Which start-ups should private investors put their money in? A case study of the fourth Sber500 batch participants

The fourth batch of the international seed accelerator Sber500 is now in full swing. Sber has selected 25 promising start-ups, which, in a few weeks, will present on Demo Day and will be able to attract investments and new clients.

Anna Morozova, a business angel and co-founder of the Syndicate Venture Investors Club, analyzed the seed accelerator participants and highlighted the projects that will be most interesting to private investors.

Anna Morozova, a business angel and co-founder of the Syndicate Venture Investors Club


Today, the global market is experiencing a "venture winter": investors have cooled down towards late-stage start-ups, as valuations of most of them are overheated and capital holders are not ready to take high risks in the current environment. Therefore, they are either focusing on supporting the current portfolio or looking at early-stage start-ups, which are the ones that are currently attracting more interest from private investors.

This trend is confirmed by the participants selected in the Sber500 seed accelerator: 60% are at the seed stage; 40% are at the A stage. All seed accelerator participants have a working MVP and an established team, but the raised investments’ backgrounds vary.


More than half of Sber500 start-ups (64%) had already attracted investments by the time they participated in the seed accelerator. Currently, the total amount of investments and grants received by the fourth batch participants is RUB 175 mn and USD 9 mn. Start-ups with a focus on Blockchain, Data Analytics and Big Data attracted most investments. It is noteworthy that one third of the projects raised funds in the stressful year of 2022.


Sber500 selected start-ups from different technology areas and industries: DeFi, Web3, HealthTech, e-commerce, ESG, and many others, drawing on Sber and its partners’ diverse range of interests.

Most often, start-ups offer Ai-driven solutions, accounting for nearly half of the current batch. This is indeed the hottest technology right now: start-ups are actively using it, and investors are watching. According to Dsight, Russian start-ups using AI attracted USD 159 mn in 2022.

When it comes to assessing potential success, for example, although the Russian advertising market is still large, the reduced variability of tools makes it difficult for MarTech projects, while big data-driven projects have plenty of prospects, as this area will only grow.

There are also a lot of resources here: The Big Data market in Russia, according to the Big Data Association, already amounted to RUB 170 bn in 2021; projected to nearly double at RUB 319 bn by 2024. This is what I call the future. Although, of course, everything depends not on the industry, but on a particular start-up and its decision.

Projects in DeepTech can also be singled out. This is a difficult niche, and only a professional, a person with a technical education, can assess the project’s idea. However, if such a project starts earning money, it earns a lot at once. And, in this sense, the story seems very attractive for investment.
The main thing is not to make a mistake at the beginning. The niche is risky, but there are unicorns out there. Especially in aerospace, renewable energy, and healthcare.


15 out of 25 start-ups participating in the Sber500 seed accelerator (60%) configure their solutions for the CIS and Middle East markets. The second most popular region is Europe: almost a third of the participants continue to operate here. Start-ups are also working in North America and the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to Russian founders, there are two founders from India in this batch.
All projects already have a pool of customers. 88% are B2B businesses; far fewer utilize B2C and B2G models.
The entire list of 25 start-ups can be viewed on the website, and below are the projects we are already considering at the Syndicate Club’s investment committees:
Smart Data Hub: an end-to-end analytics and business intelligence automation platform powered by AI and data collection, processing, visualization, and analytics tools

MUST: a cargo vehicle fleet platform that offers end-to-end solutions to reduce breakdown rates and streamline fleet maintenance costs

Bimar System: a digital labeling system powered by computer vision algorithms, which facilitates remote device design, manufacturing, logistics, and assembly control

Directual: a no-code platform, facilitating the development of complex IT products, WEB and WEB-3 applications without programming

I review multiple projects, both Russian and international, and I can say that Sber500 projects are at a good level: the founders have found an interesting niche and show good initial traction.
As an investor, I am pleased to see founders digging deep and screening for a market. What I am not pleased to see are projects that come and say: "Tell us what to do, and we'll do it." That's very sad. After all, investors want to see how the world of the future, in which we will all soon be living, is being born in people's minds.
Cover page photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski / Unsplash