Have a great product idea but don’t really know how to raise the funds to put it into production and then get it into stores? Well, there is a new accelerator company called EnchantVC that is helping Singaporean, Russian, Asian, European and American startups take their ideas to the next level and bring their products to the global marketplace.
Since launching two years ago, EnchantVC has helped various startups around the world raise millions of dollars and helped them with manufacturing, distribution and retail agreements at major US chains including Best Buy and Brookstone. And unlike other companies that just invest money, EnchantVC has an entire team that actually works alongside the startups through the various stages of research & development, crowd funding, manufacturing, public relations & marketing, and product launch.
The Levity Ball sat down with one of EnchantVC’s co-founders Slava Solonitsyn to find out more on how his company is helping bring products, jobs and lots of ideas/money to Americans and others around the world!
When did you first know you wanted to be in charge of a hardware accelerator?
I’ve come from a gaming industry and venture capital background for quite some time and as we have built Ruvento Ventures for iJam incubation program before, I have seen so many technological feats that are beyond software. That software infused into everyday connected objects in the market looks exciting as this space tends to get more access to manufacturing and such. Having seen hundreds (or thousands) of startups, I’ve picked up lessons of what is the best model for us to work around with. So we started it with HaxAsia and now launched EnchantVC to intensify helping hardware founders bring more everyday object to the connected world.
If you take a look at how everyday objects transform to something more meaningful other than its own traditional interdepe ndencies we have with them, we’re now on a mission to open up the complex possibilities of software-enabled hardware smart enough to elevate our daily lives forever. And we’re still at that tip of the iceberg.
What type of startups does EnchantVC take on?
We choose startups based on strong leadership and inside competencies needed to push through their brilliant ideas to reality. As for the hardware tech part, the startups have to have at least a working prototype, trial marketing plans and tenacity to deliver.
What makes your accelerator different than others around the globe?
Our program have different phases, four to be exact. The first phase will get the startups confirm their product-market fit, then prepare towards their actual crowdfunding campaign to launch effectively. Then they go straight to manufacturing where we have great partners and that’s where one of our key strengths lie. We then expose them as a group or individually to investors, thought-leaders and mentors from the Program to significant events. Finally, the startups will bring their retail samples and pitch to buyers at CES. The EnchantVC team is very hands-on and flexible according to each startup’s footing.
What are some of your most successful startups under EnchantVC?
We had a few hardware startups accelerated through our previous program (HaxAsia) with some great results. Touchjet has raised 1.7M USD on Indiegogo for two products and the first product Touchjet Pond was shipped with great reception by backers. Other incubated company Creopop also did an Indiegogo campaign with our support and we helped them bring their product to nation-wide launch at Best Buy last holiday season. Our portfolios raised more than 10M USD of venture capital.
Who was your personal role model growing up, and what is the best advice you have ever been given?
I am driven by Elon Mask’s example with his passion to change the physical world. The best advice I’ve ever received was back in school years when I realized that I am an entrepreneur. “ “You should be bold in trying to push your boundaries, they all come with failures and pains but you should learn from them quickly and do a better job each time up until you achieve greatness in something.” That is my grandpa’s last words to me.
What is your advice to others looking at joining an accelerator such as yours?
Try to bring all basic competencies inside your founding team primarily including launch marketing, engineering and product management.
What area of business do you see a lot of startups fail at?
They mostly fail in different ways — from bad planning and strategy (a bad pitch is not a good sign to start with), to lack of balance with the skill sets of the team, and being unable to execute beyond prototype by manufacturing to sell it to the mass. We see many crowdfunded startups failing to achieve great UX for their product resulting to non-fulfillment to hit the mass market.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
I would let governments of the world to grant first-time entrepreneurs something like 100K USD without asking too many questions — Just to give a chance to anyone who is truly passionate about something and have basic skills to get the job done.
How can startups across America submit their ideas to you for consideration?
They can can apply on our website at http://www.enchant.vc