I was invited to be a mentor on a local entrepreneurship event called Arena Ursilor. The idea for the event was to put 10 promising entrepreneurs and their projects in front of the best mentors and business angels Romania has to offer and help them push their projects forward by advice and possibly financing.
The level of the projects was surprisingly high as the vast majority of the entrepreneurs pitched project with some level of technical implementation, at least at proof of concept stage. The others were domain experts, having worked in their line of expertise for many years and having the necessary experience to move to stating a business on their own.
The projects with the greatest potential to make a difference in the near future from the ones pitched at the event, in my opinion, are (in no particular order):
- VideoGuide.ro is a built to order video tour platform. Emanoil Serban, the project’s founder and CEO came to the event to raise money to develop the project further. He was asking for 60.000€ for 20%, giving the project a 300.000€ valuation. Currently they have 150 clients for their video tour filming and publishing service at a revenue of 300-600€ / client / year. The company is operational for around 2 years now and Emanoil plans to raise money to expand the sales effort to more cities in Romania.
- Tjobs.ro is a job platform with a twist. The twist comes from the fact its co-founders are domain experts in recruiting romanian employees for foreign employers and they formed a union of local recruiting companies. Those over 300 companies then submit their open job positions to Tjobs, while Tjobs makes sure that the end-users submit CVs only to verified companies that have a proven track record. This makes for a great win-win relationship for both the end-user and the employment agencies, with Tjobs being more like a trust partner for both than a usual recruiting platform. The Tjobs founders came to the event to raise money, asking for 150.000€ for 5% at a 3.000.000€ valuation.
- Fantasy Accelerator is an animated comic project. The project, in the idea state at the moment, is started by a young ambitious romanian guy who studied in the UK for all his university years. He came back with an idea of how to make online comics more interactive. Guy’s name is Claudiu Revnic and you can find him on Facebook.
The event went really well, with both the investors and mentors getting to know about new projects and the mentees and participants getting to interact with a group of experienced and successful local technology people.