ideation category, companies are at an early stage or even still without income. However, it would be desirable for the company to have a pilot project and data on potential customers and confirmed demand for the product/service.
For the Scale-up category, the company already has a defined business model, customers and generates revenue.
The "Ideation" category helps founders in the early stages of product development and market conquest. The founders in question are looking for market validation, initial sales and confirmation of the business model. Typically, Ideation startups will be looking to raise initial seed capital, from €100K - €1M.
The "Scale-up" category, which includes startups in the phase of intensive growth, provides support to startups that already generate income from the market and whose goal is to accelerate their growth and raise additional funds through the so-called Late Seed/Series A investments from €500K to €2M.
The acceleration program will take place simultaneously for both categories. Some areas and activities will be implemented within a joint curriculum, while each category will also have organized separate activities specific to the respective level of enterprise development. When assigning mentors, their expertise on the one hand and the needs of the company on the other hand will be taken into account.
After the eligibility evaluation and administrative check, the eligible applications move to the first evaluation phase, which consists of a qualitative assessment of the reviewers and pre-selection by the Selection Committee (SC), which consists of three external experts. Reviewers will be invited to review applications in their area of expertise, but will not be directly involved in the decision to select a company to participate in the acceleration program.
The pre-selection will include scoring of applications, and after the pre-selection, the SC will prepare a short list of Applicants that will be invited to pitch before the SC.
The selection will be made according to five main criteria:
3) Business model and traction
5) Capital Raising.
The Katapult program offers grants in the form of an At-Entry and Co-Investment Grant.
At-Entry Grants are up to EUR 20,000 for companies classified in the "Ideation" category and up to EUR 50,000 for companies classified in the "Scale-up" category.
Co-Investment Grants are equal to the value of the Qualified Investment, to a maximum of EUR 300,000, minus any withdrawn amount of the At-Entry Grant.
Both At-Entry and Co-Investment Grants are awarded in the form of horizontal state aid to start-ups. As a grant instrument, the Co-Investment Grant does not reduce the share of ownership of the grant Beneficiary.
All Awardees enrolled in the Katapult accelerator will be considered eligible to apply for Co-Investment Grant funding. These companies may apply for and receive CI Grants at any time during the acceleration program and nine (9) months following completion of their cohort, provided a qualified investment is raised (that a suitable investor is found), and provided no breach of Acceleration Agreement have occurred during the program.
The precondition for the application for a Co-Investment Grant is a signed term sheet, i.e. a non-binding agreement between the company and the investor, or a Letter of Intent of the investor.
More information on eligible investments and eligible investors is available in the Program Manual.
The Katapult grants are designed to be flexible and to enable teams to use funds in a way that meets their needs for business growth and development.
Grant Beneficiaries can use the obtained funds within the following categories:
- Team/salary costs (gross amounts incl. income taxes and benefits).
- Product development services, including developing and testing technology, R&D, etc.
- Business development services, such as market research, partnership/supplier development, hiring expert consultants, etc.
- Sales and marketing services.
- Goods and other services for the purpose of company growth and development.
- Overheads such as rent, tech/app/data subscriptions, etc.
A list of ineligible costs and activities is available in the Program Manual.
Companies that may have already attracted some funds from investors, but are still in the early stages of development and are looking for the next round of investment (Seed or Series A round), will be considered for the "Scale-up" category.
Yes, all Applicants will be notified of the status of the Application during the evaluation process by email. Candidates who participate in the final presentations will receive an oral input from the SC during the pitch session, but written evaluations will not be submitted for them.
All Applicants are required to submit a completed Environmental and Social Screening Checklist. Environmental and Social Review is conducted only for pre-selected Applications. It starts after the preselection and must be finished before any Agreements are signed.
The IF’s expert for environmental and social matters will examine all submitted ESSCs and categorize Applications according to the risk level:
- Low – no further action required.
- Moderate – monitoring required during implementation.
- Substantial – the IF stops the evaluation process and denies the Application.
- High – the IF stops the evaluation process and denies the Application.
Applicants will be informed about the outcome of this review only if the Application is categorized as a Moderate risk Application, in which case Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) will be required. Approval of the ESMP by the IF is a condition for signing the Acceleration Agreement.
Depending on the stage of enterprise development and the challenges the founders face, the program will help participants identify and set key performance indicators and directions for improving competencies and capacities to ensure the transition to the next stage of development.
The training program will cover all aspects of business strategy and market entry strategy, through a combination of structured training and practical experimentation with mentors, which with initial funding in the form of an At-Entry Grant will enable faster business growth.
A hybrid model will be used for the realization of the program. Most of the activities will be held in an online environment, and if the conditions allow, training will be realized in or near Belgrade, which will include different types of activities, such as lectures, workshops, sessions with mentors, etc.
The program does NOT provide business premises for participants.
The quality and commitment of the mentor is one of the most important prerequisites for the success of the accelerator.
Mentoring focuses on assisting startups in aspects such as: strategy planning, development prioritization, marketing strategy, target customer identification and market entry strategies, structuring organizational processes, team building, building a realistic financial model based on sound assumptions, etc.
Mentoring is provided by local (with good knowledge of the Serbian and regional market) and international experts (with a global perspective), successful startup founders and investors, and everything is tailored to the specific needs of startups in the accelerator.
Each company, a participant in the accelerator, will be assigned a mentor with whom it will work for 3 months (Lead mentor).
One of the main goals of Katapult is to attract eligible investors, which include angel groups, experienced “super angels,” individual angels as syndicates, seed funds, VC funds, corporate VCs/investors or other early-stage private investors.
The Katapult program will be actively promoted and presented to local and international investors. Through networking and events, such as Demo Days, the Program will assist participants in finding potential investment partners.
Companies will also have to work on identifying potential investors, and through the acceleration program, participants will be introduced to the tools and knowledge needed to increase efficiency.
Startups participating in the program and their founding teams remain part of the Katapult community.
Katapult will continue to support startups that are actively raising funds with mentorship and networking opportunities.
No. During the application process, we see a lot of ideas that are still in the early stages of development. It is also unrealistic to expect any investor to push a similar confidentiality agreement at this stage.
Companies that have been awarded funding by the IF and are in the final stage of implementation (last quarter or less) may apply to the Katapult. The maximum amount of IF financing that a company may receive across any and all awards is EUR 800K.