Spotlight 2022
September 21-22

Welcome to the leading startup competition in Eastern Europe, where you can accelerate your startup to success. Spotlight fuels early-stage tech startups with unique opportunities for matchmaking, collaborating and scaling.

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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 2022, 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.

Expo Area

At How to Web 2022, 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.

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 350K EUR, more details coming soon.

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?

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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.

How Does It Work

1

Submit your application.

⌛ June 7 - September 1

Applications for Spotlight 2022 are open from June 7th until September 1st.

2

Enter the competition.

⌛ September 1 - September 20

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

3

Shortlist to the semifinals.

⌛ September 21- September 22

20 startups will be announced on September 21st if they enter the pitch competition at How to Web 2022. They will also benefit from expo area, investor & expert meetings and quality exposure.

4

The best enter the finale.

⌛ September 22

The final rundown to the grand prize will take place on September 22nd on the Main Stage of the conference. 6 startups will enter the final competition and the best will receive the surprise round of funding.

Jurors & Mentors

  • All topics
  • Jurors
  • Mentors
  • Investors

Matt
Lerner

Founder
Startup Core Strengths

Europe #1 Growth Expert, creator of Startup Core Strengths — one of the best growth programs for startups worldwide.

Ondrej
Bartos

General Partner
Credo Ventures

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

Mike
Korba

CCO & Co-Founder @ User.com

Marketing Automation Expert, helping teams implement and use marketing automation technologies successfully.

George
Lemnaru

CEO @ Green Horse Games

Serial entrepreneur with 15+ years of experience in creating and scaling community-based social games.

Monica
Obogeanu

Startup Programs Manager
Orange

Manager of the Orange Fab Romania program, facilitating collaborations between innovative startups and Orange.

Dan
Lupu

Partner
Earlybird Venture Capital

Investor in technology companies such as UiPath, FintechOS. Computer science and business background.

Alexandra
Lung

Chief Product Officer @ uptime

Product leader, mentor & coach, top 25 PLG influencer 2021, with 14+ years of diverse global experience, working in start-ups, scale-ups, and enterprise.

Dan
Oros

Head of Marketing
Google

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

Eden
Bidani

Conversion Copywriter @ Green Light Copy

Conversion Copywriting & Acquisition Expert, helping SaaS and tech companies acquire more customers, more profitably.

Valentin
Radu

Founder & CEO @ Omniconvert

Go-to-Market Expert, Founder at Omniconvert CVO Academy, and Co-host at The eCommerce Growth Stories

Horia
Velicu

Head of Innovation Lab
BRD – Groupe Société Générale

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

Ivan
Burazin

Chief Developer Experience Officer @ Infobip

The Co-Founder of Shift, the biggest dev conference in SEE, acquired by Infobip & Codeanywhere, the first cross-platform Cloud IDE

Lucia
Collara

Product Expert

Product Teams Development Expert, Product Director, Lecturer at TAG Innovation School, Product Tank Co-Organizer, with over 10 years of experience in overseeing tech, product design and product management departments.

Mihai
Rotaru

Founder
Neobility

Serial entrepreneur with previous sucessful exit of CleverTaxi to MyTaxi (currently Free Now). Self-taught transportation and mobility expert.

Enis
Hulli

General Partner
500 Startups Istanbul

Investor and advisor in early-stage technology companies and the host of cc:, a podcast on growth journeys.

Gilles
De Clerck

Founder & Growth Strategist @ Ablaze Growth Studio

Leading European Growth Expert, skilled in getting, keeping and monetizing customers.

Bogdan
Axinia

Managing Director eMAG Ventures
eMAG Group

Senior leader with 16 years of experience in tech companies, currently working as advisor with C-level executives and their teams to drive business growth through technology.

Christoph
Auer-Welsbach

Co-Founder @ Kaizo

Hybrid Workforce Leader, Deep Tech Investor, Founder & Product Manager with a strong background in finance, strategy, AI, blockchain & Web3.

Jacek
Łubiński

Principal @ Market One Capital

VC investment professional with computer science background. Focused on Marketplaces (SaaS based) and B2B Software.

Ioana
Teleanu

UX Manager
UiPath

UX Leader with experience in large companies like UiPath and ING Bank, as well as a solid body of work consulting and designing for early-stage startups. UX educator and mentor through UX Goodies and Mento Design Academy.

Rumen Iliev

Partner @ LAUNCHub Ventures

South-East Europe seed-stage investor, passionate about entrepreneurship, technology investments and social impact.

Borys
Musielak

Founding Partner
Smok Ventures

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

Mick
Halsband

VC Founder @ Lunar Ventures

Tech leader turned early-stage deep tech investor, backing technical founders building the technology giants of the future.

Sultan
Seitbekov

Lead Product Manager @ Miro

User-focused and data-driven Product Leader with experience in building startups, high-performing product teams and products from scratch.

Cathy
White

Founder & Director
CEW Communications

Startup & Venture Communications Specialist focused on PR, content creation, and social media.

Claudiu
Murariu

Co-Founder & CEO
InnerTrends

500 Startups Alumnus, product expert creating top-notch on-boarding processes. Passionate about data algorithms designed to offer deep insights into customer success.

Georgia
Diaconescu

Product Marketing Manager
Meta

Product Marketing specialist with over 10 years experience & extensive background in value proposition development & product adoption. Passionate about supercharging start-ups in their growth journey & all things metaverse.

Marius
Istrate

Growth strategist & angel investor
3VC

Investor, Growth Adviser, UiPath Alumnus, Venture Partner at 3VC

Karol Lasota

Principal @ Inovo Venture Partners

Ex-founder and operator of VC-backed B2B marketplace and deep tech startups now joined the dark (VC ;)) side.

René
Schöb

Partner, Head of Tax & Legal
KPMG Romania

Head of Tax & Legal at KPMG Romania and coordinator of the KPMG Romania Startup Grow Pad Program.

Cosmin
Ochisor

Partner
GapMinder Venture Partners

Investor and adviser in early-stage technology companies. Recently invested in some of the newest high-growth tech startups from CEE - Deepstash, Soleadify, Machinations, Frisbo, Innoship.

Anca
Albu

CEO
Swiss ICT Investors Club

Diverse professional background in business development, strategy, operations, and marketing.

Cristian
Tamas

Co-Founder & CMO
TypingDNA

Digital marketing expert on a mission to make online authentication effortless with typing based biometrics.

Raluca
Radu

Founder @ MTH Digital

E-commerce digital marketing specialist with over 17 years of experience, Country Manager of ANSWEAR and ex-Country Manager of Naspers Romania.

Catalin
Dediu

Vice President of Analyst Relations
FintechOS

Seasoned in consultancy, analytics, operations, strategy, through FintechOS, Catalin Dediu brings to the banking system the possibility of smarter, profitable products and personalized experiences.

Mihai
Guran

Founder, Managing Partner
ATNNOVATE

Vice-President of TechAngels Romania. Founder, mentor to startups and angel investor.

Andrei
Pitis

Founder & CEO
Simple Capital

Investor in early-stage companies. Sound engineering background and previous successful founder of Vector Watch with exit to Fitbit.

Michal
Bas

Principal @ Venture Friends

Responsible for navigating the fund's activity in the CEE region. Previously at TDJ Pitango Ventures and PFR Ventures.

Cristian
Dascalu

Partner
GapMinder Venture Partners

Fund partner actively investing & accelerating startups in Eastern Europe. Also co-founder of Techcelerator and owner of ClujHub co-working space.

Alin Stanciu

Managing Partner @ Catalyst

Serial entrepreneur with 10+ year-long track record experience of successful investments in Retail, Ecommerce, Media and Telecom.

Gergana Stoitchkova

Investment Associate @ Eleven Ventures

Investor in health tech and fintech, informal education, tech innovations, human biology and sustainability.

Eugen
Potolog

CRO Strategist @ UX Studio

Highly technical CRO strategist with 12 years of experience in User Experience (UX), Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and Digital Analytics.

Daria
Gherghelas

Investment Analyst
Speedinvest

Engineer turned investor. Looking for pre-seed and seed stage companies with a focus on health and all things CEE.

Alexandru
Popescu

Managing Partner
Cleverage VC

Highly experienced professional and investor, specialised in growth, M&A, marketing, operations, sales.

Vlad
Sarca

Partner
Sparking Capital

Serial entrepreneur and investor. Made 2 exits from his previous businesses. Expanded one of his businesses in over 10 European countries and the Middle East.

Iulian
Circiumaru

Managing Partner
V7 Capital

Experienced strategy consultant in CEE; serial startup cofounder, including one exit and non-profit projects

Cristian
Negrutiu

Partner
Sparking Capital

Entrepreneur, Investor, Mentor and Consultant, Associate Professor at Bucharest University of Economic Studies

Alex
George

Principal @ Point Nine Capital

American South to Berkeley to France to Serbia sniffing out great (people with) ideas in software and networks.

Kaan
Eren

Investment Manager
500 Startups Istanbul

Investor at 500 startups Istanbul, early-stage VC under the broader 500 startups network.

Anca
Bundaru

Product Marketing Management Lead @ Bitdefender

Product Marketing professional and a startup consultant, relatively obsessed with technology.

Elina
Halatcheva

Managing Partner
BrightCap Ventures

Strong experience in finance, VC and PE in fintech, femtech, real estate. Co-founder of a B2B procurement start-up.

Dorin
Boerescu

CEO
2Performant

Serial entrepreneur in the digital marketing space with exit experience.

Razvan Tudor

Vicepresident B2B2C @ Bitdefender

Product Manager with solid background in agile methodologies and roots in UI experience and design. 15+ years experience in managing large, cross-functional, distributed teams.

Romeo
Mann

Founder
MAN.digital

Sales and marketing expert working with software houses and software consulting companies and B2B SaaS in CEE.

Matei
Pavel

Co-Founder
T-Me Studios

Entrepreneur & occasional Angel Investor. Big fan of edtech, data companies and B2C mobile apps.

Andra
Zaharia

Content Marketer
The Content Habit

Content marketing specialist for cybersecurity companies, with over 10 years of experience, helping them drive organic growth.

Dragos
Nicolaescu

Founder
Visionary Business Consultants

Angel investor and consultant for startups with over 25 years of experience in business and management.

Malin
Stefanescu

President
TechAngels

Early stage business angel, investments including Symphopay, SmartDreamers and TypingDNA.

Andrei
Dudoiu

Managing Partner & President
Seedblink

Founded the first equity crowdfunding platform in the region which helped 60 innovative startups to get total funding rounds of more than EUR 75.1 mil. Over 20 years of banking experience.

Adrian
Erimescu

Co-Founder & Angel Investor @ Growceanu

Tech entrepreneur with 20+ years experience in developing business systems. Co-founder Imobiliare.ro, Growceanu Angel Investing and Faber.community.

Alexandru
Bogdan

CEO
ROCA X

CEO at ROCA X, Strategist, Investor, Growth Marketer, Experience Designer

Andrea Cordas

Partner @ Hellen's Rock

Partner at a single-family office Hellen's Rock, where she manages both direct and indirect venture capital investments. Her background is in venture building and digital transformation.

Cristian
Munteanu

Founder & Managing Partner
Early Game Ventures

VC with a background as a tech entrepreneur in Romania and the US (Seattle and Silicon Valley).

James
Mayes

Co-Founder @ Mind the Product

Co-Founder & CEO of Mind the Product, now Evangelist for Pendo, experienced in building high-performance tech teams.

Mircea
Vadan

Managing Partner
Transylvania Angels Network

He's driven to help tech startups. Support programs expert with a focus on early-stage tech products, customer development and product-market fit.

Cleo
Sham

Partner @ Stride.vc

Renowned investor, with 13+ years of experience in striving for the best outcomes for projects that flourish the quality of life.

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.

Vladimir
Oane

Founder & CEO
Deepstash

Serial entrepreneur of technology-driven businesses with previous exit experience of uberVU to Hootsuite.

Martin Olczyk

Managing Partner @ Techstars

Global early-stage investor in +50 startups, former technology investment banker, entrepreneur, and founder of four companies.

Dana
Mustatea

Growth Marketing Project Manager @ UiPath

Dana's responsibility is growing the B2B Online Profile of UiPath by handling the peer reviews project across seven platforms.

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.

Andrew
Michael

Host @ CHURN.FM

Leading Product Churn Expert and seasoned entrepreneur with 12 years of experience in digital growth companies as a founder or senior manager.

Dag
Ainsoo

General Partner @ Startup Wise Guys

General Partner in Startup Wise Guys, one of the largest early stage investors in Europe, having invested in more than 300 companies from over 40 countries. Former startup founder and angel investor.

Alexandra
Balkova

General Partner & Head of Portfolio @ Startup Wise Guys

As Partner and Head of Portfolio, Alexandra is currently managing 300+ companies from 40+ countries invested by Startup Wise Guys

Mihai
Sfintescu

Investment Jury Member @ European Innovation Council

Mihai Sfintescu has 23 years of successful track record in private equity, venture capital & investment banking (M&A)

Matei
Dumitrescu

General Partner @ RocaX

10-year+ experience in investments, venture capital and startup acceleration programs.

Alexandru
Burciu

Tech Venture Partner @ Fortech Investments

Deep-Tech Angel Investor, ensuring software development management of deep-tech products.

Andreas Munk Holm

Founder & Host @ The European VC

Andreas is Europe's LP hypeman, aka founder of The European VC - the go-to podcast and connector of the European venture industry.

Erin
Staples

Developer Relations & Community Expert

Experience in building healthy communities at their intersection with product, seasoned with marketing coordination and strategic planning

György
Simo

Partner @ Day One Capital

One of Hungary's best known faces in the IT-focused angel investor community, bringing invaluable local market knowledge and investor experience

Ivaylo Simov

Co-Founder & Managing Partner @ Eleven Ventures

The Co-founder and Managing Partner of Eleven - the most active early-stage investment fund in Southeastern Europe with more than 150 investments.

Ivan Brezak Brkan

Founder, Writer and Employer Branding Consultant @ Netokracija

Founder and Editor of Netokracija, the ‘Techcrunch of the Balkans’. As a digital content consultant, Ivan has helped brands like Mastercard, A1, Microsoft and Raiffeisen bank with content marketing and employer branding.

Julia
Steier

Product Manager @ Google

Data-driven Product Manager with a background in computer science, a passion for design, and the desire to build products that matter.

Juliana
Jackson

Growth Product Manager @ CXL

Product leader obsessed with data analytics and user behaviour. Host @ Standard Deviation Podcast and Women Techmakers Ambassador.

Kamen
Bankovski

Principal @ Vitosha Venture Partners

Kamen is a master in strategic planning, financial management, and operational diligence, having mentored multiple startups in the Eastern European region.

Kamil
Mieczakowski

Principal
Notion Capital

Investor and adviser in technology companies. Sound educational background in ML and data science.

Kart
Siilats

Partner @ Mojo.capital

Private equity and venture capital research professional with investment banking background and finance-focused MBA degree

Konstantina
Tagkopoulou

Account Manager Startups & Scaleups @ Amazon Web Services

Konstantina has been with the AWS startup team for almost 3 years now; Working closely with startups and scale-ups & supporting them in successfully building and scaling their business on AWS.

Kirsten
Connell

First Cheque Fund @ Octopus Ventures

Kirsten leads the pre-seed fund at Octopus Venture focused on B2B SaaS, FinTech, and Digital Health across Europe. She has spent the best part of the last decade working alongside some of Europe’s most exciting high-growth startups.

Marvin
Liao

Partner & Board Member
Gamegroove Capital

Investor and adviser in technology companies, formerly a Partner at venture capital fund 500 Startups, running the SF based accelerator program.

Mihnea
Craciun

Managing Director @ Endeavor Romania

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

Miruna Dragomir

CMO @ Planable

Seasoned Growth Marketer, having enabled a 70X growth in revenue at Planable, during her time here and continues going up. Miruna was previously part of Uber’s Marketing Team and Oracle

Radu
Bogza

Associate @ Notion Capital

Young & ambitionate investor at Notion Capital, having proved outstanding strategic skills at Notion Capital, UIPath, and Global Founders Capital.

Radu
Ionescu

Director of Product Management @ Mastercard

Expert in agile development, helping companies of all kinds in various areas such as product creation, Customer Management, Business Development & Payments Optimization.

Raluca
Bujoreanu

Product Leader @ Zalando

Strategic Product Leader, solving customer and business problems through technology and building innovative, effective digital experiences.

Irina
Scarlat

Chief Growth Officer
Bitpanda

Full-stack product marketer and experienced project manager, previously leading the marketing efforts of Uber in Romania. Entrepreneur at heart.

Robert Katai

Product Marketer @ Creatopy

Product Marketing Manager & the host of one of the most popular podcasts in Romania called “Katai”. His work was featured on TechCrunch, AdWeek, Entrepreneur, Marketing Pros, and his blog on robertkatai.com.

Viorel
Peca

Head of Unit of Transition and Business Acceleration Services @ European Innovation Council

Head of Unit Innovation, Viorel ensures that Europe is best positioned to capitalize on emerging industrial opportunities.

Nicoleta
Prostean

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.

Zornitsa
Zheleva

Investment Analyst @ Lakestar

Investment Analyst, Zornitsa is responsible for supporting the investment process in areas of Life Sciences and Healthcare, Real Estate, and Financial Institutions

Andrei
Roth

Commercial Pricing Director @ UiPath

Leading cross-department and cross-geography strategic projects in UiPath. Part of a brilliant team of professionals that aim to improve current aspects and also to look forward and prepare the company for upcoming challengers.

Razvan
Suta

Business Development @ Startup Wise Guys

Business Strategist at SWG for more than 2 years, leading change and innovative paths for new startups to arise.

Mike
Reiner

General Partner @ Acrobator

Early-stage investor in B2B data-intensive startups. Invested in around 40 companies, co-founded several ventures/networks, and primarily interested in machine learning or Saas type of companies.

Ioana
Serban

Fractional CMO for B2B startups & Founder @ Techmakers

Ioana brings 15+ years of experience in B2B international marketing and business development for tech companies, mostly SMEs and startups

Alexandru
Seran

Investor @ Hellen's Rock

VC investments at Hellen’s Rock, with a focus on FinTech / Financial Services, with 10+ years experience in Fixed Income Investments, Management Consulting, and most recently ran Romanian operations of a high-growth CEE FinTech scale-up.

Alin
Merches

CEO & Co-founder @ Mobiversal

Serial entrepreneur for 20+ years, co-founded multiple startups and tech companies, involved in 3 exits so far (the latest one, last year), passionate and strong advocate of Romanian startups ecosystem and ethics in business

Ioana
Frincu

Technology Advisor @ Hellen's Rock

Technology strategy expert, with a proven track record in Software Product Management, Product Strategy, and Business Development. She has been working both in corporate and startup environments in Strategy, Operations, and Business Analysis.

Matthew
Roberts

Startup Partner @ Stripe

Dan
Calugareanu

Partner @ Early Game Ventures

Investor and adviser in early-stage technology companies, skilled in Negotiation, Business Planning, E-commerce, Business Development, and Entrepreneurship.

Rafaela
Voiculescu

Engineering Manager @ Google

PREVIOUS WINNERS AND PARTICIPANTS

raul popa

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

VALENTIN RADU

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.”

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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