The Startup Matching Grants Program (MGs) new batch winners have been identified. 20 Innovative Startups received up to 100,000 GEL in funding. Program is a part of the Georgia National Innovation Ecosystem (GENIE) Project, implemented by the Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA), supervised by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia. The main objective of the GENIE Project is to increase innovative activities of ﬁrms and individuals in Georgia and their participation in the digital economy. The GENIE Project is ﬁnanced from an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
On February 25, the best startups were awarded grants that will help them succeed and go global. They pitched in front of the world class Investment Committee. Investment Committee was composed of the high level Venture Capitalists to make the decision.
- Bill Reichert - Silicon Valley, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, Chairman of the Churchill Club and the VC Taskforce Small Grants Roundtable, a member of Garage.com and the Foreign Relations Board in New York. In 1998, Bill Reichert founded the company with Guy Kawasaki. He is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, mentor, speaker, advisor and lecturer.
- Jonathan Tower - General Partner of Catapult, a global venture capital platform based in Silicon Valley. Jonathan Tower has invested $ 220 million in more than 20 companies in three main areas: customer (e-commerce, market), enterprise (software, services) and frontier technologies (artificial intelligence / data / robots, etc.).
- Luke Kowalski - Vice President of Oracle. His focus area is technology strategy, industry standards, security and government relations. He has worked on business modeling and technical design with startups including Netscape's Server in e-commerce.. Currently, he teaches at the Blockchain Laboratory at the Berkeley College of Engineering.
- Marvin Liao - Investor, Early Stage Venture Capitalist. He has been a managing partner of the Venture Capital Fund “500 Startups,” led an accelerator program in San Francisco and invested in early stage startups. He has invested in 414 early stage startups during 6 years. For 10 years he has worked for Yahoo! on global leadership positions in management and included markets in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the US. He currently serves on the Advisory Boards of Internet Advertising and Technology Companies worldwide.
- Ravi Belani has been a Managing Partner of the Alchemist Accelerator and a lecturer at Stanford University since 2012. Alchemist Accelerator is a venture investors initiative aimed to accelerate startups whose revenue is generated by companies, not customers. Since 2008, he has been an advisor and investor to the following companies - Justin.TV, Pubmatic, Komli, Badgeville, AppCentral, Vizu, Layer8, Loki Studios, Dijit, Redux. He has been an active part of the startup ecosystem field since the 2000s.
The Awards Ceremony was opened by the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Ms. Natia Turnava and the Chairman of Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA), Mr. Avtandil Kasradze. Representatives of public and private sector, international organizations and diplomatic corps attended the event.
GITA started the fourth round of the program in November 2019. 173 participants applied through the platform: www.grants.gov.ge . International independent experts were selected to peer review the process. They identified 41 finalists who have got special 5-day coaching sessions. Coaching helped participants to get well-prepared for their presentations.
56 startups have been already financed through the Startup Matching Grants Program. Program is aimed to enhance innovation products and services with global potential and support their commercialization process and help entrepreneurs to access global markets.
Startup financing is a widespread tool for supporting the conversion of innovative ideas into businesses. Matching Grants is one of the most popular Program to support forming Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Georgia. A Call for Proposals for Startup Matching Grants is announced twice a year with a total budget of GEL 2 million per batch.
- Freeze Tea –Premium quality fresh-frozen tea production with innovative technology;
- Multifunctional Self-cleaning Window – Assembling and selling of the windows equipped with ventilation system, integrated internal space ionizing device along with CO, temperature and air pollution reader sensors. H&Z – The company conducted research and carrying out expanded experiment, to identify the influence of ecological combined treatment using homeopathy and zoo technical methods for prevention and treatment of diseases of bee colonies during 2020. The treatment is a safe alternative to antibiotics;
- Dataninja - Ads Analytics, Tracking and Management Platform, with one click solution to lunch and manage advertisements in any given advertising network, with all in one solution of landing pages management, creating lead generation forms and communication flow;
- Kernel - a cloud-based financial management and planning software (SaaS) for early stage ventures. The solution substitutes financial expertise within the team;
- Smart-Aeroponics – Software that takes into account the more improved and sophisticated technical features of the Aeroponics method and the characteristics of plants metabolism;
- Healthy snacks points - Innovative, healthy snack/beverage company, which will offer interesting, healthy, trendy everyday food products through smart vending machines;
- Multi - Counting, matching and analysis to help individuals and SMEs to manage their assets (inventories and PPE) in live mode;
- TYPLINE - Machine learning based mobile application that allow people to check lines and predict waiting time; ;
- ge - An innovative platform for gifts, which makes the process of choosing a present easier and allows people of all interests to choose and buy the perfect experiences as a gift or for themselves;
- Zapa - The company is solving online shopping challenges with AR (Augmented Reality) technology;
- io - An artificial intelligence (AI)-based scheduling solution for remote workers. It allows the user to stay in control of their schedule while boosting communication, productivity and work-life-balance;
- ANALYTICSON - Internet advertising platform to ensure the connection of the digital advertisers with publishers around the world.
- Wenu - Virtual alternative of the paper menu for organizations available on Horeca market;
- Ourwedding - aims to create a unique platform, which will give the newly married couples an opportunity to create a wish list and share it with guests;
- Multilingual Spellchecker - The company is creating a multilingual spell checker for non-dominant languages;
- MyNannyServices - An intermediary, matchmaker and communication portal for parents searching for caregivers, and students looking for babysitting jobs;
- Gymstinct - The company produces fitness/wellness club management SaaS and plug&play facility access hardware (RFID Readers, turnstile controllers and locker system);
- SoloMoney - creates a low-cost, instant and convenient card to card and cash to card payment system that will make international remittances and money transfers significantly faster and cheaper and will be customer-oriented;
- Transcorder Optime – Optimizing video transcoding to minimize costs and time of video production.
The Startup Matching Grants program is deﬁned as small matching grants to early-stage private and small enterprises incorporated in Georgia within the last two years. The objective of the program is to stimulate innovation and creation of innovative enterprises in Georgian economy through development and commercialization of Innovative products and services with the potential for internationalization.