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The Bridge to Inclusive Finance: What’s Next for Romanian Fintech

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On February 24, 2021, one of Techcelerator’s programs – NextFintech – is to host its pinnacle event “The Bridge to Inclusive Finance” at which the 11 startups from the latest cohort of the program are to pitch their product ideas in front of investors such as GapMinder VC, TechAngels, SeedBlink while competing for a round of financing of up to €200K. The event will also be highlighted by panels on the topics of inclusive finance and strategies for attracting investors, the speakers for which are representatives of the National Bank of Romania (NBR), Banca Transilvania, TechVentures Bank, TBC Bank Georgia, and the Development Facility of the European Fund for Southeast Europe. 

NextFintech: what comes before the pitching?

This 12-week edition of the NextFintech program consisted of four parts: sales & matchmaking, which was executed with the help of financial institutions in the region, product marketing, transition strategies for entering the international market, as well as investment readiness. The different modules were executed with the help of mentors, well-known entrepreneurs, investors, and founders of fintechs among which are Flavia Richardson, Vice President of Early Stage Practice at the Silicon Valley Bank, Sergiu Negut, co-founder of Fintech OS, Cosmin Cosma, CEO of Finqware, and Cosmin Ochisor, partner at GapMinder VC. 

Between 8 and 12 fintechs participate in each edition of the regional accelerator. For the last two years, over 40 companies have participated in the Techcelerator programs and have managed to raise over €5M while reaching a survival rate of 86%. Among the fintechs, popular names are TimedFX, a startup that synchronizes currency exchange rates, as well as Beez whose expense tracking solution helped the company attract €250K and expand to the UK market.  When it comes to NextFintech, startups are required to have a minimum viable product or be in their beta testing phase. While the product needs to have a potential for international scaling, another requirement is for the company to have a good team with a business or product manager. Early traction in the form of revenue is a plus for the companies that have managed to build a client base. The targeted domains include financing for SMEs, eCommerce and retail, contactless payments, as well as personal and digital financial services. The pre-seed or seed investment is provided to the companies through equity or mixed investment for up to 10% of a given company. 

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Time to shine

The February 24 event is focused on presenting the progress achieved by startups and the development of their strategies. The themed panels are also open to all startup community players, founders, and entrepreneurs. The first panel: “Co-creation of the Fintech Ecosystem: Driving Inclusive Finance” will be led by specialists among whom Bogdan Mihai, Deputy Director of the National Bank of Romania, Mihaela Nadasan, Deputy CEO of Banca Transilvania, and Olimpiu Balaș, owner of the Romanian TechVentures. When it comes to the second module “Experts Insights: Winning the Investors’ Heart”, viewers will have the chance to hear Dan Oros, Head of Marketing at the Romanian divisions of Google and YouTube, Cosmin Cosma, who is President of the Romanian Fintech Association, and Cristian Dascălu who is Partner at GapMinder VC, Romania.

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Viktoria is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive and a sophomore-standing student at the American University in Bulgaria. Combining her Business Administration studies while mapping the Southeastern European startup ecosystem is a positive-sum game for her as she has the chance to interact with the most active entrepreneurs in the region. Her favorite topics include venture capital structures, investments, as well as innovations in the scitech and fintech sectors.