Techcelerator Aims To Reposition Romania On The Map Of Leading, Innovative Startups

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Cristian Dascalu, Advisor for Techcelerator and Partner at Gapminder, talks about Romania's most promising tech startups and the benefits Techcelerator offers as the only VC-backed accelerator in the region.

How would you describe Techcelerator in a few words?

A place filled with energy, with a unique proposition for the Romanian market of tech innovators: startups can achieve a rocket speed development because we put not only a street-wise mini MBA but also money into their growth via our exclusive VC partner Gapminder.

What is your role at Techcelerator and how did you get involved?

I am one of the advisors of Techcelerator and I am here to provide my full support to the implementation team to run the program smoothly. Together with Alexandru Ruff, I am one of the two partners at Gapminder specialized in pre-seed investments and focused on bridging accelerator specific activities with actual investing from the funding side. Our other partners are specialized in Seed and Series A investments.

Techcelerator’s vision is to “reposition Romania on the world map of leading innovative startups that will reshape the world of tomorrow”. What actions are you taking to achieve this?

By scouting and attracting the most promising startups and then shaping them into early-stage businesses. Our success will be measured by the quality of the startups and their capabilities to scale on international markets. The Romanian tech market is blooming, but there is still a lot of room for further growth. On the international market there are already some established Romanian solutions, but our ambition is to find the next one and I am sure we will.

You mentioned your partner Gapminder – a partnership that makes you the only accelerator in Romania backed by a VC fund. In what ways does this help you to achieve your goals and how do startups benefit from this?

Besides the fact that we provide best in class know-how and network for our enrolled startups, the support provided by Gapminder is one of our main differentiators. On the local market, there are several pre-acceleration programs with good track records, but we are the only ones where startups raise money at the entry into the acceleration program.

If we talk about specific figures, Gapminder will put over €1 million in total in the first batch of 14 recently selected startups, for a 6% share of the company. During the program, the fastest-growing startups will have the chance to receive a second investment round, up to €75,000, convertible into shares.

What kinds of startups are you looking for? What are the industries you are focusing on?

Our main aim is to find young and innovative companies, with growth potential when it comes to quick development and international expansion. The main industries for us are software, cyber security, artificial intelligence, digital transformation, MedTech, FinTech etc.

Tell us a bit about your program: What can startups expect? What do you ask for in return?

We practice what we preach. What we bring to the table is deep knowledge of what startups need including their challenges, from technical ones up to the emotional efforts, and the grinding efforts of selling their product or to raise financing.

With Techcelerator, we offer a selected pool of mentors – local and international ones – willing to share their valuable experience. Each of these experts has a different style, always very direct but in a positive and constructive way. In addition to that, we put a high priority on hands-on experience. Thus, startups get access to a variety of business knowledge and to extremely useful connections for visibility and growth. To sum it up, Techcelerator is an intensive program which provides access to knowledge, to a network of mentors and investors and, last but not least, to solid funds.

What we ask for in return is for the startups to go all-in: full energy, full time, and willingness to learning.

Which startups do you currently support?

We just announced the startups which will receive funds. We had over 140 applications and 20 were invited to a boot camp. Out of them, we selected the following for our program:

  • Apiary Book, an application for beekeepers around the world and efficient beehive management;
  • AppSeed automatically creates websites for those who do not have web design or programming experience;
  • is a widget for searching for online products by using Machine Learning for voice and image processing;
  • Connected Medical Devices, an IoT solution that easily includes a hardware device to improve the lives of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s as well as their families’;
  • EngageApp is a platform that aims to improve the performance of employees in corporations;
  • ialoc (sit down) is a platform that has created an effective solution for fast restaurant bookings and table management within restaurants;
  • Medicai, a solution designed to provide remote access to get an effective imaging interpretation from a specialist;
  • MiioSmile is a SaaS application for dental professionals;
  • More Money is an artificial intelligence platform that provides financial services consultancy;
  • Orbiting Cubes created self-reconfigurable modular robots;
  • Ride Safe, an IoT platform and a mobile application for motorcyclists’ safety;
  • TalentBrowse is a recruitment platform that aims to quickly place candidates recently interviewed;
  • WireFame is a visualization tool for prototypes designed by architects that facilitates communication with real estate developers.

From FinTech to MedTech and cyber security. In your opinion, what are some of the most impactful innovations we will see in the near future?

It is hard to say because all are equally relevant, even though for different segments. However, cyber security is something that needs to be incorporated in every business segment, therefore, a FinTech or a MedTech solution has to mind the security component, too.

Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, and Timisoara are some of the better-known hubs in Romania. If there is one thing you can wish for improving the local startup ecosystem, what would it be?

First, I would like to point out that there are other focal centers in Romania that have a great growth potential. As for my personal wish for improvement, I would like to see more action in all university centers in our country and the “hunger” of youngsters to build something – to change the world.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs for their startup?

Don’t give up. Failure is part of every startup journey.



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