What is Katapult?

Launched by the Innovation Fund of the Republic of Serbia, Katapult is an acceleration program that targets early-stage growth-oriented innovative companies and gives them the support and funds needed to scale their businesses.

Katapult is a part of the Serbia Accelerating Innovation and Growth Entrepreneurship Project, built on a decade of successful cooperation between the Government of Serbia, the European Union and the World Bank and dedicated to strengthening innovative entrepreneurship and scientific research.

Financing for Katapult is provided by the Republic of Serbia (Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development), through a 7.7 million euro World Bank loan with implementation support, and the European Union, through a 10 million euro grant.

Program Overview

Program Overview

Over 3 months, Katapult will support up to 20 startups (segmented into one of two streams – Ideation or Scale-up), matching them with industry experts and mentors with proven ability to grow companies.

Each startup will be assigned a Lead Mentor who will coordinate the startup's overall mentoring plan, including an In-country Mentor and a Subject Matter Expert (leveraging additional mentors to address specific knowledge gaps).

Selection

Matching with mentors

Capacity
building

Demo day


Program Overview

Capacity building

The entire Mentoring Program will be highly customized and tailored to each specific mentee company.

Mentors will assess mentee’s needs and help improve their trajectory against identified product/company milestones and growth KPIs.

1 Foundation for growth
2 Growth weeks
3 Fundraising preparation

Capacity building

1. Foundation for growth.

Assessing and prioritizing mentees’ needs and establishing the foundation.

Personal skills assessment

  • The way a company approaches its strategies for success: production, product, marketing or sales orientation.

  • Identifying potential customers, studying customers' profiles to fine-tune the marketing approaches, tailoring the inventory to attract the most customers; monitoring customer relationships.

Inputs from industry experts, technical support from proffesionals in the financial and legal field.

Capacity building

2. Growth weeks.

Accelerator learning sessions and mentoring aimed at increasing the growth potential of each company, through capacity building and improving competencies of the key personnel.

  • Learning about possible new product development processes in entire process of bringing a product to market, starting with recognizing a marketing opportunity and ending with product launch.

  • Identifying target markets and market potential, calculating the potential market size, market growth rate, competition and profitability.

  • Identifying strategies that will guide a startup’s decisions and choices about which customers to target, what technologies to apply, what organizational identity to assume, and how to position the company against which competitors; Understanding scaling as an essential part of the startup growth strategy.

  • Identifying HR solutions that meet the company’s needs while maintaining flexibility for employees; Hiring, developing, and retaining employees; building and maintaining company policies that enable a healthy and safe workplace.

Inputs from industry experts, technical support from proffesionals in the financial and legal field.

Capacity building

3. Fundraising preparation.

Refining the pitch deck and investor materials

  • Targeting the right buyers, understanding key insights, delivering against a plan that really increases revenue; clear value proposition, personalized outreach, the right commercial processes to grow and get to the next funding round.

  • Making a startup pitch deck, delivering a winning pitch presentation to investors, understanding the types of Venture Capital and Angel Investors. Learning about the deal structures and the investment process.

Inputs from industry experts, technical support from proffesionals in the financial and legal field.

Katapult’s goal is to match startups & investors

Giving one party a chance to realize their dreams, and the other a chance to recognize visionary entrepreneurs. Because both parties share a dream.

I have a startup. Why should I participate?

  • This is an intensive, well rounded program designed specifically to help Serbian startups reach key milestones throughout an arduous startup journey.
  • Katapult provides financial grants and capacity building by connecting founders to seasoned early stage investors.
  • By participating, founders are assigned a dedicated lead mentor, access to a pool of local and global mentors, and become part of an elite network of Serbian startups.
  • Until now, entrepreneurs had to go abroad to participate in similar acceleration programs – Katapult is an accessible, in-country acceleration program designed to help local startups achieve scale and growth.

I’m a potential investor. Why should I participate?

  • Consider Katapult as a filter. It carefully reviews and selects promising startups, saving you the time and cost needed for technical assistance to spot the sprouts that can truly grow.
  • You gain an early opportunity to meet and invest in companies with the potential to achieve great success & go global.
  • You connect with talented, coachable teams eager for mentorship and direct guidance.
  • Your participation is crucial for advancing Serbia’s startup scene and empowering a generation of innovative, trailblazing leaders.

Meet our partners

Startup stories

No, the chances of succeeding are not one in a million. Here are five success stories from participants of previous Innovation Fund programs!

Click to see more start up stories