Smart Hand, startup that engineers a myoelectric prosthetic hand for disabled people, from Bulgaria is the winner of How to Web Startup Spotlight, the most important competition and orientation program for CEE startups. The runner-up of the competition was Synetiq, the IXIA Innovation Award went to Wyliodrin, whereas the Best Pitch award went to Data Maid. The winners have been recently announced on the main stage of How to Web, the most important web and technology event in South Eastern Europe that took place in Bucharest on November 20 and 21.
Organized during How to Web, Startup Spotlight brought together the best 32 early stage startups in the region. During the four days of the program, the finalists attended practical workshops, mentoring sessions and 1 on 1 meetings with investors and representatives of top notch accelerators from all around the world.
The first day of Startup Spotlight included a pitching rehearsal at the end of which the best 8 teams were chosen to present their product on the main How to Web stage in front of the entire audience of the conference. The finalists of the competition were: Appticles (a mobile content distribution platform), DataMaid (tool for creating and publishing rich media content on the go), DaisyPi (Raspberry Pi powered home monitoring solution), Synetiq (app that provides reliable customer insights), SmartHand (advanced myoelectric prosthetic hand for disabled people), Spot the Number (creator of unique social games),Squirrly (content marketing tool allowing optimizing and measurement), and Zzzzapp (platform that allows businesses to target, engage and monetize onsite captive customers).
The startups were evaluated by expert judges such as Paul Ford (Vice-President Softlayer, US), Radu Georgescu (serial entrepreneur and angel investor), Mike Butcher (Senior Editor TechCrunch), Daniel Lynch (Managing Partner 3TS) or Teodor Ceauşu (Country Manager IXIA Romania). The jury reviewed the startups by looking at their team fit and experiences, market size & trend, market validation & traction, customer acquisition cost, scalability and overall feasibility.
The big winner of this year’s Startup Spotlight competition was Smart Hand, Bulgarian startup that engineers a myoelectric prosthetic hand for disabled people. “The award received means a lot to us, especially in terms of international recognition as compared with the skepticism that we faced in Bulgaria. It’s fresh air for our company and the cash prize will help us making our product better”, said Ivaylo Yankov, Co-Founder of Smart Hand.
Synetiq, tool that provides businesses with valuable emotional insights about their customers, was the runner-up in the contest. The team from Wyliodrin, easy web based development tool for embedded services, received the IXIA Innovation Award, and the best pitch award went to Data Maid, tool for creating and publishing rich media content on the go. The finalists received USD 20.000 cash prizes offered by IXIA Romania, the main partner of How to Web Startup Spotlight.
Besides the consistent cash prizes, the finalists received several other valuable awards: access to Microsoft Azure’s platform, free infrastructure and mentoring as part of the Softlayer Catalyst startup program, office hours with Jon Bradford (Managing Director of the TechStars acceleration program), Biriş Goran legal scholarships consisting of 3 hours of legal advice for startups, the opportunity to pitch their product during Startup Bootcamp, access to Hub:raum workshop in Krakow, a shortcut to attend a Seedcamp event, cloud infrastructure offered by Rackspace, Evernote premium accounts, tech goodies from F6S, as well as direct access to the Romanian Innovation Commercialization Program (RICAP).
Startup Spotlight will officially end on Friday, November 22, with an Open Hours Session with investors and accelerator, during which the 32 teams will get the chance to explore the opportunities that lay ahead, as well as discuss terms for potential deals that may be closed in the future.
Startup Spotlight was organized during How to Web, the most important web and technology event in South East Europe. How to Web 2013 was organized around the “Let’s grow together” central concept and it brought together 40 international speakers from 4 continents and an audience of over 800 persons. How to Web 2013 was developed with the support of IXIA, X3, Bitdefender, CyberGhosoft, SoftLayer, Enterprise Ireland, Avangate, Microsoft, Hubraum, PayMill, Twilio, Biris Goran and Banca Comercială Română.