The 1st Batch of Startups Is Here: Meet the Alphas

We were delighted by the high number of great applications we received to our first edition of  Alpha Hub program. Seeing such high interest in innovating Responsible Gambling was an affirmation of the mission, goals, and need of the program. With more than 200 applications from 50 countries for just 6 spots, the selection process was intense and challenging. After 50 interviews, we were having a very hard time narrowing it down to just 6. So, instead, we decided to go with “lucky 7!” 🎰

The startups applying ranged from idea stage, to having a finished product, customers, and in some cases millions of euros in investments. Some of them had teams amazingly experienced and knowledgeable about the gambling industry, while others had advanced technology and products. Besides considering how their technology/product fits into Responsible Gambling, we considered a number of other factors including:

  • How can they benefit from our program?
  • Are they flexible enough to expand their skills?
  • Can our mentors’ input have a considerable impact on their evolution?
  • Does a long-term collaboration with Paddy Power Betfair make sense for them at the current stage of their startup and in the near future?


Those who represent the perfect mix between a great team, an interesting business model and a scalable product/ technology that made it into the inaugural Alpha Hub cohort are:



📍 Location: Cluj-Napoca

Halcyon uses a Deep Learning Engine for user behavior prediction and behavior-based user segmentation.



📍 Location: Denmark, Aarhus

With onset in neuroscience and clinical psychology, Mindway uses artificial intelligence which relies on human expert evaluations to identify early signs of developing risky behavior and based on a type of problematic behavior generates targeted and individualized conversation guides that can be used in reaching out to customers either online or by an operator’s help-line staff.



📍 Location: The team is in Turkey but the company is incorporated in USA.

Rakam helps companies to collect all their customer data in one place and try to understand their behavior easily.


  • Pamble


📍 Location: Cluj Napoca

Pamble is a responsible gambling companion mobile application. Their motto is: “Responsible gamblers are the happiest gamblers.”



📍 Location: London and Athens

Vaix wants to prove their conviction, that Deep Learning is outperforming rules-based & predictive analytics systems in predicting players with problematic behavior, inaccuracy & false positives. And that it runs & learns 24×7, without requiring “Add Staff’.


  • iScore


📍 Location: Cluj Napoca

iScore is an adaptive, real-time score app that is using machine learning fraud detection algorithms to detect subtle, global behavioral, context, and attribute patterns from devices, transactions, and accounts, to continuously protect businesses from new fraud trends.   

iScore scans identity documents like national IDs, driver’s licenses and passports to verify that the identity document is real. Can validate that the information on the identity document as well. This can help prevent fraudsters from using a stolen identity to enter a gaming environment. It can also prevent minors from sneaking into an online gambling environment.



📍 Location: Oradea

ContactShield is a startup dedicated to helping professionals all around the world manage contacts fast and safe.


Learning and growth are not an overnight process and require commitment and patience. Teams making the cut fit distinguished themselves with dedication, commitment, a great fit with the program goals and Responsible Gambling verticals. While there were many great teams we would have loved to work with, creating value in an acceleration program requires a balance between a large enough group to stimulate connections and energy, and a small enough group to give sufficient attention and support to each team. Teams that didn’t make the cut this year–don’t lose heart! We hope you’ll stay tuned for the next edition of Alpha Hub!


The Alpha Hub Rewards for Daring Startups

Building a successful startup requires hard work. If you go behind the scenes of this industry, you’ll realize that a startup’s growth is organic and it doesn’t come overnight. There’s a gap between coming up with a great idea and executing it successfully and it must be filled with tested frameworks, financial support, and valuable business connections.

For most entrepreneurs, expectations and reality don’t always match, and this is a frequently met reason for their business’s failure. What they really need is a professional perspective of where the market currently is, for the following steps and investments not to develop into premature ones.

“While some entrepreneurs occasionally switch industries and find success, venture capitalists are more inclined to fund a founder or team who has worked in a specific industry for years,” explains Promod Haque, senior managing partner at Norwest Venture Partners, a venture capital and growth equity investment firm. “Founders with deep domain expertise in a particular field are typically more aware of customer needs, market opportunity, and the competitive landscape, which makes them more credible to investors.”

At Alpha Hub, we believe that startup success is built upon knowledge and network. When you partner with and learn from the right people, you’re already one step ahead in this competitive industry. For the 6 teams selected to participate in Alpha Hub out of more than 200 applications, network, knowledge, and potential partners are some of the rewards awaiting.

This being said, there are more prizes in store that will help propel successful startups even further:

🚀 Equity-free financial support and other resources in order to a complete proof-of-concept with Paddy Power Betfair.

Since every startup is different, these prizes will be individualized based on startup needs and potential.


And the Alpha startup of the program will get:

🚀 A specially organized roadshow to Dublin, Ireland, a hotbed of global multinationals and investors–awaits the top team. You’ll show off your startup to Paddy Power Betfair executives, as well as investors and tech leaders from the ecosystem. But, of course, no trip to Dublin is complete without stops at the Guinness Brewery and Grafton Street!


All the expenses will be covered by Alpha Hub.


What’s the next stage of evolution? Let Alpha Hub’s mentors guide you

The evolution of a startup can be a bumpy road. Even if you have that million dollar idea in hand and the right set of skills, there are a few stages to go through before becoming a successful business.

The most important step is finding that Product-Market Fit and this is usually acquired through a time-consuming market research, to find out if there is a relevant number of customers to be looking after your product. Only after a lot of experimenting and pivoting, the startups can begin to build their business model.

Credit: Bartosz Mozyrko (

Thousands of founders build and grow innovative businesses in today’s new economy through the help of acceleration programs. At AlphaHub, we’re hoping to make this road easier for you with a set of mentors that can provide on-point insights for these stages to run smoother. When entrepreneurs are able to ask questions of experienced leaders, they can get up that learning curve without making the same mistakes as their predecessors.


Through our mentorship program, you’ll have:


  • Access to talent: Serial entrepreneurs that have learned from prior mistakes and can get a much more realistic feel of the startup ecosystem.


  • Access to capital: Potential investors are standing right next to you. It’s critical that capital can be available from the early stages of development.


  • Access to tested frameworks: Bigger experience also means a wider vision upon a problem.


Meet the great minds:


Paula Tibre – General Manager at Betfair Romania

“Product and Technology passionate with 12+ years hands-on experience in building products from concept to customers. With a 360◌ view of business experience, setting new standards and adapting to multiple geographies and cultures, characterized by an outstanding drive to reach clear outcomes, while investing to grow others, set up new teams, boosting engagement across all areas and teams.”


Sean Whelan – Program Director, Responsible Gambling Strategy at Paddy Power Betfair

“With a solid base of both technical and business acumen, results driven and highly motivated with demonstrable leadership and communication skills, both with team members, executive management and third-party organizations. I am highly analytical and process driven, with a proven record of identifying and reporting risks and the implementation of mitigating controls to be managed within the Internal risk management framework. Ability to support large projects, providing subject matter expertise and support.”


Dean Heap – Director Customer Operations Strategy and Development at Paddy Power Betfair

A results-driven, action orientated, a personable leader in the development of world-class, customer-focused strategies and efficient operations in a fast-paced e-commerce environment. Dean also has an extensive knowledge of, and passion for the horse racing and betting and gaming industries, and is a qualified accountant.


Rob Smith – Head of Alpha Hub at Paddy Power Betfair

IT  guy at heart, with studies in Electronic and Electric Engineering, Robert can bring a strong input when it comes to investment banking or capital markets, also. His aptitudes recommend him as a great project manager with a strong knowledge base in this industry.


Jamie Kenber – Head of Data Science Projects at Paddy Power Betfair

When it comes to taking better business decisions, Jamie Kenber knows best as his background as a Data Analyst speaks for itself. His BA Degree in Mathematics from Oxford has been a strong foundation for transforming data into important decisions for companies.


Tom O’Brien – Head of Fraud at Paddy Power Betfair

Tom has a responsibility for leveraging tools and technologies to drive continuous improvement and automation of our fraud and verification processes within PPB.

“Ensuring we execute fully on existing tools as well as identifying and assessing emerging technologies that can further enhance our fraud defenses.”

He is responsible for a team of Fraud Analysts working across multiple locations, focusing on a number of areas including chargeback management, fraud cyber threats, customer verification, and fraud tool performance and analytics.


Doru Supeala – Head of Communications & External Affairs at Betfair Romania Development

“Senior-level global expertise in Management, Marketing, Communications, Procurement & Supply Chain. I am a playmaker: a creative, ambitious, and pragmatic teammate. And a trustworthy colleague and friend. The guy not only ready to play the piano but to carry the piano as well.”


Bogdan Colceriu – Serial Entrepreneur; Co-founder, CEO; Frisbo Co-founder Trilulilu

Diversified tech entrepreneur and investor with a background leading media startups, e-commerce, and logistics, with a strong background consulting for offline businesses, especially those of a delicious variety. Specialties include branding, go-to-market, and marketing strategy, and business developing strategy.


Jennifer Austin – Partner; Risky Business Global Strategy & Business Consultant

Entrepreneur, investor, and consultant with experience on 4 continents. Professional writer, amateur conservationist. Skilled in strategy, marketing, business development, and generally skilled at getting **** done.


Andreas Cser – Partner; Automat Ventures, Angel Investor

“Investor, entrepreneur, and start-up executive, ex-banker working for the Light Side.” He has a  strong background in Advising Technology and Media companies and their investors on M&A initiatives and exits and has also worked on a specialized investment vehicle to invest in European ad tech and related businesses. He’s currently a Partner at Automat Ventures and ready to bring a great input as a mentor in this program.


Radu Iuhas –  Serial Tech Entrepreneur and Product Creator; Partner at Risky Business

Technology artist with experience building b2b and b2c products for diverse industries. Specialties include product vision, strategy, and road mapping; and investment strategy. Avid poker player and tech investor.


Marcel Petrutiu – Global Business Development and Strategy Executive

“Business professional with experience in strategic planning, entrepreneurship, corporate development, finance, and international sales. Industry experience includes biotechnology, venture capital, consulting, distribution, and travel.”


Stefan Fulop – Head of Gaming Product Delivery at Paddy Power Betfair

Stefan is currently the Head of Gaming Product Delivery for PaddyPower Betfair based in Cluj, leading a team of passionate product professionals. With over 16 years of experience in IT businesses in the last 8 years his focus was on building world-class products that customers love.


Our list of mentors continues with more bright minds from Paddy Power Betfair, whom you’ll get the chance to know better in the following period:

  • Ella Fitzpatrick – Head of Responsible Gambling at Paddy Power Betfair
  • Nicolae Vancea – Head of Customer Engagement Tribe at Paddy Power Betfair
  • Sean Farren – Head of Strategy and Analysis at Paddy Power Betfair
  • Ioana Marchis– Technical Strategy Analyst at Paddy Power Betfair


Now, we want to take a moment and congratulate you on how far you’ve come with your product. And then, think about how even farther you can go with the access to all this know-how and industry experts.


See you soon! Stay in touch on


Discover the steps of acceleration with Alpha Hub

In the past years, Romania’s startup ecosystem has exploded. There has been support and opportunities we wouldn’t have dared dream of a decade ago. From amazing events like Techsylvania and Codiax, which bring world-class speakers to our ecosystem, to general accelerator programs and funds which have popped up and iterated, providing a strong basis of support. Alpha Hub is a new step in startup support evolution. Created by Paddy Power Betfair in partnership with Risky Business and Techsyvlania, Alpha Hub is a Corporate Partnership Accelerator, designed to offer startups value-added support, while creating a pathway to and expediting a corporate partnership for your startup.

With a focus on Responsible Gambling, Alpha Hub is seeking products and technologies that can help them serve customers more responsibly, as well as more efficient and better.

“We know the story—you’ve built an awesome product or technology, and all you need now is a partner to pilot with, a beta client, your first big client, etc. You’re pitching non-stop. But getting to the decision-makers is hard. It takes months to even get to a “no”.


Alpha Hub helps you cut through all this nonsense. If your team is selected, Alpha Hub covers your expenses to come to Cluj for a workshop about Paddy Power Betfair’s challenges and problems that need to be solved. You get 2 weeks of support—remote, or in person—to create a demo showing how your solution does that. And you’ll get a funding or partnership decision within a few weeks. No bouncing emails back and forth to middle managers and gatekeepers. No endless pitching. A 10-sentence application. Then show us the tech, show us the solution, and let’s get to work.”

—Jennifer Austin, Partner Risky Business

The Alpha Hub process is composed of 5 stages taking place between the 6th of November and the 4th of December. Here is all you need to know about each of them:

1👣 Applications

Applications are open until the 6th of November.

You know what they say: first come, first served, so if you hurry up and apply by November 1st you’ll benefit of priority consideration. This step is required in order to select the best-fit startup participants based on their technology, knowledge, skills, and attitude. Through our applications process, we’re able to identify candidates who own the necessary assets to successfully finish this program.

We’re looking for startups that can help innovate and improve the Responsible Gambling industry. If your technology is focused on in one of the following verticals, we’re looking for you!

  • Customer Matching
  • Identity Verification
  • Data Analytics
  • Online Journey
  • Self Service
  • Retail Solutions

If you don’t fit into any of these verticals, you’re still able to become part of our acceleration program, depending on your product and scalability. We’ve created an extra section called

Dealer’s Choice, and you can apply if you have an awesome technology or product applicable to Enterprise firms.

2👣 Interview

The Interview phase will take place between 1st and the 10th of November. The earlier you apply, the earlier you can be interviewed.

These interviews provide the perfect opportunity for both parties to see if they’re a match. We’re looking for startups with stable and scalable solutions, that show strong promise and potential, and which are looking for a trustworthy program to offer the expert advice and support they need to reach success and corporate partnership. If you’re among the lucky ones to pass the application phase, we’re eager to know more about your solution, team, and vision. AlphaHub is founded on growth principles and the only way to rise on this ladder is together.

3👣 KickOff

Aaand we’re taking off! After we have selected all the AlphaHub participants, we’ll organize a working session with Paddy Power Betfair executives and partners, on the 20th of November, where you’ll be able to learn more about their corporate challenges.

We know that each startup is unique and deals with its own kind of opportunities and challenges. Taking these aspects into consideration, we implemented in the KickOff phase the individualized roadmap for every startup. This roadmap will define the solution for your startup with a partnership plan, an investment strategy, and a scalability measurement.

4👣 Support

Product. Financing. Business.

Between November 20 – December 4, you’ll have strong support to create a final proof-of-concept and pitch for the Showcase. Depending on your needs, the focus could be product, tech, business, financing, strategy, or another area.

When developing a success-oriented startup, there are many areas you need to take care of. From product development to a financing plan, and eventually to outlining the most promising business plans, at AlphaHub you receive high-quality support.

AlphaHub’s mentors include:

  • Paula Tibre – General Manager at Betfair Romania
  • Dean Heap – Director Customer Operations Strategy and Development at Paddy Power Betfair
  • Sean Farren – Head of Strategy and Analysis at Paddy Power Betfair
  • Jamie Kenber – Head of Data Science Projects at Paddy Power Betfair
  • Tom O’Brien – Head of Fraud at Paddy Power Betfair
  • Ella Fitzpatrick – Head of Responsible Gambling at Paddy Power Betfair
  • Stefan Fulop – Head of Gaming Product Delivery at Paddy Power Betfair
  • Nicolae Vancea – Head of Customer Engagement Tribe at Paddy Power Betfair
  • Doru Supeala – Head of Communications & External Affairs at Betfair Romania Development
  • Bogdan Colceriu – Serial Entrepreneur; Co-founder, CEO; Frisbo Co-founder Trilulilu
  • Jennifer Austin – Partner; Risky Business Global Strategy & Business Consultant
  • Andreas Cser – Partner; Automat Ventures, Angel Investor
  • Radu Iuhas –  Serial Tech Entrepreneur and Product Creator; Partner at Risky Business
  • Marcel Petrutiu – Global Business Development and Strategy Executive

We’ll also source other mentors and support per each startups’ unique needs.


This the stage where startups are in the spotlight. After a thorough training, you’ll finally pitch and network with executives, investors, tech leaders, and others.

On December 4th, you’ll pitch to top decision makers at Paddy Power Betfair, who will decide which team wins first prize, as well as which teams move forward in financing and partnership discussions. The top team will embark on a roadshow to Dublin. Best part: all the costs are supported by the AlphaHub!

We’re eager to embark on this rewarding journey together. The path will be full of valuable insights, opportunities, and connections.


Don’t overthink it. Apply.


If you need further details, drop us a line at

It’s not just another acceleration programme. It’s Alpha Hub

Technology has been around us for many years, yet there has never been such an avid, global growth in any other industry in the past few years as in the IT & C sector. Besides arguments and statistics, some facts are here to stay: it’s fast, it’s highly adaptable, and it’s for everyone. Basically, it disrupts the world as we know it—how we do things, how we think, how we are.


Some of us have already seized the endless opportunities that this sector has to offer. For those who have decided to take action, there are various gateways to success. One of them is Alpha Hub.


The Alpha Hub program is the result of several years of fruitful partnerships. Firstly, turning Startup Avalanche into a benchmark for the Cluj startup scene has secured the collaboration between Techsylvania and Risky Business. The relentless support that Paddy Power Betfair has offered to most of the major initiatives in the local community, as well as its 15 years of experience in private investments have turned the company into a catalyst. It’s hard to find the perfect mix; yet, when you nurture a fertile community with experience, courage, and openness, it’s hard to miss.


There are many acceleration programs in Romania and abroad, as well as other forms of scaling platforms. But more than offering tools and benefits, Alpha Hub was born out of a powerful mission.  


“Responsible Gambling has always been very important to us at Paddy Power Betfair. Alpha Hub will help us find innovative new ways to identify and protect our at-risk customers, and it’s a great opportunity for us to get closer to the growing Romanian tech and startup ecosystem. We’re looking forward to partnering with startups that can help us solve real business challenges.”


It’s not just a business partnership. It’s the key to a healthy global scale-up.

You can choose to go through endless trial & error processes, or you can choose a corporate partnership programme that facilitates your access to all the key components of a global scale-up roadmap for your startup:

  • Partnership–Alpha Hub provides direct access to decision makers and a streamlined partnership process. You can focus on building your startup instead of endless pitching and meetings.
  • Funding–successful startups can receive equity-free financing to run a pilot and grow.
  • Education—our mentors are here to advise you on high-tech, product, strategy, and business, as well as issues related to pitching, funding, and investment strategy.  
  • Network—we offer access to exclusive, relevant events that serve as meeting points startups and their future corporate partners.
  • Scale-up—you make your own recipe for success. We help you stick to it.


Having access to in-depth expertise and leveraged business relationships saves time, money and fails.

The IT & C industry in the USA is considered one of the topmost failure-prone industries in the country, with a 63% failure rate. The same study suggests that two of the most common traits of the startups that fail are “lack of experience in the line of goods” and overall little experience in taking decisions in hiring, scaling and building a culture, rating the access to mentorship as one of the four critical traits of startups that succeed. But what if there was a better way to do it?


We change the way we give. You change the world.

We believe that at the end of the day, it’s not just about what you know and what you do. In most cases, that vital force of pushing things forward is irreplaceable. We help you scale-up by leading your way through growth and funding, allowing you to give the most of your time with us at Alpha Hub.


Are you curious to know more about our Alpha Hub programme? Check our FAQ, or drop us a line at; our colleagues will get in touch with you shortly.


Apply for Alpha Hub until November 6th by filling out our form available here: