Crash Program - Getting your first Investment

Join the first Crash Program to learn how startup investors operate, what the investment process looks like, and learn from people that have been involved in several fundraising rounds.

Applications are closed

StepFWD Crash Programs are a packed series of practical activities designed to offer you a structure to take your startup to the next level.


March 30

Applications open

April 14

Applications close

April 18-19

Program Sessions

April 20

Mentoring Sessions & Closing

Who is it for

Before you spend time reading, do check if the Crash Program is the right fit for you.

We’ve designed the Getting your first Investment Crash Program for:

Early-stage startups

From a validated idea to first customers


Diverse teams of at least 2 founders

Solo founders

We do accept solo founders (need to emphasize how you’ll handle your startup needs)

Start fundraising

Don’t know how to start fundraising process

Keep going

Been trying to do it but don’t understand what’s actually going on

Continuous learning

Want to learn how to raise money properly and get a sweat deal

What’s in it for you

We mean business, so we’re involving entrepreneurs, professionals & investors we trust that have either grown their own startups or have been helping startups grow.

Find out how investors make money

Learn how the investment process works

Ask experienced investors what they look for in your startup

Ask entrepreneurs the do’s and don’ts of a fundraising round

An (equity-)free experience that only asks for your commitment

Get on the shortlist for the StepFWD pre-accelerator

The whole Crash Program is just a snippet of the pre-accelerator, so stay tuned when we launch the applications to be the first to get a chance for the full StepFWD acceleration experience.

Applications are closed

Applications for the next Crash Program will open soon.


We appreciate it when everybody respects the founders, mentors, and their own time.

So before applying, make sure that at least one of the founders participates in all of the activities.

The schedule below is subject to small changes.

Day 1 - April 18

Monday, 15:00 - 18:00
Workshop: Knowing your investor w/ Liviu Cadariu
Workshop Q&A w/ Bogdan Predusca

Day 2 - April 19

Tuesday, 15:00 - 18:00
Investor AMA w/ Malin Stefanescu
Other funding options AMA Ovidiu Mihaila

Day 3 - April 20

Wednesday, 10:30 - 12:00 & 15:00 -16:30
1-on-1 mentoring w/ Entrepreneurs & Investors
Crash Program Closing w/ StepFWD team

* all times are on GMT+2.


Talking with an experienced mentor can help you validate your assumptions and avoid common pitfalls, which cost you both money and time (you don’t have).

Bogdan Predusca
CEO & Co-Founder at Hyperhuman
Experienced tech entrepreneur and product leader. Passionate about innovative products built around great teams and inspiring missions.
Malin Stefanescu
Founder at EEU Software, President at TechAngels
Malin is the Founder and CEO at EEU Software and a Business Angel Investor, leading the eldest and largest association of business angels in Romania, TechAngels.
Ovidiu Mihaila
Funding Advisor at Bitdefender
Entrepreneur and tech-innovation passionate, with 12+ years of experience in working with tech companies and entrepreneurs across Europe, aiming to accelerate their business growth and societal impact, using innovation funding.

Alexandra Roată
Manager Partner at Softlead
Business and IT entrepreneur with over 10 years building and growing digital projects. Combining tech with the creative skills, I am also helping tech start-ups to define, develop and generate go-to-market strategies for new custom software applications. Over my career, I have gained strong technical, business, strategic and operational skills.
Alexandru Bogdan
CEO at RocaX
With over 15 years of experience in the digital and innovation field, always on the move, passionate about simplicity, strategic thinking and crafted customer experiences, Alexandru is now CEO of ROCA X, hunting for promising start-ups, accelerating their growth and helping shape them into tomorrow’s unicorns.
Bogdan Axinia
Managing Director eMAG Ventures
Bogdan currently manages eMAG Ventures, a CVC looking for attractive startups in the CEE region to help them have a fast and sustainable scale-up. He is a senior leader with 20 years of experience in fast-growing tech companies. In the past ten years, Bogdan contributed to the growth of top CEE companies as part of their board.

Cristian Negrutiu
Founding Partner at Sparking Capital
He works side by side with the founders to build great companies that create long-lasting competitive advantages. In addition, Cristian has extensive managerial experience acquired through various positions in different companies at executive level since year 2000."
Catrinel Hagivreta
CEO & Co-Founder at MEDIjobs
Catrinel Hagivreta is the co-founder & CEO of Medijobs, a career marketplace for healthcare recruitment. In 5 years, Medijobs became the biggest digital community for healthcare specialists in Romania, went through Techstars ’19 accelerator, raised in total more than $1MIL from angel/VCs and launched operations in the US (in this order).
Raluca Jianu
Raluca has had an extensive career of over 10 years in marketing and communications. In 2020 she created a platform for unique travel benefits and rewards, helping companies increase their customer and employee well-being and engagement. Her goal is to shape a new travel market, the epic one.

What’s StepFWD like?

25% of the startups that have been through the StepFWD pre-accelerator have gone on to raise investment

"The program connected us with people who are well seasoned in the startup environment and could guide us with advice, on the level that we were at that particular moment. The StepFWD program exceeded my expectations. It was like a snowball rolling down the hill, just getting bigger and bigger."
Cristina Oprea
"I learned a lot and by the end of it I had a pretty good idea on what to do next. Later on, I found how useful it was to prepare for all the assignments, the go-to-market sheet, the one-liners, the pitch decks. They all have been useful since."
Ciprian Grigore
CTO, Licenseware
"During the pre-accelerator, I learned practical things on how to grow my business. The most important ones are: test, test, test and test again followed by always listening and talking to your customers. Having mentoring sessions with experts, business owners and being able to network with other like-minded entrepreneurs, helped us skip some mistakes and accelerate our growth."
Ovidiu Stegari
CEO, Helperz (former Sitter)
"The reality of the program exceeded my expectations because there were many mentors with a lot of knowledge and expertise on each of their fields who wanted to share that knowledge, who listened and helped us individually with the issues each of us was facing in our startup. Additionally, listening to the other participants was actually really helpful as well, as it helped in assessing our startup in different ways."
Simina Stancu
CPO, Quandary Systems

Selection process

There are 3 things you need to know:

The deadline to fill out the application form is April 14

We select startups on an ongoing basis

We announce & confirm selected startups by April 15

Applications are closed

Applications for the next Crash Program will open soon.