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EBRD and Startup Wise Guys to run fintech accelerator in Romania

Source: Startup Wise Guys

Startup Wise Guys (SWG), one of Europe’s most experienced accelerators and busiest investment funds, alongside the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), are announcing the launch of a new startup accelerator focusing on fintech.

Up to ten selected startups will receive up to €90,000 investment with a potential follow-on investment. These startups will work with the SWG team, fintech experts, and EBRD staff in a five-month, intensive accelerator. The program and investment are aimed at a broad spectrum of financial verticals like proptech, insurtech, analytics, regtech and cyber security.

Venture capital in Romania is heating up, with the total deal volume breaking the €100M-mark for the first time ever in 2021. Led by recent unicorn valuations for Romanian startups FinTechOS and elrond, interest in fintech startup culture is exploding there. Much like the Skype-mafia effect that saw a wave of startup innovation coming out of Estonia, Romania is poised to become a global player. Startup Wise Guys continues its focus of impact investing in emerging and underserved markets, and EBRD is continuing its mission of supporting new development in CEE.

SWG’s fintech program in Bucharest, Romania will be run by InsurTech expert Juan Alonso-Villalobos (Spain), and startup founder/business development expert Razvan Suta (Romania), with support from several fintech veterans as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, such as Omer Unsal (Turkey) and Jevgenijs Kazanins (Latvia). The accelerator program will be aimed at product-market fit, sales and internationalization strategies, company and team growth, scaling, product, and fundraising. Selected startups will participate in a mix of online and in-person modules, product sprints and 1:1 mentoring sessions. Applications close on June 2nd, and the program will start on June 27th, and run until November 2022.

“Having invested in close to 50 fintech startups, we have witnessed amazing talent from the region and the impact these startups can make to the digital economy. This is backed by the high appetite of investors - already, we have already seen two exits from fintech startups in our portfolio and a number of series A and B rounds. We chose Romania for our fifth fintech program because it is a country we believe is poised for hyper growth in the startup space in the coming decade. We are doing this in a new partnership with EBRD after a successful collaboration in the last fintech program in Vilnius, Lithuania,” comments Cristobal Alonso, Global CEO at Startup Wise Guys.

“We are delighted to continue our cooperation with SWG on developing the fintech ecosystem in Central and Eastern Europe. The support of the TaiwanBusiness - EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund has been key for enabling the deployment of new technologies, driving innovation and growth in EBRD countries of operation. Supporting the digital transition is a key part of EBRD’s long-term strategy. Therefore, we are pleased to be scaling up our activities in Bucharest through our partnerships and EBRD’s Star Venture Programme, launched in Romania last month”, said Alex Pivovarsky, Director of EBRD Capital and Financial Markets Development Team.

The EBRD supports the development of sustainable economies based on a sound and vibrant private sector as the engine of growth and innovation. Progress towards new technology and the creation of value is one of their main goals along this path. Fostering the EBRD regions’ huge potential for fintech is an increasingly important part of the Bank’s work - as an investor, as a policy adviser and as a cooperation partner. The EBRD works with governments on creating a supportive regulatory framework, building sandboxes and designing roadmaps towards building a fintech ecosystem. The partnership with Startup Wise Guys benefits from the active support of the TaiwanBusiness - EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund.

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