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“200 Seconds of Fame’ pitching competition @iCEEfest2017 brings on board the Spherik Accelerator: Dan Sturza, member of the Jury raises the bar expecting “clear & concise pitches that hopefully will deliver punchy stories and exciting new ideas.”


Start-up.ro has just announced the startups that are getting their “200 Seconds of Fame” @ iCEE.fest 2017. Apart from the public’s recognition, the winning startup will get hands-on assistance from the Spherik Accelerator team.

The startup will enter an accelerated learning period where they’ll create a growth strategy and learn to scale, with the support of experienced entrepreneurs & area specialists.

The pitching competition will be held on the second day of the festival (June 16), on Focus Stage 3.

There is a special ticket for the startup scene, if you want to support your favorite team or listen to the successful entrepreneurs that will present @ iCEE.fest.

Before the festival, icee.news talked with Dan Sturza, In House Venture Capitalist @ Spherik Accelerator and member of the jury for the “200 Seconds of Fame” competition about the most important problems for a startup in order to become a successful business:

  • When you have a startup, what’s more important: money or the idea?

At the beginning, the founder’s perseverance to follow their vision despite challenges, failures and community skepticism is paramount.  

At the same time, it is important that entrepreneurs do at least some basic market research of the opportunities & threats linked to their idea. They should define early on the idea’s viability and its market fit. This will often mean a slight or full pivot from the original idea. 

Money becomes very important and relevant during the growth stage when the start-ups needs to go to market and scale up.

  • Beside the person with the idea, how important is the rest of the team? In what phase should a startup think about management, communication, marketing etc.?

Firstly, the founders with the idea should not be just that. They need to be the visionaries, the creators and the main hustlers for the venture with equal importance.

Secondly, it is very common that founders do development, management, communication and marketing for a long time. Therefore, it is important to have a team with a good balance of between technical and business skills. 

Management, communication, marketing are relevant functions of any business, be it a two person startup or a multinational corporation. It definitely should be on the founders’ agenda early on. The question is rather not when to think about these functions but how to execute them appropriately for the startups lifetime stage and circumstances.

  • From your experience, which are the main obstacles for a startup to grow into a successful business?

I think the main obstacle is the lack of true motivation to persevere and continue despite difficulties and setbacks. Having a startup often means founders need to sacrifice many comforts of a non-entrepreneurial life.

The second obstacle is the lack of basic understanding about the problem they want to solve, their target market or the business model. This often comes from poor or no research into the subject. Even good ideas are not necessarily good businesses.

The third obstacle is the lack of focus on their core product as they often try to solve every problem in one go. They either end up doing all of it bad or spend so much time in product development without going to market that the opportunity has passed.

  • What kind of startups is Spherik Accelerator looking for?

We welcome early-stage startups from Romania and abroad working on solutions with impact & addressing big market opportunities.  

Our role is to help them develop their business strategy and facilitate access to markets and investors.

We welcome all technical start-ups that meet 3 conditions:

  • Teams have complementary business and tech skills or individuals have strong tech skills and a promising idea.
  • Founders have the availability and are ready to take a commitment to fully engage in the acceleration process.
  • The product is an early-stage prototype or MVP with a clear R&D component in the technology area.

We will particularly look at global focus areas like, although we welcome startups from any tech-related area: Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Cyber Security, 3D Printing and Transportation / Mobility.

  • What’s the main benefit for the startups accepted in the program?

Matchmaking with mentors and corporate partners based on their specific needs: startups join the Spherik community, access our network of local and international mentors and partners thus receiving invaluable business advice as well as access to market.

At the same time, accelerated startups have the possibility to access funding via our networks of partners and investors, who already committed 1 milion euro for this year’s program.

  • What’s the best idea you’ve heard since working @ Spherik?

There have been many exciting ideas in their areas.

Yet, even more interesting is the process they go through from a brilliant idea to an up and running business: turn obstacles into opportunities, self-development, build the team, learn to think in business terms & keep the focus; thus the whole bumpy entrepreneurial road.

  • You’re a member of the jury for the “200 Seconds of Fame” pitching competition, what are your expectations?

Well rehearsed, clear & concise pitches that hopefully will deliver punchy stories and exciting new ideas.

About Spherik Accelerator:

Based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Spherik Accelerator was founded in 2013 as an NGO by Liberty Technology Park, Transylvania Bank, Babes-Bolyai University and Technical University. It runs an international acceleration program creating growth opportunities for ambitious tech startups.


start-up.ro is the partner of iCEE.fest for the startup scene.

iCEE.fest will take place in Bucharest, June 15&16.

Here are the last available tickets.

Daniel Marton


Daniel Marton

After 3 years as a radio reporter (back in 2003), Daniel has experienced some other options that media can offer: 2 years as a special reporter (print), 2 years as a news commentator (tv), 2 years as an editor-in-chief (online) plus another 5 years as an online manager (digital). Since 2016, he is a freelance journalist, delivering documented articles and creative ideas for any kind of media. Ever since then, Daniel joined the iCEE.fest family, as a contributing editor for iCEE.news.

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