Romania, the fastest growing economy in the EU in 2017, with an estimated GDP growth rate of 6.4%, it is emerging as one of the best countries in Europe for startups and investors to join forces and create amazing tech unicorns. With strong innovation hubs in Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca – and startups popping up everywhere in the country’s major cities – the ecosystem has been supported by one of the fastest-growing ICT workforce in Europe, with over 100,000 IT professionals able to support projects of extraordinary technical diversity.
In March 2018, UiPath became Romania’s first unicorn, a startup founded in Bucharest and now headquartered in New York, which last year managed to raise $153 million from international investors, reaching $1 billion in valuation. After a new series of $568 million raised in April 2019, UiPath has now reached $7 billion in valuation.
Speaking to the Financial Times about the Romanian startup ecosystem, Fitbit co-founder Eric Friedman said: “What I find the most impressive and reassuring is the active number of young technology entrepreneurs, young people who are about 20 years old with imagination and the power to challenge the global ecosystem of startups. The evolution of the tech startup scene in Romania is highly positive. New investment funds and business angels support more and more tech-based startups.”. Fitbit acquired Romanian-based smartwatch startup Vector in 2017.
Following on the footsteps of UiPath, Romania has now the great potential to become one of the most vibrant innovation hubs in Central and Eastern Europe, and here is our take on the 10 Romanian startups that you should look out for in 2019 and beyond:
TypingDNA is a behavioral biometrics company protecting the identity of online users based on how they type on their keyboards. The company, founded in 2016, was selected as one of the top 50 innovative startups in Europe (EUTOP50) and is a Techstars NYC alumni. TypingDNA is used by millions of users worldwide and has offices in Oradea, Romania and New York, US. The startup just raised €1.3 million in February 2019.
FintechOS offers a technology-as-a-service platform for banks, insurance companies and enterprise financial services organisations who need to accelerate innovation, drive growth and retain customers through digital transformation processes. With a portfolio of more than €10 billion in managed assets and consistently ranked among the most important financial technology players, FintechOS is trusted by Tier 1 Banks and top Insurance companies worldwide for its rapid go to market solutions based on innovative customer-centric products. They were founded in 2017 with offices in Bucharest, London and Amsterdam.
teleportHQ is a platform and a suite of tools built for user interface professionals, to simplify the process of creating, maintaining, and publishing user interfaces for desktop and mobile devices. The platform is built on top of teleportHQ’s open-source code generators and leverages several machine learning models which enable automated code generation and design generation. The company was founded in 2018, in Cluj-Napoca.
Questo is a mobile app for city exploration games. With Questo, tourists can explore cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome or Berlin by solving clues in order to discover new places and stories about them. Each quest is based on a specific theme, which can be inspired by a movie, a book, a historical fact or just a local legend. Founded in 2017 in Bucharest, the app is already available in 40 cities, and over 35,000 people have already finished “quests”.
Elrond – Everything changed when the internet transitioned from dialup to broadband. Founded in 2017 in Sibiu, Elrond brings broadband performance to blockchain. Specifically, Elrond brings a 1000x improvement in throughput, execution speed, and transaction cost. It also improves user experience and lowers barriers to entry for network participation through low computational requirements and staking cost.
CyberSwarm is a deep tech company developing a neuromorphic System-on-a-Chip dedicated to cybersecurity which helps organizations secure communication between connected devices and protect critical business assets. The patented technology can both secure and perform local processing at the same time, enabling hardware neural networks for a bottom-up cybersecurity approach. The company was established in 2017, and has received a seed investment of €1 million from Tim Draper. It has ongoing partnerships with The National Institute of Materials Physics and The National Institute for Research and Development in Microtechnologies in Romania. Over 20 PhDs have been contributing to this research project. The team includes 15 tech and business employees with various backgrounds and +80 years of cumulative experience in cybersecurity. At the moment of writing, CyberSwarm is negotiating several pre-sales.
SmartDreamers is a platform that helps companies reach more, better candidates in record time by automating recruitment marketing activities to accelerate online talent acquisition. Their platform, using AI and RPA, integrated with the most powerful social media and online channels available, allows employers to attract, engage, convert, and measure, while boosting their employer brand and reducing time-to-hire and cost-per-hire. SmartDreamers was founded in 2014, in Targu-Mures, and currently operates in Europe, the US and the APAC region.
Nifty Learning brings operational intelligence to the complicated and messy world of enterprise training management. With Nifty Learning, companies can save 20% of training budgets and make sense of all employee training data at the same time. Their platform plugs into the different systems that companies already use and perform a diagnosis of training plans, to help companies measure progress and make sure learners are on the right path. Founded by a team of ex-BEST.eu.org volunteers from Iasi, and recently graduated Techstars Berlin, the startup is now starting to scale globally.
TalentBrowse – Unlike traditional recruiting software, TalentBrowse works like a marketplace where recruitment agencies can place their already assessed candidates while companies gain instant access to IT talents interested in job offerings matching their level of experience and expertise. In this way, employers make contact only with hot and interested candidates for their roles, immediately available for interviews. Instantly browse talent from dozens of agencies & book interviews with 2 clicks. Founded in 2016, TalentBrowse is based in Bucharest.
XVision uses AI to help radiologists fare better at their everyday tasks. Founded in 2018 in Timisoara, Xvision uses AI algorithms to interpret X-ray images and indicates the possibility that an anomaly is present. Within seconds, it presents the areas of concern, complete with a list of diseases that might cause that anomaly and a heatmap that highlights potentially problematic areas.
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