„We want to thank the How to Web team for all the support during the two months of the program. We didn't expect to be the winner, but we are glad to see that investors trust our solution", says Madis Alesmaa, Co-Founder and CEO of Alpha AR.

During the Spotlight Pitch Day event on November 24th, the top 10 startups in the Spotlight 2021 program presented their pitches, and Alpha AR was elected winner by a jury consisting of: Dan Oros (Google), René Schöb (KPMG Romania), Horia Velicu (BRD - Groupe Société Générale), Laura Ștefan (Mastercard Romania), Gabriel Diaconescu (BearingPoint Romania), Monica Obogeanu (Orange Romania), Alexandra Badea (2Checkout, now Verifone), Bogdan Axinia (eMAG), Andreea Pipernea (NN Romania), Ondrej Bartos (Credo Ventures), Lavinia Neagoe (Fitbit), Andrei Dudoiu (SeedBlink), Mălin Ștefănescu (TechAngels), Alexandru Bogdan (RocaX), Dan Mihăescu (GapMinder Venture Partners), Andrei Pitiș (Simple Capital), Adrian Erimescu (Growceanu) and Mircea Vădan (Transylvania Angels Network).

CodeWell (North Macedonia) and RepsMate (Romania) ranked 2nd and 3rd, respectively. The 10 finalist startups were Nu-Credits, iSpeak, RepsMate, Brio, Konvi, Coursy, Vatis Tech, Alpha AR, Streams Live, CodeWell AI.

The startups participating in the program have access to other benefits offered by the main partners: an account package “Optimist Entrepreneur Plus” that has an attached debit Business card from Mastercard, offered free of charge until December 31st 2022 by BRD - Groupe Société Générale, for all the startups admitted in the program, as well as tax and legal consulting services for the best 3 startups in the program, provided by KPMG Romania. All startups participating in the program will also have access to F6S benefits worth €1 million.

“Since 2011, Spotlight has been helping Eastern European early-stage startups to connect with experts, operators and investors. While traditionally we were running the program during the How to Web Conference, we had to move it online, to adapt it and enlarge it. But one thing has stayed the same - Spotlight is a great place for smart, ambitious and enthusiastic professionals”, adds Bogdan Iordache, founder of How to Web.

The €350,000 investment prize is syndicated by TechAngels, SeedBlink, Growceanu, GapMinder Venture Partners, RocaX, Simple Capital and Transylvania Angels Network (T.A.N.). The amount is a future investment in the form of a convertible note.

Spotlight 2021 kicked off on October 5th, and during the program, startups have benefited from more than 1,000 one-on-one meetings with technology industry leaders. These included Luciana Lixandru (Sequoia), Nicolas Dessaigne (Y Combinator), Irina Haivas (Atomico), Carlos Espinal (Seedcamp), Andrei Brasoveanu (Accel), Hristo Borisov (Payhawk), Nopadon Wongpakdee (Startup Core Strengths), Ramli John (Product-Led Institute), Andy Budd (Clearleft), and Ondrej Bartos (Credo Ventures), as well as representatives from over 50 investment funds, such as EarlyBird Venture Capital, Credo Ventures, 500 Startups Istanbul, Speedinvest, SOSV, Gamegroove Capital, LAUNCHub Ventures, Market One Capital, Eleven Ventures, Smok Ventures, eMAG Ventures, Flashpoint Capital, Notion Capital and others.

Spotlight is developed in partnership with Google for Startups, KPMG Romania, Mastercard Romania and BRD - Groupe Société Générale, with the support of eMag, 2Checkout (now Verifone), Fitbit, Microsoft Romania, BearingPoint Romania, Orange Romania, NN Romania and Credo Ventures.

Launched in 2011 and organized as part of the How to Web conference, Spotlight is the best-known competition in Eastern Europe for technology startups to expand globally.

More details about the program can be found by accessing howtoweb.co.