Romania’s tech scene is a whole lot more than a bad comment from Bernie Sanders about their Internet speed
Far from a third world economy, the Romanian startup ecosystem is thriving. A tweet yesterday by American presidential candidate Bernie Sanders compared the country’s wired infrastructure to that of the U.S., saying that the American one was “unacceptable and must change,” something that has rubbed Romanians around the world the wrong way.
Today, people living in Bucharest, Romania have access to much faster Internet than most of the US. That’s unacceptable and must change.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 2, 2016
Nothing quite says “presidential” like dissing Romania.
— Suzanne Munshower (@expatina) March 4, 2016
Romania has an advanced tech ecosystem that does not get enough coverage. Here is a list of some of the up-and-coming Internet-focused startups in the Eastern European country that should leave you with no doubt that Bucharest is rightfully playing with the big shots.
These guys are small but on the rise, providing cloud services to improve cross-device communications for IoT (Internet of Things). DeviceHub raised EUR 80,000 from Deutsche Telekom’s hub:raum in Krakow last year. That gave them access to hub:raum’s network of mentors and Deutsche Telekom’s 150 million-strong user base in Germany and beyond via its affiliate Telekom Romania. They offer services specific to verticals like smart cars, medical devices, fleet management, smart homes and “smart metering.”
The company was founded by CEO Ionut Cotoi, engineer Constantin Craciun and strategist Cristina Bogateanu.
Both a media and data company, IoT.do is looking to become the hub for the Internet of Things industry in Romania. They offer consulting services for companies in the vertical, engineering and R&D, app development and more. They also aim to be the pivot point for local industry events and Romanian IoT news. The services outfit was founded by Cristian Sturek, who also boasts being a co-founder of big data startup InteliAthlete.
And this is Pocketo 🙂 pic.twitter.com/wiZJXIPWA0
— Pocketo (@pocketodevice) September 11, 2014
Also beating down the doors of the IoT industry, Pocketo helps you develop hardware for connected devices by providing a Bluetooth and WiFi development board without the need for other physical components during the design process. Their service comes replete with an app that simulates those physical components, which would fit neatly into your design when you’re finished.
Hitting up the IoT and healthtech markets, Vitabox is taking medication reminders to a whole new level. Working out of the accelerator Innovation Labs in Bucharest, Vitabox amalgamates information from personal surveys and data provided by the company’s wearables to prescribe a specific regimen of vitamins and supplements. The target market is newly minted gym-goers who might otherwise be deterred from progressing in their new fitness ambitions were they not to supplement their workouts correctly with the right diet. They maintain their tracking to hone in on a more exact and personalized regimen as time goes on, taking into account changes to your routine. Vitabox is hoping to partner with commercial gyms to push their wearable app solution.
Entering an increasingly competitive space, TraVIS wants to be the Google Analytics of apps, with entrances and downloads coming in from referrals, direct links, search traffic and the like. They are also coming out of Innovation Labs, targeting other app-centric startups as customers in Bucharest and beyond. They brag about having no restrictions in terms of how much traffic they can analyze and would easily work for large brands or media-heavy customers like telecoms and ISPs.
6. Vector Watch
Vector Watch‘s claim to fame is its 30-day strong battery for smart watches. They have two product lines: the Luna and the Meridian, both pushing a stainless steel frame with a luxurious style. From their Romanian base, they also launched in American, British and Swiss markets with offices in each location as well as Hong Kong. Like most small ecosystems, they keep their marketing and sales staff headquartered abroad in the larger markets. They exploded onto the scene with a $5 million investment led by the GECAD group in 2015.
Vector Watch was co-founded by CTO Andrei Pitis, Irina Alexandru and Dan Tudose. Their CEO Joe Santana brings years of experience as the head of Timex.
Now these guys are just freaking cool. With a wearable designed specifically for martial arts students, Jaboo is working on a strap that acts as a “personal sensei” according to our folks over at Tech.eu. Their app is still in development, but expects to be widely available later in 2016. Co-founder Camil Moldoveanu told Tech.eu that they hope to launch a crowdfunding campaign and have the first batch shipped out by the time 2017 rolls around.
Bought by the German subsidiary of California-based Telenav, Skobbler produces navigation apps containing its digital mapping technology (which relies in part on OpenStreetMap). Skobbler keeps its R&D headquarters in the Transylvanian city of Cluj-Napoca. The company also played host to last year’s awesomely named Techsylvania Conference that analyzed the local industry with a day of panel discussions and networking bringing Romanians and foreign visitors together to show off tech in the land of Dracula.