Remember the MVP Academy organized by Romanian How to Web? It is a pre-acceleration program for CEE early stage tech startups and it ended on Tuesday with a Demo Day. The finalists worked hard on their products for the last two months and pitched their products last night in front of the audience. In the same time, they have already started discussions for raising follow-up funding or being admitted into a European acceleration program.
The first edition of How to Web MVP Academy took place in between June 2nd and July 22nd at TechHub Bucharest and brought together 14 promising startups in the region. Developed in partnership with Microsoft, Romtelecom and Cosmote, and supported by Bitdefender, Raiffeisen Bank, Hub:raum and TechHub Bucharest, the program supported the startups to grow faster and taught them how to build successful products at global scale.
Besides the educational component, the MVP Academy teams also had access to the co-working space offered by TechHub Bucharest, as well as to the regional tech community. Moreover, they attended dedicated workshops and mentoring sessions and they have been connected with angel investors, acceleration programs and early stage investment funds.
Well-known mentors and international specialists
Throughout the program, the How to Web MVP Academy teams had the chance to attend practical workshops held by well-known international specialists such as Jon Bradford (Managing Director TechStars London), Alex Barrera (Founder and Editor Tech.eu and Chief WOWness Officer Press 42), Daniela Neumann (Scrum Master/Change Management idealo internet GmbH), Paul Renaud (Executive Coach) or Maria Diaconu (Founder & CEO Mozaic Works).
As a result, the startups learned how to build a successful product at global scale, how to network with clients and potential business partners, or how to tell their story and pitch in front of potential investors. Moreover, the finalists acquired essential business knowledge about product management and metrics, agile methodologies, structuring tech teams, community building, SEO, or legal aspects.
Moreover, the 14 finalists attended 1 to 1 mentoring sessions and talked with more than 40 experts and professionals that offered their feedback and recommendations based on their expertise. Among the mentors of the first How to Web MVP Academy edition there are Ivan Brezak Brkan (Editor and Founder Netokracija), b (Co-Founder & CTO DocTrackr), Florin Talpeş (Founder & CEO Bitdefender), Olaf Lausen (New Business Development Romtelecom and Cosmote România), Zoli Herczeg (Business Evangelist Microsoft România), Dragoş Ilinca (Co-Founder & Marketing VP UberVU), Gabriel Coarnă (Architect Evernote Clearly), Bobby Voicu and Cristi Badea (Co-Founders Mavenhut) or Luka Sucic (Business Development Manager & Evangelist Hub:raum).
Olaf Lausen, Chief of Staff & Business Development Director Romtelecom and Cosmote Romania, stated:
Such collaborations are of the essence for Romtelecom and COSMOTE Romania. We see them as win-win sources, in our constant strive to support entrepreneurs in becoming our partners for the better of all businesses. This is why I consider that the How to Web MVP Academy program has all the chances to become a best practice in the context of facilitating access to know-how, on one hand, and networking, on the other, to the best interest of all involved parties.
How to Web MVP Academy officially ended yesterday, on July 22nd, with Demo Day, event where the finalists pitched their products in front of the audience comprising angel investors, representatives of European accelerator programs and early stage investment funds, well-known tech professionals and journalists. The evening was opened by Bobby Voicu (Mavenhut Co-Founder) that talked about the life after attending an acceleration program.
I have to admit that I do not envy you at all because three years ago I was in your shoes. Unfortunately for you it only gets worse! Do yourself a favor and learn from the journey. Statistics show that only 3 out of the 14 teams of today will still be alive after 1 year. Create your network now, grow it, and become a trustworthy person for the potential investors. I do hope we’ll meet next year and you’ll proudly tell me that you’re the one that beat the numbers.
Further on, the teams overcame their emotions and got on stage to pitch their products and prove what they have learned during the program. The 13 startups that presented in front of the audience are:
- Axosuits – High-powered exoskeletons.
- Bravatar – Recommendation engine tailored around your lifestyle.
- Complement – Making education results actionable.
- Drimm.in – We monitor all your social media activity, store your interests into safe place and turn them into actionable items.
- Fittter – Offering unique mobile personal trainer experience while connecting fitness studios and personal trainers efficiently with their customers.
- GloriaFood – Freemium online ordering system for restaurants.
- Hickery – The music player for extremely social people.
- Inovolt – Analytics for the electrical grid.
- Lifebox – The photos you and your friends took when you were together, in a private album.
- Pocketo – Build internet connected devices.
- Qalendra – World’s Calendar of Festivals and Events. Discover. Plan. Book.
- StudyMentors – Learn everything about studying abroad from a student.
- WalletBuzz – Connecting retailers with smartphone users, delivering location based ads and content.
Demo Day ended with a networking cocktail where the startups got the chance to discuss more with the people in the audience directly interested in their products. Moreover, during the following days, they will have 1 to 1 meetings with acceleration programs and investors / VC funds interested in supporting them in their scaling efforts and/or offering them follow-up funding. Monica Obogeanu, Program Manager How to Web MVP Academy, declared:
We were excited of the quality of the teams we attracted from the beginning, giving us confidence that we had the right proposition for them. We went through two intense months of program during which we continuously adjusted our activities to match each team’s specific and immediate needs. Today we’re looking at projects that have progressed a lot in their understanding of what needs to be done and how, having the potential to get their first rounds of investment or acceding into top-notch accelerators.
This couldn’t have been done without the involvement of the amazing local and regional mentors and partners who dedicated their time and resources to sharing their experience with the startups. As with all first-timers, this has been a great learning experience for us too. We feel we’ve learned valuable lessons together with the startups and we are confident that we’ll do an even better job with future programs.
Considering it to be a ‘first timer’ for the startups and the organizers, we can say with a confidence that the first edition of MVP Academy was a success – and we can’t wait to see the next steps for all of the participants.