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This Romanian startup aims to change the EU investment market

deal flow management platform
Image credit: Metabeta co-founders | Marius Ursache on the left and Vlad Bodi on the right
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Iasi-based Metabeta, which provides early-stage investment lifecycle management for startups, has raised €500K in a round led by Neogen Capital, with a lead investment of €200K from Growceanu. This news comes after the company participated in the first edition of the Advancing AI Accelerator, a 2020 partnership with Google for Startups, which is open to all startups in SEE.

The company wants to help startups and investors connect by sharing data. By 2022 they want to develop into a SaaS-enabled marketplace using a hybrid approach of machine learning and human experience to evaluate early-stage startups. They aim to change the EU investment market by enabling this collaboration to drive faster decisions. 

For an accurate evaluation of traction and performance, they are looking to build a network of experts. They will use weighted scorecards and data from integrations with analytics and financial sources such as Stripe, Quickbooks, Xero, and Hubspot, to name a few. Metabeta tools suite for startups, investors, and accelerators will include deal flow metric tracking, due diligence processes, OKR tracking, but also mentor matching. 

“There are clear signs of radical changes ahead to identify the best deals early, evidence that machine learning algorithms perform better than humans by reducing cognitive, racial, and gender biases, and VC funds shifting towards heavy investments based on a data-driven approach”, says Vlad Bodi, co-founder and Chief Product Officer.

With this seed, they will accelerate the growth to match investors and startups, similar to OkCupid. “OkCupid is based on behaviors and systems of beliefs. I have friends who found their partner through it with a score of something like 90%, and they are very happy. I think that, at some point, science can prevent some disasters in all types of relationships,” shares Marius Ursache, co-founder and CEO of Metabeta. 

When one door closes…

Metabeta was founded in 2019 in Romania by serial entrepreneurs Marius Ursache and Vlad Bodi. While Ursache has a background at MIT as a mentor and Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars and Singularity University, Bodi is known for Bepretty, one of the leading B2B marketplaces in LatAm.

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“I got invited as a mentor for the class I was rejected as a student. I got really good feedback and later they invited me for a full-time position as an Entrepreneur in Residence. It happened right before Metabeta started, so I got a lot of knowledge and insights from the experience,” says Ursache about the Singularity University experience.

Both founders have traveled the world, working in countries like Australia, Chile, America, England, Colombia, and the United Emirates, but they chose Romania to launch Metabeta because of the strong ecosystem. Ursache shared with The Recursive that most of their team is remote, in countries like Pakistan, Turkey, and Romania.

The inspiration behind this startup comes from them witnessing that not many things have evolved in the last two decades. “It struck me that 20 years after I started my first company in 1999, working with Silicon Valley startups to promote themselves, the process a startup needs to go through to fundraise is pretty much the same. You create a beautiful deck, send it to investors, get some intros, pitch to them. Then, the decision is based on some excels, if you have the numbers. It feels like gambling,” concludes Ursache. 

What is the future of startup investment?

Based on the fact that the ecosystem has more data available now even for early-stage startups, Ursache shares that “we want to transform the global investment marketplace, but we have to start somewhere, so we chose SEE for startups and EU for investors because that’s where we have most of our customers and startups.”

Based on his findings, there is a high level of venture capital activity, accelerators, and startups in Europe. Ursache believes one of the reasons is that legislative changes allow different types of limited partners to allocate more money to venture capital. 

“If you look at the level of investment, you see it starts to become an alternative to an outsourcing economy. I think that startups are going to become an alternative to that because there’s funding, there is talent, there are people who are dissatisfied with the lack of meaning in a corporate job,” says Ursache. 

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As a former mentor for the MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, The Recursive asked Marius Ursache to part with a few pieces of advice he shared with entrepreneurs looking to grow their startups:

  • “People are the most important part.” | “It’s exciting to have a great mission, to raise money, to build a great product, but in the end, you work with people. Fundraising was good, but it was also brutal talking to a lot of investors and getting a lot of rejections. If I hadn’t had the team that I have right now, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”
  • “Cultivate a diversity of opinion.” | “In the Bootcamp, you have to work with people that you have never met before, that you don’t trust, in a very high-pressure, sleep-deprived environment. You want to work with people that are better than you are, that will generate conflicts, and you have to learn how to deal with confrontation and diversity of opinion.”
  • “It’s a tough game.” | “A startup fails only when the founders quit.”

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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 ecosystem while bringing into focus topics such as diversity in business cultures and women in tech; mental health, work-life balance, and the future. Of what? Everything! As a former solopreneur and a full-time mom, she strives to learn something new every day to share with the world. #nevernotlearning