I’ve been invited to give a presentation on networking and entrepreneurship in three cities in Romania (Bucharest, Timisoara and Cluj).
Main points of the presentation was that for Romania to grow more successful global startups we first need to grow a solid entrepreneurial ecosystem, formed of people who have the network and the money to help others succeed and grow at a rapid pace. The other thing necessary to grow an ecosystem is to strong network of connections in all major entrepreneurship hubs (San Francisco/Silicon Valley, New York, London, etc.)
Direct links to the networks/communities in the slideshow are:
I do usually post TED videos on my Tumblr Blog, but this is more relevant than most to the social and economic situations we have in Romania.
Is it possible to find corruption in Romania a similar way to how Shaffi Mather, a social entrepreneur from India, does it in his country of origin?
This might actually be a great startup opportunity for a social entrepreneur involved in consumer Internet. Pasted below is a comment from the Ted.com comment section, written by a person named ‘Ted Miller’:
If I have a product that I feel cheats me, I write a bad review on Amazon. Inevitably, bad reviews accumulate, the manufacturer is shamed, sales decline and the product is removed.
Why can’t something similar be done with corrupt officials? Create an online database with their photograph and profile, their work location, etc. It may only be a first name to begin with. But preferably India passes a law that requires all public officials to have a name badge and identity number.
Then if such an official solicits a bribe, you go to the site and anonymously or publicly (just like on Amazon) and post your grievance with the official. Perhaps you even post video footage of the occasion. If an official accumulates hundreds or thousands of bad reviews, it then becomes quite simple for media to expose them and their supervisors for allowing it to continue.
How would you like to be the corrupt official who has to explain to his children why he’s the worst-rated official in the newspaper?
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.