29. October 2020

Interview with ONDREJ ČAPKOVIČ

Mr. Ondrej Čapkovič is a Strategic Director of the start-up accelerator PERRY TALENTS and a start-up mentor and enthusiast.

1. What are the main issues that early stage Start-ups face?
PERRY TALENTS as the leading start-up accelerator in Slovakia and now moving to the Czech market had an opportunity to help many startups in their pre-seed stage of the lifecycle. Based on our experience, when it comes to the question ‘Which issues startups face?’ the simple answer would be ‘All’ :). Leading a successful company is not an easy task, but imagine that you are leading a company with a lack of finances, employees, clients and even a working product. However, no matter the market or the technology the 3 biggest issues we see in almost every startup are the following: 

1. Lack of finances – Building a company with no budget is a challenging task. This is true especially for startups, which require some degree of research and development – and this is nowadays relevant to every single startup. 

2. Finding first clients or partners – Confirming market fit, getting feedback and onboarding first paying customers is for a start-up often a challenging task. Clients especially in B2B are hard to reach and B2C clients are not easily convinced to pay for the services.

3. Expert knowledge – Small teams just cannot have expert knowledge about every single domain. Therefore, startups have usually gaps in some topics, such as accounting, taxes, marketing or law. 

To help startups fill-in these main gaps – PERRY TALENTS as an acceleration programme is designed to let startups pitch in front of the investors, connect them with our network of potential clients and partners and provide a network of experts for the knowledge gaps that startup has – to make it at least a little bit easier for start-ups to become successful.

2. Tell us about the key skills that might help early-stage Start-ups to become more successful?
In my opinion, there are no specific hard skills, which would help startups become successful. It is more about the mindset of the founder of the team. If some expert knowledge or hard skill is really missing for specific topics, many experts are available for consultancy via start-up supporting programmes such as PERRY TALENTS. Creativity, adaptability and open-mindedness are somewhat critical soft characteristics to be able to come up with disruptive solutions with limited resources. Furthermore, the initial idea of the startup usually changes to something that based on the market fit analysis seems to be the best shot for the startup. To make this change happen – the team must possess these characteristics to be able to process it.

3. What is your opinion about positioning WOF EXPO in the Central and Eastern Europe region?
The startup ecosystem and infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe are far from ideal but it is surely improving, even at a slow pace. Startups in this region have therefore limited opportunities to gain visibility and gain access to their potential clients. Exhibitions such as WOF Expo are a great opportunity to meet prospective partners or clients, pitch them the product and get noticed. What is more, because of its focus on the specific segment, startups in logistics and supply chain solutions meet only relevant players in the field and have many of them under one roof.

4. What will be the impact of COVID-19 for further business development in your core business?
Neither Covid nor other disasters can stop innovation to thrive. On the contrary, whenever there is a problem, there must be a solution to it, right? Hence disruptive events such as Covid are catalysts for new ideas and businesses to emerge. As an accelerator, we have seen even a higher number of applications this year into our programme. However, for some of the startups in our network (in industries such as airlines, restaurants or sports) it is even harder to attract first clients as they have their own problems to solve. But I believe that after the initial crisis is gone these industries would need innovative solutions even more than ever before to gain traction again.

PERRY TALENTS is a business accelerator that
offers startup offices in the centre of Bratislava
and Prague, business know-how from mentors
and lecturers, practical workshops and a strong
network of experts and investors.

In the CESAwards competition, accelerator PERRY
TALENTS won the award for the best acceleration
program of 2019 in Slovakia, based on the
evaluation of an expert jury and public voting.