Developing artificial intelligence in Eastern Europe

Letz, an upcoming startup from Macedonia, received technical assistance support from the “Swiss Entrepreneurship Programme” implemented by Swisscontact. In Collaboration with entrepreneurship experts provided by Swisscontact start-ups with growth potential are promoted.

Swisscontact supports relevant ecosystem organizations by bringing in international entrepreneurship experts to enhance programs for entrepreneurs and startups.  It is financed by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Letz, as part of the ”Tailored Growth Network” consisting of several growth-oriented start-ups, gained from exposure to and work with international experts.

As a start-up in Macedonia financed initially through its own risk capital, co-founders Nino Karas and Martin Ancevski quickly started feeling the pressure to develop quickly. “It’s like being the pretty girl at the party. Everyone looks you over and you believe you will always look this good. But once you lose that momentum, it is very hard to get it back”, says Nino Karas, a co-founder of Letz.

Keeping the momentum going

The team, with their productive chatbot “Lucy”, a text-based dialog system, have been able to maintain momentum, winning numerous competitive prizes. Currently the next round of financing is underway on the SeedInvest platform. This crowdfunding platform identifies investments and capital procurement in a start-up’s early stages. Last September at a start-up conference that took place in San Francisco, New York, and Berlin, Letz was selected as one of nine finalists among 560 presenting companies.

Collaboration with entrepreneurship experts provided by Swisscontact has helped further position the company especially in the area of expanding business networks, even international business networks. Letz is now ready to unveil its strategy and make competitive pitches to international investors. "We have been given invaluable help for our marketing initiatives and inroads into the investment community beyond the Balkans”, says Karas. 

Supporting freelancers and entrepreneurs with chatbots

Letz’s primary product, an interactive reminder system, is designed to provide time management support to freelancers and independent entrepreneurs. The Letz “bot” is an artificial intelligence that helps these people get more work orders and manages them effectively. “The main problems freelancers face include self-discipline and getting new clients”, says Karas. “Our first version uses a friendly and humorous chatbot to remind them of various tasks they need to complete. We all know that to-do lists and regular popup reminders don’t work. Therefore, we wanted to develop an assistant with a personality.”