The MVP Academy Class of 2015 officially graduated the pre-acceleration program on Friday, May 15, during Demo Day. 12 startups took the stage to pitch their products and showcase the results of 2 months of work, while also getting the chance to start discussions with potential investors and strategic partners.
Organized in partnership with Telekom Romania and Bitdefender, with the support of CyberGhost, Raiffeisen Bank, hub:raum, Microsoft, and SendGrid, the second edition of the pre-accelerator took place in between March 23rd – May 14th at TechHub Bucharest and helped the finalists better define their products and businesses, and preparing them for the next steps: scaling, raising money and closing deals.
Free educational program customized to meet the specific needs of the participating teams, MVP Academy offered the startups access to educational resources to match their development needs and facilitated their interaction with experienced mentors, angel investors, as well as representatives of early stage investment funds and accelerators in the region.
Throughout the program, the finalists learnt more about building a successful startup from its grounds up, networking, product development & metrics, storytelling & pitching, customer development, financing or legal aspects by attending the practical workshops delivered by experienced professionals in the industry. Among them there were Bobby Voicu (Co-Founder, MavenHut), Paul Renaud (Executive Coach & author of Anetworking book), Bogdan Ropa (ex-Master Product Owner, Adobe Romania), Alex Barrera (Co-Founder Tech.eu & Press42), Salim Virani (Partner, Founder Centric), or Ana Maria Andronic (Partner, Biri-Goran).
Besides these, the startups were mentored by 50+ professionals and industry leaders and received valuable recommendations and strategic insights.
The teams thus had the chance to refine their products by talking with representatives of well-known accelerators such as Techstars London, Startupbootcamp or Ignite 100 and with experienced professionals among which there are Florin Talpe, Founder & CEO, Bitdefender, Olaf Lausen, Chief of Staff (of the CEO) and Business Development Director, Telekom Romania, or Cristi Badea, Co-Founder, MavenHut.
All these add up to the 1 on 1 coaching sessions, the group meetings and the on-demand meetings approaching specific subjects of interest to the teams. The pitching practice sessions played an important role in the program, helping the startups refine their pitches to the finest detail by working with both the MVP Academy team, and exceptional professionals such as Jon Bradford, Managing Director Techstars London, or Mike Butcher, Senior Editor, TechCrunch.
The program officially ended on Friday, May 15th, with Demo Day, event that brought together more than 200 remarkable representatives of the regional tech ecosystem: investors, accelerators, entrepreneurs, media and experienced professionals. 12 startups took the stage to present the audience the results of 2 months of hard work and their pitch represented the opening line for starting discussions with potential investors and strategic partners.
The event was opened by George Dita, Program Manager MVP Academy, and continued with a keynote speech delivered by George Lemnaru, Founder, Green Horse Games, who shared with the audience the lessons learned while building 2 VC-backed companies. George discussed the myths associated with being an entrepreneur and concluded by stating that: If you’re smart and determined you’ll make it from any country.
The evening continued with the pitching session offering the startups in the MVP Academy Class of 2015 the chance to pitch the audience and showcase their progress. The teams that took the stage during Demo Day are:
- Accelerole: Pay-as-you-go management tool that helps companies manage independent professionals with ease;
- Catwalk15: Mobile app that helps users get instant fashion advice & find style inspiration, anytime, anywhere;
- Clepsisoft CyberFog: Proactive cyber-security solution which can deflect cyber-attacks targeting your company;
- CloudHero: PaaS that automates the management and scaling of an application across any public;
- Conversion Network: Integrated marketing software that enables affiliate marketers to build and scale their business with less effort and better results;
- Inner Trends: Analytics tool that allows users to directly ask business questions and receive immediate, precise and to-the-point answers. It is a common language between business people and data;
- myDog: Platform that helps dog owners easily interconnect in order to make their dogs happier and healthier by giving them more opportunities to play with other compatible dogs;
- SafeDrive: Drive. Earn. Play. Mobile app that rewards drivers for not texting while driving;
- Seeds: Platform that enables users to create, distribute, and analyze advanced surveys for any industry;
- Swapr: Mobile app that allows women to exchange clothes with each-other based on geo-location and fashion sense;
- SwipeTapSell: Mobile web app that offers a seamless shopping experience helping online stores increase smartphone and tablet conversions;
- Unloq: We make security as it should be: simple & free.
MVP Academy was an excellent time investment that helped us identify the key areas of focus in improving our product, and also maximize our pitching capabilities to express the most valuable aspects of our product and startup. This is primordial when you always face a distributed attention of your audience, declared Tudor Cobalas, Co-Founder of SafeDrive, startup that has recently won a Gold Edison Award in the Lifestyle & Social Impact category.
Demo Day ended up with a networking cocktail where the startups got the chance to network with the persons in the audience directly interested in their products, and thus make the first steps towards potential investments and strategic partnerships.
We saw the huge potential of our finalists as early as the selection period when we understood the strong teams that are behind each product. Over the last 2 months, the finalists were committed to growing their products and businesses, they’ve worked a ton and sacrificed a lot to deliver fast and well.
We are incredibly proud of each and every one of them and we are happy to see that we managed to turn what would have otherwise been 5-6 months of work into 2 intensive months of progress. And this is just the beginning since we are confident that we’ll keep hearing great results from the startups that were part of our Class of 2015, concluded George Dita, Program Manager MVP Academy.
The second edition of MVP Academy was brought to you in partnership with Telekom Romania & Bitdefender, with the support of CyberGhost, Raiffeisen Bank, hub:raum, Microsoft, and SendGrid. The visibility of the event was ensured by F6S, CrunchBase, Netocratic, Inventures.eu, Entrepreneur Global, Digjitale, Entrepreneur.bg, Newtrend.bg, Startup Date, Traction Tribe, Times New Roman, Hotnews, Capital, Evenimentul Zilei, Romania Liber, Academia CaÈ›avencu, Yoda.ro, Incont.ro, Wall-Street.ro, Forbes Romania, Business24, Ziare.com, Business Review, Computer Games, ComunicaÈ›ii Mobile, Computer World, PC World, Agora, Business Cover, Business Woman, Zelist.ro, Comunicatedepresa.ro, Trade Ads Interactive, Gadget Trends, Games Arena, Gadget Talk, Softlead, Today Software Magazine, startups.ro, etc.
MVP Academy had the support of its community partners Romanian Startups, Romanian Game Developers Association (RGDA), Softbinator, ANIS, Cluj Hub, Cluj Co-Work, Professional Gamers League, Tab de testare, communicate frontend din RomÃ¢nia, Akcees, Startup Weekend Romania, Startup Weekend Tagu Mure, Startup Weekend Cluj, Girls in Tech Romania iGirls Who Code.