What’s Special About the Bucharest 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, and will be stoping in Romania (Bucharest and Cluj), Bulgaria, and Slovenia.

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 will share that learning with you in a series of blog posts, starting with last weeks post about Poland, and Slovakia Today, we’ll explore what makes the Bucharest tech Ecosystem unique, ahead of our upcoming visit to TechHub Bucharest on Monday, September 19th.

 

Howtoweb, StartupYard, Bucharest Tech EcosystemOur Respondent: HowtoWeb Bucharest

How to Web is one of the most important startup oriented events, dedicated to innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship in South East Europe. The conference targets technology innovators, startups, startup founders, web entrepreneurs, tech product developers, outsourcing companies interested in innovation, investors, as well as all tech and web lovers.  Startup Spotlight is a deal-making program for the best early stage tech startups. The program offers the participants valuable connections, mentoring, investment opportunities and cash prizes.

How to Web will kick off on November 1st 2016 in Bucharest

Register for How to Web 2016 today.

What’s Special about the Bucharest Tech Ecosystem?

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

Bucharest and other cities like Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Brasov and Iasi are important cities in the region in terms of the availability of tech talent, with amazing software engineers, marketers and product people.

Bucharest also offers many advantages when it comes to company establishment procedures, particularly in terms of taxes and legal aspects. Consumer prices, including rent in Bucharest are much lower than in other big cities in Western Europe, as well as commercial property, energy, and utilities. Adobe, Intel, Microsoft, Electronic Arts and Amazon all have development offices in Romania, next to Bitdefender, a Romanian based company and the number 1 security product in the world.

Add to this a well-developed internet infrastructure, and you’ve got every reason to start your company in this city.

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

Romania lacks business and product skills. Although in the past years we have seen a significant development of the marketing and product development skills, Romanian entrepreneurs have yet a long way ahead to acquire business skills, sales principles, and the capacity to raise investment on their own.

Romania still lacks business and product acumen, makes up for it with engineering talent:… Click To Tweet

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

The Romanian tech ecosystem is particularly famous for its wealth of intellectual capital. We also have a large number of companies in the field of cyber security, and gaming and entertainment.

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

The local tech ecosystem is definitely dominated by original solutions, most of them in SaaS in the first years. Starting around mid-2014, we noticed the advent of startups in hardware, Machine Learning (Artificial Intelligence), Neural Networks, 3D printing, and Virtual and Augmented Reality.

What would you say your locally grown entrepreneurs are best at? What is their greatest strength in international business?

Because of their well-developed technical skills, Romanian entrepreneurs have the capacity to iterate fast, and develop products with global potential. They are also early adopters, with great team management skills, which turns them into valuable assets for a startup success.

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?

As funding is hard to find, startup founders usually target international investors. Romania is a big enough market to test products, although the customer behavior is different sometimes from the ones in a bigger market, and this has to be taken into consideration when launching a new product.

Of course, this depends on the business type and goals. As an ecosystem, we need to grow more on the product side as this is a better path towards developing global businesses. IT outsourcing companies and corporate development centers contributed a lot to the ecosystem development, but now it is estimated that this will reach a plateau, so we need to develop other connected branches, such as our own product development, and leverage our technical skills in this area.

Romania needs to pivot to a product oriented startup environment: @how_to_web Click To Tweet

What does your ecosystem offer that others can’t? What is your local “killer feature?”

Our “killer feature” is the technical know-how, the expertise of software developers. Based on that, we’re now witnessing a shift towards product development which will take up more space and importance in the years to come.

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

There is a gap, but it is reducing bit by bit. It’s not a short-term process and it takes a lot of effort, but it’s going in the right direction.

The government is increasingly paying attention to the tech industry and tech entrepreneurs, particularly in the last few years. The fact that IT produces more than 6% of Romania’s GDP has raised awareness in the public administration and opened doors for support and innovation programs. There is still a long way to go in assuring  good implementation, but the good thing is that there is a lot of proactivity and effervescence among the local actors, adding to the administrative pressure to improve things in this respect.

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 organizations clustering angel investors, especially in Bucharest, as well as other angels who are not affiliated to an investment structure. Doing investment syndicates is also a practice which is often met when it comes to raising more consistent sums. They are usually active at a pre-seed/seed level, doing investments which average around 500k euro in a year.

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?

In the past 4 years, we have counted 15 exits, totaling up to 1 billion euros, to private equity funds and international companies like Twitter, Facebook, Naspers, Ringier, or Francisco Partners. The most notable ones were Avangate, LiveRail, Skobbler, UberVU, eJobs, and Imobiliare.ro.

The most developed verticals are cyber-security, e-commerce and gaming, due to thecompanies active in these areas and the expertise accumulated over time.

In the past year #Romanian #startups have seen 15 exits worth a total of over 1 Billion Euros! re:… Click To Tweet

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

A model that we saw more and more often is to have a development center here and the business development side in the bigger markets targeted by the startup. We’ve witnessed as well foreigners looking for Romanian co-founders and forming joint startups. The advantage of the ecosystem is a good balance regarding costs, the expertise available and tech talent, in comparison with Western countries.

HowtoWeb: Romania is an ideal development platform for western #startups @how_to_web Click To Tweet

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

TypingDNA – typing biometrics that allows the user to login based on his typing pattern, innovative product with huge potential.

Symme 3D – multifunctional Delta platform for 3D printing, PCB milling, laser engraving, pick and place – innovative product that has grown fast over the past years.

Axosuits – medical exoskeleton for people with disabilities, could disrupt the entire industry.

Romanian Startups to watch via @howtoweb: @typingdna @symme3d & @axosuits Click To Tweet
StartupYard, Central Europe Accelerator

StartupYard FastLane Brno, at Impact Hub Sep. 7th!

Stop 5 on our FastLane RoadShow will be ImpactHub Brno. We’re visiting 8 top Startup Capitals in Central Europe, as part of StartupYard’s FastLane road show: FastLane Brno will be at the Impact Hub on Wednesday, September 6th.

We will host open hours, and listen to pitches from some of the most interesting startups in Brno, and hopefully select a few to be “Fastlaned,” through the selection process for StartupYard.

Meet and Pitch to the StartupYard Team at Impact Hub, Brno

Fastlane Brno, StartupYard, Central Europe Accelerator

WHERE: Impact Hub -Cyrilská 7 Brno 602 00

 Looking forward to meeting @Startupyard Accelerator team @ImpactHubBrno on September6th! #startups #pitching Click To Tweet

How to Pitch StartupYard in Brno

StartupYard FastLane is your chance to pitch directly to one of Central Europe’s leading seed accelerators for technology startups, and move straight to the final selection rounds for StartupYard 2016/2, kicking off in November 2016. StartupYard will visit 9 cities in September 2016, providing workshops, office hours, and answering questions from tech communities around Central Europe.

On September 5th, StartupYard will join Impact Hub, to listen to pitches from interested startups, the best of which will be offered interviews with StartupYard’s Selection Committee.

Startups who are interested in Pitching at the event should sign up to pitch, and then come to the venue during our office hours, get a chance to meet us, and tell us about their idea first.

Event Details for StartupYard FastLane Brno

13h – 16h: open hours + mentoring (open to all startups)

16h: event will start

16:30 – 17:30: start of the official pitching    

17:30 – 18:30 (or more): networking + refreshments

About Us

Two members of the StartupYard team will represent the accelerator at FastLane Brno. Our Managing Director Cedric Maloux, and our Community Manager, Lloyd Waldo. 

What We’re Looking For

StartupYard accepts startups in the Idea Stage, all the way through to companies with their first clients, users, and revenues.

Are you a Data Focused Startup, working in Security & Trust, Iot & Big Data, or Machine Learning & Prediction? Then StartupYard is your chance to get funded, launch fast, and attack the global market with the backing of some of Central Europe’s leading venture investors, including Credo Ventures, and Rockaway Capital.

Applications for StartupYard close on September 30th, 2016 . Startups can apply directly for the program by clicking here.

Read More about the Open Call, and Find Out More About Our 3 Month Program Here.

StartupYard, Central Europe Accelerator

Pitch StartupYard in Bratislava, Sept 6th!

Stop 4 on our FastLane RoadShow is The Spot, Bratislava. We’re visiting 9 top Startup Capitals in Central Europe, as part of StartupYard’s FastLane road show: StartupYard’s management team will be at the The Spot on Tuesday, September 6th.

We will host open hours, and listen to pitches from some of the most interesting startups in Bratislava, and hopefully select a few to be “Fastlaned,” through the selection process for StartupYard.

Meet and Pitch to the StartupYard Team at The Spot, Bratislava

Spot-9

WHERE: The Spot – Námestie SNP 30 3rd floor OD Dunaj II, Bratislava, 81101

How to Pitch StartupYard in Bratislava

StartupYard FastLane is your chance to pitch directly to one of Central Europe’s leading seed accelerators for technology startups, and move straight to the final selection rounds for StartupYard 2016/2, kicking off in November 2016. StartupYard will visit 9 cities in September 2016, providing workshops, office hours, and answering questions from tech communities around Central Europe.

On September 5th, StartupYard will join The Spot, to listen to pitches from interested startups, the best of which will be offered interviews with StartupYard’s Selection Committee.

Startups who are interested in Pitching at the event should sign up to pitch, and then come to the venue during our office hours, get a chance to meet us, and tell us about their idea first.

Event Details for StartupYard FastLane: Bratislava

13h – 16h: open hours + mentoring (open to all startups)

16h: event will start

16:30 – 17:30: start of the official pitching    

17:30 – 18:30 (or more): networking + refreshments

About Us

Two members of the StartupYard team will represent the accelerator. Our Managing Director Cedric Maloux, and our Community Manager, Lloyd Waldo. 

What We’re Looking For

StartupYard accepts startups in the Idea Stage, all the way through to companies with their first clients, users, and revenues.

Are you a Data Focused Startup, working in Security & Trust, Iot & Big Data, or Machine Learning & Prediction? Then StartupYard is your chance to get funded, launch fast, and attack the global market with the backing of some of Central Europe’s leading venture investors, including Credo Ventures, and Rockaway Capital.

Applications for StartupYard close on September 30th, 2016 . Startups can apply directly for the program by clicking here.

Read More about the Open Call, and Find Out More About Our 3 Month Program Here.

StartupYard, Central Europe Accelerator

Pitch StartupYard at Mosaik, Budapest Sep. 5th!

We’re pleased to announce another upcoming event in on our tour of 9 top Startup Capitals in Central Europe, as part of StartupYard’s FastLane road show: StartupYard’s management team will be at the Mosaik Startup Hub on September 5th.

We will host open hours, and listen to pitches from some of the most interesting startups in Budapest, and hopefully select a few to be “Fastlaned,” through the selection process for StartupYard.

Meet and Pitch to the StartupYard Team at Mosaik, Budapest

Mosaik, Budapest, StartupYard Fastlane

 

WHERE: Mosaik Space – Pannónia utca 32., 1136 Budapest, Hungary

 Looking forward to meeting @Startupyard Accelerator team @MosaikBP on August 31st! #startups #pitching Click To Tweet

How to Pitch StartupYard in Budapest

StartupYard FastLane is your chance to pitch directly to one of Central Europe’s leading seed accelerators for technology startups, and move straight to the final selection rounds for StartupYard 2016/2, kicking off in November 2016. StartupYard will visit 9 cities in September 2016, providing workshops, office hours, and answering questions from tech communities around Central Europe.

On September 5th, StartupYard will join Mosaik Startup Hub, to listen to pitches from interested startups, the best of which will be offered interviews with StartupYard’s Selection Committee.

Startups who are interested in Pitching at the event should sign up to pitch, and then come to the venue during our office hours, get a chance to meet us, and tell us about their idea first.

 

Event Details for StartupYard FastLane: Budapest

13h – 16h: open hours + mentoring (open to all startups)

16h: event will start

16:30 – 17:30: start of the official pitching    

17:30 – 18:30 (or more): networking + refreshments

About Us

Two members of the StartupYard team will represent the accelerator. Our Managing Director Cedric Maloux, and our Community Manager, Lloyd Waldo. 

What We’re Looking For

StartupYard accepts startups in the Idea Stage, all the way through to companies with their first clients, users, and revenues.

Are you a Data Focused Startup, working in Security & Trust, Iot & Big Data, or Machine Learning & Prediction? Then StartupYard is your chance to get funded, launch fast, and attack the global market with the backing of some of Central Europe’s leading venture investors, including Credo Ventures, and Rockaway Capital.

Applications for StartupYard close on September 30th, 2016 . Startups can apply directly for the program by clicking here.

Read More about the Open Call, and Find Out More About Our 3 Month Program Here.

StartupYard Open House, Prague: September 9th and 15th

StartupYard will host an Open House on Friday, September 9th, and Thursday September 15th, at our home base of Node5, in Prague 5. Instead of a single event, the Open House will run throughout the day, giving startups and entrepreneurs a chance to drop in and talk to us about their startups, ideas, or anything else. The best startups will have the opportunity to be “FastLaned,” or pushed to the later rounds of selection for our 2016/2 Open Call. 

This is your startup’s chance to just meet StartupYard, ask any questions you have, or even pitch us your startup idea, get feedback, and start the process of applying for our program, if you want to.

 

StartupYard Open House! Get feedback on your #startup from @StartupYard @thenode5 Sept. 9th and 15. Click To Tweet

What We’re Looking For

StartupYard accepts startups in the Idea Stage, all the way through to companies with their first clients, users, and revenues.

Even if you’re not ready to apply to StartupYard, you’re more than welcome to come and visit, and get feedback on your ideas- even if they’re just ideas.

IMG_2377

Are you a Data Focused Startup, working in Security & Trust, Iot & Big Data, or Machine Learning & Prediction? Then StartupYard is your chance to get funded, launch fast, and attack the global market with the backing of some of Central Europe’s leading venture investors, including Credo Ventures, and Rockaway Capital.

Applications for StartupYard close on September 30th, 2016 . Startups can apply directly for the program by clicking here.

StartupYard, Central Europe Accelerator

Pitch StartupYard At Hub:raum, Krakow August 31st!

We are excited to announce that Hub:raum Krakow will be our second stop, after Pristina, Kosovo, on our tour of 9 top Startup Capitals in Central Europe, as part of StartupYard’s FastLane road show.

StartupYard will host open hours, and listen to pitches from some of the most interesting startups in Krakow, and hopefully select a few to be “Fastlaned,” through the selection process for StartupYard.

StartupYard Fastlane

WHEN: 

WHERE: Hub:raum, 30-701, Przemysłowa 12, 33-332 Kraków, Poland

 Looking forward to meeting @Startupyard Accelerator team @hubraumkrakow on August 31st! #startups #pitching Click To Tweet

How to Pitch StartupYard in Krakow

StartupYard FastLane is your chance to pitch directly to one of Central Europe’s leading seed accelerators for technology startups, and move straight to the final selection rounds for StartupYard 2016/2, kicking off in November 2016. StartupYard will visit 9 cities in September 2016, providing workshops, office hours, and answering questions from tech communities around Central Europe.

On 31.8.2016, StartupYard will join HubRaum in Krakow, to listen to pitches from interested startups, the best of which will be offered interviews with StartupYard’s Selection Committee.

Startups who are interested in Pitching at the event should sign up to pitch, and then come to the venue during our office hours, get a chance to meet us, and tell us about their idea first. Office hours at HubRaum Krakow will be from 2pm to 5pm.

Event Details for StartupYard FastLane: Krakow

14h – 17h: open hours + mentoring (open to all startups)

17h – 17:30h: event will start

17:30 – 18:30: start of the official pitching    

18:30 – 19:00 (or more): networking + refreshments

About Us

Two members of the StartupYard team will represent the accelerator. Our Managing Director Cedric Maloux, and our Community Manager, Lloyd Waldo. 

What We’re Looking For

StartupYard accepts startups in the Idea Stage, all the way through to companies with their first clients, users, and revenues.

Are you a Data Focused Startup, working in Security & Trust, Iot & Big Data, or Machine Learning & Prediction? Then StartupYard is your chance to get funded, launch fast, and attack the global market with the backing of some of Central Europe’s leading venture investors, including Credo Ventures, and Rockaway Capital.

Applications for StartupYard close on September 30th, 2016 . Startups can apply directly for the program by clicking here.

Read More about the Open Call, and Find Out More About Our 3 Month Program Here.

#praguehacks, startupyard

#PragueHacks is Back September 30th at Node5

#PragueHacks is Back!

StartupYard is happy to announce, in cooperation with Fond Otakara Motejla, and partners Node5 and reSITE, that #PragueHacks will return once again to give local developers, data scientists, idea makers, urbanists, and others an opportunity to hack the city, making our home of Prague a better place for everyone to live in.

The theme this year is:  Put Open Data in Motion, and Improve Life in Prague

The event will take place on September 30 – October 2 @ Node

Hack the city at #praguehacks @node5 on September 30th! Click To Tweet

 

Who are we looking for?

Developers who want to show their skills, write software and master emerging technologies.

Idea makers who can build innovative, open-source widgets and applications to change the way people feel and live their city.

Data scientists who know how to  find new ways to use open data and uncover data knowledge.

Urbanists who want to share their expertise, and  keep the focus on solving real problems and interesting issues.

Anyone who can help  generate new insights, brainstorm, design projects and tests ideas, so #PragueHacks 2016 will make a real difference to the city and its residents.

What’s the Goal?

#praguehacks, StartupYard



Any city can become a better, friendlier place to live, when the private sector, government, and active citizens work together to address new challenges. Together, we can all give the city the tools to become better than ever. To make this happen, #PragueHacks 2016 will bring together software developers, idea makers, data scientists, and urbanists to create a new City Dashboard (like this one). This open data platform can be filled with small, interactive widgets that will help us all to understand, and to change, our own dynamic urban environment, and see the wonder of life in this great city in a whole new way.

Over the course of a weekend, participants will organize into small teams, familiarize themselves with the technological requirements, and show their skills by writing software, designing mock-ups for a widget of their own, and implementing it while using available open data.

#PragueHacks 2016 will tackle some of the core issues of living in the city, such as Mobility & Population, Leisure & Education, Good Governance & Transparency and Environment & Social Services – all of which can be addressed through open data from multiple sources.

So join us! Sign up as a Prague Hacker today:

 

 

Ceska Sporitelna and StartupYard Present: Startup Roku 2017

Czech business insiders have long known Vodafon’s “Company of the Year,” EY’s own “Entrepreneur of the Year,” but as of this month, a new business competition has entered the fore. We are happy to announce that we are partnering with Ceska Sporitelna to present “Startup of the Year.” This competition brings a totally new approach; focusing on the young and innovative firms that are bringing innovation in the Czech Republic, and changing the way business is done.

About the Contest:
Vodafine OF 2016_col

“Startup of the Year” is a nationwide contest, with the goal of supporting new and innovative ideas. It will focus on young firms, either incorporated or unincorporated, with a maximum of 3 years of business history. The contest will identify and highlight successful startups. Success can be defined as companies that bring new innovations, growth, and a positive impact on the business sector in which they operate. Successful startups may bring financial or growth opportunities, and should have a compelling history and purpose as a company.

The best startups will also attract the interest of top investors, have the chance to cooperate with leading corporations, as well as accelerators in the Czech Republic and abroad (including StartupYard). Aside from Ceska Sporitelna’s financial interest in innovative ideas, it will also look for opportunities for long term cooperation based on mutual interests, not just with the contest winners, but with each of the 10 competition finalists.

Starting now, young startups can apply to be consider for the contest by filling a form, and completing qualification criteria to participate in the contest. Registration will end on the 30th of October of this year. Finalists will be chosen by jury on the 15th of November, and winners will be announced on the 7th of December, 2016, at Zofin in Prague, along with the winners of both Vodafone and Ceska Sporitelna’s other business contests.

More information and applications, along with the contest background information, at the following link: www.firmaroku.cz/startuproku.

 

French Ambassador

French Ambassador Hosts StartupYard Mentors

Last week, the StartupYard team, our 2016 startups, and over 70 of our mentors were honored by a special gala dinner, hosted by the French Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jean-Pierre Asvazadourian.

The event which included several speakers, a dinner and a reception, and was sponsored by Komercni Banka, Mazars, and Roland Berger, Cedric Voight of Ballou PR gave the keynote remarks. Voight spoke about the importance of storytelling for both startups and corporations, and on the need for corporations to foster innovation in their own regions. Ballou PR is a major PR firm based in Europe, founded by Colette Ballou, with current and former clients such as Facebook, Ebay, Pinterest, and Waze.

Among the speakers were also StartupYard mentors Philip Staehelin, Managing Partner of Roland Berger in Prague, Albert Le Dirac’h, Chairman of KB Bank, and Carlos Meza, representing Mazars.

This event was planned in cooperation with our partners as a thanks to our incredibly dedicated and helpful group of mentors, over 70 in all, who took part in mentoring our 2016 cohort of 9 startups.

All photos are courtesy of the French Embassy, Prague. 

France and The Czech Republic

A clear theme of the evening, given the speakers and venue, was furthering cooperation and knowledge transfer between France and the Czech Republic. StartupYard Managing Director Cedric Maloux, and Ambassador Asvazadourian spoke about the lessons that the Czech government and tech community could take from France’s experience, including greater tax advantages for technology startups, startup visas for entrepreneurs, more public funds for innovation, and greater corporate interest in funding new ideas.

Maloux also spoke about the need among corporations and governments, for touchpoints with the startup ecosystems in their respective countries, and abroad. He laid out his view of StartupYard, and other seed stage accelerators, as key points of interaction between older business and government institutions, and a new generation of entrepreneurs and technologists.

Philip Staehelin of Roland Berger spoke about his passion for bringing corporations and banks into closer cooperation with startups, and learning to adopt startup-inspired processes and entrepreneurial thinking within their own organizations.

Mr. Le Dirach, who has worked in banking for over 3 decades with Societe Generale, and now as the Chairman of KB, spoke about the need for smarter regulation of e-commerce, fintech, and information security. He also touched on KB’s efforts to open its doors to innovative startups, highlighting the need for corporate and banking executives to “get out of the office, and talk to real people outside our organizations.”

The French Embassy

The Ambassador also highlighted the role of the French Embassy as an organization with multiple missions. On one level, it promotes French business interests abroad, and on another, it seeks to promote mutually beneficial exchange of ideas between the two countries.

Ambassador Asvazadourian also pointed out the contrast inherent in the venue- the 18th century Buquoy Palace, with the topic at hand. He spoke about the need for older institutions, including those present, as well as the governments of both countries, to adapt and learn from startups, and new conceptions of working, and living.