Your weekly dose of startup news from the region is here again. Keep up with the most recent events from the SEE startup ecosystem, from the results of your voting for the next unicorn of Southeast Europe, to strategic partnerships in fintech and agritech, and the latest SeedBlink campaigns. Check out our selection of the 8 most notable startup news that happened last week.
#1 Romanian DRUID.AI is the winner of The Future Unicorns awards, part of SEE ITS Summit 2022
- DRUID.AI, the Romanian startup for AI-powered intelligent virtual assistants, won The Future Unicorns’ award. The company was nominated on The Recursive’s list aimed to identify the next unicorn from Southeast Europe. On 3rd of June, at the SEE Innovation, Technology and Sourcing Summit award ceremony, organized by AIBEST and BESCO, DRUID.AI was announced as the winner among the most promising startups in the SEE region.
- Andreea Socol, the Pre-Sales Director at DRUID.AI, received the award from Irina Obushtarova, CEO and co-founder of The Recursive at the award ceremony.
- Among the others nominated startups for soon-to-be-unicorns, were Blueground, CloudCart, EnduroSat, FintechOS, Spotawheel, Tenderly, Tokinomo, Gtmhub, OfficeRnD, Plum.
#2 SafexPay and Romanian PayByFace join forces to bring the future of payments to India
- The Indian fintech company SafexPay has made a strategic investment in the Bucharest-based company PayByFace. The partnership between the two corporations will bring facial recognition as a payment method to India. The ultimate goal for both partners is to make payments more simple, reliable, and secure, from the customer’s perspective.
- SafexPay is the fastest growing Indian payment platform. It aims to revolutionize the fintech ecosystem across the globe and build innovation in India and the world. The company made a strategic move by investing in PayByFace as it introduced a cost-effective and smooth purchase experience to the Indian market.
- PayByFace, a fintech company founded in Romania in 2018, is one of the first companies to use the facial recognition technology to process payments. It makes it possible for individuals to pay at the supermarket only with their faces, no cards needed. Any business can adopt this payment method, as long as a 2D camera device is available. Read more about PayByFace here.
- In the long term, SafexPay’s goal is to become the first provider of the Self-Check-Out solution globally by making collaborations with shopping centers, restaurants, and supermarket chains.
“We need leaders and innovators in the market to show people what’s next,” says Mihai Draghici, founder of PayByFace for the recent partnership with SafexPay.
#3 The Romanian fashion tech personal shopper The Outfit, aims to raise €500K on the crowdfunding platform SeedBlink
- The Outfit is an app in the e-commerce and fashion industry. It offers a personal styling service for women. A fashion stylist chooses clothes and accessories using an algorithm, based on each customer’s style profile and sends the preferred items to the customer.
- Founded in 2021 and already received an investment of 300K euro, The Outfit is looking to raise another 500K euros in a SeedBlink round, led by TSG Capital. The investment round is also supported by the angel investors Sergiu Negut (co-founder of Fintech OS), Ilinca Paun (founder of Bravva Capital), Alexandru Ghita (founder of EDUCATIVA Group) and Radu Atanasiu (TechAngels).
- The startup has increased its orders from 445 in June 2021 to 3,000 orders in December 2021.
- The Romanian startup which offers digital solutions for influencers on social media, is now listed for the second time on SeedBlink, one of the fastest growing investing platforms in Europe.
- MOCAPP’s campaign is part of an investment round, led by the Romanian VC fund Roca X. The round is expected to reach €400K..
- If the startup reaches its goal on Seedblink, it will be able to enter the UK market with its brand new product – the L!NK app. It is a mobile app, targeting e-commerce businesses, that brings to light the influencers in an online store’s database and helps turning them from customers into brand ambassadors.
#5 Finqware received a license from the National Bank of Romania to operate in all 27 EU countries as a payment initiation service provider
- The acquisition of the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) license is a huge achievement for the Romanian fintech company. This license regulates the payments ecosystem in the EU. It will allow Finqware to set its FinqTreaury solution to motion across the 6000+ banks in Europe.
- Founded in 2018 by fintech enthusiasts, Finqware is a technical service provider that has been growing and improving its deep tech infrastructure for banks APIs aggregation. Finqware’s vision is to turn open banking and APIs into the preferred bank connectivity solution for big corporations.
“Open banking connectivity also comes with unparalleled benefits against the old technologies, like real-time data pulling and no-human touch financial data processing potential. And Finqware has the aggregation technology to leverage these opportunities for businesses,” says Cosmin Cosma, co-founder and CEO at Finqware.
- The software development company, Softbinator Technologies, acquired Espresoh Tech for $600K in cash, plus shares. Following the full takeover of Espresoh Tech, Softbinator Technologies will expand its portfolio with new clients, especially from the United States.Softbinator is already present on the West Coast in Silicon Valley. Now, with the acquisition of Espresoh Tech, they can spread over the East Coast (Washington D.C. and New York City), too.
- Softbinator Technologies is a consultancy agency that is focused on solutions in fintech, edutech, healthtech, e-commerce, IoT, AI/robotics and blockchain. The company was listed on the AeRO market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange in 2021.
“Discussions with the company’s shareholders began in November 2021, and we have stepped up plans to turn Espresoh Tech into an even stronger company after the completion of this acquisition. Also, after Espresoh Tech will be integrated into the group, we will pursue the further development of the team in that region of the country, both through an organic growth and through the acquisition of other companies in that area, ” said Daniel Ilinca, founder of Softbinator Technologies.
- Espresoh Tech is one of the most well-known local brands in Timisoara, Romania. It is an IT company, founded in 2012, that specializes in software development, consulting, testing and User Interface (UI) / User Experience (UX).
#7 Romanian Agritech startups Chromosome Dynamics (CHRD) and AgriCloud partner to build a common product
- The two Romanian Agritech startups are now working together to help farmers, stimulate the B2B relationship, and bring performance in agriculture. The strategic cooperation between the two companies will deliver to Romanian farmers tools and solutions for responsible agriculture.
- CHRD is a high-tech Romanian company, established in 2020. Its main goal is to develop Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and directly impact the growth of the Romanian agro sector. А month ago, the company was listed on the AeRO market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange.
“We want to address – through our Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence tools – the most important issues that stand in the way of responsible and successful agriculture. We believe that CHRD’s vision and products, together with AgriCloud’s tools and experience, can bring significant benefits to both Romanian and foreign farmers and the B2B relationship, towards generating high-tech solutions and mutual support in a field that requires continuous innovation and rapid technologicalization,” said Mugurel Ionel, General Manager at CHRD.
- AgriCloud is a Romanian startup founded in 2017 that provides IoT (Internet of Things) solutions for precision agriculture. It helps farmers monitor their production with the necessary tools, such as multispectral cameras, sensors, and robots.
“We want this strategic partnership to support and promote both parties alike, and we will aim to integrate as many cross-selling practices as possible into our portfolios. The aim is to benefit both customers, through complete packages of tools for minimum investments, and to bring to the attention of as many farmers as possible from two portfolios of customers, the most complex products in the agri-tech area, ” said Marcel Ionescu, CEO of AgriCloud.
#8 Bulgaria will participate in the Coding Challenge hackathon for Ukraine
- The Coding Challenge for Ukraine is a hackathon that will take place from June 17 – June 26. The project is supported by the European Commission, the European Digital Finance Association, and the Ukrainian Association of Fintech and Innovation Companies.
- The goals of the hackathon are to help Ukraine’s recovery, and to support the Ukrainian resistance against Russian disinformation. It also aims to boost the country’s resilience by giving it access to everyday services.
- Bulgaria is hosting a physical event in the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (FEBA) at Sofia University. The event will be opened by the Minister of Electronic Governance of the Republic of Bulgaria, Bozhidar Bozhidarov.