Passport Needed, No Tech Co-Founder Required


Digital Catalyst Fund Accelerator Launches This Summer in Romania, And They’re Now Accepting Applications…


Digital Catalyst Fund

Ah, Europe in summer. Outdoor cafes. Cobblestone streets. Castles, cold beer and – co-founders? Eastern Europe is increasingly being recognized as a source for top technical talent. Now a new startup accelerator – the Digital Catalyst Fund Summer Boot Camp, is providing entrepreneurs with both a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the region’s unique history and charm, while pairing them with some of the world’s very best technical talent.  This 10-week program will provide entrepreneurs with up to $20,000 cash and cash equivalent services (including room and board), as well as $30,000 in technical development resources to build out a prototype, MVP or product feature. A mentoring and educational program is also being implemented to support the teams as they build their businesses, and the program will culminate back in the US for a Demo Day, where the companies will  presents to investors.

Entrepreneurs will be chosen to participate in the program based on the strength and creativity of their ideas; teams selected are not required to have a technical lead or development team in place to be accepted.

“There is a lot of technical talent in Eastern Europe, while the US is rife with entrepreneurs ready to launch their startups, but who run into the problem of finding available tech talent. We feel that this is a perfect melding of both needs and culture, vision and implementation,” said Megan Mitchell, Director of Business Operations who is organizing the accelerator program.

Mitchell has a deep background in finding and fostering entrepreneurship. She served as Senior Associate Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at Wharton before being tapped by DCF to launch the boot camp. Mitchell is Duke and University of Pennsylvania educated.

DCF, a new early stage fund that focuses on startups influencing the digital marketing/new media space, is also providing accommodations in Bucharest. Entrepreneurs will be housed in a 6,000 square foot renovated mansion, complete with live-in chef. But what else would you expect, considering the teams will be spending the summer in ‘Little Paris,’ where they can dine along the banks of Lake Cișmigiu. Or explore Lipscani, the city’s historical center, lined with charming outdoor cafes for a snack and an Ursus beer while taking in the ambiance (there are no cars allowed here) and before heading out to one of the city’s hot clubs. Or hop on a bus or train to Varna and relax on the sandy shores of this Black Sea resort town.

Between builds, of course.

Lest we forget, the nearby mountains Transylvania are home to Bran Castle, birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia, Hollywood’s inspiration for Count Dracula.

Applications are being accepted now and decisions made on a rolling basis. The list of participating companies will be finalized June 1.

And what better location than the country that spawned Dracula himself for an accelerator? After all, most entrepreneurs are ready to give their life’s blood to get their companies started.


About the author: Bonnie Halper

Bonnie Halper curates the StartupOneStop.com newsletter, which focuses on startups and entrepreneurs, and is currently being read in 50+ countries around the world.

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