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.

1 million Euro for 123Contact Form

With €1.000.000 investment, Catalyst Romania has recently became a minority shareholder of the Romanian company 123Contact Form, a top class online form and survey builder.

123 Contact Form
123 Contact Form

Founded in 2008 by Florin Cornianu and Tudor Bastea in Timisoara, the Romanian company 123ContactForm has become a worldwide top class online form and survey builder. Recently they have received an €1.000.000 investment from 3TS Catalyst Romania. 123ContactForm will use this for product development, marketing and human resources.

123ContactForm, a leading online form builder for web and mobile, has established itself as a major player in the industry through its signature “1-2-3-GO” concept in creating forms and surveys. The enterprise-ready form building solutions offered by 123ContactForm serve a wide range of customers, from home based businesses to large corporations, with a focus on small business and web design agencies. At present, thousands of websites and blogs across the world run live forms created with 123ContactForm.

123Contact Form – quick facts

Today thousands of websites across the world run live forms created with 123ContactForm. Here are some quick facts as presented by 123Contact Form:

  • 52 languages translation support for web forms;
  • 184 countries form the visitors base at present
  • 120,000 unique pageviews per month;
  • 200,000+ users have tried the platform so far.

123ContactForm is ranked 6th among form builder apps worldwide (Alexa-based) and receives a 5 out of 5 star rating. Here you can read the review of 123Contact Form product.

3TS Capital Partners

3TS Capital Partners is one of the leading private equity and venture capital firms in Central and Eastern Europe operating in the whole region through offices in Budapest, Bucharest, Prague, Vienna, Warsaw and Istanbul. Among its main shareholders are CISCO, European Investment Fund, European Development and Reconstruction Bank, OTP Group and BT Group.

With investments varying between €500.000-€2.000.000, 3TS Capital Catalyst holds shares in several Romanian technology and digital companies such as Simartis,, IntenetCorp, AvocatNet and Green Horse Games.