A tech-loaded weekend in Bucharest
After three days of intense pitching, networking, and teambuilding, theStartup Live Bucharest jurors have chosen their big winner – Wake Up, a venture that aims to encourage early risers. The team of four who refined an ingenious app – a combination of alarm clock, social game, and a global social network – just got their ticket for the Pioneer Festival (30-31 October) in Vienna. The second edition of Startup Live in Bucharest, a format by Pioneers (formerly STARTeurope), was strongly focused on software solutions and hosted by the recently opened Bucharest Tech Hub.
Ideas, competition, and good vibes
The competition was intense but friendly – 12 teams formed by more than 65 participants aligned at the start to demonstrate their IT&C know-how and innovative solutions to a broad range of subjects, from the casual gaming to the real estate sector. Colloseo – a broadcast-by-demand video service focused on mobile gaming – and Babele – an open network for entrepreneurs and consultants completed the list of participating startups. As a result, Colloseo was one of the runners-up and won a ticket to the Tech Open Air Berlin Festival, while Babele will be busy preparing to launch in the months to come.
One of the strong points of Startup Live Bucharest was the diversity of the problems that the ventures decided to address: Focused proposed a flexible aggregator for media publishers, Snitches revealed a mobile alert system for drivers who want to avoid car tolls, while EasyMed developed the concept of a platform for cross-medical examination. Even if some ventures did not line up among the winners, they did make an impression on potential future partners and clients.
Teambuilding, pitching, and networking
The number of registrations in this second edition of Startup Live Bucharest matched closely those of the prior event, but the mentoring team that walked the participants through the pitching process was larger and more diverse than usual, including lawyers, bloggers, designers, and community managers. The newly formed or upgraded teams in the competition received advice and directions from managers and consultants of top companies such as Adobe and Evernote, but also valuable tips from foreign entrepreneurs and web developers such as Mark Tuttle from PlacemarkOne.com or Michael Ronen from Capsuling.me.
“Most of the projects evolved significantly during the mentoring sessions. Some of them focused on refining the strategy and the concept, but others eventually changed their name and brand,” explained Florina Dumitrache, one of the organisers. The winning team – Wake Up – was formed on the spot: two of the members came from Cluj after winning the local Startup Live competition; two other developers joined the team during the weekend in Bucharest. They also established a strategic partnership with another team – Whack A Mine, an old-school-gaming revival project – in order to upgrade and gamify their solution and reach broader audiences.
Besides the mentoring and networking sessions, the highlights of the events were the improvisation and acting workshops that boosted participants’ presentations skills. Robert Knapp, founder of CyberGhost and one of the foreign mentors that guided the teams, told inventures.eu: “We had a 360-degree turnaround during the weekend. On Friday, we had some first-timers on the stage, but on Sunday, we saw some mature presentations and business ideas. Their future success will be decided by some details, the team spirit or, maybe, the excess capital they willattract.”
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