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N. America - CEE Investment Summit & Awards set for 17 June, with Digital Solutions Showcases track

2 spaces left for CEE Digital Solutions Showcases at N. America-CEE Investment Summit & Awards.

The  4th annual “N. America-CEE Investment Summit & Awards” is set for 17 June, 2021 - in a hybrid format: InPerson in Warsaw; and online via the Hopin platform. 

Overview and Key Topics: 

Investment and trade ties between the United States and Central Eastern Europe are strong and have developed deeply over the last 25 years. Yet opportunities still abound in both directions: USA to CEE; and CEE to US. The CEE region continues its rapid development and is quickening its digital transformation across all sectors, presenting US companies with opportunities in sectors such as Shared Services, Digital services, manufacturing, commercial and residential real estate, energy, EV and automotive sector, pharma and medical. And CEE-based companies are becoming a recognizable force as they expand into the US, in such sectors as Tech/IT and smart-manufacturing.

Our Agenda is themed "Connections", and our emphasis is on connecting with each other via 1-on-1 meetings - we will be on the Hopin Platform with its strong 1-on-1 video meetings platform.
 

Agenda and Speakers here.

35+ Jury Members here.

Short-Listed Companies here.

 

CEE-based Digital Services providers who would like to present in one of the last 2 Digital Solutions Showcases should contact Thom Barnhardt re details and pricing: tb(at)biznespolska.pl, +48-508-143-963.

Source: N. America-CEE Investment Summit & Awards

Texas – CEE Tech Summit set for 21 September 2021 in Austin, Texas

CEE Digital Services Association is excited to announce its first initiative in the United States. In cooperation with the City of Austin and the World Affairs Council Austin, the 1st annual Texas – CEE Tech Summit will connect Texas-based tech companies and other corporates keen to solve their relentless need for digital services, with Digital Services providers from Central Eastern Europe.

 

What:

A 4-hour „Get Acquainted” and Matchmaking event connecting Texas-based tech companies (but not only) keen to solve their relentless need for digital services, with Digital Services providers from Central Eastern Europe. Culminating in the 1st annual USA-CEE Digital Solutions Awards ceremony over a VIP Luncheon.

 

When: 21st September, 8am – 1pm Texas time. (Designed early-morning to accommodate time-zone differences with Central Europe, + 7 hours).

This event is side-even to the 9th annual Texas-EU Summit.

 

Format: Hybrid: InPerson in Austin; and online via highly-interactive Hopin platform. We expect about 100companies to participate InPerson (perhaps 30-40 from CEE), and another 100 companies to participate online – for a total of 200 (of which perhaps 60-80 CEE-based companies).

On the „Texas” side, we expect 50+ companies to attend InPerson, many of whom will be buyers of digital services and investors; and perhaps another 100+ online.

 

Assumptions:

a) Texas tech companies and other corporates: While Austin has cemented its position as one of the leading tech-locations in North America, the cities of Dallas and Houston have strong economies and large numbers of diverse companies with incessant needs for digital/tech/IT services.

Texas also has a well-developed Venture Capital market, in search of globally-amibitious tech startups and scale-ups.

b) CEE tech companies: A long-history of strong mathematics, engineering, and analytical skills has resulted in the CEE region becoming one of the most renown sources of top tech/IT talent in the world. With more than 2,800 companies across the region already working with US partners, the „Texas-CEE Tech Summit” is a platform for nurturing existing relationships (and building new ones) between CEE tech company founders and Texas businesses.

Some CEE tech companies are also keen to connect with US-based VC investors to fuel their US expansion.

 

Agenda/Topics and other features:

  • CaseStudies of Texas companies using CEE digital services (3 Case Studies)
  • 10 Do's and Don'ts when collaborating with overseas partners.
  • Showcasing 3 top CEE companies with global or US success.
  • CEE Digital Solutions Showcases: 12 minutes to spotlight 8 impressive digital solutions developed in CEE for the US market.
  • CEE ScaleUps and StartUps: 10 hand-picked companies in capital-raising mode pitch their business model. (powered by Wolves Summit CEE).

 

Partners:

  • Accelerators from Texas
  • Incubators from Texas
  • VC's from Texas
  • CEE Digital Services Association; and BiznesPolska.pl
  • Clutch (DC)
  • Wolves Summit CEE (www.WolvesSummit.com)
  • Various Digital associations across CEE (these will be country-specific, like for Poland, Hungary, Romania, etc.)
  • Texas-based Business Journals (Austin, Houston, Dallas,etc.)
  • Texas City Chambers of Commerce

Who's Invited and expected numbers.

  • Texas: VIP Invitations (complimentary) for Texas-based corporates.
  • Other US companies: $400
  • CEE-based Digital services providers: $600

Further details to be announced in mid-June.  (Contact the organizer Thom Barnhardt with any questions: tb(at)biznespolska.pl, +48-508-143-963.

Molecule.one grows its drug synthesis AI platform with a $4.6M seed round

Polish computational chemistry outfit Molecule.one has raised $4.6 million to expand its quest to bring theoretical drug molecules to reality. Its machine learning systems predict the best ways to synthesize potentially valuable molecules, a crucial part of creating new drugs and treatments.

Molecule.one went onstage at Disrupt SF 2019’s Startup Battlefield, where they explained the difficulty faced by the drug discovery industry, basically that they come up with lots of theoretical treatments but can’t actually make the molecules.

The company’s system enters play when you have some exotic new compound you want to make in order to test it in real life, but don’t know how to make it. After all, these molecules are brand new to science — no one has created them before, so why should anyone know? Molecule.one creates a workflow starting with ordinary off-the-shelf chemicals and provides step by step instructions using known methods of how to go from A to B… and to C, D and so on (it’s rarely simple).

 

The company leverages machine learning and a large body of knowledge about chemical reactions to create these processes, though as CSO Stanisław Jastrzębski explained, they do it backwards.

“Synthesis planning can be characterized as a game,” he said. “In each move of this game, instead of moving a piece on a board, we break a chemical bond between a pair of atoms. The goal of the game is to break down a target molecule to molecules that can then be bought on the market and used to synthesize the target. We use algorithms similar to the ones used by DeepMind to master Go or chess to find the synthesis pathway.”

Co-founders Piotr Byrski and Paweł Włodarczyk-Pruszyński note that predicting organic reactions is no cakewalk, and that they have dedicated a great deal of resources toward making their system efficient and verifiable. The theoretical pathways they produce seem plausible but still need to be tested, something they do regularly internally so companies see that Molecule.one isn’t just selling good ideas but workable ones.

Since their debut at Disrupt, the company has acquired a number of customers with annual contracts, Byrski said, and rolled out lots of features on the platform. Włodarczyk-Pruszyński said that their efficiency has increased as well.

 

Full Story at TechCrunch

Source: TechCrunch

Kaunas Technical University (KTU) establishes Artificial Intelligence Centre

To promote fundamental and applied research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), the results of which would lead to the development of innovative products with real practical application and commercial potential, KTU established the Artificial Intelligence Centre. “Cooperating with business partners, we will seek to contribute to the development of the Lithuanian AI ecosystem”, says Agnė Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė, the Head of the newly founded KTU AI Centre.

Although some AI technologies have been around for more than 50 years, the availability of immense amounts of data, new algorithms have led to a huge breakthrough in this area recently. Today, the development of AI is among the priorities of the European Union and Lithuanian policies. Lithuanian Artificial Intelligence Strategy indicates the creation of a national AI research centre and infrastructure as one of the major steps for implementation of the Strategy.

“This shows that such centres are needed to bring together the ideas of researchers from different fields and to gain greater synergies from the cooperation of business and academia”, says Agnė Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė, the Head of the newly founded Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) AI Centre, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Informatics (IF).

 

 

Source: Delfi.lt

Poland provides details on coming R&D, innovation tax incentives

The Polish Ministry of Finance on May 24 announced details of its tax plan for boosting innovation in Poland, including enhancements to the research and development (R&D) credit and increased deductions for costs related to prototypes and robotics.

Through the plan, Poland seeks to have in place a comprehensive system of tax incentives to support innovation and economic development in Poland from the beginning of 2022. The Ministry of Finance said that most of the proposed rules are or will be opened for consultation next week.

Starting in January, the Ministry said, the plan would enable companies to combine the R&D tax credit with the intellectual property (IP) box regime. Under current law, businesses that commercialize the results of their R&D and benefit from preferential rates on associated income under the IP box regime are not able to deduct associated eligible costs under the R&D allowance.

With respect to prototype development, the plan would allow businesses to deduct from their tax base an additional 30% of the expenses incurred in the production of a prototype (capped at 10% of income). To assist compliance, the Ministry said the proposed rules would include a precise list of qualifying expenditures.

For companies that want to improve production through robotics, the plan would make it possible to deduct an additional 50% of the cost of purchasing a robot, installing it, purchasing associated software, and training employees. Thus, 150% of such costs would be deductible.

Finally, the plan would include new relief for costs related to the employment of innovative workers, including researchers, programmers, inventors, and engineers. The relief would be linked to the cost of the employment, so businesses would be able to benefit from it even if they do not currently have taxable income.  

Source: MNE Tax

Atos's supercomputer to pave the way for Bulgaria's leading position in high-tech

Atos announced in May that Bulgaria’s new EuroHPC supercomputer, which is based on Atos’ powerful BullSequana XH2000 architecture, is now fully delivered and assembled at Sofia Tech Park in Bulgaria. Atos was selected to build Bulgaria's petascale supercomputer by the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU), the hosting entity, and the consortium “Petascale Supercomputer Bulgaria” (PetaSC-Bulgaria) whose leading partner is Sofia Tech Park.
This will be the most powerful supercomputer in Eastern Europe and will help to leverage Bulgaria’s high-tech ambitions. Atos’ Czech Republic project teams have already started the configuration tests and the supercomputer is expected to start working operationally in July 2021. 
The supercomputer will help improve European scientific research and foster innovation by providing access to state-of-the-art HPC infrastructure and services to a wide range of users from the scientific research community, industry and the public sector.

It will serve the development of scientific, public and industrial applications in many fields, including bioinformatics, pharmacy, molecular dynamics and mechanics, quantum chemistry and biochemistry, artificial intelligence, personalized medicine, bioengineering, meteorology, and the fight against climate change.

"We are impressed by the professionalism of the Atos team. The work on the delivery and installation of the machine is ahead of schedule. The big challenge for the Consortium "Petascale Supercomputer - Bulgaria" team is building and making a valuable connection between the academy, the industry, the Sofia Tech Park, and the petascale computer. In this regard, we communicate with the existing EuroHPC centers and have initiated meetings with the academy and industry representatives. We already have the first requests for solving pragmatic tasks in chemistry, medicine, and biology. Of course, we are also looking forward to the future - we are talking with Atos to add their platform and experience in quantum computers", said Peter Statev, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Sofia Tech Park.

"As Europe’s leading supercomputing manufacturer, we are proud to be supporting researchers in industry and universities across Europe accelerate scientific discovery and to develop solutions for current challenges such as those in health, energy and agriculture. The use of artificial intelligence in research has increased the need for more flexibility and more versatility in supercomputing, which is exactly what we can provide with our BullSequana XH2000 so that our customers can benefit from the new capacities of hybrid workloads.” said Agnès Boudot, Senior Vice President, Head of HPC & Quantum at Atos.

The supercomputer is co-financed by the Republic of Bulgaria and EuroHPC JU with a joint investment totaling EUR 11.5 million.

In addition to this EuroHPC tender, Atos’ BullSequana will also be used in four additional EuroHPC supercomputing centres; CINECA in Italy, IZUM in Slovenia, with LuxProvide in Luxembourg and in the Minho Advanced Computing Centre in Portugal, thereby reinforcing Atos’ position as a European leader in high-performance computing.

31 Atos supercomputers are listed in the TOP500 worldwide supercomputer ranking, with a combined peak performance of 251 petaflops - this is an increase of 79% in petaflops from the TOP500 listing in June 2020.

Source: Global Newswire

Romania's SeedBlink aims to raise 3 mln euro for European expansion

Romanian investment platform for technology start-ups SeedBlink said on Tuesday it aims to raise 3 million euro ($3.66 million) in a Series A round in order to finance its expansion into Europe.

Out of the total amount, some 500,000 euro are to be raised through equity crowd investing, SeedBlink said in a press release.

The listing will be on SeedBlink's own platform, on May 27, and investors will be able to participate with tickets starting at 2,500 euro. The main investor is a major VC in the region, who will be joined by other institutional investors, as well as by the SeedBlink community. The name of the lead funder will be announced after the due diligence process is completed, the company added.

The pre-money valuation of SeedBlink is 12 million euro.

SeedBlink management plans to develop the platform internationally starting in the last quarter of this year by establishing partnerships with the main technology hubs in Europe. Furthermore, the management intends to set up an Advisory Board of senior specialists in the region within the next three months.

"We want individual investors in Europe to benefit from the possibility to fund technological startups together with business angel professionals and venture capital partners. And we want the founders to find resources and mentors in one place. We want to create an innovative investment platform for Europe", SeedBlink co-founder and CEO Andrei Dudoiu said.

For 2021, SeedBlink management is targeting revenues of over 1 million euro.

"By the end of next year, we want to list at least 150 technology startups and have 30,000 individual investors on the platform. Moreover, we aim for revenues exceeding three million euro in 2022," Dudoiu said.

SeedBlink was launched in December 2019 by former bankers Andrei Dudoiu and Ionuț Patrahau. At the beginning of last year, Radu Georgescu and Carmen Sebe, two of the most famous technology specialists in Romania, joined as partners. The team participated in 45% of the financing rounds of Romanian startups in 2020.

SeedBlink has launched 42 funding campaigns in the 18 months since its inception, thus helping startups raise a total of 15 million euro from individual investors and VC funds. The startups on the platform have attracted over 5,000 investors from 15 countries.

Source: SEENews

Accidental Billionaires: How 7 Academics - and 2 Romanians - who didn't want to make a cent are now worth Billions

Inside a 13th-floor boardroom in downtown San Francisco, the atmosphere was tense. It was November 2015, and Databricks, a two-year-old software company started by a group of seven Berkeley researchers, was long on buzz but short on revenue.

The directors awkwardly broached subjects that had been rehashed time and again. The startup had been trying to raise funds for five months, but venture capitalists were keeping it at arm’s length, wary of its paltry sales. Seeing no other option, NEA partner Pete Sonsini, an existing investor, raised his hand to save the company with an emergency $30 million injection.

The next order of business: a new boss. Founding CEO Ion Stoica had agreed to step aside and return to his professorship at the University of California, Berkeley. The obvious move was to bring in a seasoned Silicon Valley executive, which is exactly what Databricks’ chief competitor Snowflake did twice on its way to a software-record $33 billion IPO in September 2020. Instead, at the urging of Stoica and the other cofounders, they chose Ali Ghodsi, the cofounder who was then working as vice president of engineering.

“Some of the rest of the board was naturally like, ‘That doesn’t make any sense: Swap out one founder-professor for another?’ ” recalls Ben Horowitz, the company’s first VC backer and himself initially skeptical of entrusting the business to a career academic with no experience running a business. A compromise was reached: Give Ghodsi a one-year trial run.

By Horowitz’s own admission, Ghodsi, 42, bald and clean-shaven, has become the best CEO in Andreessen Horowitz’s portfolio, which spans hundreds of companies. Databricks is already shaping up to be the firm’s best software success thanks to a recent valuation of $28 billion, 110 times larger than when Ghodsi took over. Databricks now boasts more than 5,000 customers, and Forbes estimates that it’s on track to book more than $500 million in revenue in 2021, up from about $275 million last year. It features on Forbes’ latest edition of the AI 50, ranked fifth on last year’s Cloud 100 list and could soon be headed for an IPO that ranks among the most lucrative in the history of software. Already, Ghodsi’s magic act has minted at least three billionaire founders—himself, Stoica, 56, and chief technologist Matei Zaharia, 36—all of whom, by Forbes’ estimation, own stakes between 5% and 6%, worth $1.4 billion or more.

FULL STORY at FORBES.

Source: Forbes

Bunnyshell raises 1.1 million euro, led by Early Game Ventures

Early Game Ventures (earlygame.vc) announces the completion of a new investment in Bunnyshell (bunnyshell.com), a startup that builds technology for cloud infrastructure, allowing its customers to install, monitor, and scale cloud applications automatically. The 1.1 million euro transaction is EGV’s second investment in Bunnyshell and confirms the company’s spectacular evolution in the last year and a half.

The DLA Piper team, consisting of Cristina Bucur and Sandra Cahu, provided legal assistance for the transaction, including the documents required for the entire process. Boanta, Gidei and Associates SCA represented Bunnyshell.

Bunnyshell is a second-generation cloud infrastructure company. They don’t improve the cloud; they don’t make it safer, faster, or cheaper — what they do is give everyone access to the cloud and make the process look stupid simple, and madly fast.

Bunnyshell’s “devops-as-a-service” is the perfect solution for both SMBs that are understaffed/ under-capitalized and for enterprises that need agility and speed. Are you a small online retailer? You can launch a shop fast and easily. Are you a salesman working for a Fortune 500 company? You can deploy your own proof-of-concept servers and demo to any client within minutes.

Dan Calugareanu, Early Game Ventures Partner, said: “The demand for skilled people in systems management (Dev Ops) exploded during the pandemic when all companies had to accelerate their digitization and build their cloud infrastructure. Bunnyshell technology democratizes access to the cloud and makes installing and managing servers easy for anyone. We have been, are, and will be supporting the Bunnyshell team in the next rounds of funding.”

 

Source: Business Review

Game development moves up a level in Romania

The big international game developers are stepping up their operations in Romania — the top emerging Europe location for game development after Poland — where they sit alongside local indie firms that have already scored some solid successes. 

In Romania, the industry’s turnover has been steadily growing. It exceeded $200mn for the first time in 2019, up by a healthy 14.7% from the previous year, according to Romanian Game Developers Association (RGDA) data. The figures for 2020, while not out yet, are likely to be even stronger as gaming was one of the industries that flourished during the pandemic, providing a way for people suddenly cut off from their friends and normal pursuits to entertain themselves and connect with others. 

“A lot of people who stayed at home and needed entertainment turned to games, so that means a lot of games were bought … a lot of records have been set for the number of people playing online, game downloads and so on,” Andreea Medvedovici Per, executive director of the RGDA, tells bne IntelliNews

A report from the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (IFSE) shows that time spent playing games increased by 1.5 hours a week during the initial lockdowns in spring 2020, though dropped back to pre-pandemic levels as lockdowns eased. 30% of players surveyed said video games helped them feel happier, less anxious and less isolated. 

A Deloitte report comes to a similar conclusion, showing that the lockdowns increased the number of hours spent in front of screens, and inspired people to try new digital activities including gaming. “With school and office closures, work furloughs and canceled travel plans, more people are playing video games — and more are upgrading their gaming relationships from casual to committed,” said the report. Even before the pandemic, the sector was growing strongly with revenues of the global gaming industry exceeding $152.1bn in 2019, up by 9.6% on the year. Globally there are more than 2.5bn gamers, with steady growing average revenue per user (ARPU).

This is borne out by the big international companies that have operations in Romania. Cristian Pana, managing director for Ubisoft Romania and Serbia, reports an increase in player engagement, but adds: “it is too early for us to say how this will impact the future of our industry”.

"We have seen an increased usage of games and associated services globally, which ultimately means that there has been an increased level of social engagement from our players,” Andrei Lazarescu, senior producer, EA Romania, tells bne IntelliNews. Lazarescu also stresses the social impact of video games during the pandemic, for example in raising awareness. When the coronavirus was spreading around the world in March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and video game companies launched #PlayApartTogether to encourage physical distancing. 

Growth in strange times 

The biggest local player, Bucharest-based game development agency  Amber Studio, is one company that has grown strongly since the start of the pandemic. Since bne IntelliNewsfeature on the Romanian game development industry in 2018, Amber’s headcount has almost tripled to just over 700 people and it now has six offices in four countries: Bucharest and Botosani in Romania, New York and San Francisco in the US, Guadalajara in Mexico and Montreal in Canada. Amber’s annual revenue has risen steadily from $7.5mn in 2018 to $13.6mn in 2019 and $20.8mn in 2020. 

Amber’s head of operations Tudor Postolache tells bne IntelliNews that 2020 was a “very special year” for the company. “When so many industries and businesses were severely hit, we continued our growth and put the throttle on international expansion. I’m happy to say the gaming industry has been very resilient, actually thriving over the last year, and I’m convinced this tendency will carry on both for the industry and for us,” he says. “Over the last year we have seen more appetite from studios and publishers to invest more.”

Botosani, a small city in northern Romania close to the borders with Moldova and Ukraine, is not on many investors’ maps. It’s better known for manufacturing than for the high tech industries that have taken root in Bucharest, Cluj, Iasi and bigger university towns. Amber is the only gaming company there. Explaining the move, Postolache says: “We wanted to try it out and see how we were received by the talent pool. The success has been absolutely fantastic. We were hoping to get around 30 to 40 people by the end of 2020; we finished up the year very close to 70 and now we are working to fit out a new office space because we want to add another 100 people.” The team started out doing quality assurance (QA), but Amber is looking to add artists and programmers in future. 

Source: BNE Intellinews

US-based Coherent Solutions to open R&D center in Romania and hire over 150 software specialists

Coherent Solutions, an American software product engineering and consulting company with business of over USD 76 million, enters the Romanian market and opens its first office in Bucharest. The company aims to recruit 30 IT specialists by the end of the year.

 

Igor Epshteyn, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Romanian R&D Center comes after we opened two more in Lithuania and Ukraine this year, and perfectly complements our expansion plan in Central and Eastern Europe. Even if the pandemic forced us to think and work differently, we chose to expand our business here and to invest in building a strong team in Bucharest. We are happy to have Alina with us, who already knows the market very well, she has gone through a similar process and we are confident that she will build a phenomenal team”.

Coherent Solutions has a team of 1500+ employees, experts in custom software development and engineering solutions, including custom digital solutions, web and mobile application development, DevOps and data services, and emerging technologies such as blockchain and IoT—with 1000+ completed projects in the past 25 years.

Alina Șandru, General Manager of Coherent Solutions Romania added: “The Romanian IT sector remains extremely competitive and attractive for international companies, even in the context of the pandemic. We have important plans for Romania – we want to build a strong team of 150 professionals by 2023 and explore as much as possible in the area of emerging technologies. I am glad to be part of this team, I found a perfect combination between professionalism and that family-feeling we are all looking for in a company. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to lay the foundations of a new R&D center in Bucharest, that comes with a lot of opportunities for professionals in the IT sector.

Source: Business Review

UiPath kicks off 3rd annual Automation Awards: €50,000 cash prize, and InPerson Awards ceremony 20 October at Wolves Summit in Wroclaw

Enterprise automation software firm UiPath recently launched the third edition of its annual UiPath Automation Awards, a competition designed to champion the most promising startups and scale-ups in the field of enterprise software automation, where the Romania-born company has made its own mark over the years.

Zooming in on Central and Eastern Europe region and Turkey, UiPath is on the hunt for interesting B2B software automation companies to enter its awards competition before the September 1 deadline. The mission of the UiPath Automation Awards 2021 is to enable the further development of creative business ideas and 'foster the capacity to scale early-stage companies and entrepreneurial ventures from those regions'.

Ultimately, UiPath aims to leverage its annual competition to help identify the next generation of technologies and products that can have a global impact and 'revolutionise the larger ecosystem of automation solutions'.

There are two categories for entry, targeting both enterprise automation software startups and scale-ups. You can read more about the requirements for each, and submit your application, right over here.

Last year, the top startup and scale-up awards were snatched by Romania's Neurolabs, and a Poland-based scale-up called Salesbook, respectively.

"Winning the UiPath Automation Awards has fast-forwarded our entrance and advancement into the automation space. The external recognition we received from winning this prize, combined with the hands-on, expert guidance from various UiPath teams, propelled our business forward and helped us navigate what until recently had been new territory for us," said Paul Pop, co-founder and CEO of Neurolabs, about what the competition has meant for his company.

Dariusz Nawojczyk, CMO of Salesbook, said: "Winning the UiPath Automation Awards reminded us that it is worth taking every risk while thinking about your start-up idea and that hard work will eventually pay off. The competition is a great launchpad for scale-ups in the CEE &Turkey that want to scale beyond the region. I encourage everyone to take part in the UiPath Automation Awards 2021 – you will have a great chance to test your ideas, your product, and your resilience, and that will already make you a winner."

Robots automate it better

Itself founded out of a small apartment in Bucharest back in 2005, UiPath will help the victorious companies level up. The company will provide the winners in the startup category of the UiPath Automation Awards with mentorship, a €50,000 cash prize, and substantial tech and marketing support over a period of 12 months.

The scale-up category winners will receive C- level mentorship, sales and marketing support, including the opportunity to present the winning technology to UiPath global clients, and have their winning solutions featured in the UiPath Immersion Lab.

Vargha Moayed, Chief Strategy Officer at UiPath, said: "We know the triumphs and challenges that young companies encounter as they evolve and innovate. Given the fast pace of innovation in software automation and the technology’s huge yet untapped potential to make the world a better place, we are highly motivated and committed to help emerging players in the space to reach their full potential and scale globally."

UiPath has been organising the competition in various places: the first edition in 2019 was held in its hometown of Bucharest, and last year's edition obviously took place online. Now, they're going hybrid!

Tech.eu is partnering with UiPath to help stage the competition at the upcoming edition of Wolves Summit, which will take place both online and physically in Wroclaw (Poland), on the 20th of October 2021.

"As a testament to our team's relentless determination over the last 12 months, we feel both honoured and excited to host the UiPath Automation Awards 2021 edition online and in-person in Wroclaw, one of the largest AI hubs in Poland. We are happy to be able to provide the platform and tangible support to UiPath to select the next automation champions in the CEE and Turkey," said Michael Chaffe, CEO of Wolves Summit.

"At Wolves Summit we strive to support the growth of the CEE innovation ecosystem, and we know we can best achieve this by partnering with forward-thinking organisations and individuals sharing our mission," he added.

To clarify, startups and scale-ups from the following countries can apply for the awards: Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Ukraine, Serbia, Montenegro, and Turkey.

Applications for the UiPath Automation Awards 2021 can be submitted here; you have time until the 1st of September to toss your hat into the ring.

Source: TechEU

Romanian No-code tech startup seeks EUR 650,000 crowdfunding for international expansion

Procesio, an innovative Romanian platform based on the No-Code technology, developed by local software developer Ringhel, will list on local equity crowdfunding platform SeedBlink next week.

Procesio thus aims to raise EUR 650,000 to accelerate its global growth.

The round will have two stages: the first, dedicated to recurrent SeedBlink investors, will start on April 12, followed by the general listing on April 15, dedicated to all those with an investor account. The investment ticket starts at EUR 2,500.

In 2020, the company conducted the first round of seed-type financing through SeedBlink and raised EUR 556,000 to develop the Procesio platform. Recently, the company launched the platform's private version internationally, according to the objectives set in the previous round of financing, and the public launch is to take place in July 2021.

As the current context in the global market favors the adoption of Procesio faster than expected, the founders decided to fuel the expansion with a new investment round. The company aims to obtain recurring revenues from Procesio at a level of over EUR 1.8 mln in 2022 and reach a valuation of over EUR 1 bln in 2027.

"Procesio has the chance to become a new unicorn with Romanian DNA. We are pleased with the confidence that SeedBlink investors have placed in our company in the previous round of financing. We have fulfilled our promises for 2020 and are confident that we can achieve much better results than anticipated. We now have the opportunity to accelerate the expansion of Procesio globally," said Mihai Darzan, CEO of Ringhel.

Source: Romania Insider

Romania-based marketing content creation automation platform ProductLead lands €600,000 funding

Constanta, Romania-based marketing content creation platform has raised €600,000 to automate content creation.

The financing was led by Sparking Capital, and saw participation from Bulgarian fund Eleven Ventures and Swedish fund Founders Bridge.

The funding is expected to be used towards growing the team, further product development, and push into foreign markets, particularly the CEE region, DACH, and the Nordics.

“Digital advertising has exploded over the last ten years and has grown to an extent where bots are bidding against other bots to capture the relevant audience,” comments Eleven Ventures venture partner Hristo Hristov. “However, something that has not changed and is still done in the majority by humans are the creatives one has to put in the advertising platforms.”

Looking at a ProductLead video, the most your humble author can make out of this is that it’s automating social media garb, umm, content creation by leveraging existing brand and e-commerce assets as well as user-generated video and still content. So, basically, Canva, but automated. *Yawn*.

The company reports that “The technology empowers any marketeer to develop efficient creatives, 10x faster and at 1/10 of the cost.” I’m also going to go with 1/10th of the originality.

“We are very excited by the success of this round of investment, which will allow us to speed up our growth. We put a lot of passion and effort to ensure high-quality services to our clients, helping them scale their digital content quickly, ensuring high-volume, high-quality creative production with the use of technology and automation,” comments Mihai Bocai, CEO ProductLead.” Our business objectives focus on growth and partnerships, on-boarding customers across key industries and geographies, giving us the grip we need to strengthen our value proposition for Series A.”

Telenor Bulgaria aims for summer 5G launch

Only a few weeks after the country’s 3.6GHz spectrum auction finally took place, operator Telenor Bulgaria has announced that it has scheduled the commercial nationwide launch of its 5G service for 10 June.

The plan is that by this summer the Telenor Bulgaria 5G network will cover all the major cities in Bulgaria. It will also be available in the country’s main seaside resorts, presumably in the hope that visitors from elsewhere in the country will be able to holiday there by that time.

The company says it aims to continue to widen its coverage and add new locations. In fact, according to a statement quoted on the SeeNews website, Telenor’s goal is to become a market leader in terms of 5G coverage and network experience by the middle of 2022.

The speed of this rollout is impressive considering that it was only in early April that, after an auction, the Bulgaria's Communication Regulation Commission (CRC) awarded 20-year 5G frequency licences with national coverage to the three main telecommunication companies operating in the country.

The 5G spectrum auction started and finished in a single day, raising some US$8.1 million for the state. It included seven rounds and saw all three operators – Vivacom, A1 and and Telenor Bulgaria – secure frequency spectrum in the 3.6GHz band. 

This followed a challenge by Vivacom to the regulator’s original plan to award 5G spectrum without an auction.

Bulgaria's Sirma Solutions acquires 1.4 mln shares in parent company

Bulgaria's Sirma Solutions has acquired 1,437,786 shares in its parent company - Sirma Group Holding, for a total of 718,893 levs ($437,169), the software group said.

Sirma Solutions acquired the shares through four deals on the floor of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange on April 6, Sirma Group Holding said in a stock exchange filing.

Serbian cloud-based AI chip factory Anari AI raises $2 million in seed funding

Novi Sad, Serbia-based Anari AI has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Earlybird, with participation from Acequia Capital, Serbian Entrepreneurs, and angel investor and “The Lean Startup” author Eric Ries.

Anari is a cloud-based AI chip factory that makes custom-designed AI chips available to all with just one click. Through this approach, Anari allows for companies to build and deploy AI solutions in weeks instead of the industry de facto, 12-18 months. All at a fraction of the cost of traditional hardware development.

“Dedicated designs or flexible architectures are expensive, time-consuming and require hardware skills (in short: take lots of effort). Anari is a game-changer in two ways: it removes the trade-off between performance and effort, and it makes AI-problem-specific chip solutions available instantaneously in the cloud. I am excited about this huge potential,” comments Earlbird co-founder and Partner Roland Manger.

Built upon a custom Python-based programming framework, Anari makes it possible for software engineers to become hardware designers.

The first customisable AI chip from Anari is Thor X, delivering 100x more efficient processing of 3D Point Cloud/Graph data structures when compared to a high-end GPU.

“You no longer have to tune your model to the computing infrastructure that’s available and designed for broad and generic use cases,” said Sasha Ostojic, former NVIDIA software VP and now Operating Partner at Playground Global. “ Anari’s cloud chip technology is the future of cloud computing.”

As part of the raise Roland Manger and Sasha Ostojic will join Anari’s board of directors and join advisors Christoph Auer-Welsbach and Dejan Markovic.

“In a world where everything is expected to be customizable and in the cloud, it has only been a matter of time until someone breaks into the semiconductor industry with a disruptive approach. With its virtual chip factory, Anari.AI enables the world to create fully customisable AI chips 100x faster and at a fraction of the costs. Now also with the predictable global chip shortage, it is a no-brainer that the stellar team around Anari will be a major player in defining the next computing paradigm,” adds Auer-Welsbach.

IT firm Intetics taps into post-Soviet technical talent

An Interview with Intetics founder Boris Kontsevoi:

 

When British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee launched the first-ever website in 1991, few people could even see it. But Belarusian Boris Kontsevoi was intrigued.

Four years later, Kontsevoi founded the software company that would later be known as Intetics to develop software for the early internet.

Belarus did not have its own internet provider at the time, so Kontsevoi and his four partners used their single laptop to connect to a host in Germany and access the web.

“The internet company was established without the internet,” Kontsevoi told the Kyiv Post.

Kontsevoi had already been a computer system designer before founding Intetics in January 1995, but only after the Soviet Union collapse did he come to believe he could run his own tech business.

At first, his company operated under the name Client-Server Programs. It was renamed Intetics in 2003, which is a combination of three words: Internet, Technology and Ethics.

More than two decades have passed since then, and Intetics is now a global software company that has over 700 employees operating from 11 offices in six different countries: the United States (Naples, Chicago and Wilmette), Germany (Dusseldorf), the United Kingdom (London), Belarus (Minsk), Poland (Krakow) and Ukraine (Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv).

Headquartered in Naples in southwest Florida, Intetics is now an American company with Belarusian roots. It develops software for different purposes.

Professional teams of specialists at the company conduct interviews with clients to understand their needs and elaborate on their ideas. Though the company mainly focuses on software product development, it also provides other services like IT support, quality assurance and data processing.

“We don’t just produce software — we come up with solutions for our customers,” Irina Dubovik, the company’s digital marketing director, told the Kyiv Post.

Intetics serves customers all over the world, but most of its developers are based in Eastern European countries like Ukraine. Kontsevoi said he sees a lot of “technical talent in Ukraine.”

One of the company’s most significant contributions is the creation of a digital map in Ukraine. The navigation system is used in more than half of the cars in the country, according to Kontsevoi, who is also a member of Forbes Tech Council.

The IT firm has also created and adopted a framework called Predictive Software Engineering that helps companies assess the performance of outsourcing companies and track development progress.

Serving wide range of industries from agriculture to education, Intetics has been recognized as one of the world’s best outsourcing service providers by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals for 15 years in a row.

The company is one of the few businesses that have specialized in web development since the internet’s early days. Now Kontsevoi’s goal is “to grow faster than the competition and move into top 10 outsourcing companies in eastern Europe.”

 

Intetics:
Year founded: 1995
CEO, president and founder: Boris Kontsevoi
Number of employees: 700+
Motto: “Be one step ahead of the competition.”

Source: KyivPost

Hungarian IT specialist CNW System Integrator Co. joins Moodle Certified Partner network

Since 1994, CNW System Integrator Co. (CNW) has successfully implemented numerous medium and large IT projects in public administration and in almost all areas of the private sector across Hungary and central Europe.  As strong advocates for the benefits of lifelong learning, CNW has progressed specialist services in delivering Moodle based solutions over the last decade, particularly in the corporate or workplace learning sector.

CNW CEO, István Fekete explains, “In recent years, we experienced a growing interest in corporate online learning services. This trend was fueled by the COVID pandemic and the need for organisations to switch to working remotely. This has resulted in an increase in companies using online learning to train new employees and pass specialized knowledge to them in a cost-effective manner. There are various European Union projects that serve as an incentive to expand and encourage online learning in the corporate sector.”

CNW is the first Hungarian information technology service company to join the Moodle Certified Partner network.  

“In a fast-paced economy lifelong learning is a key to success. For us, this is not only a business strategy but also a mission. By joining the Moodle Partnership Program, we will continue to enhance our knowledge and expertise in eLearning, offer better services, and help not only other companies, but the people working in those organisations. 

“We believe that our company’s values closely match with Moodle’s and that a partnership will benefit both Moodle and our company. With this partnership our goal is twofold. On the one hand, we aim to enhance the services we offer with the help of Moodle. On the other hand, we would like to grow our business through this partnership opportunity and find new potential clients locally and within our region. We believe it is important to represent Moodle and its services in Hungary and provide Hungarian language support for the Moodle community,” says Fekete.

CNW offers cloud-based installation packages, support and development services and assists clients with Moodle site design and courseware creation. The company has developed a test bank application to enhance the experience and simplify the process of testing and also has significant experience in different system integration services including AD, ADFS, SSO integration, Moodle integration with access control systems, unique corporate governance software, HR software and eSignature integration. 

“It is great to have an organisation with the credentials of CNW join the Moodle Certified Partner network and ensure that Moodle customers in Hungary are able to access the highest quality Moodle services,” says Juan Lucca Garcia, Moodle’s Chief Commercial Officer. 

While the workplace learning market has rapidly grown in the Hungarian economy, education based online learning is not as widespread.  CNW System Integrator predicts a shift in uptake because the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development has made interactive and online learning materials available to the sector and the impact of COVID has created an increased appetite for online learning based solutions. 

CNW has completed many successful Moodle based projects over recent years including two hallmark projects with Egis Pharmaceuticals PLC (Egis Pharmaceuticals) and the Suzuki Corporation.

Egis Pharmaceuticals sought CNW’s assistance to develop an international eLearning platform that would integrate Azure and be available in 12 different countries. CNW established an eLearning solution for them, provided training, customised development, and delivered continuous support. The main challenge of this project was setting up an active directory, and fulfilling their IT requirements.

They also developed a site for the Hungarian branch of Suzuki Corporation where technicians could engage in an in-house competition. To achieve this, CNW developed a cloud-based Moodle site with a customised reporting system which they now operate and maintain. Established as a pilot project, Suzuki has now started to use this solution in other countries.

Other key clients include Goupama, Central Hospital of Southern Pest,  Díjbeszedő Holding Zrt., Hungarian Red Cross, OTP Bank Plc and SMR Automotive Mirror Technology Hungary

Source: Moodle

Berlin-based Tier Mobility acquires Hungarian firm Makery to establish new tech hub in Budapest

Makery is a provider of digital services with a suite that includes product strategy, product design, engineering, testing and quality, project management, training and support, and staff augmentation.

And, according to TIER, it has established a relationship with Makery, as the Hungarian company successfully supported TIER’s product and tech team during the micro-mobility provider’s growth journey.

With more than 900 employees, TIER says it will absorb all of Makery’s 27 team members who are working in the field of product strategy, design, engineering, and project management.

The team in Budapest will be responsible for building the company’s consumer-facing products, led by the Makery founding team Andras Kindler, Gyula Voros, and Balazs Zsedely, who will all join TIER’s leadership team.

Matthias Laug, CTO and co-founder ‎of TIER, says, “Our plan is to expand the number of employees in the upcoming months with more local talent as well as team members who work remote from all over the world.”

Expansion in Central and Eastern Europe

As part of its European expansion, TIER also announced that it will launch its service in Hungary this Summer. Gyula Voros, co-founder of Makery and new VP Engineering at TIER, said, “We always strived to build a hub in Budapest, where talented people can work on highly impactful problems that actually make a difference. We are excited to continue on this journey together with TIER.”

The company expects to be the only provider in Hungary to use e-scooters with swappable batteries, which it believes will cement its leadership as the most sustainable micro-mobility provider.

TIER’s battery-swapping tech and fully owned operations, which utilises electric cargo bikes and electric vans, eliminates the need to transport the vehicles to warehouses for charging. This reduces the operational costs as well as emissions and has enabled TIER to remain fully climate-neutral since January 2020. 

A local team of permanent employees will be responsible for conducting regular roadside health checks and replacing depleted batteries on-site.

Source: SilconCanals

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