Innovation Labs chooses winners for this year’s acceleration program for young entrepreneurs

Aurel Dragan 21/05/2019 | 12:31

Innovation Labs 2019, the acceleration program for young people passionate about entrepreneurial technologies, has nominated its winners at the Demo Day event. The event took place under the High Patronage of the President of Romania.

Not This Time Pal, CNEO, Heimdall, Trusty Camera and Knosis.ai are the teams that have convinced the jury and the audience with their products, winning “Best Pitch”, “Best Product”, “Best Business”, “Startup of the Year” and “Scale-up of the Year”. Throughout the program, the participating teams were supported by the main partners of Innovation Labs: Orange, Carrefour, BRD – Groupe Societe Generale, OMV Petrom and Medicover Romania, as well as the support of the Romanian-American Foundation.

Innovation Labs is an accelerating and mentoring program anchored in 11 prestigious universities in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Sibiu, Timisoara and Tel Aviv. This academic partnership adds the dimension of the development of the IT & C education product, for which Romania already enjoys global recognition.

In March 2019, over 480 young people enrolled in the five national Hackathon Innovation Labs, proposing over 160 digital product ideas. In the Hackathons, 111 teams entered, developing their ideas in prototypes with mentors, during 24 hours of fire. The effort of young people has been rewarded so that the most convincing 70 teams have gone through the second phase of the Innovation Labs program – the mentoring and development of a product that combines technical excellence with a focus on the real needs of users. Throughout the program, until the Demo Day, the teams participated weekly at workshops and meetings with mentors, technology experts and top entrepreneurs, working on building and refining prototypes.

In each of the five Innovation Labs national centers, local Demo Day events took place, attended by mentoring teams and following which minimal prototypes were selected that qualified in the Demo Day 2019 semifinals in Bucharest. Thus, on 18th stage 18 teams from the 70 who were selected in the mentoring program took the stage. After a first round of technical demonstrations and product presentations held during Sunday’s national semifinals, 18 teams entered the final Demo Day competition.

The “Best Pitch Prize”, awarded by Mihai Rotaru, an entrepreneur and graduate of Innovation Labs, was awarded to Not This Time Pal, a product offering an extension of the Chrome browser that allows users to identify the best price for the products they are looking for.

The “Best Product Award” awarded by Sorin Paslaru, Chief Editor at Ziarul Financiar, returned to CNEO, which proposes a product derived from the blending of automated learning software with medical sensors, which enables remote programming prevention, curative or recovery.

The “Best Business Award”, handed over by David Saranga, Israel’s Ambassador to Romania, was offered to Heimdall, who has developed a product that improves electrical power monitoring through a hardware solution based on a Machine Learning algorithm that identifies and optimizes fingerprints and consumer habits for both distributors and consumers.

The “Startup of the Year Award”, awarded by Mihnea Costoiu, Rector of the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, came to Trusty Camera, which created a solution for journalists, experts, and photographers (through social media, online stores, social discovery, or other channels) to check the authenticity of the image.

The “Scale-up of the Year Award”, offered by Roxana Vitan, President of the Romanian-American Foundation, returned to Knosis.ai, which presented an easy solution for obtaining Machine Learning databases, involving diverse social categories. Knosis allows generating equivalent data by rendering VR goals and human data encoding through a platform that efficiently assigns tasks to operators across diverse social categories.

Also, the program partners offered prizes to the teams they appreciated most during the three months of mentoring.

Orange’s award included IntelScale, a product that enables companies to reduce the risk of cyber attacks in the Orange Fab acceleration program for their innovative Cyber ​​Security solution. Orange has also offered a special mention to BeOnTime for the Smart City solution, which improves waiting time, passenger flow and quality of public transport travel.

The award offered by Carrefour Romania, consisting of working sessions with the company’s innovation and digital technology teams for product development and market research, as well as the opportunity to present its product to the Carrefour Romania board, went to the Syncrobots team. The team’s solution is an automated cleaning robot in factories and other production areas, optimizing costs, accident hazards, and hygiene accuracy in industrial premises.

The prize offered by BRD – Groupe Societe Generale, consisting in hosting the winning team in the Digital BRD Hub in Bucharest to work with BRD specialists in digital products and alongside company mentors from the Innovation Labs program, went to the FRANC team , a banking application that meets the needs of multiple account users, giving them the facility to access the services of different bank entities through a unique interface.

OMV Petrom has awarded the EKT team, which optimizes high-end gas station kitchens, digitizing information on ingredients, stocks and processes, supporting performance and motivation for both newly-hired and experienced employees. OMV Petrom offers the entire team the opportunity to participate in the Techsylvania event, June 8-11, in Cluj-Napoca.

The Medicover Romania Award was awarded to Visionary, a digital application that optimizes the organization of work within medical institutions, which is invited to a product presentation in front of the executive board of the Polish company. The special award was given to the Medcal team, which proposes a digital application that optimizes the organization of work within medical institutions, to which Medicover offers support to develop its product within clinics on the network. In addition, both teams are invited by Medicover at the Techsylvania event.

“Demo Day has, for me, a contagious optimism. We are in the seventh year of growing the Innovation Labs community, involving young people in the development of products and infrastructures of the future in universities’ vicious environment, energized and inspired by mentors and partners. Demo Day is not a completion, but a “point and end”, a redefinition moment for the program teams. Innovation Labs goes further this evening, through teams that will continue to develop prototypes with program support, as well as young people who are attracted by the product development experience and technical entrepreneurship that we expect in the next editions. Congratulations to all the teams who came to the stage in this edition, demonstrating their power to be together in the adventure of a start-up and to turn their ideas into tangible solutions!” said Razvan Rughiniş, co-founder of Innovation Labs.

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