For the fifth time, the Slovenian youth organisation for entrepreneurship Ustvarjalnik is hosting a startup weekend for high school students. Ge…
Photo credit: http://bit.ly/WOwIXR
The first edition of How to Web MVP Academy has been designed to have both, an educational and a practical component with intensive workshops and mentoring sessions. As a little reminder: MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product, summing up the organisers’ vision of recruiting startups that meet the criterion of having an actual MVP, which they can improve upon and develop.
The two-month intensive programme has ended this Tuesday with a Demo Day session, during which the finalists pitched their products in front of the audience and, according to the organisers, some have already started discussions for raising follow-up funding or being admitted into a European acceleration programme.
A learning experience for first-timers
Monica Obogeanu, Programme Manager of How to Web MVP Academy, Photo credit: http://on.fb.me/UrFA4dFor Monica Obogeanu, Programme Manager of How to Web MVP Academy, the quality of the teams was one of the highlights of the programme, and they were all offered the chance to gain not just business knowledge and product management tools, but also valuable practical insights into community building, SEO, or various legal issues. "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. 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."
"We all quit our jobs to join MVP Academy. Was it worth it? Every single bit of it!”
Although everyone was busy networking and celebrating, we got hold of several CEOs and founders and asked them to share their experience about the programme.
Cristian Munteanu, the CEO and founder of Qalendra, an innovative travel platform, said that MVP Academy opened new doors for them: "During the two months of the programme we met the most important […] investors and active investment funds from Romania and beyond. We had the chance to talk with Dragos Anastasiu (founder & President of Eurolines & TUI Travel Center), Florin Talpes (founder & President of Bitdefender) and Adrian Gheara (Angel Investor), among many others." Another advantage for them was getting in contact with hub:raum, the Deutsche Telekom acceleration program, and DCS, one of the global companies that develops travel technologies. "All in all, we met exceptional people and made new friends."
Another startup included in the programme was Romanian-based AxoSuits, whose MVP is centered on developing exoskeletons for the paraplegic. Its co-founder Andras Kapy was equally enthusiastic about the networking opportunities, which he believes are "unparalleled in Romania. The MVP Academy put us on the fast track to success," he commented.
Demo Day provided an oppurtunity for pitching and networking; Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1mLUtVEFor Bulgarian startup StudyMentors, an online academia-centered platform connecting prospective students to alumni, it was the practical, action-focused aspect of the programme that has been an important step towards future development: "The How to Web MVP Academy helped us to focus on what we should do next, create an action plan and start executing it. A big thanks to all the mentors and the team for their valuable feedback and great attitude! Keep it going, guys," said the Lyubomir Nedyalkov, founder & CEO.
And as for Radu Oprea, the Founder & CEO Lifebox, (a photo-sharing app), the entire programme was well worth the effort. "We all quit our jobs to join MVP Academy. Was it worth it? Every single bit of it!," he told inventures.eu. "Following the mentoring we received, Lifebox matured into a really solid product."
The organisers made it a point to not select any winners, because the programme’s goal was not to award startups, but to offer a valuable learning and networking opportunity to all enrolled. A complete list of all 15 finalists can be found on the MVP Academy’s website. Inventures.eu will be closely watching their evolution and tracking their progress.
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