Overview of the Romanian autumn for conferences and programs for startups

Last fall was full of online conferences, hackathons, new opportunities for startups, and also accelerators and incubators that finished their programs.  

Even though all events, conferences, and programs took place online they still delivered as if things were happening live not only virtually, and managed to mentor, fund, and offer spaces of networking for a lot of actors in the ecosystem. 

If we are to have a throwback like this one we would see that the autumn of 2020 was very active as in the previous season. We have gathered the 20 most important news from last fall to show you a wrap-up of what has happened in the ecosystem in just a few months.

News regarding startup programs or accelerators

  1. The grand finale of Innovators for Children took place on the 15th of September and was organized by Impact Hub Bucharest in partnership with Botnar Foundation and Impact Hub Basel. Ten teams made it to the finale where they pitched for their ideas and solutions from which 5 teams received investments ranging from €30K to €15K (link with details).
  1. Startup Spotlight Grand Finale by How to Web took place on December 4th where 10 startups qualified for pitching in front of an audience of investors, potential business partners, and supporters, the winner, Cartloop (a platform that helps merchants recover abandoned carts by messaging customers in real-time) taking the full €225K investment award.
  1. Make IT in Oradea is a new project with the aim of developing and overseeing the first business incubator program in Oradea, to nourish, discover, boost, and fund new tech startups. The annual budget of the incubator is €300K and is provided by the local authorities with the purpose to spark the creative and innovative people of Oradea in creating startups. (link with details).
  1. Startarium RE:BUILD is a program launched by Startarium which aims to support 150 entrepreneurs and their businesses, using a mix of 3 growth intervention formats: business consulting, mentoring, and resources for startups. The program lasts for 5 months being split into two categories: consultancy and mentoring  (link with details).
  1. Four out of six scaleups were awarded at BCR-InnovX DemoDay: Adservio, Jobful, Watto, and Vetro. The selected startups from the Scaleups group of the accelerator presented their businesses in front of a jury made up of experts and investors in order to be awarded after the demo day (link with details).
  1. Techcelerator has selected startups for both of its acceleration programs this fall: Advancing AI (focused on startups with AI, ML, Deep Learning, Big Data, Advanced Analytics – had the demoday in December) and NEXT FinTech (focused on fintech, regtech, insurance and other related topics; which will have the demoday in February 4th).
  1. Spherik, together with the partners in the B-Hub for Europe project, selected during October, 30 startups for the on-line 5-month acceleration program focused on blockchain startups and companies. The program will have a second call for startups in March 2021. Spherik is also involved in the Data Market Services pan-European acceleration program and organized the Investors Day for the 50 startups selected, focused on big data and artificial intelligence.
  1. The Upster conference organized by Cluj Startups took place in December and it had a community focus where the practical workshops were held by various people activize the startup ecosystem and was focused on idea validation, go-to-market, product management, and venture capital fundraising.
  1. Techsylvania conference took place between September 22nd and 23rd and had a focus on product and funding for startups. Within the conference, there was also the Startup Alley program from where early-stage startups could showcase their product to future business partners, talent, and the media and the Startup Avalanche competition, whose prize of €150K was won by the startup AgUnity from Australia.
  1. 5 startups joined Orange Fab accelerator after winning the 5G Online Challenge project, a contest that was dedicated to product developers based on 5G and IoT technologies. It took place between August, 27 and November, 24 and the winners were announced following a pitching session broadcasted . 
  1. In September Future Banking conference took place and it gathered investors, fintech startups, and other important players for a two-day event and expo online and offline. The conference’s themes were digital banking & fintech in the market. The second edition of Romania’s FinTech Map was published (link).
  1. Prow, a product-focused conference organized by Cowork Timisoara and DigiTales Agency had its first edition on November 5th and it had the target of enhancing the community’s understanding of the tech industry and showcasing some of the best use-cases and entrepreneurial pieces of advice. 
  1. The annual edition of the NASA SpaceApps Challenge hackathon took place online (3-4, October) and gathered 135 participants aged between 14 and 30. In the final stage, 12 teams presented their projects, and two teams from each city, Bucharest and Cluj Napoca, qualified for the international judging stage of the competition (link).
  1. ADR Nord-Est launched the project “Romanian Startup Ecosystem Strategy”, funded by the European Union through the Structural Reform Support Program (SRSP) and implemented in cooperation with the European Commission and the World Bank. “Romanian Startup Ecosystem Strategy” is under development and it is a program that plans to unite the Romanian startups towards the development of the local ecosystem (link).
  1. At European Global StartUp Summit which happened on November 25th, Cluj-Napoca was appointed as project leader on the components of innovation in health and artificial intelligence within the European Innovation Area (#EiA). This is a new European project created to encourage innovation, whose ambassador is the European Commissioner for Innovation, Mariya Gabriel. Cluj will act within the European Innovation Area together with Valencia, Cologne, Leuven, and other European cities recognized for their initiatives in the field of innovation and sustainable development (link with details).
  1. Commons Accel, a finalist in the Central European Startup Awards in the “Best Accelerator” category, selected the 20 startups for the third cohort which will begin on January 21st. They also had the Demo Day for the previous cohort on October 1st where startups pitched in front of investors, VCs, press, and partners
  1. University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology of Târgu Mureş together with FreshBlood and Activize organized UMFST hackathon on December 12th, a healthtech-focused hackathon for the students in the university who wanted to develop and build innovative projects in the field of health. 
  1. The EduHack 2020 hackathon (organized by Digital Transformers and ClujHub) took place on December 12th this weekend, where teams or individuals who signed up came up with an idea to innovate the educational system taking into consideration the current needs. 
  1. Hackathon4Health hackathon aimed to generate innovative ideas with real impact in the field of health. The event took place between December 11th and 13th and the first three teams that were declared winners received a prize of $5K for the implementation of the developed solution.
  1. The Empowering Women in Agrifood program, developed by EIT Food and organized by Impact Hub Bucharest, designated the 2 winners who received a total funding of €15K: Reset (an on-line platform helping with weight loss through diet plans and support and having already 1000 clients in Romania with really good results) and Poultry Farm (€10K) (link with details).
  1. The Innovation Labs 2020 program organized the grand final, Demo Day Space Edition, on October 15th, with 16 teams that presented. The startup of the year award was won by Exigo, a team working in the medical field. 

Having these news in mind we can see how the organisations in the ecosystem adapted further to the current context and delivered their work. We’re glad to see that the pandemic didn’t stop the activities of these organizations and that they managed to adapt and still deliver on their goals and programs.

Kudos and hats off to everyone for the amazing job and progress!

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