Romanian startup

2017 MVP Academy – Applications Now Open

The MVP Academy acceleration program, developed by TechHub Bucharest, recently announced that applications are open for the 4th edition of the accelerator dedicated to tech businesses. Startup founders that want to benefit from mentorship with tech experts, connections with the global industry and investment opportunities can submit their applications online by February 9, 2017.

2017 MVP Academy

Below we have the key important dates of 2017 MVP Academy.

  • Timing — 9 weeks (6th of March – 8th of May, 2017)
  • Location — TechHub Bucharest – the largest co-working space dedicated to tech professionals in Romania.
  • Program — Free-of-charge; selected teams will take part in tens of hours of 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with national and international experts in order to refine their development strategy, product functionalities and go-to-market strategy;
  • What it takes for applicants to get in the program — startups need to be working on a tech-related product, have a functional prototype, target a global market and show commitment in building their business; last but not least important, founders and teams must have a solid professional track;
  • MVP Academy mentors‘ tour — there’s a series of events planned in several cities, including Iași, Timișoara, Cluj, Bucharest and Sibiu. Details about the events will be published on the program’s website;
  • How to apply for 2017 MVP Academy — you can apply until Sunday, February 19, by filling in the registration form available online.

More details about the 4th edition are available here. It also includes 2016 MVP Academy Follow-up Report.

MVP Academy track record to date

  • 4 editions, 18 products launched on the global market, 45 business accelerated;
  • Investments raised — just MVP Academy 2016 alumni alone raised EUR 760K until now; if we consider all three previous editions, we are talking about EUR 1.7 million; most recent investments went to Reflex, Silometer, Scooterson and TypingDNA;  8 of the products developed by the 2016 alumni are available on the market, with the rest still under development in various stages
  • Overall program results — report available here;

MVP Academy Alumni …

I’ve seen, talked and mentored some of these startups, yet I must admit AxoSuits, is my favourite so far and that’s why I’ve already written about their amazing and affordable medical exoskeleton.

FitBit Acquires Vector Watch

In March 2015, I was writing on my blog about the pre-order launch campaign launch of Vector — the smartwatch with Romanian DNA which promised customers 30-days battery life. One year later and just few days after CES, FitBit—the global wearable giant, announced Vector ‘s acquisition. The transaction price remains undisclosed.

According to Andrei Pitis, Vector CEO & founder, confirmed the news to TechCrunch and said Fitbit is acquiring the company for its “software platform and design team.”

“We believe this is an important milestone as a moment when we will start building other new and amazing products, features, and experiences, incorporating our unique technology and knowhow with Fitbit’s experience and global community,” the Vector team wrote on its website.

Customers in 25 countries will continue to enjoy the Vector Watch experience: a 30-day battery life smartwatch, with customisable watch-faces and dedicated streams. More details about what will happen in terms of customer support, you can read on Vector website.

FitBit’s strategic acquisition of Vector …

For Vector and for the Romanian startup community, Vector’s acquisition is definitely good news. However, there’s one good question one can ask. Why would FitBit buy Vector? Here are few things we do know:

  • Vector will neither add new software and hardware product features;  on the other hand, serial entrepreneur Pitis successfully built an awesome technology and design team which included Joe Santana—the former CEO of iconic watch brand Timex, Steve Jarvis—Design Director and former creative lead on projects such as Timex and Nike FuelBand, and Ron Spencer— Vector COO and former COO of Bulova, Fossil; last, but not least important, Romania is well-know for its leading developer community and tech talent available at very competitive costs by comparison with other Western markets; so, it is not surprising to read that …

“Our vision is to build a cutting-edge development center in Bucharest which will include product management, design, software development and research teams.” Andrei Pitis

  • FitBit also acquired smartwatch startup Peeble at the end of last year; sources say the purchase excluded Pebble’s hardware; the deal was all all about hiring the startup’s software engineers and testers, and getting intellectual property such as the Pebble watch’s operating system, watch apps, and cloud services;
  • In May 2016 Fitbit purchased Coin’s wearable-payments assets, with plans to develop a payment solution that could rival with Apple Pay;
  • Although Fitbit is the leading seller of wearables, but sales growth of the company’s line of fitness activity trackers stalled towards the end of 2016, dropping Fitbit’s share price value by 75%;
  • Smartwatches have enjoyed a lot of buzz in the past year and for sure launches from Apple, Samsung or Fossil contributed a lot; however, despite of consumers’ interest during 2016 the third quarter, smartwatch shipments plunged more than 51%, according to research firm IDC

Considering these three acquisitions FitBit definitely continues its roll-up of talent associated with watches, wearables and fitness devices.

The company only announced the launch of new products coming later this year. However, Fitbit hasn’t officially announced that it is creating a smartwatch. I do believe they will certainly come up with a very big surprise this year. Time will tell whether I’m right or wrong, but it only makes sense to me that with three different operating systems and such knowledge expert team in their courtyard, FitBit will try its best to create a wearable OS that can compete with Apple’s WatchOS and Google’s Android Wear.

Vote for SafeDrive

Winner of of the Large Organization Recognition Award at Connected Intersections, Romanian SafeDrive mobile application aims to reduce car accidents by rewarding drivers for keeping their phones out of reach while driving.

Phones guilty for 50% of the accidents in Europe

According to European studies, using the mobile phone while driving increases the risk of accidents by 50%.  It was also calculated that a driver using his mobile phone while driving has a 8% higher risk of being involved in an accident by comparison with one who only keeps his eyes on the traffic.

Washington Post reports that only in United States, 28% of traffic accidents are caused by drivers using their mobile phones while in traffic.

How does SafeDrive work

Tudor Cobalas, member of the development team calls SafeDrive “Bitcoin for responsibility”. SafeDrive rewards drivers with points every time they drive over 10km/h and don’t touch their mobile phones.


With a unique algorithm, the app take into consideration speed, time and distance and gives drivers a certain number of points, therefore encouraging them to drive safely. If the drives closes the app for any reasons, those points are lost; still, the drives has the option of letting the app know when he stops and parks the car and in this case the points are saved. With the number of points accumulated, the driver can buy products and services from at discounted prices offered by various partner companies such asMOL Romania,, Printeo, etc

You can support SafeDrive with your VOTE on They just need few votes to to cross the 500 benchmark!

What’s next for SafeDrive

SafeDrive is only available in Romania and it works with Android, iPhone and Windows smartphones. XL, the company that launched SafeDrive is also looking at expanding internationally and is currently looking for partners. Judging by the results the’ve got so far, they have a really good chance of taking the next step.


SafeDrive was featured on online publications and magazines such as Forbes, The Verge, BuzzFeed and BT.