Spotlight 2023

Spotlight 2023
Over €500K Investment-Prize

Welcome to the leading startup competition in Eastern Europe, where you can propel your startup to success. Spotlight fuels early-stage tech startups with unique matchmaking, collaboration, and scaling opportunities.
The investment-prize for Spotlight 2023 is syndicated by a group of renowned investors: Credo Ventures, SMOK Ventures, Fiedler Capital, Underline Ventures, Fortech Investments, and SeedBlink.


Startup Program & Competition

Spotlight is How to Web Conference’s matchmaking program and competition, open for the most promising Eastern European startups. All syndicate investors are raising the investment award to be offered to the Spotlight winner.

Over 2,500 participants will be present at this year’s edition to witness the next early-stage startup win the biggest investment-prize in the region.

spotlight 2023

The Spotlight Experience

Matchmaking & Mentoring

The energy of startup founders matched with the seasoned skills of the mentors can lead to refined businesses. At Spotlight 2023, you have the chance to share ideas and test your skills with some of the most experienced mentors in Eastern Europe.


Investor Office Hours

From how to prepare your pitch to what are investors really looking for in a startup — some of the most eager investors can give you the real answers to these questions. Enrol your startup on the Spotlight programme and you can propel yourself only one step away to that new round of funding.

investor office hours spotlight 2023

Expo Area

At How to Web 2023, startups are in the Spotlight. With a dedicated Expo Area, you can showcase your idea and expertise to like-minded peers and spread the word about your startup directly to a niched audience.

expo area spotlight 2023

Pitch on Stage

Entrepreneurs with big ideas and their startups that can change the world really glow in the Spotlight. Pitch your idea on stage and get your company off the ground, as the investors are all eyes on you.

Step on stage and pitch for the grand investment prize — last year it rose up to 465K EUR, more details coming soon.

pitch on stage spotlight 2023

The Spolight finalist will receive the grand prize — a round of funding to set him off to success. Stay tuned to find out the surprize prize. 💰


Do you have a tech startup that can change the world?


Who Is This For

Spotlight is dedicated to all early-stage tech startups in Eastern Europe that have the eagerness to take their business to the next level. If you meet the following criteria, sign up for the most engaging startup competition:

Stage of Business

You have an early-stage technology startup, less than 5 years old and up to 1m EUR in financing.

Stage of Product

You are past the idea stage, having a launched product with some traction.

spotlight 2023 who is this for

How Does It Work


Submit your application.

⌛ April 1 - July 31

Applications for Spotlight 2023 are open from April 1st until the end of July.


Enter the competition.

⌛ September 1 - September 8

40 startups will be selected to enter the matchmaking program based on their innovation and potential.


Shortlist to the semifinals.

⌛ October 4

20 startups will be announced before the conference if they enter the pitch competition on stage.


Matchmaking sessions.

⌛ October 5

Meetings 1:1 (2/3h) following matchmaking with some of the top 40 startups


The best enter the finale.

⌛ October 5

Final pitch of top 5/6 startups on the main stage of the conference.



⌛ October 5

The grand winner is announced on the conference main stage.

Jurors & Mentors

  • All topics
  • Jurors
  • Mentors


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.


General Partner
Credo Ventures

Early stage investor, with investments in UiPath, PriceFX, Productboard and many more.


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.


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

Bogdan Iordache

General Partner @ Underline Ventures

Seasoned investor with over 9 years experience in helping CEE startups grow and meet their global goals. Founder of How to Web and Conectoo.


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.


Trusted Adviser & Executive Coach

Simply put, Joe is supercharging CEOs. He spent 15 years in strategic roles on UX, JTBD, and leadership, with 30+ teams & FTSE / Fortune giants such as Gitlab,, MoMA, Disney, eBay, and Marriott.


Development & Innovation Manager @ Orange Romania

Experienced manager with over 15 years of experience in the telecom industry, covering an extensive spectrum of technology, business development, and innovation management


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.


Head of Marketing

Leading the B2B acquisition marketing projects in the CEE and helping companies and startups grow their business online.


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.


Head of Innovation Lab
BRD – Groupe Société Générale

Over 20 years experience in banking and consulting with focus on financial markets and machine learning.


Founder @

Top European tech journalist, Robin has been the Founding Editor of the region's premier information portal and market intelligence platform, since October 2013.


Co-Founder & CEO

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.


Founding Partner
Smok Ventures

Early-stage investor in CEE, previously engineer turned entrepreneur.


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 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.


Managing Director @ Endeavor Romania

Self-taught entrepreneur contributing to innovation growth in all areas by helping startup founders scale their businesses.



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.

Valentin Filip

VP Product Investments @ Fortech Investments

Enthusiastic leader and critical thinker, Valentin is always focused on taking the next step towards business understanding and development.


raul popa


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.”

valentin radu



“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.”

lisa popovici

Lisa Popovici

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.”

Want to Change the World?

Sign up for the most electric startup competition and the Spotlight can be yours. ⚡


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