n 2023, InnovX marked a historic milestone as it launched the Startups Alliance Program. This ambitious initiative came to life as InnovX became an official partner of the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA). The European Innovation Council (EIC), an initiative of the European Union, is dedicated to supporting the most innovative and disruptive companies across the continent. By earning the prestigious title of an EIC-accredited accelerator, InnovX Accelerator joined a select group of only 19 such entities in Europe, with just three in Central and Eastern Europe, and the honor of being the sole representative from Romania. This accreditation has granted InnovX unparalleled access to a network of the most innovative startups and scaleups in Europe, along with invaluable funding opportunities and additional resources that will significantly bolster our ability to support our portfolio companies. With EIC accreditation in our arsenal, InnovX is now more poised than ever to nurture and empower the most innovative companies across Europe. At InnovX, we are resolutely committed to championing the European Innovation Council's mission, which revolves around scaling up startups and broadening their horizons. We embarked on this journey with a competitive cohort of 132 exceptional technology startups hailing from all corners of Europe and its connected countries. This dynamic group of 18 startups represents a kaleidoscope of industries, spanning ICT, defense, cybersecurity, healthtech, edutech, agritech, logistics, eco-innovation, telecom, blockchain, and greentech. These startups are the vanguards of technological advancement in their respective sectors and together, we are poised to redefine the innovation landscape. The Startups Alliance Program was structured over two intense weeks: the first week dedicated to the Acceleration Phase, and the second week dedicated to the Matchmaking Phase. The Acceleration Phase, a preparatory stage for the Matchmaking Phase, served as a crucible where the top 10 startups, as assessed by mentor evaluations, emerged to face the next set of challenges. The Matchmaking Phase, in contrast, was the crucible where startups had the opportunity to pitch their innovations to key stakeholders essential for their scale-up journey. Within the Acceleration Phase, InnovX facilitated a series of mentorships and workshops delivered by seasoned experts:
- Aimen Aldahash - "Who is your customer?"
- Sergiu Pop - "Who is your non-customer?"
- Ioan Ovidiu Hotca - "Exponential growth through converging future technologies: IBM"
- Aimen Aldahash and Adrian Gheorghe - "Exponential growth through converging future technologies: Microsoft"
- Suleiman Arabiat - "How to pitch in front of investors"
- Robert Pufan - "How to pitch in front of global tech service providers"
- Bogdan Hristescu - "How to pitch in front of corporates"
- Emanuel Cernat - "How to pitch in front of foreign trade commercial departments" The Matchmaking Phase commenced with the first event, aptly named "Pilot: Entering the Matchmaking Phase." The jury responsible for cherry-picking the 10 companies advancing to the Matchmaking Phase included luminaries such as Roula Bachtalia , Nicu Iancu , Cristina Dragu, Suleiman Arabiat , Cosmin Ghinea , Georgiana Evi and Daniel Dumitrescu, PhD. These 10 companies hailed from diverse domains including Health & Medical, Space and Defense, ICT, Training and Coaching, Circular Economy, Automotive, Fintech, DeepTech and Eco-Innovation. The geographic diversity was equally impressive, spanning France, Israel, Finland, Italy, Poland and Portugal. The chosen startups were:
- Follow Inspiration, S.A.
- WeCo - Toilet
- allpriv 4. Genourob - Medical Device Manufacturer
- Travatar.ai - Your defender against fake traffic
- Galileo Satellite Navigation Ltd
- UpDraw The Matchmaking Phase was a dynamic series of four events, each designed to facilitate meaningful connections and opportunities for the startups. The first event, "Episode 1: Global Tech Service Providers," allowed companies to pitch their innovations for 5 minutes, followed by a 5-minute Q&A session with mentors including Sergiu Russu, Timotei Popescu, Adrian Gheorghe and Robert Pufan.
The second event, "Episode 2: Corporate Alliance," maintained the same pitch and Q&A format, with mentors from prominent corporations such as Dorin Preda – Executive Board Member at MedLife, Gabriel Trăistaru – Digital Director at Telekom Romania Mobile, Ana Bobirca – Chairperson of the Board at Veranda Mall, Bogdan-Ionut Lazaroiu – Director Digital Channels at Vodafone, Gabriel Blanita – Associate Director at Colliers, Cristina Netea, ACIM - Head of Value Proposition and Health Business at NN, Răzvan Horga – CEO at Oradea Airport, Delia NECULA, MBA - Business Development Advisor at Emerald Medical Cente, Magda B. - Executive Director Dicor Holding, Tudor Popp - Founding Partner at Hotspot Workhub, Gina BANYOCU - Director Project Management Office, Engineering Area Garanti BBVA, Cristian Herghelegiu - CEO at Dendrio Solutions, Gabriela Alexandrescu - Head of Marketing & Digital Product Gas & Power OMV Petrom, Alexandru George Duduman, CFA, MRICS - Senior Investment Advisor at Central European Financial Services SA. This event highlighted the potential for collaboration between startups and established corporations.
Episode 3: Investors Alliance," the third event, offered startups a platform to present their transformative ideas to a distinguished panel of investors. The mentor panel included Linda Võeras , Darya Yanovich , Belizar Marinov , Ioana David , Sonia-Denisa Fedorovici , Suleiman Arabiat, Roumen Jordanov , Georgi Mitov , Katharina W. and Jordan Bocskov . Their insights and feedback provided invaluable guidance to the startups.
The fourth event, "Episode 4: External Trade Commercial Departments," promised an exciting exploration of external trade opportunities, forging connections between startups and commercial departments. Mentors for this event included Cristina Dragu, Daisuke Kudo and Monica Eremia.
Throughout the program, InnovX maintained a curated pipeline of innovative solutions to adopt, a journey that spanned from accessing 6000 technology innovators to preselecting 400, selecting 40, pre-accelerating 20, accelerating 10 and ultimately supporting 5 startups to go global and engage in 3 Proof of Concepts (POCs). Participating corporations also enjoyed a multitude of benefits through this program:
- Tremendous Social Media Content: Corporations engaged with hot topics such as Innovation, Digitalization, Startups and ESG, providing a wealth of engaging content for their social media platforms.
- Super Engagement of Employees: Employees were actively involved in the program, enhancing their engagement with the corporate mission and vision.
- First Access to the Next Innovation: By participating, corporations secured early access to the cutting-edge innovations that are poised to reshape their industries.
- Corporate Venture Capital Fund: Corporations had the opportunity to invest in highly curated innovative solutions, potentially shaping their future business strategies.
- Scale Your Reach: Through the program, corporations onboarded startups from across the SEE Region, expanding their reach and influence in the innovation ecosystem. The industries that the program has reached encompass a broad spectrum, including agriculture, biotechnology, construction and transport, cultural and creative economy, eco-innovation, energy, finance, healthcare, ICT, nanotechnologies, public sector, security, space, transportation, and more.
For companies that have successfully completed this program, their graduation spans across various sectors, highlighting the diversity and potential of the startups in the alliance. These include Health & Medical Care, Space and Defense, ICT, Green initiatives, Education, Healthcare, Logistics, Training and Coaching, Climate Technology Product Manufacturing, IT Services and IT Consulting, Banking, Cybersecurity, Transport, Technology, and Eco-Innovation. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA). Their unwavering support has been very relevant in expanding the innovation ecosystem and fostering a culture of collaboration and transformation. We invite you to explore the endless possibilities and groundbreaking innovations that are taking shape within InnovX. The future is bright, and we're excited to continue our mission of supporting and empowering the most innovative companies across Europe. The journey doesn't end here! For Fintech startups ready to kickstart their commercialization and scaling-up journey, we have something special in store. The Startups Alliance Bootcamp | Fintech – Acceleration Phase is your gateway to accelerating success in the Fintech industry. Four days of in-depth analysis, document design, and expert guidance await you. On the fifth day, the chosen few will advance to the Matchmaking Phase. Don't miss this chance to propel your Fintech startup to new heights. Get ready to accelerate your success in the Fintech industry by clicking here!