March 27, 2024

Discover our Startups - Batch IX Edition

Two weeks have passed since we welcomed the startups that will be part of the 9th Batch of our acceleration program. Over the next four months, entrepreneurs are expected to dedicate themselves full-time, while we will offer access to a vast network of mentors, direct coaching, pro bono legal consulting, digital marketing support, and various other opportunities, all aimed at helping each one achieve product-market fit.

This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the Acceleration program's inception. Over the years, things have changed significantly, from the context in which the program operates to what it offers the selected teams. Moreover, the Italian innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem has matured, fostering the emergence of increasingly interesting entrepreneurial realities.

To share their impressions and expectations of this 9th Batch, as well as to discuss the evolution of the B4i acceleration program and the Italian startup ecosystem, we posed several questions to the Head of Acceleration, Oleksandr (Sasha) Komarevych, and our Programs Associate, Jacopo Faini. Here's what they said to us.

You have recently welcomed the startups that will be part of the IX batch of the acceleration program. What are your feelings?


Every batch highlights an increased quality of the overall Italian ecosystem while showing our ongoing ability to adapt and engage with entrepreneurs by tailoring our program to their evolving needs. 

Looking at Batch IX’s founders, I can say that they possess a comprehensive understanding of the various stakeholders within the startup landscape, enabling them to pinpoint precisely where they require our support.

This year there will be six teams: what has impressed you the most about this batch?


Given the fact that team characteristics represent around 60% of our selection criteria, I believe that each founder/team selected for this batch possesses a balanced blend of expertise, experiences and attitudes necessary to effectively address the pain points they are targeting. This distinctive combination will foster their progress, particularly when compared to existing solutions in the market.

Beyond these essential founder-market fit dynamics, what has impressed me about each of them throughout the selection steps is how crystal clear their value propositions are. It's like they've already laid down the groundwork for their future growth. This clarity not only shows they understand their market inside out but also proves they're ready to make big moves in their industries.

What are your expectations for this batch?


Expectations are high. The startups went through an intense selection process involving internal and external experts. We can’t forecast all of them becoming unicorns, but we believe in each team's potential. 

With a strong emphasis on AI and digital platforms, this batch is likely to push the boundaries of technological applications and advancements that could set new standards or best practices in their fields. 

For all startups in this batch, expanding their customer base and penetrating their target markets will be crucial. 

Beyond their individual successes, we expect these startups to contribute significantly to the broader ecosystem, inspiring and mentoring future entrepreneurs, and sharing their insights and experience.

This year marks the program's 5th anniversary: how has it changed since the first batch, and, above all, how has the Italian startup ecosystem changed since then?


Each batch of our accelerator program brings its own uniqueness, and since our first, which pivoted online due to COVID-19, we've embraced flexibility, experimenting with formats and broadening our support services like UX, Digital Marketing, as well as Legal and Tax support to bolster our startups' growth. This evolution has seen our investment per startup grow to €50K in our latest batch.

I've observed firsthand the power of our growing mentor and investor network, and the founders' community, in fostering collaboration and support. We've adapted our program based on feedback from all stakeholders, ensuring it meets the evolving needs of our participants. Post-acceleration, we've introduced portfolio support, offering further opportunities for growth through several possibilities, like our networking events or the mentors support. 

Talking about the Italian startup environment, I can tell that it is evolving and is now influenced by several factors. 

First of all, prominent international programs like SkyDeck Berkeley, Vento, Techstars Torino, and Startup Wise Guys have launched operations in Italy, bringing a wealth of knowledge and a network of mentors and investors, enhancing the local ecosystem.

Secondly, more international venture capitalists are engaging with the Italian market, bringing capital, valuable expertise, and trust in the Italian startup scene.

Last but not least, adopting Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) contracts in Italy has simplified fundraising. SAFE contracts allow startups to raise funds quickly and efficiently, vital for early-stage growth.

Finally: what are the long-term goals for B4i's Acceleration Program?


A primary goal is to nurture startups, helping them grow into sustainable and

successful businesses by eliminating barriers on their path. Founders will have a broader range of services, such as Tech, Product, and Hiring support, especially during the program.

B4i is committed to democratize entrepreneurship by supporting diverse entrepreneurs from various backgrounds.