StartupYard will be at Startup Safary Budapest: April 20-21

We’re pleased to announce that StartupYard will take part in Startup Safary Budapest, April 20th and 21st, 2017.

What is Startup Safary?

Budapest turns into a startup exhibition for 2 days

For two days only, most of the tech community of Budapest opens its doors, and takes part in a broad series of meetups at dozens of locations around the city. This year, an estimate 3-5,000 people will participate.
As an attendee, you can register online and pick from the program sessions you want to attend. This way, you create your personal schedule, which you will follow during the event, traveling around the city and visiting various offices.

 

StartupYard Events

From Genius Idea to a Global Business: creating AI startups from Scratch

20/04/2017 17:30 – 18:00 – thehub.hu, 1061 Budapest, Paulay Ede utca 65.

21/04/2017 TBA Mosaik, 1136 Budapest, Pannónia utca 32.

StartupYard helps technically sophisticated developers and makers turn their ideas into real, growing businesses. In recent years, we have helped launch a series of high tech startups including TeskaLabs, Neuron Soundware, Cryptelo, and Rossum.ai. Find out how these startups went from a brilliant idea, to companies serving clients all over the world with cutting edge technologies.

 

Office Hours with StartupYard

20.04.2017: 13:00 – 16:00 – thehub.hu, 1061 Budapest, Paulay Ede utca 65 

21.04.2017: TBA – Mosaik, 1136 Budapest, Pannónia utca 32.

This is your chance to meet the management team of Central Europe’s leading seed accelerator for tech startups, and find out how we can help you turn your experience and knowledge of AI, Machine Learning, IoT, Blockchain, or Cryptology into a globally scaleable business. Come to find out about our program, pitch us an idea, or make a connection.

How do I meet the StartupYard team in Budapest?

There will be a few opportunities. First, we warmly invite you to join our workshops at TheHub and Mosaik, where you can hear about real-life examples of startups that have been through our program, and what they have accomplished as a result.

You can also sign up for our office hours. Because this event is happening under the umbrella of Startup Safary, you should sign up directly on their platform, and you will need to purchase a ticket on their website (tickets are just 8 Euros, and go toward organizing the events).

We will update this post when we have times for our appearances at Mosaic on April 21st.

We look forward to seeing you!

Petya Lipeva, Puzl Coworking

Exclusive Interview: Puzl’s Petya Lipeva on the Bulgarian Tech Space

On April 11-12 2017, StartupYard will be visiting Sofia to meet with Deep Tech startups, and offer two workshops – one on turning an AI idea into a global business, and the other on storytelling for Deep Tech startups.

Before our next official visit, which is to be StartupYard’s third in beautiful Sofia, I talked to Petya Lipeva, Chief Navigator of CowOrKing by Puzl, one of Sofia’s hottest tech startup spaces, about the tech scene in Sofia, how it’s changed in recent years, and what we can expect in the near future from Bulgarian startups. Here is what she had to say:

Hi Petya, first why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself, and your path to becoming Chief Navigator at Puzl?

Hey StartupYard-ers! My name is Petya and I’m the Chief Navigator at Puzl CowOrKing – a coworking space for IT professionals and IT startups in Sofia, Bulgaria. I joined the team a month after they opened the first space.

My background is in PR and marketing for a Bulgarian tech company in the CG industry. For a few years I was traveling the world and I needed to settle down, so I tried to do some freelancing work. However, being a freelancer is quite a lonely experience for a person that is used to working with big crowds.

I was considering relocating to France or Italy when I found out that two guys opened a new shared space in Sofia and they were looking for a person to run the space. I met the team for a lunch and this was the most random job interview that I ever had. It was a couple of days before the start of a big CG conference that I was organizing and my phone was ringing all the time. Meanwhile we were speaking about anything but my role in the team. It’s amazing how you click immediately when you find your people!

Petya Lipeva, Coworking by Puzl

What makes Puzl CowOrKing, aside from any other workspace in Sofia, a special place?

First of all Puzl CowOrKing is the first industry focused coworking space in Sofia. We created the space to help IT companies and professionals to grow and develop together. The amazing industrial design is complemented with different areas to foster efficiency, collaboration, and creativity both for companies and individuals.

We started with one space in October 2015 and a few months later in May 2016 we opened a new floor that we created specially for early-stage startups. In the beginning of April 2017, we’re opening another floor with 10 dedicated offices for small startup companies. The idea is to have different areas so a team could start with some desks in the area for the early stage startups and move across the different zones as the team grows and develops.

Do you have some success stories from your own alumni you’d like to highlight?

Yes, we do have quite a lot of success stories! I’d say that the whole community of 250 professionals is one amazing success story.

We have quite a lot of starting companies that are funded by different funds and accelerators. We have a few examples of individuals who are starting alone and growing a team of 10 people. My best success stories however are the collaboration stories – I love seeing how companies and professionals in the space start working together and find it valuable to exchange experience and resources.

StartupYard is about to make our 4th visit in as many years to Sofia. What would you say have been the most profound changes about the city and the tech ecosystem there in the past decade? What can we expect when we visit next month?

I would say that about 10 years ago in Bulgaria only a few people had heard the word ‘startup’  and the entrepreneurship ecosystem basically didn’t exist. However a decade is quite a long period and the ecosystem is thriving now.

Last year Forbes Magazine named  Sofia  one of the top 10 destinations for starting a business. Only three years after the first venture capital funds Launchub and Eleven started; they have already about 200 start-up companies in their portfolio. Recently we also witnessed one of the largest exits in the region, with a value of 262.5 million USD after acquisition of Telerik by Progress Software.

Quite a lot of organizations are working on organizing entrepreneurship events and trainings and the country is definitely showing a great progress and could show a thriving and interesting tech ecosystem.

What are, in your view, the biggest strengths of Bulgarian tech people, engineers, and thinkers?

I’ve noticed that the engineers in Bulgaria have amazing tech skills – they are talented, dedicated and passionate about their projects. They are real problem-solvers and quite interesting people – there are some quiet ones, loud ones, crazy ones, real inventors, thinkers, and players.

To you, which have been the most interesting and inspiring successes in tech to come out of Sofia or Bulgaria in the last few years?

The most inspiring success to come out of Sofia is Chaos Group – the company that develops the rendering plugin for 3D computer graphics software applications – V-Ray. Chaos Group founder Vladimir Koylazov received an Academy Plaque at the 2017 Academy Awards. The award, presented by the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards Committee, recognizes V-Ray’s role in bringing realistic CGI to the big screen.

Another great success is the above mentioned largest exits in the region by Telerik. We have quite a lot of interesting starting tech companies and I’m sure that we’ll see many more great stories in the upcoming years!

What kinds of things do you think we can expect from Bulgarian startups in the near future?

I’d say that we’ll see many exciting products and services coming from the Bulgarian startups and I’m sure that we’ll see many teams growing worldwide. I’m sure that soon enough I’ll be saying proudly “he/she used to work in Puzl CowOrKing”.

Bulgaria is a relatively small economy. Does this force Bulgarian startups to think bigger? Does it have a negative impact on startups looking for their first customers and their first investor?

Yes, Bulgaria is a small economy but it’s a great floor for product testing before going outside the boundaries. The small economy is definitely pushing the startups to grow bigger and to find bigger markets. However, I don’t think it has impact on finding customers and investors, as nowadays we’re all easily connected and because of the thriving ecosystem in the region. It’s easy to access many resources outside the country.

How would you rate the local and state government’s involvement in the tech ecosystem? What are they doing right, and what are they doing wrong?

The local and the state government is not much involved in the tech ecosystem although they are trying a lot. It takes time – the administration in Bulgaria is quite slow in picking up new trends and the tech ecosystem is still something that they don’t completely understand and relate to what’s happening in a starting company. I think the administration needs to attract a new generation of people in order to start helping out the tech ecosystem.

KB & StartupYard Hackathon Produces 11 Projects, 3 Big Winners

This past weekend, over 50 developers, founders, idea makers, and designers got together at StartupYard’s homebase, Node5, and hacked for 48 hours (actually only 47 hours – we lost an hour to daylight savings), using data provided to attendees by Komercni Banka (KB), for our first ever joint Fintech Hackathon. The Hackathon focused on the swiftly approaching Open Data mandate for European banks, PSD2. KB provided anonymized customer usage data, of the type that the PSD2 standards are most likely to require that banks make publically available via API.

Winners were those who provided feasible projects that might have the highest impact on KB, or any bank’s ability to provide better customer experience in a rapidly changing landscape, contributing to “The Bank of the Future, Wherever You Are.” 

11 Projects

In total, the hackathon produced or advanced 11 projects in Fintech, ranging from VR, to personal finance applications. Attendees were also mentored by nearly a dozen experienced mentors from StartupYard, KB, and the fintech industry. In attendance were KB’s Deputy Director of IT, David Svejda, KB’s Head of Innovation Monika Drobna, and of course KB’s CEO Albert Le Dirac’h.

Reception of the results from the KB team were overwhelmingly positive, and in addition to the 3 official prize winners, 3 teams from the 11 were also invited to apply to the next round of acceleration at StartupYard, Batch 8. 

3 Big Winners

The weekend saw 3 outstanding teams walk away with prizes of 10,000 CZK, 6,000 CZK, and 4,000 CZK per team member. In addition, the winning team will get the chance to pitch the KB board of directors personally this week, and will have a chance to join C-level executives from KB for a private lunch. Here are the winners:

1st Prize: Paystory

Billed as “Payment History 2.0,” paystory showed off a prototype of a data platform that will help banks and their customers get fine-grained details from merchants and online retailers about their transactions, including keeping track of warrantees, receipts, invoices, and product information.

2nd Prize: Blocknify

Comprised of members of two StartupYard alumni (Personal Finance Manager BudgetBakers and Investment Intelligence Platform Decissio), Blocknify promises to make verifying the authenticity of a contract as simple as scanning it with your smartphone. With a combination of public blockchain and QR codes, Blocknify allows signatories of important contracts to feel secure in the knowledge that they are always signing exactly what they’ve agreed to.

3rd Prize: SDK Finance

SDK Finance an existing fintech company, took 3rd place for its use of data provided by KB to create an open API platform for PSD2, the standard by which all European banks will, starting in 2018, be required to allow 3rd party platforms to access certain transactional and account information.

 

Special Prize: VRTheBest

Though the team was not selected as cash winners, KB designated a Special Prize for the members of by far the most speculative and futuristic team to participate in the hackathon: VRTheBest. VRTheBest, in just 47 hours, mocked up an entire virtual bank branch, and a handful of very futuristic tools, inside a 3D environment using an Oculus Rift developer kit. Though the project was considered to be reaching too far into the future to merit a win, KB chose to single out the team for their outstanding work, and stunning presentation.

 

Bulgarian Tech Ecosystem

StartupYard Visits Puzl CowOrKing in Sofia, April 11-12, to meet Deep Tech startups

We’re excited to announce that on the 11th and 12 of April, StartupYard visits Sofia, Bulgaria, to meet with Deep Tech startups, entrepreneurs, and others with ideas for businesses built around AI, AR/VR, cryptology, blockchain, IoT, and related technologies.

Our visit will be at Puzl CowOrKing, one of Sofia’s most exciting startup workspaces.

This is the first of 5 visits to Central European capitals this spring, with an eye to attract brand new startups to StartupYard Batch 8.

 

DEEP TECH FOCUS

The focus of StartupYard Batch 8 will be “Deep Tech.”

Deep Tech means companies working on technologies and products that are unique, difficult to replicate, or are exploring areas of innovation where the barrier to entry remains high, and the problems scientifically complex and difficult, such as Robots, AI, IoT, VR/AR, and Cryptography.

Today, the barrier to entry for globally scalable startups is lower than ever. However, there are still tremendously complex problems left to solve. In years past, our focus on the Data Economy has shown us that there is a growing need for novel approaches to the way people work, communicate, do business, participate in the economy, and understand the world around them.

Deep Tech solutions seek to develop never-before-possible opportunities to profoundly alter the way everyone, not just the tech industry, works, thinks, and sees the future. Deep Tech companies work at the edges of possibility for emerging technologies, and so have the potential to disrupt and change whole industries overnight.

 

 

Taking the time to apply costs you only a bit of your time, and is the first step in the StartupYard selection committee and investors getting to know you and your team. There is no risk in applying, so why not start today?

StartupYard “Training Days”

April 11th and 12th in Sofia will be StartupYard’s first visit to one of 5 cities, including Budapest, Bucharest, Vilnius, Krakow, and Sofia. Unlike a typical roadshow, where an accelerator gathers early-stage startups to show off their pitches, StartupYard will instead offer workshops for Deep Tech engineers and idea makers in these different cities, about how to turn a high tech concept into a real business.

These “training days” will include a series of workshops and open hours with the StartupYard management team (myself, and our CEO Cedric Maloux).

Workshops

From AI to a Real Global Business- April 11th at 16:00, Puzl CowOrKing

cedric maloux startupyard

StartupYard Managing Director Cedric Maloux

Do you have a Deep Tech idea that could potentially become a tech startup? This is your ideal chance to find out what it takes. StartupYard CEO Cedric Maloux will walk attendees through the process of turning AI and other Deep Tech startups into thriving businesses, from proving their concepts with real-live pilot customers, to signing their first paying clients, and gaining venture investment.

This workshop will go into detail about how StartupYard has guided startups like TeskaLabs, Neuron Soundware, and Rossum, from idea phase, to seed investments and onto the market.

 

 

Deep Tech Positioning- April 12th, 10:00, Puzl CowOrKing

StartupYard Community Manager Lloyd Waldo

In this workshop, StartupYard’s head of communication and community Lloyd Waldo (that’s me), will show would-be entrepreneurs how early stage startups in Deep Tech can use practical storytelling skills to convince the earliest stakeholders (including cofounders, investors, customers, and employees), of the power of a new idea, by transforming it from dry description and speculation into a compelling narrative, that puts you in control of the conversation.

This workshop will include hands-on strategies for positioning that will provide entrepreneurs with the toolset necessary to construct a persuasive and powerful story about themselves, and their vision of the future.

 

 

Open Hours, April 12th, Puzl CowOrKing

Do you have a Deep Tech idea and a great team that you think is worthy of funding and acceleration at StartupYard? Are you ready to take the next step and run your own Deep Tech company? Now is your chance to meet the StartupYard management team, and tell us something about it.

Mike Butcher, StartupYard

StartupYard DemoDay 2017 Set For Feb 22, Keynote from TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher

StartupYard has now announced Batch 7, including 7 Startups from 5 countries. Learn more about the startups right here. 


The StartupYard team, and our seven 2017 startups are pleased to announce our next Demo Day, which will take place February 22nd, 2017, at Kino Svetozor, in Prague. There, at 6:30pm local time, 7 startups will pitch to the public for the first time.

Joining us will be the legendary Mike Butcher, Editor-at-Large for TechCrunch, the tech industry’s leading news source, and organizer of the popular TechCrunch: Disrupt conference.

And if you have a second, please Tweet about it!

Looking forward to hearing @mikebutcher @startupyard for DemoDay2017! Tickets on Sale:… Click To Tweet

Keynote Remarks from TechCrunch Editor Mike Butcher

Mike Butcher MBE is Editor-at-large of TechCrunch. He has been named one of the most influential people in tech by The Daily Telegraph, The Evening Standard and The Independent newspapers. Mike has written for UK national newspapers and magazines. He has been named one of top 100 most influential people in European technology by Wired UK for 5 years running . He has spoken at the Monaco Media Forum, Le Web, Web Summit, DLD and the World Economic Forum, where he is a ‘Media Leader’. Mike is a regular broadcaster, appearing on BBC News, Sky News, CNBC, Channel 4 and Bloomberg. He has also advised the UK Prime Minister and the Mayor of London on tech startup policy. He is the co-founder of TechHub.com (which creates spaces globally for tech entrepreneurs); Coadec.com (which lobbies for UK startups); TheEuropas.com, the annual European Tech Startup Conference & Awards; and the non-profit, Techfugees.com, a community of refugee-focused NGOs and tech innovators. Mike’s personal blog is mbites.com, while he Twitters at @mikebutcher.

DemoDay Program:

6:00 pm: registration & networking
6:30 pm: event starts
8:30 pm: refreshments & networking

Note: Guests will have ample opportunities for networking with StartupYard’s community of investors, startups, mentors and sponsors before and after the event. 

About the Venue:

Kino Svetozor is a premiere art cinema opened in 2004, in one of Prague’s liveliest passages. It’s an art-house cinema, the first of its kind in Prague.

The cinema has a long history. The first screening took place at the beginning of 1918. A few years later, Svetozor changed into a cabaret. It returned to its original purpose in 1957, when it was rebuilt into a panoramic cinema. In 1968, the famous Kino automat, first introduced at the Montreal World’s Fair, Expo ‘67, was moved here for a year and a half.

Now, nearly 100 years after its first screening, Svetozor is a name brand in the heart of Prague, hosting film premiers, arthouse pictures, foreign films, conferences, and tech events.

 

 

This event is made possible through the kind support of the following sponsors:

Bx_UIFdQ

roland_berger_logo_detail

KB-logo

Microsoft logo 2012

StartupYard Partners with Accenture Digital for November Hackathon

StartupYard is pleased to announce the Accenture Digital Hackathon, November 26-27th in Prague, presented in partnership with StartupYard.

From the Accenture Digital Announcement:

“Today’s challenges are too complex to be solved by any individual person or nation. The solutions of the future will require the creativity and innovation of us all because only by working together will we be able to create a better world. This is the challenge that has been set for the upcoming Accenture Digital Hackathon, which will go beyond Czech Republic to also involve the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Great Britain and Turkey.
Experience the unforgettable thrill of coming together, for two days in an amazing setting, with peers who share the same passion for digital technology and innovation.”

About the Accenture Digital Hackathon:

This Hackathon invites young creative designers, developers and marketing specialists – both students and recent university graduates, to collaborate on projects along the following themes:

  1. Opportunity: increase access to employment and reduce the digital divide
  2. Mobility: eliminate physical and technological barriers that impede the productive flow of goods, people and ideas and improve the handling of emergencies
  3. Sustainability: promote sustainable lifestyles and boost awareness of the impact of climate change.
Check out the @AccentureDigi hackathon, November 26-27th in Prague! Prizes and mentorship! Click To Tweet

 

Why Join the Hackathon? 

It’s international: you compete against teams from 7 other countries

Attractive prizes:

  • 15,000 CZK voucher for each single member of the winning team (Prague round)
  • 1,000 EUR voucher for each single member of the winning team (international round)
  • Present winning idea (international round) to the World Expo 2020 organizing committee in Dubai

Inspiring mentors: Professionals from Accenture – leader among the FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” in the IT services category

StartupYard, Accenture Digital

Who Can Join? 

Participation is open to individuals (with any of the skills below) or teams of 3 to 5 people (each team having at least one member with skills below). Partipants should be junior in their professions, or recent university graduates.

  • Designers
  • Developers
  • Marketing Specialists

Organizers will set up teams from registered individuals without teams.

What Will You Accomplish? 

Generate: Prototype ideas, products and services that are able to create social and economic value.

Develop: Focus on the three themes which will be at the centre of the World Expo to be held in Dubai in 2020 (Expo 2020):

      1. Opportunity: increase access to employment and reduce the digital divide
      2. Mobility: eliminate physical and technological barriers that impede the productive flow of goods, people and ideas and improve the handling of emergencies
      3. Sustainability: promote sustainable lifestyles and boost awareness of the impact of climate change.

Get Mentorship: Experts from Accenture will mentor participating teams and individuals, helping to define and develop their project concepts.

Get Feedback: Projects will be assessed according to the strength of their concept, design and development, and each will be presented to a Jury

Win Prizes and Move Forward: Winning team in each city will be invited at the end of the day to compete head to head (via video conference) against the winners from the other cities in order to determine the top three teams overall.

Check out the @AccentureDigi hackathon, November 26-27th in Prague! Prizes and mentorship! Click To Tweet

 

 

Cluj Startup Ecosystem

What’s Special About the Cluj Tech Ecosystem?

StartupYard has embarked on a month-long, 8 stop tour of Central European tech capitals. We’ve already visited Slovakia, Poland, and Kosovo, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Hungary, and will be stoping in Romania (Bucharest and Cluj) next week!

But before visiting each ecosystem for StartupYard FastLane, we wanted to get to know the ecosystems we will be visiting even better. While we’ve met a lot of startups from these countries, and accelerated some of them as well, we wanted to hear from local accelerators, investors, and entrepreneurs what they thought was special about their local ecosystem. Since we’re asking startupers to come to Prague, which we think is pretty special, we wanted to see what our neighboring ecosystems really have to offer, according to some of their biggest fans.

We asked a group of entrepreneurs and influencers in the countries we’re visiting to tell us their perspective on their own ecosystem, and we are sharing that learning with you in a series of blog posts, including posts about Poland, Bucharest, Bulgaria, and Slovakia, we’ll explore what makes the Cluj Tech Ecosystem unique, ahead of our visit to ClujHub, on Tuesday September 20th. 

Our Respondent:

Cluj Tech EcosystemCluj Startups: Cluj Startups is a community gathering founders, tech people, startups supporters and enthusiasts from Cluj-Napoca and the surrounding region. As a non-profit, Cluj Startups’ mission is to promote the startups based in Cluj and the events related to tech entrepreneurship taking place in our city and region. But also, to facilitate access to outsiders towards the startups and members of the community.

What’s Special about the Cluj Tech Ecosystem?

What do you see as the greatest advantage of the Cluj tech ecosystem, particularly for young technology startups and entrepreneurs?

Cluj is a vibrant city from the IT/tech perspective, with 200+ IT companies working with international clients, 10000+ IT professionals, 2 universities with hundreds of graduates in the IT field every year.

Whatever you want to build, chances are that you can find the right people to do it in Cluj. Many projects were developed in various industries like banking, automotive, e-commerce, retail, transportation, infrastructure, e-health. So, for really deep-technology startups, it’s a good place to start or to extend your team

What about its most important current weaknesses? How would you like to see them addressed?

Lack of strong product mindset and business development skills. As the ecosystem is relatively young, the first people to come in touch with the startups are still the ones in the tech sphere. In the next two years, the product management and product marketing expertise will be more and more required so we will see people gaining up on this side as well, completing the puzzle of Cluj as an emerging startup ecosystem.

What specialty would you say your ecosystem is most famous for, in terms of technology or business?

Our ecosystem is known definitely for the tech talent and for the IT companies which have grown here, some of them reaching even 1000 employees and more than $10 million in annual revenue. There is a constant attention towards Cluj from the outside, which brings more people interested to partner with local companies or to start a tech startup with a local co-founder/team.

Would you say the local ecosystem is dominated by more copycats, or by original, innovative solutions?

Not many copycats around here, but at the same time many of the startup ideas come usually from people with tech-background, so there is a limited pool of startup ideas we hear around here. There is a gap between the tech industry and other industries and what we need to see more often is for non-tech people, who really see problems in their industry, to partner with the tech guys in order to benefit of a complete range of expertises: business, industry and tech.

Cluj based startups need to look outside the tech business for new ideas - @clujstartups Click To Tweet

In your opinion, does the local ecosystem look abroad for opportunities enough? Too much? What would you encourage local entrepreneurs to change in their approach to global business?

The opportunities abroad are quite visible for us, it happens often that accelerators and funds want to visit our ecosystem and get in touch with local entrepreneurs. But the first step in growing internationally, is focusing more on product-related topics and on innovation. As long as we’re caught with an overwhelming majority in outsourcing, the product-side will be harder to develop, as effort goes where the money come from on a shorter term.

Outsourcing in Cluj is a drain on the Startup ecosystem - @clujstartups Click To Tweet

How would you describe your government’s relationship to startups and tech? Is the government helpful or is it out of touch?

This years we’ve seen a lot more government activity on supporting entrepreneurial initiatives. A total of more150 million is in process to be released through various programs to stimulate entrepreneurship and part of these funds/grants will go as well for tech entrepreneurship and startups.

The technocrat government has proven that it is listening to tech entrepreneurs (even to individual problems that startups have) and it is more supportive than in the years before. Still the system and communication needs a lot more improvement and it needs also entrepreneurs to involve more in the consultation process.

What about Angel investors? Do you have an active community? What types of people are doing angel investing in your ecosystem?

There are a few angel investors, but they are not necessarily associated in a local group or network. However, they invest in a case by case decision, through their own means. Typically, these investors come with a tech or IT business background so they understand well enough the challenges a startup might face.

There is a gap on seed stage funding which makes a lot of startups oriented directly towards outside investors. The good side is that the ones getting funding, move faster in international, bigger markets, but the downside is that chances to get funded are lower as they compete with other european startups.

The ecosystem players are very aware of that and starting from 2017, hopes are high for growing the angel community and creating early-stage funds which to support the startups.

In your opinion, what have been your greatest local successes, and in what areas do you think the ecosystem has the most potential to grow in the next few years?

So far we have witnessed a few hybrid successes, more precisely companies that had co-founders from Cluj or technical/product teams here. In 2014, Skobbler (products and services based on OpenStreetMap) was sold to Telenav for $24 million and in 2015, Liverail (monetization platform for video publishers) was sold to Facebook for an estimated $500 million.

Wow. Cluj startups have experienced some HUGE exits in the past few years - worth over $500M -… Click To Tweet


There are a few startups which have now grown to have more than dozen employees and are scaling up, like Moqups (web-based application that enables users to create mockups and wireframes), Onyx Beacon (B2B solutions that helps companies develop context aware mobile applications through beacon technology), Skinvision – skin cancer detection mobile app), CRMRebs (online platform which doubles the productivity of real estate agents) and MiraRehab (product designed to make physical therapy fun and convenient for patients recovering from surgery or injury).

.@ClujStartups highlights: @onyxbeacon @moqups and others as key Cluj success stories! Read more: Click To Tweet

What would you say to an entrepreneur or a startup thinking about relocating to your city? Any Warnings? Hidden advantages? Quirks?

Cluj is a great city to find a tech co-founder or to build the technical team. It is estimated that more than 10 000 software engineers live in Cluj, most of them working in the IT outsourcing industry, for mid-sized companies. The trend for switching jobs towards product-building ones is growing, so more developers are now inclined to take the challenge to work for startups or product-based companies.

The model, proven already, is to have the tech team here, while the business development is set in the targeted countries. The costs, availability and work quality makes the region attractive, compared with other European hubs, especially for funded startups which are really careful about spending the cash and prolonging the runway.

Cluj is welcoming to tech entrepreneurs and relocation should not be hard at all, with various points of interest:

Can you highlight 3 startups to watch for 2017 from your regional ecosystem? Why would you highlight them?

Visitors Analytics is a tailored analytics apps for major website builder platforms like Wix, Weebly, WordPress, Shopify and several others. It was launched earlier this year, on Wix, and it reached already more than 60 000 users.

Urby app delivers you suggestions on a daily basis, with things to do and places to go in your city. The team, located in Sibiu, has a really solid experience in city-life apps, has secured 6-figures funding earlier this year and it’s now on the way to expend internationally, after piloting a few cities in Romania.

Typing DNA is a startup located not far from Cluj, in Oradea. It was started less than 8 months, already went through 2 acceleration programs and closed seed funding. It uses typing biometrics to allow systems to detect account theft or hijacking based on his typing patterns.

Planable is a SaaS tool for social media managers to plan and collaborate on social media campaigns. It was accelerated as well and won a few pitching awards, now on their way to test the US market.

Cluj Startups to watch via @clujStartups: @typingdna, Urby App, @planableapp and… Click To Tweet