500 Global Expands Footprint Throughout Caucasus and Eastern Europe, With a Stop in Tbilisi

Despite being often ‘less than adequate’ compared to the likes of YCombinator, some accelerators outside of the US still manage to produce quality startups. Notably, Entrepreneur First out of London/Europe (but now also in Asia) and even then that entity is slightly closer to a pre-accelerator in the way it assembles talent before it assembles the startups. Additionally, many European accelerators are currently seeing an influx of new participants; this seems to be partly due to a drop in standout programs such as TechStars Stockholm (although there have been several notable exceptions). Nevertheless, this unpredictability means that some accelerators may struggle down the line should they not continue attracting top calibre applicants orestablish themselves as essential resources for early stage companies.

One reason I think accelerators are more effective in Eastern European markets is that the startup ecosystem here is much less developed. There are far fewer pre-seed funds, angel investors and venture capitalists to provide early stage funding. Most startups here have to rely on accelerators to help them grow their businesses. Consequently, accelerators have a far greater impact in these markets than they do in Western Europe.

If VCs are recognizing the potential in these regions, then startups should too. By doing so, they can capitalize on this increased interest and increase their chances of success.

500 Global’s new accelerator in Georgia is of great interest to startup entrepreneurs, as it offers a range of support services and opportunities that will help propel companies to the next level. 500 Global provides mentorship, businessdevelopment resources, access to capital and infrastructure, as well as networking events and co-working space.

Pedro Santos Vieira has spent the last year at Shilling VC in Lisbon, joining the Investment Committee as a non-executive. The company is continuing to enjoy the tech boom that’s been happening in Lisbon these last few years, and Santos Vieira will be valuable addition to their team.

Pedro Santos Vieira

Pedro Santos Vieira was born on October 1, 1960, in Lisbon, Portugal. In addition to his work as a football

Vieira’s appointment as Director of GCC will come as a relief to the region and provide much needed institutional stability. Vieira is no stranger to the region, having previously served as a mentor to 500 Global, a non-profit organisation that works in the Gulf region. His previous work in developing countries will make him well suited for directing GCC affairs and ensuring that they are run effectively.

Vieira has over 10 years of experience in investment banking, most recently as a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs where she was responsible for the firm’s MENA region.

500 Global is looking to help Georgian startups take their businesses to the next level by providing them with access to mentorship, funding, and networking opportunities. The startup accelerator program will offer startups six months of support as they work towards developing their business model.

2017 has been an outstanding year for Georgian startups, with 43 startups launching products and services within the country. Alongside clusters of successful companies such as Payze (Georgia), Cargon (Georgia), Finmap (Ukraine) and TASS Vision (Uzbekistan), 2017 has seen a rise in diversity across startup sectors in Georgia, with new offerings hitting multiple markets. This includes healthtech, Fintech, logistics and supply chain management solutions, AI-based customer experience platforms and many more. However, challenges remain for Georgian startups looking to scale internationally – including navigating complex regulatory environments abroad while maintaining tight operational budgets. Nevertheless, the early successes of these companies are testament to the dedication of entrepreneurs and their teams who continue to push boundaries in pursuit of innovation excellence.

Since Vieira has experience working with Accelerators and helping businesses grow, it is no surprise that he thinks Georgias potential is great. He says that the country has a lot of resources and an educated population, which makes it a good place to do business.

The accelerator will invest in over 100 companies in Eastern and Southern Europe with the ultimate goal of training them to become successful businesses. The program is not just for Georgian startups, but regional startups from all across Eastern and Southern Europe, the Baltics, and the Caucasus regions will benefit from it as well. This accelerator is a huge step forward for entrepreneurship in those areas and should help bolster growth within the region.

Georgians are used to adversity; after all, their country has been invaded by various empires and kingdoms in the past. But even Georgians could not have predicted the upheaval that has occurred in their region over the past few years- namely, the rise of political populism on both sides of the Atlantic. The establishment politicians and economists who insisted that globalization would benefit everyone were wrong; inequality is on the rise and geo-political tensions are on the rise as well. This is an interesting time for Georgia because it is now a melting pot where different cultures come together to build something new.

It seems like a logical addition for 500 Incubator to expand its operations into the region, with a more mature and established ecosystem of startups. The area is proving to be fertile ground for innovation, and this new entity will be able to facilitate the growth of promising companies in an unbiased environment.

Created in 2007, 500 Global is a leading accelerator program that invests in startups around the world. This year, the company announced plans to focus on North America and Europe only. With TechStars suspending its international program and YCombinator withdrawing from the international stage, it looks as if 500 Global has taken over as the top accelerator for startups around the world.

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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