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 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.
I have had the opportunity to organize an event with the OpenCoffee Bucharest people. We have decided on getting to the mountains in a road trip. For this we went to the most famous road in Romania, the Transfagarasan. The view there was amazing and the whole event went great.
Some of the entrepreneurs joining the event include (in no particular order):
- Mircea Pasoi – Ex-Google Intern, Co-Founder at Balaur.ro, Software Engineer at uverVU
- Cristina Scheau – Google Summer of Code Student
- Cristian Strat – Ex-Google Intern, Co-Founder at Balaur.ro, IT Consultant
- Adrian Zamfira – CEO at KuBu Stream
- Marius Sigheti – Managing Partner at Sigheti & Sigheti
- Viorel Spinu – Managing partner at Sety
- Iulia Spinu – .NET Developer at TeamNet
- Petronela Serban – Co-Founder at BloggerWork
- Mihai Mafteianu – Founder at eWiki.ro, Co-Founder at TwiMarket.com, IT Consultant
Looking forward for the next event in the OpenGrill series.