This week, we met with Madalina Sumedrea to talk a little about her experience in Spherik so far and more about her activity on Data Market Services – DMS.
Madalina started in Spherik almost three months ago as project manager, but she worked with us for quite some time, being in charge of our finances. With a background in Finance and Business Administration, she never considered herself a “tech person” until she met two of the Spherik members. Now, she successfully coordinates a project inside our organisation, DMS.
The DMS Accelerator programme is a European project funded by the Horizon 2020 program. Through this initiative, the 50 selected startups and SMEs will gain free access to services and workshops related to financing, business development and product management, expertise in legislation related to data collection and operation processes, international promotion and the development of specific Data Science skills.
Having worked with more than 100 startups in the past two years, they announce their last open call before the programme ends in November.
My story in the tech industry started with the DMS project when I took over as project manager. I am still involved in several projects focusing on digital and technical education of children aged 10-16, but this is my first experience coordinating a project in the tech field.
From my point of view, technology will occupy a considerable part of the labour market. As we all can see, Tech is the future of all professions and business areas that exist at the moment. I have a business degree, and I felt it was a great match between business and tech. My first contact with Spherik was in 2019 when I met Cristina and Diana. It was something super spontaneous because Spherik was our client on the accounting side, but that’s when I started thinking more about this industry.
I am the project manager of DMS, and I take care of the overall coordination of the deliverables. Besides general coordination, I scout and outreach startups to join the program and am in charge of onboarding and evaluating the startups that will join the acceleration program. I make sure that the services from Spherik are delivered on time (coaching, mentoring, webinars in the area of product development, MVP, business model, validation methods, value proposition and customer definition).
The project started in January 2019, it is a 6-month acceleration program, and in each, there is a cohort of 50 startups that enter the program. Hundreds are applying, but after the evaluation process, only 50 startups are selected, and they are offered free workshops on financing, business management, intellectual property. All the startups have to be data-centric, this being the most important eligibility criteria.
In 2019 there were 50 startups, and we started with 12 free services that are offered to the startups. There were some minor changes to these services based on the startups’ needs and desires along the way. We saw that entrepreneurs prefer mentoring sessions, and we discovered the interest of having a roleplay one-to-one with an investor, so this year we want to include it in the services list that we offer. All the training sessions are delivered by leading experts in their fields, from all corners of Europe.
The DMS network brings together valuable assets for startups in terms of knowledge, extensive business experience since the program comes with professionals from multiple areas: tech and digital, legal, business, corporate, public education and many more.
The fact that the members of the consortium include professionals from diverse areas it’s a plus.
The entrepreneurial culture is learned peer to peer. An acceleration program comes with an outstanding network, with market exposure and the possibility to receive finance. Besides this, a few more reasons to join an acceleration program would be:
Services provided in DMS are built to make each startup reach its most significant potential. Whether you’re a startup trying to understand public funding opportunities or to connect with critical mentors and coaches, DMS has the expertise to get you on your way, so we count 12 significant services in our program:
1. Public fundraising
2. Venture capital matchmaking (provided by Spherik)
3. Entrepreneurial training (provided by Spherik)
4. Acceleration and incubation mobility programme(provided by Spherik)
5. Mentoring (provided by Spherik)
6. IPR for entrepreneurs
7. GDPR training
8. Standards awareness
9. Data Science Academy
10. Trust-Building Tool
11. Marketing for startups
12. TNW package
They usually access these programs when they are at a standstill. When they stagnate from an evolution point of view, they think it would be beneficial for them to enter an acceleration program.
They should have a list of questions related to what tactics they should choose to implement the strategy that should get them to achieve their business objectives. The market fit and the sales strategy were the main bottlenecks of the startups we have worked with in the past years.
From my point of view, it is the applicability and the impact of the startup. The entrepreneurs should also discuss its scalability in 3-5 years, accompanied by how you do these things – KPIs (outlets, promoting, investments).
Startups tend to come with a lot of information, with many relevant numbers, indeed, but not when you have a 5-minute pitch – they are discussed later. They don’t focus on applicability.
They should also have a business plan and a strategy with straightforward tactics to reach the goals for the current year.
Focus on new technologies; this would be a bonus. Come with a business model that is viable and has the potential to scale, but at the same time, it should be innovative. Also, assess how data-driven is the company and evaluate the potential impact of the company.
This is your last chance to be a DMS unicorn so elevate your start-up by applying for the DMS Accelerator Program.