The Latest SBA International Venture Academy – April 2019

This article was originally published by the Sophia Business Angels


On Friday 12th of April 2019, the Sophia Business Angels (SBA) presented its Spring International Venture Academy at the Skema Business School in Sophia Antipolis on the Côte d’Azur, France. This event was sponsored and supported by Team Côte d’Azur, the RETIC Interreg project and Skema Ventures.
This coaching day gathered more than 55 participants from all over the world, including 10 startups; some looking to become investment ready and some looking to start scaling their projects on an international level. Please see the list of startups below.

The 33 coaches and judges were serial entrepreneurs and investors from 15 countries spanning Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and The Americas. Their sole purpose was to help startups improve their Investor Pitches and bring their projects to a state of “Investment Ready”.  Some entrepreneur and investor discussions started on the day, at the event.
The SBA was honoured to have three exceptional Keynote Speakers share their vast experience and knowledge:
Charles Sidman (Founding member of the American Angel Capital Association and Managing Partner of ECS Capital Partners, LLC, an innovative early-stage venture fund based in Bar Harbor, Maine, USA) gave an inspirational speech on “Producing Happy Marriages between Entrepreneurs and Investors”
Jesper Jarlbæk (Chair of DanBAN, Danish Business Angels, Vice Chair DVCA, the Danish Venture Capital Association and Board Member and Treasurer of EBAN) shared his lifetime experience and provided useful tips on “Building a Portfolio from the Business Angel perspective”
Helen Wang (CEO of BGTA, a London-based and corporate backed accelerator and incubator focused on UK, Europe and China; founder CEO of Cambridge Innovation Academy) spoke on “Opportunities in China: Go To China Venture Camp”
Startups made a first presentation in the morning while the audience gave constructive comments, then during lunch time coaches and startups gathered in small groups to improve the presentations both in content and form. In the afternoon, each startup made an updated and improved presentation while the audience assessed them in terms of presentation quality, vision, market positioning, financial projections, business planning, investment approach and strength of the team.

The event allowed for ample networking time with a pre-event cocktail on Thursday evening at the home of SBA and EBAN President Emeritus, Candace Johnson, overlooking the Mediterranean and Cannes. The day after the event, a farewell brunch was given, overlooking Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Nice, where Marco Landi, former COO and President of Apple Computer, shared details of the Artificial Intelligence projects he is supporting in Sophia Antipolis, Montreal and China. His wife, Diana Landi, spoke about the combination of Art and Technology with entrepreneurship.
Four awards recognized the best companies in the following categories:
 – The Most Investable company: Tousfacteurs
 – The Best Presentation: OmniUp and Halbestundeueben (joint winners)
 – The Mike Rogosin Prize for the Best Team: YouClap
 – The Best improved presentation: Football Hall Of Fame
Youssef Tagemouati from Tousfacteurs, winner of the Most Investable company award commented: “The Venture Academy allowed me to test my pitch before experienced and caring investors and entrepreneurs to make it more impactful. Having won the first prize of the Most Investable Company confirms me in my timing of fundraising. We are ready to scale up!”.
Marcel Dridje, President of SBA, concluded the day stating: “each participant in the International Venture Academy is a winner because all entrepreneurs benefit from coaching and exposure to serial Entrepreneurs and Business Angels and the latter get a chance to look at qualified deal-flow.”
The SBA presents the International Venture Academy twice a year in April and October. If you’d like more information or would like to join us as an entrepreneur, investor or coach at the Autumn 2019 event, please contact:
Géraldine Quetin, Business Manager, at:
List of the 10 startups selected to pitch their project:

  1. DigiKare, from Toulouse, France: real life data to leverage healthcare system and enter the value-based care area,
  2. ElectroSmart, from Sophia Antipolis, France: personal exposure diagnosis for electromagnetic waves. Consumer app to bring transparency, education & recommendation,
  3. Football Hall of Fame, from Windsor, UK: creating an history for football
  4. Halbestundeueben, from Siedenbüssow, Germany: Based on AI, an app for music students that makes it possible to practice every imaginable piece of music.
  5. M-Pearl, from Antibes, France: the 1st website, 100% anonymized, to connect Candidates and Recruiters effectively using semantics instead of key words,
  6. Neokaz, from North Hollywood, USA: geolocated mobile web and mobile service for high performance classifieds with or without video
  7. Omniup, from Rabat, Morocco: a monetization layer to interact with Wi-Fi hotspot users via targeted & geolocated ad-videos,
  8. Spacemedex, from France: developing public health on Earth through space medicine concepts and space tech transfer,
  9. Tousfacteurs, from Paris, France: a B2B, last-mile logistics and delivery platform that enables carriers and stores to organize scheduled, optimized and green deliveries for their customers,
  10. Youclap, from ílhavo Portugal: a mobile app to challenge and be challenged by friends, brands and other fascinating people.

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