BUSINESS

Innovation Labs, meeting place for tech start-ups

Innovation Labs 2016, the main pre-acceleration programme for tech start-ups in Romania, invites young people with a passion for technology to bring their ideas to life at the programme organized in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu and Timisoara. Innovation Labs is dedicated to young teams that have creative tech ideas and are willing to experience a tech start-up in the Romanian business ecosystem, alongside top-level mentors, entrepreneurs and tech specialists. The programme is organized by Tech Lounge, in partnership with Orange, Carrefour and The Romanian-American Foundation.

Young participants start from an idea that they will gradually refine and transform into a viable and convincing prototype, with the support of their mentors. The Innovation Labs 2016 directions are Agriculture, Cyber-Security, Health & Lifestyle and Retail.

Innovation Labs 2016 will debut with the Bucharest Hackathon on March 5-6, at the Bucharest Polytechnics University. Those willing can sign up by March 3, by filling-in the form available on the www.innovationlabs.ro website. Hackathon will take place in Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu and Timisoara a week later, on March 12-13. In the case of these events, the signing-up period extends to March 10.

The 24-hour Hackathon gives young participants the chance to better outline their ideas, to practically demonstrate them and to convince those around them of their potential. The best teams will continue the mentorship programme in March-May, holding weekly meetings with specialists from the ICT industry and from the entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to refine their initial prototype toward a viable product with direct market applications.

The teams will present their final prototypes on May 24, at Demo Day, before potential investors, partners and the mass media. It is a vibrant event and at the same time a new start for the teams – which have the chance to gain the attention of financiers and users.

Razvan Rughinis, co-founder Innovation Labs: “Innovation Labs is a meeting place for youngsters who want to see their ideas actually working and for tech start-up professionals who guide them on the often surprising road from concept to prototype. An idea can be interesting, but a tangible prototype is both an unforgettable experience for the youngsters that bring it to life as well as a possible launch pad for an impactful product that changes the lives of users. Both at Hackathon and during the mentorship period, the teams will work intensely in order to create their own products and to meet real user desires. Innovation Labs is now at its fourth edition, proving every year the youngsters’ technical creativity and perseverance in finding their own way. The ground is now set for Innovation Labs 2016.”

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