Events — May 29, 2024 at 4:13 pm

Early Game invests €500,000 in two of the finalist startups at Innovation Labs 2024


Zero Code and Pentest Copilot are the two finalists in the Innovation Labs program, which will receive half a million euros in funding from Early Game Ventures.

Both startups operate in cybersecurity, one of the technology areas that need continuous innovation as the global IT security landscape becomes increasingly complex, both in the context of geopolitical activities and the advance of artificial intelligence.

EGV_IL_PentestCopilotPentest Copilot will receive EUR 150,000 in investment. It specializes in automating penetration testing reports and mainly aims to reduce the costs and time that companies and software engineers spend on this activity. Pentest Copilot’s technical solution also allows evaluating the quality of penetration tests made by each software engineer and creating other very useful analyses and reports for cyber security companies.

The Early Game investment in Pentest Copilot is also a first: it is the first time that a venture capital fund decides to invest in a team of founders who are still in high school. Bogdan Munteanu, Alexandru Antal, and Remus Rughiniș, the three founders of Pentest Copilot, were the youngest participants in Innovation Labs 2024, being students in the 11th grade at Laude-Reut High School.

“We decided to invest in a very young but absolutely wonderful team. These 11th graders invested time and work, spent days and nights at Innovation Labs hackathons, and created an innovative technology service in an elite industry like cyber security. At Early Game, we want to support such entrepreneurs. It is not the startup that needs to be flexible and bend to the investor’s demands, but the opposite: the investor needs to be flexible and support the valuable startups with what they need, capital and networking,” said Dan Călugăreanu, Early Game Ventures Partner, and one of the investors who has been closest to Innovation Labs over the years.

“We are extremely happy and deeply grateful for the appreciation and the huge opportunity received from Early Game Ventures! For us, it is the biggest vote of confidence and a start that we consider fabulous for the real experience that we will build from now on,” said the co-founders of Pentest Copilot.

EGV_IL_ZeroCodeThe other company that took to the Innovation Labs 2024 stage, Zero Code, will receive an investment of 350,000 euros. The company automates the cybersecurity audit process using AI. Darius Moldovan, Flavius Moldovan and Alex Baciu, the founders of Zero Code, are software engineers with experience in the field of cyber security and have identified in their daily work the problem that Zero Code addresses. The first version of the Zero Code product will be available as early as next month for anyone who wants to test it.

“The cybersecurity industry is one of Early Game’s investment priorities, and cybersecurity audit services are highly needed in the market. The integration of AI to speed up security auditing, the very pragmatic approach of the founders, and the focus on creating a useful, simple, and efficient tool are the things that convinced us to invest in Zero Code. But the most important factor was the quality of the team and their dedication,” said Florin Vișa, Early Game Ventures Partner.

“With the software industry growing at an accelerated pace, vulnerabilities in code are becoming more common and problematic. Our product is designed to facilitate scanning code for vulnerabilities automatically, in a short time, and with informative reports,” said Darius Moldovan, founder of Zero Code.

The two startups were selected from the 16 finalist teams of Innovation Labs for their business potential and the quality of their founding teams. The 16 finalists were also previously chosen from over 80 teams that entered Innovation Labs nationwide following Hackathons in March.

Flavia Husar, Co-founder & Chief Innovation Officer of Innovation Labs, opened the Demo Day event by reflecting on the program’s rich history. She highlighted the program’s 12 years of growth, noting the record attendance of 891 people this year. Recalling the key moments, Flavia shared that since 2013, the program has mentored 688 teams, resulting in the development of 398 MVPs.

Flavia Husar emphasized the importance of the partnership with Early Game Ventures, stating: “Early Game Ventures is a strategic partner, and we will shape the program to adapt and align it to the needs we have to create more investable teams eager to attract investment. The quality of the developed products is essential to achieve this goal, and this is also the focus of the new Innovation Labs program prototyped in the Bucharest program this year. This commitment reflects Innovation Labs’ long-term vision to cultivate a thriving entrepreneurial community with Early Game Ventures at its side.”

Recently, the Early Game team announced the official launch of Early Game Fund II. This second EGV investment fund will have a total of 60 million euros available to invest in areas such as cyber security, developer tools, enterprise software, etc.