In less than two weeks, 2019 comes to a close. Over the past 12 months, Modex continued its growth, offering innovative blockchain-based solutions to companies and end-users. We’ve been in the spotlight at major events, we’ve won several awards, we’ve opened our office in Silicon Valley – a few steps away from the Google Cloud, NASA, Yahoo and Oracle’s offices – and we’ve continued to promote blockchain technology as a true game-changer. 

Seal of Excellence and Tech Innovation Award

This year, Modex BCDB (Blockchain Database) has received the ‘Seal of Excellence’, a quality label awarded to project proposals submitted to Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation funding programme. The Seal of Excellence recognizes the strength of Modex’s proposal and the added value it brings to the industry, as well as to the society we live in. Unique and safe, the ‘Seal of Excellence’ is digitally sealed against fraud, as is the project proposal and evaluation summary report. 

Modex’s proposal was praised from several points of view, being considered a breakthrough innovation with high potential, a game-changing idea that has something that nobody else has, better than any alternative. Another highlight of 2019: Modex BCDB won the Tech Innovation Award at CCIFER Gala. From a total of 39 projects submitted for this year’s edition, 9 have been selected for the grand final across three categories, with the winners announced in September.

A couple of months ago we were happy to announce that Modex has been recognized by CIOReview as one of the 10 most promising blockchain consulting/services companies to watch in 2019. Each year, CIOReview – a print magazine resource that bridges the gap between enterprise IT vendors and buyers – publishes a listing of 10 companies that are at the forefront of providing Blockchain Consulting Services and impacting the marketplace. Following this distinction, Modex is now part of the exclusive group of companies on CIOReview Platform – Blockchain Europe 2019.

Modex, attending major events in Europe and beyond

Since the beginning of 2019, Modex has been in the spotlight at major events. On November 13-14, Modex showcased its BCDB enterprise solution at Blockchain Expo North America. Over the course of two days, Modex’s stand at Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley welcomed developers, business partners and FinTech enthusiasts eager to know more about Modex BCDB and to discover, first-hand, the cost and time-related advantages that BCDB brings to enterprises. Modex CEO and Founder Mihai Ivascu, Head of Modex Alin Iftemi and Team Lead Dan Popescu were on-site, offering insights on how enterprises can increase the security and efficiency of their business with Modex BCDB. Our CEO was also one of the speakers, alongside top executives from Boeing Aerospace, InBrew and other big companies, taking part in a panel debate focused on valid PoC’s and applied blockchain applications in the enterprise space.

Previously, Modex has attended Web Summit Lisbon (4-7 November). Over the course of four days, the Modex team welcomed at our stand many developers, guests and people from the tech industry eager to find out more about Modex BCDB straight from its architects. Those who took part in the live demos and presentation sessions held on-site acknowledged the innovative features of Modex BCDB and the advantages for enterprises.  

Also in November, at a DLT event held in London, Mihai Ivascu, CEO and Founder of Modex, spoke alongside Albert Isola, Gibraltar’s Minister for Financial Services, about distributed ledger technology (DLT) and other groundbreaking innovations which can redefine the future. That DLT meeting – part of the thinkGibraltar campaign, together with four other events relating to Funds, Insurance, Private Clients and Financial Services – gathered industry visionaries, senior leaders and founders of leading global firms who offered opinions on several topics of interest.

In July, Modex attended the TRUMPF Venture Forum in Ditzingen, Germany. The 2-day Venture Forum focused on artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity and Distributed Ledger Applications (DLA). Thanks to its breakthrough blockchain products aimed at developers and companies / enterprises, as well as its Marketplace for smart contracts, Modex has raised strong interest from the business units and the investment team of TRUMPF Venture Group.

In June, Modex powered into Le Mans 24h race alongside REBELLION Racing and Gustavo Menezes. For this iconic competition, Modex’s logo was displayed on REBELLION Racing’s R13-Gibson car number 3, as well as on the racing suit of Gustavo Menezes for the second consecutive year.

At the beginning of May, Modex made a special appearance at Monaco International Blockchain event, showcasing its innovative project: Modex BCDB. Held at the prestigious Grimaldi Forum, Monaco International Blockchain 2019 summit was shaped by the desire to connect key actors of local and international blockchain ecosystems and to become an ideal environment where startup companies can showcase initiatives related to blockchain and DLT technologies.

In March, Modex and the International University of Monaco (IUM) joined forces to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and one of the biggest luxury business pitching competitions of 2019: The Mark Challenge. Hosted by the International University of Monaco, The Mark Challenge is a competition that provides students gifted with a keen entrepreneurial spirit the opportunity to pitch a luxury or premium business idea to a professional panel of potential investors and community leaders. The competition aims to build a cohesive and engaging ecosystem where the new generation of entrepreneurs can come in contact with business leaders and get hands on experience with this exciting and profitable domain.

Educating students and entrepreneurs on blockchain technology

We’ve had a busy 2019 also in Romania, not just on the international tech scene. This month, Modex took part in the Hour of Code global movement, which unfolds yearly in more than 180 countries. We believe in the power of education, so on December 11th we’ve presented blockchain technology and its advantages to students from Benjamin Franklin High School, Bucharest. More than 45 students from 9th-12th grade came to Modex Blockchain Labs to learn what is blockchain, where it’s being used, how can this technology reshape our lives and which are its advantages. High schoolers were interested in the subject and this was visible in the debate they had with our colleague, asking relevant questions and wanting to know more about the advantages of becoming a blockchain developer.

Also in December, Alin Iftemi, the Head of Modex, held a 2-hour blockchain course at Bucharest’s Polytechnic University, the biggest education institution in Romania for programmers and engineers. Dubbed “Blockchain – Inside Concept”, the aim of this trial course was to familiarize students with the main concepts of blockchain technology and highlight its main advantages. Based on their feedback, Modex wants to increase the number of workshops in 2020 and, ultimately, to support a permanent blockchain course being taught at Polytechnic University.

At the end of November, Modex was a technological partner for Banking 4.0 event and also had a stand, where we presented Modex BCDB. Moreover, Mihai Ivascu, CEO and Founder Modex, and Alin Iftemi, Head of Modex, took part in two panels: one focused on FinTech and the other on blockchain industry. Also in November, Modex organized, together with the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, the event “Why learn Blockchain?” in the Aula Magna of the University, in front of 200 students. 

On October 8th, Modex took center stage at Romania Tech Nation 2019, together with world-class businessmen, national and international companies and the President of Romania. During the event, Alin Iftemi, Head of Modex, sought to find out from President Klaus Iohannis which were the government’s plans for the IT industry.

Also in October, Modex partnered with Young Leaders Club for YLC Fintech Hackaton, a 72-hour Idea to Prototype hackaton that took place in Romania’s capital, Bucharest. YLCF brought together developers and fintech enthusiasts to develop financial products impacting the world of finance. Participants were allowed freedom to express creativity and were encouraged to develop unique solutions, with an emphasis on using the latest technologies like machine learning or blockchain.

At the end of October, at TechHub Bucharest, Modex challenged developers at JSHacks EduTech. Organized by the Romanian JavaScript community with Modex as the main sponsor, the 4th edition of JSHacks hackathon focused on education, encouraging participants to develop innovative solutions to solve the problems education faces in Romania. This year, Modex challenged one team to take on a special project called “Educational Portal”, which includes an online grades catalog, a portal for parents and professors, homework, schedule and help for students. The team which developed the best solution and solved this challenge would benefit from all Modex infrastructure and blockchain DB, as well as future mentorship and incubation at Modex HQ to develop that project into a fully fledged startup.

During the month of October, Iasi hosted hosted the 4th edition of “Youth Summit”, where more than 500 students participated. At the event, Modex held a workshop meant to familiarize students with blockchain and the advantages of this revolutionary technology. With the tagline “Imagine! Believe! Disrupt”, the event was structured around four main themes aimed to create the perfect context so that Romanian youth can better understand the importance of their involvement in the country’s future and in the way Romania should grow as a nation.

September saw Modex organizing BucharestJS Meetup together with Bucharest JavaScript Community, an event where Modex officials had a live coding session of Modex BCDB. In August, during the Blockchain Month, an event organized by Startup Grind, Alin Iftemi, Head of Modex, presented Modex as a company and the M3 Holdings Group.

At the beginning of July, surrounded by friends and business partners, we’ve celebrated 1 year since the opening of Modex Blockchain Labs Bucharest, Romania’s first blockchain hub. Located on the 12th floor, with cool views over the neighbouring park and the city, Modex Blockchain Labs is a cool and creative environment where hackathons, workshops and unique employment opportunities for the most talented developers unfold. At Modex Blockchain Labs, freelancers and blockchain developers can work for free, attend a series of hackathons and workshops with our specialists, and the most talented developers will have the opportunity to join the Modex team.

In June, Modex took center stage at the 6th edition of DevTalks Bucharest, an event which gathered over 2500 IT professionals from Romania and abroad. On the Emerging Tech stage, Florin Otto, VP of product, together with Dan Popescu, Team Lead, held a keynote on blockchain technology. Held in June every year, DevTalks Bucharest becomes, for two days, a stage for the most powerful network of software developers in Romania where the most important local and international key-leaders from the industry connect to the latest trends in technology and contribute to the future of the tech industry. DevTalks 2019 managed to surpass previous editions in scope and dimension, welcoming over 100 international and local speakers with 12 conferences targeting some of the hottest topics in the tech world.

Between March and June, Modex took in the bootcamp of Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR) InnovX accelerator program. The BCR-InnovX accelerator is a project in partnership with UiPath, Startup Grind, Google for Startups, MindSpace and the European Center for Services Investments and Financing (ECSIF). The first accelerator cohort is dedicated to start-ups with a turnover between 100,000 and 1 million EUR, start-ups that develop innovative solutions and products through technology. More than 200 companies registered to take part in the program, and the jury selected 54 that were eligible for the accelerator criteria. 

At the end of May, the Romanian Banking Institute (RBI) in partnership with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) UK, has organized in Bucharest “The New Era In Banking: The Digital Revolution” conference. Mihai Ivascu, Modex CEO and Founder, was one of the speakers with an interesting topic: “Is blockchain a solution looking for a problem to solve?” Modex was also an Educational Partner of the event.

Also in May, Modex promoted blockchain and development tools at DevTalks Cluj-Napoca, an event which gathered more than 1,500 developers and IT professionals from Romania and abroad. At the Emerging Tech section, Florin Otto, VP of Product, highlighted the advantages of blockchain, while Dan Popescu, Team Lead, welcomed those interested in finding out more at Modex’s booth.

May also saw Modex and BucharestJS organizing a fireside chat in Bucharest between Vlad Yatsenko, co-founder and CTO at Revolut, and Alin Iftemi, Head of Modex. Vlad shared with the audience interesting insights and painted a picture of how it is to work at the forefront of disruption in the electronic payments industry, while also underlining key-aspects of managing a team of highly skilled developers at a rapidly increasing pace set by the financial industry.

Earlier in May, Modex has been selected as a finalist at one of Romania’s most prestigious FinTech competitions: NOCASH Gala, an event held in Bucharest. Modex has been shortlisted for its innovative Blockchain Database (BCDB), a new component of our platform which offers companies the possibility to seamlessly implement a fusion between a traditional database system and blockchain technology.

In April, Modex and JSLeague, an intensive program with workshops and coding on real projects, held a 3-day workshop at Modex Blockchain Labs, Bucharest. At the end of March, Modex and BucharestJS, a developer group for anyone interested in JavaScript, hosted a meet-up focused on showcasing JS-related educational initiatives and projects plus the advantages and real world use cases of blockchain technology.

Powered by Modex, MindChain 2019 blockchain & AI conference – the biggest blockchain and AI event ever held in Romania – unfolded between 21-22 February in Cluj-Napoca, an area dubbed ‘Romania’s Silicon Valley’ due to the unique mix of tech companies and strong student community.

In January, Modex Labs Bucharest hosted GrowthClub meet-up. Mihai Ivascu, CEO and Founder of Modex, and Vlad Andriescu, Ed-in-Chief Start-up.ro, offered useful insights to young entrepreneur students on how to develop and how to run a successful start-up. Over 100 young students with bright ideas or businesses already on the market, as well as guests from Romania and abroad, took part at this event. The meet-up was organized by GrowthClub – a community of students with bright minds who have developed a business or are planning to develop one – with the support of Modex, Difrnt, IuDizain, and Confidas. 

Looking forward to 2020

Next year we will continue to develop our main product, Modex BCDB, so that it would support integration with any type of database on the market. This layer of flexibility can prove invaluable to a consortium network, where multiple companies can synchronize their databases, without requiring to change their database providers. We’ve recently opened our newest office, in Silicon Valley. Given that innovation runs in our blood, it’s no secret that our Research and Development teams are currently exploring new innovations. For us, it’s not a question of how we will reach our objectives, but when, and I’m sure that in 2020 we will make new tech announcements, so be sure to keep an eye on us! 

Until now, we’ve managed to offer blockchain solution to our clients without them having to know blockchain, and 2020 will be the adoption year for Modex. We are also preparing integration with big tech companies, and 2020 will bring some partnerships which will honour us, but will also oblige us to deliver. Moreover, the interest shown for the adoption of blockchain technology through BCDB has been overwhelming, so we had to reconsider the sales target and enlarge our developer, as well as customer support and sales departments. By accomplishing all these, in 2020 we will get closer to our long-term objective: to become the first unicorn amongst blockchain tech companies on the market.