The 2017 edition of Telenor Accelerate offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to the best few selected applicants. The story of one of last yearʼs mentored startups, eSports Horizon, suggests that they have every reason to look forward to it.
Telenor launched the first-ever corporate acceleration program in Hungary in 2016, with five startups selected out of 143 to enjoy intensive mentoring. This year, 110 signed up for three available spots, and whoever nails one of them should certainly be inspired by last year’s success stories.
Take the example of eSports Horizon, which did so well on demo day at the end of the mentorship period that it attracted VCs and is in negotiations regarding further investments.
“We have been busy finalizing the details of the investment ever since, and by October at the latest the related paperwork should be done,” founder Adrián Árkosi says.
It is little wonder the product gained traction quickly. According to the 2017 Global Esports Market Report by Newzoo, the global market will grow to USD 1.5 billion by 2020 from projected revenues of some USD 700 million in 2017.
“We entered Telenor Accelerate with an existing demo product,” Árkosi explains. “However, we still needed a lot of input in terms of marketing. Telenor’s contribution prepared us perfectly for market entry.”
The program also made eSports Horizon realize that it should create two separate platforms, not a single one.
“As a result, we have been convinced to run the e-sports training scheme and the competition as two different units,” Árkosi notes. This wider scope of services also raises the potential number of users.
At the moment, some 4,000 users play 14 different games, from which four or five offer competitions.
“We create the opportunity for users to make money by entering competitions, whereas those willing to become pros are offered training by renowned players,” the founder adds. All this is available on PC right now, with PlayStation and Xbox to follow in Q2 2018. Users should expect to have mobile access by H2 of next year.
The eSports Horizon project was assisted under Telenor Accelerate 2016 by Zoltán Varga from Central Invest, a renowned member of the local investor community with an excellent track record.
“Zoltán shared his deep-rooted business expertise with us and contributed tremendously to our improvement,” Árkosi adds. Varga is on board as a Telenor Accelerate mentor again this year, so whoever is assigned to him can look forward to his invaluable business advice.
The total value of support at Telenor Accelerate is worth HUF 150 million. Seed investment will amount to HUF 5-10 mln per project in exchange for minority ownership for Telenor.