Wrapping Up AceON Accelerator’s Spring Batch 2024

  • AceOn Accelerator has concluded its Spring batch on May 23rd
  • Aleksandra Verchenko of VacationPoland took part in the programme and shares her takeaways and insights
  • The next batch is planned for this Autumn, the details will be announced this Summer

This March, the pan-European startup accelerator AceOn announced its new Spring batch. Industry-agnostic Pre-Seed startups took part in an intensive international two-month acceleration program which culminated in the Demo Day on May 23rd.

Aleksandra Verchenko, CEO and PR and VacationPoland

Aleksandra Verchenko – founder, CEO, and PR manager of VacationPoland – chronicled the acceleration program and shares takeaways and insights:

#1: If your product is in the early stages and you aim to raise about USD 100K in investments, you need to understand that your idea should be able to grow and potentially be worth USD 4-5M in five years. Otherwise, securing investments will be challenging.


#2: Investors and venture capital firms are increasingly offering founders contracts that allow them to demand their funds back after a set number of years, especially from the less successful projects. Typically, this period spans several years, but in the USA, contracts with a term of up to one year are in practice, leaving founders with only 12 months to develop and grow their project. In such cases, the investor receives their interest. Otherwise, be prepared to sell assets to repay the money.

The takeaway is clear: Carefully read the terms of your contract and try to negotiate better conditions for yourself. Additionally, it’s advised against allocating part of investment funds for the founder’s salary. Instead, immediately work on the company’s development scenario, invest everything in your development, and aim to rocket-launch your project!


#3: We were introduced to various marketing tools for drawing audience attention to a startup and securing first users. There were numerous questions, with most of the audience keenly interested in the ways to promote a product on a shoestring budget, given that everyone is currently in the investment-seeking phase, meaning there’s no money for a specialist team. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s essential to search for and test your perfect sales funnel. It’s advised to use a variety of communication channels: social media, PR, and SEO.


#4: We delved into the opportunities presented by NoCode platforms, complete with a hands-on workshop. Startups are encouraged to use these platforms for speedy app development, especially teams lacking tech specialists. This approach offers a significant cost-saving on code development, allowing founders to allocate the entire budget towards marketing to quickly validate their idea.

This opens up fascinating possibilities, yet it raises a rhetorical question. With each passing year, the cost of attracting users to an app increases exponentially due to intense market competition. The accessibility of NoCode platforms could lead to an even faster influx of new apps into stores, intensifying this competition. Consequently, as more startups prioritize their budget towards product promotion, the cost of marketing is likely to soar even higher.

In the end, might founders find themselves in their own trap, where they intended to save money on development to allocate it to marketing, only to discover that even this sum is insufficient?

For example, on Facebook, if many brands launch their advertising campaigns simultaneously on the platform, competition arises. As a result, due to increased demand, the cost per click and the price for ad impressions go up.


Andrej Petrus, Chief Investment Officer at ZAKA VC

#5: Andrej Petrus of ZAKA VC presented one of the most engaging and informative lectures of our program. As a mathematician by education, I particularly appreciated the normal distribution curve graph, which clearly demonstrated the statistics of successful startups.

The valuable insights ranged from composing proper emails to venture capital funds to presenting a project effectively. Focusing on the key factors that influence investors’ decisions:

  • Team Professionalism. Namely: the presence of a powerful technical specialist among the co-founders, the team’s experience in the startup field, and it would also not be out of place to have an academician on the team.
  • Of course, the potential market for the product is assessed. I should add that it’s important to have a person on the team with knowledge of marketing and PR. If the market is big but you don’t know how to reach it, your results will be disappointing.
  • Scalability: The potential for the startup to grow 10x-50x over the next decade.



Pavol Cobirka, CCO of Whalebone

#6: Pavol Cobirka of Whalebone delivered an incredibly insightful lecture on market identification for products and shared crucial knowledge on the investor’s understanding of the market.

The key takeaway: A solid marketing strategy can truly work wonders and scale your business. However, it requires ongoing analysis, reflection, and finding the best solutions that meet consumer needs.


Bohumil Pokstefl, Founder of Deal Harvest

#7: Bohumil Pokstefl of Deal Harvest focused on validating the MVP and securing first paid customers for the app. One particularly intriguing idea was that you can sell your product before it’s fully ready. That’s exactly what we did at VacationPoland. We had just one tour available in three languages, along with a map of recommended sights, museums, and restaurants. Yet, this was enough to convince users of the potential value of the app, leading them to purchase our subscription or tour and thereby contribute to the app’s further development. After all, every sale is a kind of investment. 

This strategy allowed us to save a significant amount of money in both the long and short term, as the AI feature became available. Furthermore, analyzing purchases, comments, and activity within the app helped us better understand our potential market and shift our focus from international travelers to domestic ones. This allowed us to refine our product and, consequently, increase revenue.


#8: The last lecture at the AceON Accelerator strongly advised to use YouTube to promote our products. So – we created the first video: Guide to Krakow!

As it always is with acceleration programs, networking and making new acquaintances was a big part of the benefits, even though the core programme consisted of online events. ‘A particularly interesting project for me was swayme. I think it will be popular among students and young audiences after they successfully compete for the audience and come up with a quality promotion strategy,’ Ms Vechenko shared.

Petra Konáriková, Strategy & Partnership Lead at AceON Accelerator

‘This batch has only confirmed our ambition to become an increasingly international accelerator – we received over 70 applications from around the world and selected 36 startups from 10 countries for the spring program – from Estonia, through the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Georgia, and other countries. Each batch advances not only the startups but also us as organizers. We care about building an ecosystem and supporting budding entrepreneurs in every way we can,’ Petra Konáriková, Strategy & Partnership Lead at AceON Accelerator, tells ItKeyMedia.

AceOn Accelerator has scheduled the next batch for the fall. The team has already started preparing for the fall round, which will be announced over the summer.


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