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From concept to MVP: How BeAI pre-accelerator assists deep tech startups

BeAI pre-accelerator
Image credit: Unsplash
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BeAI, Europe’s AI Pre-Accelerator based in Bucharest, Romania, is currently onboarding 14 selected deep tech startups through their 8-week program to build an environment where entrepreneurs can flourish. The Pre-Accelerator will end on the 8th of December with a Demo Day, where entrepreneurs will pitch online in front of a jury. 

The program focuses on AI startups and ideas and aims to take them from concept to MVP. They want to nurture purpose technology with an impact on society and promote AI solutions for tomorrow’s problems. 

The team will help validate the solutions towards bootstrapping or investment, and usually, their collaboration with the startups continues long after the end of the program. The pre-accelerator program’s phases are:

  • matching AI mentors with ideas and startups; 
  • educating them on concepts, processes, experimentation, and discipline; 
  • guiding them on customer validation, products, marketing, development, pitching, AI regulations; 
  • followed by preparing founders to attract seed investment and awareness as disruptors. 

 

The Recursive met with the BeAI pre-accelerator manager to discover who can apply to this program and with two startup founders that are participating in this edition to see what AI solutions they are proposing and how they aim to bring it to the market.  

Who is the BeAI program for?

Virgil Ilian, BeAI pre-accelerator Manager, encourages founders to not apply to all the programs on the market, but think deeply about each application for a higher chance of success. “Our priority is selecting teams that can absorb the knowledge being shared by our mentors. We focus on people that are involved with every aspect of their business and that have an eye out for scalability from day one,” he explains. 

He says that deep tech entrepreneurs come up against specific challenges compared to the rest of the founders. Usually, the startup team has experience developing a solution, has researched the market, but they have no path to take. “Turning tech into a functional business involves not a gear shift, but a complete engine rebuild. We’re here to ease that process and allow more innovation to find the path to high growth,” he concludes.

Startups participating in the BeAI Pre-Accelerator

BeAI pre-accelerator
 

One of the startups participating in the Pre-Accelerator is Foni, meaning “voice” in Greek, co-founded in 2020 by Romanian Bogdan Soare, with Alina Mitrea, and Vlada Misici also part of the team. They focus on MedTech using AI technologies like Machine Learning and Text Analysis to help doctors digitize their files while they are examining their patients. The Recursive interviewed Bogdan Soare to discover more about their solution.

THE RECURSIVE: What inspired the launch of your startup?

BOGDAN SOARE: It was a personal experience that motivated me in the quest for potential solutions. Back in 2020, I had found myself in a consultation room with a general practitioner, who had opened a Word document and started to type in the results of the examination. The conversation with medical personnel was hindered due to not only time limitation, but also lack of eye contact. 

What challenges do you aim to solve with your solution?

Our target audience consists of medical personnel that lack a digital platform and/or a centralized database of patients’ medical history and are overwhelmed by administrative burden tasks. 

Foni comes to address these aspects by offering a web service and a desktop application speech recognition solution that allows medical staff to prepare high-quality documentation. We aim to give back doctors their time, for them to focus on patients’ needs by completely transforming the clinical documentation experience.

What is your development phase right now?

After we launched our initial solution, which was available in English, we’ve further integrated a vocal biomarker check against Covid-19 symptoms. We’ve also added the Romanian language to our platform. This allowed us to launch a pilot program within the Radiology department from two major hospitals. 

Some of the goals that we are targeting next include creating a flawless workflow of the application, training our model for the medical keywords, and adapting the documentation templates. We mold our solutions to the particularities of clients’ systems. This allows us to deliver a customized product that can better serve the needs of our clients.

What investment are you looking for and what do you plan to do in the following year?

We plan to extend the team to further develop the platform and improve the toolchain solution. To this end, we are seeking a €100k investment. One of the next milestones that we foresee achieving is the finalization of an API that can be easily integrated into a telemedicine platform aimed at achieving improvements of the clinical outcomes alongside saving expenditures. 

BeAI pre-accelerator
 

Another BeAI Pre-Accelerator participant is the startup PhaseGrowth from Estonia, launched in 2020 by Rosen Dimov. The focus is smart mobility and logistics, using Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Computer Vision to develop a digital tool for in-company training. We met with the founder to learn more about the startup and his plans. 

THE RECURSIVE: What inspired the launch of your startup? 

ROSEN DIMOV: In Covid-19 times, when e-commerce was booming, logistics was lagging as we can see from a growing number of inefficient deliveries with at least 15% of packages getting lost, damaged, or misdirected globally. A good number of logistics companies were unable to handle these problems internally. 

What challenges do you aim to solve with your solution? 

Tracking of deliveries in logistics includes multiple modes of transportation: a package gets lost or damaged, particularly in the cases of moving it from one means of transportation to another. By adopting a technological approach to this challenge, we also aim to foster digital, smart employment, retain and increase jobs of higher quality and value for the society and the economy.

What is your development phase right now? 

We are at the beta testing stage with 17 companies – 12 in Estonia, 1 international, and 4 in the USA – that are currently testing our solution. Many of them have made pre-orders and even paid before the product is fully operational. One of them, HHLA, has referred us to their business partners and affiliates in logistics worldwide.

What investment are you looking for and what do you plan to do in the following year? 

We seek €150K to ensure a successful product launch (engineering and marketing costs) in the European market. This way, we could make sure that no package gets lost, damaged, or misdirected, especially during holidays when, for instance, children are being sent a larger number of gifts from parents or grandparents than at other times of the year. Imagine a Christmas with everyone at home being happy as presents have been delivered on time!

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive with 10+ years of experience as a freelance writer based in Bucharest, Romania. Her mission is to report internationally on the amazing progress of the local startup ecosystems while bringing into focus exponential projects developed in niches like health and education or by female entrepreneurs.