Investment in the best

How the companies in which WIN invests are selected

WIN has the right to invest in post seed, A and B round companies thanks to its exclusive partnership with Webit. For the past 15 years, Webit has organized the Founders Games – one of the world's most prestigious programs and competitions for companies in the growth stage*. Every year, thousands of companies from over 150 countries apply to become Founders Games finalists at the Grand Finale in Davos during the economic forum. See the finalists WIN has invested in so far.

Here's how the selection works:

1. First Round: Webit's algorithm, refined since 2009, selects only 1,000 to proceed to the next round based on the following criteria:

  • Strong team with relevant skills.
  • Product or service with proven sales and revenue.
  • At least two successful investment rounds.

2. Second round: About 1000 companies are evaluated by experts of professional investment funds according to 6 clearly defined criteria, with a score of 1 to 10 for each. The final rating is a weighted average of the opinions of 6-10 investors. 150-200 of the companies with the highest scores continue to the next round.

Evaluation Criteria

The criteria against which companies are evaluated in 5 rounds include:

1. IMPACT FACTOR (SDG Compliance)

What impact the success of the company would have on achieving one or more of the 17 SDGs

2. Uniqness of the idea

To what extent the idea is unique and constitutes intellectual property (IP).

3. Team Capacity

Does the team have the necessary experience, education, successful previous projects and capacity to realize the company's goals for the current and near future stages of development and.

4. Business model, Scalability and Market Adoption

Market realization (revenue), growth potential, how long it takes the market to understand and accept the product/service), marketing approach and success stories, business model and business development, revenue growth.

5. Funding & Finances

Availability of finances and "runway", clear planning of the necessary ones to achieve the planned development of the product/service, team, marketing, growth and adaptation. Verification of the implementation and use of finances from previous investment rounds.

6. Leadership and Personal qualities of the team

Leadership skills of the founders and management team; Charisma and 'likability' of the founders; Mission and goals, including the potential for the company to be a role model for other founders to work towards achieving the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

3. Third round: About 150-200 companies go through virtual interviews or live meetings with leading top investors in the relevant segment/industry of the company.. The evaluations are based on the previous criteria, but with personal contact with the founders and only 50- 60 companies (with the highest ratings) move on.

4. Semi-finals: About 50-60 companies go through new interviews and selection by some of the world's most successful investors. Only 10-12 companies proceed to the finals.

5. DavosGrand Finals: The Grand Finals bring together the biggest global investors to select and announce the winners. The Grand Finals are one of the most popular events among the global Davos community. 

See what the Mercer leader has to say about the selection  - the largest investment advisor globally, with over $16.4 trillion in assets under advisement and over $420 billion in assets under management. 

Rich Nuzum, Executive Director, Investments and Global Chief Investment Strategist at Mercer

The Founders Games program lasts about 8 months, during which companies go through 5 rounds of evaluation by over 300 professional investors from around the world. Out of thousands of applicants, only between 5 and 12 make it to the Founders Games finals – one of the most prestigious competitions in the world. (on average only 0.1% of all applicants make it to the annual Davos finals).

WIN, thanks to Webit, gets the right to invest in the finalists with an investment horizon of 4-8 years and a target return of 5 to 10 times. Although investing small amounts, WIN has the same rights as the lead investor in the round, thanks to special terms from Webit**.

After the Grand Final, companies go through two more stages before a final investment from WIN:

  • Investor Advice: WIN investors vote on whether to invest in the particular company.
  • Board of Directors: The WIN Board makes the final decision on the investment and its size.

Investment terms are determined by the lead investor, who typically funds 40-60% of the round. The remaining investors join on the same or worse terms. Thanks to the arrangements with Webit, WIN gets the same rights as the lead investor**, even for smaller investments, which is unique in the market.


* A company is defined in the “growth” after there is already not just an idea, but a real product or service that is successfully sold in one or more markets. Usually, this company has already completed several investment rounds (at least 2 successful ones) and has the trust of its previous investors. 

** Although usually the smallest investor in the round, WIN has the special rights from Webit, which are exactly the same terms as the lead investor. So WIN shareholders not only get the right to invest in potentially some of the best growth-stage companies in the world, where they wouldn't have the opportunity on their own, but their money has the same purchasing power as that of the largest and an important investor. If we have to give an example from everyday life, it would be equivalent to there being no difference in wholesale and retail prices in the market. In other words, the price of a kg of tomatoes on the market should be the same as the price of the same tomatoes in a store. There is no such option on the market! But WIN achieves these conditions  thanks to the global brand and the trust that the founders and investors have in Webit and their expectations that the global Webit community will contribute to the success of the company in which we invest.

Here's what one of the founders who were at the finals in Davos had to say about the added value of Founders Games and Webit.

Ady Beutler, Co-Founder and CEO, Nilus