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There is a lot of buzz going on about Romania placed under review to be part of the ESTA VWP program of the USA. This is great news for the people of Romania as it will open a lot of opportunities for them to visit the states without too much complication and tedious processes. In preparation for the country being a part of this wonderful program, there is some basic information that you should know first.
What is ESTA VWP Program?
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which is an important requirement<https://www.estaform.org/requirements> before traveling to the USA. This is a web-based system that is operated by an agency called US Customs and Border Protection. This system determines the eligibility of a person to travel under the VWP or Visa Waiver Program to the States under tourism or business purposes. The citizens who are under this program are allowed to stay in the country for 3 months without requiring to submit a visa.
This is a great boost in the tourism industry of the USA and a great opportunity for the countries involved to enter whenever they want easily and without any further hassles. One of the important requirements of entering the US is an electronic passport as additional security.
Romania as Part of the ESTA VWP Program
Romania is still currently under review for possible membership in the VWP in the future. Although they are currently not yet qualified to enroll in an ESTA visa<https://www.estaform.org/>, this is still seen to change in the future. At the moment, Romanian citizens still need to obtain an appropriate visa to travel to the USA. The visa they need to obtain depends on the purpose of their visit. They can have a visa as a tourist, businessman, students, or any other processes.
The country is still under evaluation to see how qualified Romania is in terms of the economic and political climate. Stability is an important requirement because the US needs to ensure that a visitor will not abuse the Visa Waiver Program. Another is to ensure that the home country of the individual is not under political and economic unrest. Once the assessment looks promising and ready for approval, Romanians can already prepare to enjoy the perks of traveling<https://business-review.eu/news/coronavirus-travel-update-20-countries-to-restrict-romania-for-traveling-211738> to the USA which includes ease of entry and accessibility.
After months of incredible work by the SEEFEST dream team, the 2020 festival is happening online. We are live at:
Are you ready to watch the 2020 selection of new films from South East Europe? Travel with movies to a region where diversity and entangled histories lend rich material to filmmakers of all stripes. From WWII dramas to intense chamber pieces, movies about the wind - or Shakespeare plays starring women from rural Turkey; sci-fi political satire, and comic retelling of a marriage headed for divorce. All films have English subtitles.
Below is my “ must see films” :
THE DIARY OF DIANA B. - Croatia
Eighty years after World War II, survivors return to the sites of former camps, in wartime run by local Nazi-collaborators Ustasha, only to find that they owe their lives to the selflessness and determination of one woman. An untold story of Austrian-born Diana Budisavljević, who led one of the largest children’s rescue campaigns of World War II, saving more than 10,000 mostly Serbian children.
URMA / English title LEGACY - Romania
An excellent directorial debut by Romanian actor Dorian Boguta (he's not acting in the film). A police procedural, an atmospheric and moody thriller, with the older detective resembling a character straight from Dashiell Hammett! It is absorbing, sobering, and intriguing, well acted, a treat.
If you want something lighthearted, watch COMMON STORY (Serbia), a dramedy about a breakup of a marriage with a husband who happens to be an actor down on his luck. It is a rare film from our region with comedic bent, yet heart-warming and funny.
BORA, STORY OF A WIND - Austria (documentary)
This is a feat of magnificent photography, that taks you on a road trip up & down the Adriatic where the wind called "bora" by Italians or "bura" by the Croats is synonymous with the region, like our Santa Ana wind. As it follows the wind the film is really a story about freedom, and a philosophy of life under the gale force of bora.
QUEEN LEAR - Turkey (documentary)
A total charmer! Shakespeare play with a cast of women from a rural part of Turkey. They'll steal your heart, their joie de vivre is infectious and is perfect to lift everyone's spirit these days.
Your support is highly appreciated and needed during these challenging times,
Thank you and enjoy the movies,
SEEFEST BOARD MEMBER
INVESTORS RESEARCH GROUP
5901 W. Century Blvd. St. 1010
Tel. 310-410-2300 ext.5310
More than 20 tech Romanian startups raised financing from venture capital funds, business angels and crowdfunding during the first semester of 2020.
By Claudiu Vrinceanu
1. SanoPass: EUR 400,000 (Cleverage Venture Capital, Founders Bridge, SeedBlink)
SanoPass, a Romanian start-up that aggregates independent medical service providers to sell preventive medical packages to firms, has raised 400,000 euro just at the beginning of the lockdown for 20% from the company. The financing round was mixed, with venture capital investors (Cleverage Venture Capital and Founders Bridge) and equity crowdfunding (SeedBlink). The transactions valued SanoPass at 2 million euro.
SanoPass is a Romanian startup founded in 2019 which addresses companies and issues preventive medical subscriptions offered by employers as benefits for employees at over 600 independent clinics and medical offices.
2. TypingDNA: USD 7 million (Gradient Ventures, GapMinder, Techstars Ventures)
Behavioral-biometrics company TypingDNA announces today that it raised a $7 million Series A round led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund. Other participants include EU-based fund GapMinder, Techstars Ventures and other prior investors.
3. Milluu – Early Game Ventures
Romanian venture capital fund Early Game Ventures invested at the beginning of the year an undisclosed amount in the local digital real estate platform Milluu. Roca X, a local Venture Capital fund also participated in the round.
4. Docbook: EUR 600,000 (Next Capital)
The online appointment platform, Docbook, raised an investment of 600,000 euros from the Next Capital Group to develop a complete Telemedicine solution, an area that will redefine patient-physician interaction these days in the context of the COVID 19 global crisis.
5. ialoc.ro<http://ialoc.ro/>: EUR 286,000 (GapMinder, SeedBlink, private investors)
Ialoc.ro, an online reservation platform for restaurants, raised a new round of financing, in a total amount of 286,000 euros, of which 80,000 euros were attracted through the fundraising platform for SeedBlink startups.
Along with equity crowdfunding investors, the GapMinder VC investment fund participates, which is also a lead investor in this round, consolidating its participation in the company Ialoc SRL since 2 years ago. Private investors, such as Domeniu Bogdan, the winemaker or Lister Capital, also participated in this round.
6. EcoTree: EUR 215,000 (Sparking Capital, SeedBlink)
EcoTree, an innovative digital platform addressed to the field of circular economy, waste recycling and developed by a Romanian start-up, received a funding of 215,000 euros for development and implementation. The financing was coordinated by Sparking Capital, as Lead Investor, in partnership with the crowdfunding platform Seed Blink and business angels.
7. yeParking: EUR 50,000 (Roca X)
yeParking, a parksharing application and IT provider of solutions for the efficiency of parking spaces, received a financing of 50,000 euros from Roca X, to accelerate the company’s growth.
8. Tokinomo: EUR 700,000 (Early Game, Tech Angels and business angels)
The retail tech startup Tokinomo raised an investment round of over 700,000 euros, from EGV, and a group of business angels, most of TechAngels (techangels.ro<http://techangels.ro/>).
9. Code of Talent: EUR 450,000 (ROCA X and Seedblink)
The microlearning platform Code of Talent raised 450,000 euros for a stake of 12% from the company. ROCA X lead the financing round with 250,000 euros, and the rest of the financing was raised through the equity crowdfunding platform Seedblink.
This transaction valued Code of Talent at 3.5 million euros.
10. MissionCritical: EUR 500,000 (Neogen Capital)
The Neogen Capital VC invested 500,000 euros in the RPA technology developed by the startup MissionCritical. Călin Fusu, CEO of Neogen Capital joins the MissionCritical team together with Mario Popescu, Cristian Oftez and George Haber. MissionCritical is developing software robots to provide companies with a faster way to automate processes.
MissionCritical robots work for local and international companies and the company is valued at over 5 million euros after this round of funding.
11. Humans: EUR 330,000 (Early Game Ventures and ROCA X)
The Romanian technology start-up Humans raised a funding of 330,000 euros for the development of an innovative technology capable of generating synthetic (AI-created) media.
The funding attracted by Humans comes from the venture capital investment fund Early Game Ventures, ROCA X, part of Impetum Group, a project for disruptive businesses, as well as from a private investor.
12. Machinations: EUR 580,000 (GapMinder, Seedcamp, Vennrex, RocaX and TechAngels)
Machinations, a scaleup that builds a tool for game designers, raised 580.000 in a financing round lead by GapMinder (Revista Biz). Machinations allows the game designer to architect different scenarios of the outcomes a gamer would have while playing a certain game.
13. StockBinder: EUR 100,000 (business angels, Marian Seitan included)
The Romanian startup StockBinder, the developer of a SaaS platform which facilitates the rapid integration between online stores, suppliers and manufacturers, raised an investment of over 100,000 euros from four Romanian business angels.
14. KFactory: EUR 215,000 (Sparking Capital, SeedBlink)
KFactory, digital platform focused on performance increasing and productivity optimisation for manufacturing companies, raised 215,000 euro funding for the development and the implementation of the business plan in the coming years. The financing is coordinated by Sparking Capital, as Lead Investor, in partnership with the equity crowdfunding platform SeedBlink and private angels.
15. CODA Intelligence: EUR 800,000 (Early Game Ventures, ROCA X, Marius Alexe)
CODA Intelligence, a cybersecurity startup, raised 800,000 euros in a new round from Early Game Ventures, ROCA X and Marius Alexe, as angel investor. The entire amount aims to expand the CODA Footprint product on the US market, a cyber security platform dedicated to SMEs, and its licensing on the US market.
16. Jobful: EUR 250,000 (private investors)
Jobful, startup that developed a recruitment platform through gamification, raised a new round of investment of 250,000 euros.
The investment comes from some business angels and one of them is Mirko Knaak, Head of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning at IAV Digital Hub.
17. Telios: USD 200,000 (Transylvania Angels Network, Growceanu, TechAngels)
Telios, a telemedicine scaleup, closed an investment round of 200,000 dollars from three of the most important angel networks in Romania Transylvania Angels Network, Growceanu and TechAngels Romania.
18. Gumzzz: EUR 200,000 (Stelian Bogza + Cristian Petri, business angels)
Romanian startup Gumzzz, that provides patients around the world with options to access dental services and packages from different countries, has closed two rounds of financing of a total of 200,000 euros from angel investors Stelian Bogza, co-founder at BenefitOnline, and Cristian Petri, founder of Oral Design Lab & Clinic.
19. Kinderpedia: EUR 400,000 (Roca X, Seedblink)
SeedBlink lists Kinderpedia in a round led by ROCA X meant to accelerate the transformation of education in Romania and in Europe. Kinderpedia is a complete communication and management solution dedicated to schools and kindergartens, based on permanent collaboration and real-time communication between teachers, students and parents.
Within the current round, for EUR 400,000, the company offers 15.4 percent of the capital. SeedBlink, the largest regional equity crowdfunding platform dedicated to innovative start-ups, lists Kinderpedia for EUR 200,000 funding, in a round led by ROCA X, which has already committed EUR 200,000.
20. 20. Beez: EUR 1.2 million (GapMinder)
Beez raised a seed investment of 1.2 million euros, in a financing round led by GapMinder Venture Partners.
21. Quarks Interactive: EUR 40,000 (business angels)
Quarks Interactive received 40,000 euros in funding from four angel investors – Ciprian Man (partner in Growceanu) and three TechAngels members. The start-up was also financed with 75,000 euros through the equity crowdfunding platform Seedblink.
22. Flip ro: EUR 250,000 (Gapminder and V7 Capital)
Flip.ro, a local marketplace dedicated to used phones, raised EUR 250,000 in a new financing round seven months after its launch. Venture capital fund Gapminder has led the financing round, alongside V7 Capital and several private investors.
23. Stressless: EUR 45,000 (business angels)
The Cluj startup Stressless, which develops TULLY, raised a round of angel-type financing, worth 45,000 euros from a group of investors from the TechAngels association, including Dragos Nicolaescu (founder of Tech Startup School), Niculae Dinca and Emmett King (founder of Transylvania Angels Network).
Tuesday, 25 February. RACC-LA organized an event in Beverly Hills to the benefit of a delegation of students from The Entrepreneurship Academy in Bucharest. Cristian Calugarita, director at RACC-LA, who initiated the event, took the young Romanians to meet Brenda George, founder of BrandUSA, who hosted the two hours and a half meeting at her office, offering an ample seminar in marketing, copywriting, branding and personal inspiring stories from her career.
Several senior agents of Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills real estate agency stopped by to greet the group. The meeting concluded with the request of the delegation for a "24 hour challenge", asking Brenda to assign them a project they would have to conclude within one day. The Romanian Students are touring the United States for a five week "Learning Journey" sponsored by their Academy.
Friday, 28 February. RACC-LA held an event in Los Angeles, hosted by the Chamber's director and founder, Jacob Segal at his office, who met a delegation of Romanian students from The Entrepreneurship Academy in Bucharest. Cristian Calugarita, director at RACC-LA, who organized this event, introduced the young Romanians to Investors Research Group, a company founded by Jacob Segal, where the host provided valuable insight in investing, startups and business, offering many good business ideas to the students.
The Romanians have also had the opportunity to meet Sam Freshman, the founder and chairman of Standard Management Company, who offered his business advice and gave everyone a copy of his book "Never Be Old Enough To Know Better And You Will Succeed In Life and Business", alongside other gifts handed by Jacob. The Romanian students then continued their "Learning Journey" in America, sponsored by their Academy, to San Francisco and New York, before returning home.