Over 100 mobile app entrepreneurs from 19 countries competed in the VentureOut Challenge to VentureOut with their app at Chisinau, Moldova during an international mobile meeting organized by infoDev of the World Bank. The goal: Internationalization of their mobile applications -- entering new countries, continents or going global with their amazing apps. Stakes were high: three awards of $10,000 seed funding, mentorship with international and regional mobile experts; and TechCrunch Disrupt Europe Scholarship to Berlin.

VentureOut is an initiative to propel expansion-ready mobile entrepreneurs into international markets. The program ran from August 2013 to January 2014 and has supported hundreds of entrepreneurs through hands-on training, virtual learning opportunities, mentorship, international exposure, and seed funding. Local technology community partners located in eight countries - Armenia, Jamaica, Kenya, Macedonia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago - were key to involving their communities of mobile entrepreneurs.

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Resources for mobile app developers: Going Global

Presentations to view:

Basic rules of venture finance at Venture Out Moldova, Fall 2013 from David Kirsch

Resources for entrepreneurship organizers:

This organizing tool kit is targeted at entrepreneurial organizations around the world who bring techies, entrepreneurs and inventors together. Inside we have resources, templates and tips for running innovation competitions, hosting startup boot camps, creating mentorship programs and more.

CRDF Organizing Tool Kit

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VO in Moldova

Supporting Access to International Markets for Startups and SMEs:The Role of Business Incubators, Mentors and Global Networks


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See who registered for the Moldova event here

InfoDev and CRDF Global organized a three day conference focused on internationalization of mobile applications. The event featured hands-on workshops and Moldova's first pitching competition for mobile entrepreneurs! Conference sessions focused on how entrepreneurship transforms economies, and how business incubators, mentors and global networks play a instrumental role in accelerating growth. Entrepreneurs and mobile app developers learned from the brightest minds in mobile innovation. Expert panelists discussed building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Moldova, and debated strategies to best support the global expansion of mobile application entrepreneurs from the region. International experts and incubators teamed up to guide entrepreneurs to global success using tools based on the Lean Startup Methodology. Top mobile app developers, one each from Africa, Caribbean, Eastern Europe & Central Asia, were awarded one of three $10,000 USD awards at a Pitching Competition.

Official Event Brochure

VentureOut in Moldova Brochure

The VentureOut Moldova Finals Live Blog:

Here you can see tweets and photo live from the event in October 2013.

VentureOut Challenge Resources

The VentureOut Challenge closed applications on September 9, 2013. However, you can still read the rules and see the session that prepared participants for the competition.

Check here for the competition rules.

Check here for FAQs Listen to for VentureOut's CRUNCH TIME Informational Webinar


Is this event for me? How do I register?

Speakers & Mentors

VentureOut has an amazing line of speakers and mentors, which will help participants in internationalizing their mobile apps.


Speakers for VentureOut in Moldova:

Philipp Kandal is co-founder and CTO of skobbler, one of Europe’s leading mobile and app development companies focusing on location based services. Skobbler is one of the few profitable consumer app providers and currently has over 4 million users. The company's headquarter is in Berlin but has the majority of the team in Cluj, with more than 70 people. Philipp is a product guy and spends most of his time with the excellent team in Cluj to define and develop exciting new features for the skobbler engine, which besides the one products is also used by major B2B partners in the consumer and automotive area.

Dr. David Kirsch is Associate Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship in the M&O Department at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. He received his PhD in history from Stanford University in 1996. His research interests include industry emergence, technological choice, technological failure and the role of entrepreneurship in the emergence of new industries. With the support of grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Library of Congress, he is currently building a digital archive of the Dot Com Era that will preserve at-risk, born-digital content about business and culture during the late 1990s. Selected materials are available to the public at www.dotcomarchive.org.

Augie Rakow is a corporate attorney in Orrick's Emerging Companies Group where he advises startups and investors who are building the future of how we live and work. Augie has advised large mobile companies such as Nokia, as well as a wide array of mobile startups such as RealityCap which offers 3D scanning tools for smartphones and MakeGamesWithUs which is an iOS game publishing aimed at high school and college students. Augie studied theological history at Harvard University before becoming a lawyer and is one of the few Americans who has taken the Japanese bar exam. He also worked for many years in intellectual property before focusing on startup corporate work. Super Lawyers magazine named him a Rising Star, an honor reserved for no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in California. Augie is the current president of the Harvard Club of San Francisco. He lives with his wife in Atherton, California.

Amir Alexander Hasson is the Chief Development Officer at Oxigen. Amir is an accomplished entrepreneur with expertise in business development, strategy, finance, management, Web technologies, mobile applications, telecom, and distribution. He has started 3 companies, raised over $5m from venture investors, and built networks impacting the lives of millions of people in the US, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.


VentureOut Mentors

The top 13 mentors will also be receiving mentorship from amazing mobile entrepreneurs and executives in the month prior to and after the Supporting Access to International Markets for Startups and SMEs conference held in Moldova.  A few of these mentors include:

image002Mark Thirman, Director of Partnerships and Ventures at Vodafone Mark has over 25 years of experience in executive, business development, and sales roles gathered in a broad range of telephony, infrastructure, networking, and computer companies. Currently at Vodafone, the world's leading mobile operator, Mark works on key partnerships and venture capital investments. The partnerships focus on M2M. LinkedIn

image006Inaki Berenguer‎, founder and CEO of Pixable Inaki is a Spanish entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Pixable, a mobile startup founded in 2009 in NY. Pixable raised over $7MM in venture capital from Highland Capital Partners and Menlo Ventures and has over 50 employees.Pixable was acquired in 2012 by SingTel, the world's second largest telecom operator. Inaki continues as CEO of Pixable, which operates as a subsidiary of SingTel. In the past Inaki worked at HP, NEC Labs, ST Microelectronics and Intel, and later spent two years as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and as a manager in the Corporate Strategy Group at Microsoft. Inaki completed Master's and PhD degrees in Engineering at Cambridge University (UK), an MBA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and spent two years as a Fulbright scholar at Columbia University (NY).

image012Scott Hartley, Partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures Scott joined the Mobile and Consumer Internet team at Mohr Davidson with both an eye for detail and a love of the big picture. He has deep interest in mobile enabled commerce, and in 2012 was a contributing author to “Shopping for Good,” a book published by MIT Press. He's also focused on how mobile, social, and big data analytics are transforming financial services, traditional commerce, and our interactions with the offline, physical world. LinkedIn

image014 Alex Bashian, Investment Manager, Invested Development Alex Bashian is the Senior Investment Manager for Invested Development, with a special focus on alternative energy technologies and new business opportunities in Africa. He leads all investment procedures from start to finish and oversees all activities in ID’s Nairobi office. Prior to working with Invested Development, Alex worked as an energy consultant and access-to-finance expert for the WHL Group, and as an energy analyst at Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers. He has deep experience in energy commodities trading, energy systems and project finance, and has spent two years creating opportunities to advance access-to-finance for clean energy solutions in emerging markets. Alex received his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with a minor in Business from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and received his MPA in Energy & Economic Policy from Columbia University.

peggy-salzPeggy Anne Salz, Mobile Industry Author, Chief Analyst at MobileGroove Peggy is the chief analyst and founder of MobileGroove. Her report, Mobile Search & Content Discovery, was regarded as the first in-depth study of its kind, establishing Peggy as an authority on mobile search and content discovery technologies. Her most recent series of practical how-to white papers covers the basics of mobile advertising and mobile analytics, earning her a reputation as a leading mobile marketing and advertising expert.  She also is the author of the Everything Guide to Mobile Apps a practical book/ebook that equips marketers, brands and developers with the business basics they need to monetize their apps and encourage ongoing engagement. Graduating with honors from the University of Pittsburgh, Peggy earned a B.A. in Philosophy of Science, Political Science, and Economics. She is a Fulbright fellow and a member of the International Who’s Who of Professionals. LinkedIn

Luca SaleLuca Sale: a Serial traveller, web enthusiast and UI perfectionist. I spend most of my time travelling, coding and scanning for WiFi hotspots. I'm data addicted: I feel dizzy if I have a 2G connection and lost if I have no signal. I preach the good use of web technology; its cleanliness, ease of use and the power that comes with this great bunch of languages. I live on the EDGE but only if there are no 3G networks available!

Alex BesenAlex Besen, Founder and CEO, The Besen Group LLC Alex Besen is the Founder & CEO of The Besen Group LLC. He provides advisory and training services to corporate executives in the mobile data industry. He manages the firm’s network of independent consultants and channel partners and interacts with his advisors. He has over 18 years of hands-on experience in the mobile industry working for operators and vendors in North America and Europe in numerous roles including business development, marketing, project management and finance. He has been working with mobile network operators in developing their wholesale business models, advising Mobile Virtual Network Operators to launch their mobile and mobile data services as well as helping Mobile Virtual Network Enablers with their service portfolios. He holds a BS degree in Management from the University of Tampa and an MBA degree in International Business from the American University.  He is fluent in French, Turkish and proficient in Italian. LinkedIn

Ben KnelmanBen Knelman, CEO and founder of Juntos Finanzas  Ben Knelman is the CEO and founder of Juntos Finanzas Juntos builds empowering personal finance tools for cash-based households in the US and emerging markets.  Accessible on any basic cellphone via SMS, Juntos' products help families increase their savings, and help drive deeper client engagement with financial products designed for the newly banked.  At last year's CFSI Forum, Juntos' products were voted the winner of the Core Innovators Challenge for the industry's best new product for the underserved.  This past November, Juntos was named the winner of the G20's global innovation award for financial inclusion at the G20 Summit in Mexico City.  Recently named one of The World Economic Forum’s “Global Shapers” under 30, Ben has a background in User-Centric Product Development and Economics.  He earned his Bachelors and Masters at Stanford, where Juntos began at the Stanford d.school.

Nikos BonatsosNiko Bonatsos, Principal, General Catalyst Partners Niko is a Principal at General Catalyst and GC Seed, the firm’s seed investment vehicle. Niko focuses on investments in IT (mobile, education technology, consumerized IT business applications & consumer health) as well as seed-stage opportunities with an outlier potential. He is particularly interested in working with first time founders, who have a strong perspective about solving big problems their way. Concurrent with his academic career, Niko worked on lean manufacturing for Yokogawa Electric Corp, biomedical signal processing at Harvard Medical School/MGH, cloud computing at Stanford University and as a founding team member of myLinkpower, a social networking start-up. Niko is a graduate of Stanford University, earning an M.S. in Management Science and Engineering as a Fulbright Scholar; the University of Cambridge, earning an M.Phil. in Manufacturing Engineering and Management; and the National Technical University of Athens, earning an engineer’s degree (Dipl.-Ing) in Electrical and Computer Engineering. LinkedIn

IsaacDLPIsaac de la Pena, Co-founder & CEO, Stealth Co and Co-founder, Playrific Isaac is an innovation executive with more than 15 years of experience providing leadership to Fortune 50, startup and mid cap businesses both domestic and international. His expertise spans engineering, marketing and finance. Playrific is a start-up that provides a safe, engaging and educational environment for young children to play and learn using mobile devices without the need of parental supervision. Isaac holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Business. LinkedIn

Santiago TenorioSantiago Tenorio, Co-founder and CEO, Melba Santiago is the co-founder and CEO of Melba, an online marketplace that allows chefs and cooks to display their talent by offering unique dining experiences to a growing community of food lovers. Previously, he co-founded a mobile gaming startup in New York and, before that, spent 5 years in the financial services industry at BlackRock and Bank of America's investment banking division (TMT group). He graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 2006 where he studied Cognitive Science, Visual Studies and Japanese. LinkedIn

SaadiqSaadiq Rodgers-King, COO Nodejitsu Inc. and Co-founder, Hot-Potato Saadiq Rodgers-King is most recently COO of Nodejitsu. Previously he co-founded Hot Potato, which was acquired by Facebook in August of 2010.  Prior to Hot Potato, he led content acquisition and distribution deals as head of US Business Development for Dailymotion. Prior to Dailymotion, he spent 5 years at MLB.com in a variety of product and engineering focused roles, most recently as Director of New Media. He has an MBA from MIT's Sloan School of Management and a B.A. in Computer Science from Princeton University. LinkedIn

Sm Mansoor BashaMansoor Basha, Director, New Business - Design & Development at Ooredoo Telecom Group Mansoor Basha is a wireless industry veteran currently working at a global mobile operator in 15 countries and is responsible for Global launch programs like - B2B Cloud solutions, Mobile Money, Music, Social networking, mhealth, SDP, M2M and mAdvertising solutions. Prior to this, he was with Tellabs in the Market Strategy and Planning group focused on Mobile Packet Core, Policy, Charging, Rating and Applications. He has over 16 years of experience in the wireless and wireline telecommunications industries, including senior roles at Motorola, OpenCloud and Locognition, a mobile startup. He has a deep understanding of current trends in the selection, deployment, and sale of wireless applications and infrastructure technologies solutions. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School General Management Program and has a masters in management from Northwestern University and a masters in computer engineering from the University of Central Florida. LinkedIn

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Overall Coordinators
Innovation_logo v2 (no gradient) crdf
infoDev, a global partnership program in the Financial and Private Sector Development Network of the World Bank Group, supports growth-oriented entrepreneurs through creative and path-breaking venture enablers. It assists entrepreneurs to secure appropriate early-stage financing; convening entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, mentors and other stakeholders for dialogue and action. We also produce cutting-edge knowledge products, closely linked to our work on the ground. For more information about infoDev, please visit: www.infodev.org CRDF Global is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to international scientific and technical collaboration and training. It has more than 16 years of experience supporting technology entrepreneurs and implementing international research, development and innovation programs in over 50 countries. For more information about CRDF Global, please visit www.crdfglobal.org

Local Enabler Organizations


mLab ECA @ Enterprise Incubator Foundation, www.eif.am and www.mLabECA.com

Mariam Davtyan, mariam.davtyan[@]eif.am

Serving: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan

Jamaica: ConnectiMass, www.ConnectiMass.com

Ingrid Riley, ingrid[@]connectimass.com

Serving: Jamaica

Kenya: mLab East Africa, mlab.co.ke

John, john[at]mlab.co.ke

Serving: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Macedonia: Youth Entreprenerial Service (YES) Foundation, http://www.yesincubator.org.mk

Akeksandar Filiposki, aleksandar.filiposki[at]yes.org.mk

Serving: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Nigeria:CC Hub Nigeria, www.cchubnigeria.com

Tunji Eleso, tunji[at]cchubnigeria.com

Serving: Nigeria

Senegal: CTIC Dakar, www.cticdakar.com

Yann LeBeux, yann.lebeux[at]cticdakar.com

Serving: Senegal

South Africa: mLab South Africa, mlab.co.za

Derrick Kotze, derrick[at]mlab.co.za

Serving: South Africa

Trinidad & Tobago:

Enterprise Hub, http://www.enterprise-hub.com/

Nigel Roach, info[at]enterprise-hub.com

Serving: Trinidad & Tobago

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