SpeedUp Venture Group is a leading group of venture funds, investing in enterprises in an early stage of development. Areas of our interest include enterprises and entrepreneurs in Central and Eastern Europe, who want to conquer the global market by utilizing their self-developed solutions.
Internet and new technologies are one of the most globalised areas of economy. It creates opportunities, but also entails risk, because in a world of technological entrepreneurship, it becomes difficult to replicate a success of businesses, whose main focus is a local market, what until recently, was driving a development of the European economies.
You'll find a complete description of what drives our investment strategy in our manifesto.
Over the last 10 years we have invested in more than a hundred companies, and thus built a huge experience based on the successes and failures of the companies in our portfolio. Each portfolio company is under the care of one of the Partners or investment managers. We focus on investments in projects that expect our commitment, knowledge and experience. We are not interested in transferring so-called "dumb money", i.e. capital without support and involvement of the Fund.
If we were to refer to F1, we are like a man in a pit stop who supports the driver. Each startup cooperating with us, depending on the needs, can count on real support in the area of market knowledge, management and access to the network.
SpeedUp Group invests in various stages of company development - from the seed stage, which means the moment when the prototype of the project is being created, up to Series A. As a group of Funds, we have a wide investment range. Depending on the requirements, growth potential and project maturity, we invest from EUR 200K to EUR 5M.
We are aware that a company with global ambitions must be prepared for at least several financing rounds, which is why we pay attention that after our investment the team has a majority stake.
We invest in companies in exchange for stakes we'll want to sell when the time is right. We invest with a 3-8-year perspective, and our exit strategy is based on selling our shares to another investor from the industry, managerial buy-out, or initial public offering. As a venture capital fund, we take the risk and we realize that many of our investments won't make it, hence, we expect a more than average investment return from these few which will manage to grow.
There're many essential aspects that influence our decision on investing in a project, however, there're few we consider to be imperative:
We analyze over a thousand projects a year, which reach us in various ways. Our preferred way of contacting us is through a recommendation letter written for you by someone from our business network. You may also reach us through LinkedIn or meet us during one of our start-up events, here in Poland or abroad wydarzeń branżowych.
Alternately, you may contact us via e-mail and send a description of your project in a form of pitch deck or teaser, however, it may take us a little longer to respond to your inquiry. Pitch-deck is a brief presentation of your project, team and development plans. Examples of good Pitch decks are available at: HERE
Don't send us a multiple-pages business plan. We prefer lean canvas as the ultimate way of presenting essential information regarding your project. If you don't know how to create a lean canvas – read THIS ARTICLE.
If you don't have a pitch deck or your own materials, you may always use our ready-to-use templates:
To all the founders out there that are wondering what they will need to deal with when entering the investment process, we want to give more clarity about how we do it at SpeedUp Group. The below timeline presents how we - at SpeedUp Group - actually go from pitch deck review to final decision and deal closing. We understand that it’s not that obvious to all the startups’ founders how internal VCs' decisions are being made so we hope we can make it a bit more clear. Anyway, please remember that each fund has its own individual step-by-step process. Although there are some common elements, what we present cannot be taken as a standard for the whole VC market.
We base our deal flow on both inbound and outbound reaches, but either way we ask teams to share their investment pitch deck. Its review helps us to better assess whether there’s a match with our fund, so it’s worth making sure to attach the deck during the first contact - it makes it faster for us to be back with the feedback. Nevertheless, we need a few days to go through it. Afterwards, we usually provide the team with a bunch of questions or invite founders for an introductory call so we can get to know more about the potential for cooperation. At this stage we need to verify formal things as they determine whether we can invest at all. Therefore, we’d like to know what’s the round size and its planned structure, development stage & development plans, company’s legal form and its capitalization structure and probably we may have a few more questions that depend individually on the given company’s business profile. We respect the team’s & our time and we believe such verification helps to understand from the very beginning if that makes sense to involve the other side more in the process.
After the positive formal verification, we need to dig deeper into the business opportunity. Thus, we run the given sector diligence, search the market size and its trends, check out the product ourselves, ask for the financial plans & predictions, verify potential exit opportunities and future turnover, but also assess the business risks as well as potential development scenarios. In order to do it, we ask for the startup data room’s access, but at the same time we organize a few calls / meetings with the team also including at least one or two of our fund’s Partners.
The analysis process additionally includes some reference calls or talks with existing customers of a given startup or consultations with third parties from our network. We want to make sure we understand the business well enough not only to make the right investment decision, but also to be able to support its growth as it becomes part of our portfolio.
The analysis process lasts longer than the screening stage as it naturally involves more data to be processed and more people from our team being engaged. The speed of processing though depends on a few elements including (1) our internal expertise in a given field (how much of the sector understanding we need to make up on), (2) communication effectiveness and the quality of materials provided by the startup's team, (3) accessibility of our external experts.
The materials gathered within this step comes together in the form of the investment recommendation presented to all the fund’s Partners and stands as a strong foundation of the decision-making process. The recommendation is then part of a discussion that takes place during the initial Investment Committee.
Initial Investment Committee
The initial investment Committee is about getting the investment opportunity closer to all the fund’s decision-makers. The meeting also involves all the startup’s team members so they can present their business vision and its development strategy. It’s also about better understanding how we, as SpeedUp Group, can support the company’s value building. It’s definitely a time for the startup team to evaluate whether we’re the right venture partner, and for us to assess whether it’s the right deal.
As the meeting usually involves from 6 to 10 people, we need around a week to plan it and put all the calendars together for the slot. We don’t mind doing it remotely as it can also speed up the organization. If any party has decided to pass on the opportunity the committee meeting is being followed with a Term Sheet offer.
The Term Sheet proposal is the reflection of our will to work with the team! Of course, it’s about the deal’s conditions, but we intend to keep this document simple and short (around 3 pages) so as not to spend too much time on negotiations at this stage. There is a time for that when discussing the Investment Agreement. It’s worth being aware of that intention, so we can make this process go smoothly and quickly! Nevertheless, we’re more than happy to explain every legal regulation included in our Term Sheet proposal, so everyone signing it can evaluate it properly. We always encourage teams to ask questions as long as they feel comfortable with all the terms.
Investment Thesis / Due Diligence
The post Term Sheet stage consists of (1) Investment Thesis preparation and (2) Due Diligence process.
Nevertheless, the crucial element here is the due diligence process. And it’s also that process defining the timeframe of this stage as it’s more complex and usually takes longer than step (1).
Final Investment Committee
As all the formalities are being confirmed and there’s no obstacle to finalize the investment, we organize a Final Investment Committee including some or all of a given fund LPs. This meeting is basically about getting the final investment acceptance based on the investment thesis and due diligence results. It’s being quick itself, but we need to plan it in advance so all of the interested parties can participate. Anyway, not to waste time, usually we parallelly work on the Investment Agreement.
As the Term Sheet itself is a short and intentional document, the Investment Agreement extends each of the issues so they’re being precise and clear. There must be no space left for interpretation. Thus, the investment agreement negotiations process is also when the lawyers get in. But it’s important not to fully give it away to lawyers - both startup and fund teams should stay involved in negotiations as still many issues can be figured out directly between the parties.
We stay open to accurately explain every document’s record, so the team feels comfortable with the agreement. Of course, it’s a two-sided process and its length depends on the team's engagement as well!
As the agreement is completed and eventually signed, there’s only the investment transfer left to be done to complete the process.
What can be said here? As the money is in the bank account we can start working hard to grow the business together. We believe that the investment is not a goal itself, it’s just a tool to make the company successful. And when it’s done, there will be celebration time.
The presented process is just a frame as at the end, each process is somehow individual. As mentioned above, there are many factors influencing the process’ length such as the quality of materials we receive, our expertise level in a given field and both sides’ engagement. Also, if there’re more investors participating in the round, it might take longer to close the deal as each fund has its own separate decision-making process.
Nevertheless, we do our best to practice the #FoundersFriendly approach, and therefore we keep improving our investment process. We’re aware that there are still some bottlenecks on our side but we keep working on their elimination! That’s why we’re more than happy if you share your feedback with us - if you’ve been through this process with us already, please let us know what we can do better! Your voice matters the most for us! You can use this link to share your feedback: LINK
If you’re just about to reach us and you’re ready to start the investment journey with us, please feel free to use this email address: email@example.com We’re waiting to get to know your business and check out whether we can fight for its success together!