Eastern Europe leading startup matchmaking program and competition can propel your startup to success!
Applications for Spotlight 2023 are closed. You can apply for Startup Tickets and benefit from 50% OFF.
Startup Matchmaking & Competition
Spotlight is How to Web Conference’s matchmaking program and competition for the most promising Eastern European startups.
Credo Ventures, SMOK Ventures, Fiedler Capital, Startup Wise Guys, Underline Ventures, Fortech Investments, and SeedBlink have syndicated the biggest investment-prize in the region.
The eyes of over 2,500 participants will be on you.
The Spotlight Experience
Matchmaking & Mentoring
Imagine connecting with experienced mentors, savvy business minds, and forward-thinking investors who know the ins and outs of Eastern Europe. These mentors are your secret weapon for gaining insights, avoiding pitfalls, and making strategic moves.
We’re lifting the curtain on the world of investment. Discover what investors really want to hear, get tips on perfecting your pitch, and open doors to funding rounds that can catapult your startup forward.
Grab your spot in the Expo Area and show your stuff. This is your chance to present your product, gain exposure, and make connections with the right people who can help your startup soar.
Pitch on Stage
Bold entrepreneurs and their startups that change the world really glow in Spotlight. Seize the stage and get your company off the ground, as all eyes will be on you.
Step on stage and pitch for the grand investment prize of €880k.
Spotlight is dedicated to all early-stage startups in Eastern Europe that have the eagerness to take their business to the next level. If you meet the following criteria, apply for the most engaging startup competition:
Stage of Business
You have an early-stage startup, less than 5 years old and with less than €700k fundraised.
Stage of Product
You have launched the product and it gained some traction.
⌛ April 1 - August 31
Applications for Spotlight 2023 are open from April 1st until the end of August
Announcing selected startups
⌛ September 18
Announcing the 40 startups to enter Spotlight
⌛ October 4
All 40 startups selected will pitch on the startup stage of the conference
⌛ October 5
Meetings 1:1 (2h) following matchmaking with some of the top 40 startups
Top 5 finals
⌛ October 5
Final pitch of top 5 startups on the main stage of the conference
⌛ October 5
The grand winner is announced on the conference main stage
Jurors & Mentors
- All topics
General Partner @ Credo Ventures
Early stage investor, with investments in UiPath, PriceFX, Productboard and many more.
Co-Founder & CEO @ SeedBlink
Founded the first equity crowdfunding platform in the region which helped 12 innovative startups to get total funding rounds of more than EUR 3.5 mil. Over 20 years of banking experience.
@ GapMinder Venture Partners
Investor and adviser in early-stage technology companies. Recently invested in some of the newest high-growth tech startups from CEE - FintechOS, TypingDNA, DruidAI, Cartloop.
General Partner @ Credo Ventures
At Credo, Karolina loves connecting with ambitious and talented founders from the CEE region, sharing common history, humor and culture, while being able to provide help, perspective of a Series A investor and a bridge to North America.
Principal @ Seedcamp
Principal at one of the global top-performing seed funds, expert in evaluating & supporting the best early-stage startups in Europe
General Partner @ Underline Ventures
Bogdan is the General Partner of Underline Ventures, a venture capital firm that partners at the earliest stages with Eastern European founders building high-growth startups with global ambitions.
FOUNDING PARTNER @ FIEDLER CAPITAL
Robert started doing pre-seed investments in 2014, following a decade-long career in Management Consulting across Europe, Middle-East and Asia, and he was instrumental in getting companies such as Bitrise & SEON off the ground as their first investor.
@ Smok Ventures
Early-stage investor in CEE, previously engineer turned entrepreneur.
Co-Founder & Partner @ Venture Friends
Apostolos is an entrepreneur turned investor in the technology sector. He was a cofounder at e-shop.gr, e-food.gr, (acquired by Delivery Hero), Doctoranytime and an early investor in Beat (acquired by Freenow)
Managing Director @ Endeavor Romania
Self-taught entrepreneur contributing to innovation growth in all areas by helping startup founders scale their businesses.
CEO & Co-Founder @ Planable
Marketer turned tech entrepreneur, building the future of content collaboration, in a startup that thrives in a busy niche. Forbes 30U30, Webby Awards judge, and Techstars alumna.
Co-Founder & former CEO @ Mind the Product
Expert in building high-performance tech teams & product-led growth. Initiator of the biggest product community in the world.
Founder @ Lion Words
Messaging expert and founder of Lion Words, Diane helps scaling SaaS and B2B businesses achieve message-market fit. So they can stand out from the crowd, market more effectively, and sell more.
Director @ Key Search
As a talent, recruitment, and team culture expert, David has collaborated with 100s of emerging startups throughout Europe to scale their human capital since he began this journey in 2010.
Trusted Adviser & Executive Coach
Joe works with CEOs at start-ups, high growth to IPO to public company to the big exit; helping define what it means to be a leader, how to create impact, how to grow alongside the business and how to change the world all while enjoying every part of that journey.
Founder @ Tech.eu
Top European tech journalist, Robin has been the Founding Editor of the region's premier information portal and market intelligence platform, Tech.eu since October 2013.
CEO & Co-Founder @ FindMeCure
Clinical research expert and renowned pharma industry speaker, building on her experience as CEO of FindMeCure, patient navigation platform, and TrialHub, data-intelligence platform for clinical trials.
Head of Growth Marketing @ Calendly
Savvy growth marketer, ex-founder, and recent author, Darren leverages his work culture passion into our day-to-day products
Founder & CEO @ Videowise
Experienced product designer turned founder, Claudiu is now leading the ultimate video platform designed for Shopify brands to engage consumers with interactive shoppable video experiences.
Growth Advisor & Consultant @ Daphne Tideman | Growth Advisor & Consultant, Growth Waves
Daphne is helping Founders and Head of Growths navigate various challenges - from scaling channels to finding product-market-fit. Frequent workshop trainer at well-known brands, like TikTok and ING.
Representative for Romania @ Vienna Business Agency
Passionate about technology and digital transformations, I help businesses expand to Austria/DACH. With an extensive background in IT & Management Consulting, Business Development & Strategy, Deep Tech Start-ups, in Automotive, IT&C, Retail and Energy.
Senior Staff Product Manager @ Warner Bros. Discovery
Seasoned PM, with more than 10 years experience in large scale direct-to-consumer media organizations, like CNN, Refinery29 and Complex Networks
Founder & CEO @ FLOWX.AI
Ioan is the founder and CEO of FLOWX.AI, a revolutionary AI Application Modernization Platform, which raised in May 2023 the largest Series A globally in the industry in the last two years to bring AI to the enterprise at scale.
Product Builder, Advisor, Author @ Shape Up
20+ years in product building and pioneering design & development processes, 17+ years as ex-Head of Strategy at Basecamp - now on a mission to get tech teams unstuck, and build by the principles of Shape Up.
Country Lead @ The Recursive
Country Lead at The Recursive with over +10 years of experience as a storyteller based in Bucharest, Romania. She is forging connections among the regional pioneers, and propelling CEE into the global spotlight as the dynamic tech hub that it is.
Partner @ Market One Capital
VC investment professional with computer science background. Focused on Marketplaces (SaaS based) and B2B Software.
Founder @ Black Unicorn PR
JJ is a seasoned PR Pro with 13 years of international experience. She founded Black Unicorn PR, focusing on European tech startups and scaleups.
Co-Founder & CSO @ Branch.io
Co-Founder of the mobile linking platform Branch since 2014, Mada has been leading their marketing and evangelism efforts globally, as well as many of Branch's award-winning global culture initiatives, post a Series F round and $4 billion valuation.
Partner @ OTB Ventures
Venture investor with over a decade long experience in both, traditional and corporate VC firms. Always on the lookout for top founders that dare to distort reality with deep tech solutions.
Founder & CPO @ Digitail
Founder & CPO of Digitail, a Romanian startup with the mission to give veterinarians the ability to provide smarter, more effective, and personalized treatment to pets, which has recently raised $11M in an Atomico-led round.
Founder @ Digitail
Founder of Digitail, Romanian startup with the mission is to give veterinarians the ability to provide smarter, more effective, and personalized treatment to pets, that has recently raised $11M in an Atomico-led round.
Applied Product Manager @ Google DeepMind
Zach focuses on foundation models in Google products, and has been in the Google DeepMind Applied team for over 6 years. His team is responsible for taking DeepMind’s AI research and applying it across all of Google.
CEO & Co-Founder @ Prodpad
Janna founded ProdPad in 2012, a widely-used product software for roadmaps and product backlogs, and co-founded Mind the Product, global series of events and a community of 300.000 product people.
CEO and Data Scientist @ TYPINGDNA
“Startup Spotlight was a great opportunity to interact with other entrepreneurs and with seasoned professionals who could provide guidance for growing our company. We have incorporated many of the things we learned through the HTW experience into our business and believe that it brought us an extraordinary launching opportunity.”
CEO @ OMNICONVERT
“The How to Web team has put together a great concept where not only are startups brought into contact with investors, but the guidance from mentors and networking helped us understand better the SaaS game that we are in and also gave us more knowledge about how to tackle the channel market fit phase that Omniconvert encountered.”
Co-founder @ Cartloop
“ Winning Spotlight brought us an extra validation that the product is working and people believe in our vision and roadmap. We are really grateful for the opportunity to make amazing connections and gain valuable feedback which came at the right time and boosted the growth of Cartloop over the following months.”