1000 AI enthusiasts across the globe joined five early-stage deep tech startups
#BeAI, the first pre-accelerator in Romania and one of the first in Europe fully dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) concluded on December 8 by awarding five of the 10 early-stage deep-tech finalist startups. The closing event titled “Pitch & Demo Day” was live-streamed and watched online by 1000 viewers in tens of countries, with the top cities being Bucharest, Toronto, Lahore, Tallinn, and Paris. #BeAI was organized by Bucharest AI, the largest AI community in Romania, in partnership with Orange Romania, Gapminder VC, Techcelerator, Smart Everything Everywhere and The Informal School of IT. Additional over 30 partners including tech Romanian and international communities, embassies, chambers of commerce and universities supported the event, while craft beer was offered to participants by Beast from the Yeast.
Awards granted during #BeAI’s Pitch & Demo Day were decided by an eight-member jury. Repsmate, Romanian early-stage deep-tech startup, won the Pre-seed Readiness Award consisting of EUR50,000 pre-seed investment from Gapminder via convertible note. Over 600 supporters in the audience casted their votes to their favourite team which led to the EVAAI startup from Estonia winning the People’s Choice Award. Other startups awarded were Factide for Accelerator Readiness that goes straight into one of Techcelerator’s future 2021 program for acceleration, Lienda for Best industry fit startup, and Crowdlens for Best use of AI tech startup and for Best scale-up potential. The other finalist startups were Emoface from France, WIYO from The Netherlands, Zoom Report, Webcube, and Meanyng.ai from Romania.
“It was not easy to decide which startup is ready for an investment round as we see a good potential in other ideas pitched and especially many talented people in the teams”, said Cosmin Ochisor, Partner at Gapminder Venture Partners. “However, Repsmate stands out due to a combination of clear USP, great team and strong early traction signs”.
“We would like to congratulate the teams for completing the intense program behind the #BeAI pre-accelerator and delivering a high-quality Pitch & Demo session. From the jury’s perspective, #BeAI has clearly helped participants refine their pitch and rethink certain features of their products in order to develop a solid future successful business augmented through AI,” said Adrian Matei Adrian Matei, Head of Enterprise Data Management & Analytics Office, Orange Romania.
The #BeAI pre-accelerator unfolded from October – December 2020 and consisted of over 150 group and private 1:1 mentorship sessions across 10 AI segments facilitated by 32 high-calibre mentors. Real pitching exercises in front of real investors were provided courtesy of #BeAI’s partner, the Romanian-French Chamber of Commerce. Other benefits to startups included media exposure with top tech local outlets, and BeAI community awareness through social channels and podcast interviews in the Applied AI Pod show.
“Being a mentor in such a high quality pre-accelerator was both a rewarding experience and partially a tough mission to fulfil considering that the advice you give must be practical, relatively simple to follow, but well thought through in order to generate return on investment, and yet considerate of the limitations and priorities of each startup,” said Alexandru Stanescu, Partner @ SLV Legal and #BeAI Legal and Investment mentor. “I look forward to the #BeAI 2021 edition and am excited to see new ideas on the market thanks to the existence of such comprehensive and professional programs”.
“Early stage deep tech startups must follow such pre-acceleration programs to understand that going from an online startup to a deep tech startup brings about new nuances. AI is very hyped right now. If you don’t know AI, you believe it can do some impossible things. We have to get back to a more realistic set of expectations and such programs, like BeAI, help us do exactly this.” said Christian Merkwirth, Data Science Manager and BeAI Development and Strategy Mentor.
For 2021, an official invitation to contribute to Bucharest.AI’s next year mission through Proof-of-Concept exercises was made to ZoomReport, RepsMate and Factide. The three startups will partner with the #BeAI team to either profile 2021 Pre-Accelerator applicants, help map a regional ecosystem for AI startups and businesses by Technology Readiness Levels or to develop innovative solutions to grow the AI community. Additionally, Bucharest.AI will advance its educational agenda, through the Elements of Romania program just launched and other initiatives to be announced.
“Bucharest.AI is humbled by the entire program’s feedback and encouraged to join a 2021 audacious mission to help 100 early stage deep tech startups, teams and ideas. We have seen exceptionally talented applicants and we want to offer help to even more startups, teams and ideas than the ones we can accept as selected finalists.” concludes Ioana Irimia, Bucharest.AI Co-Founder.
The #BeAI team is extremely grateful to the following partners and sponsors: Orange Romania, Gapminder, Techcelerator, Smart Everything Everywhere, The Informal School of IT, Women Techmakers, Google Developer Group Bucharest, Google Devfest Romania, Iasi AI, Craft Product School, Liga Studenților Electroniști, Bucharest School of AI, Bucharest Deep Learning, Codette, Softbinator Foundation, JS League, Bucharest Big Data Week, Digital 2 Law, SLV Legal, Leaders Foundation, Romanian – French Chamber of Commerce, Le Booster, The Netherlands Embassy to Romania, The Netherlands Romanian Chamber of Commerce, The Embassy of Finland to Romania, the Romanian American University, University of Helsinki, Reaktor Education, Beast from the Yeast.