Meet the CxO


Meet the CxO, Florentina Ispas – Commercial Director, EasyPay Systems

31

Oct 2023

Meet the CxO, Florentina Ispas – Commercial Director, EasyPay Systems

Tell us a few words about how your company started.

EasyPay, it’s a Romanian group of companies that was founded in 2010 as a self-service solutions manufacturer, with the purpose of obtaining a constant growth and leader position which was fulfilled through a well-consolidated team with common goals to sustain the high performance, best service, and quality products.

What drives you each day?

The desire to optimize and sustain as many businesses and domains with our self-service kiosks which are developed to reduce costs, increase the service quality, and also to increase the revenue.

What do you believe are the 3 main accomplishments that brought you here today?

Our main focus to offer the best service, to understand the purpose of our customers and to deliver the correct product at the correct price.

What do you believe are the 3 main failures that brought you here today?

We do not consider them failures, we consider experience.

Do you ever disconnect from the office? How?

Our business means to be almost 24/7 connected to the enterprise.

Tell us more about the business you are running. Let’s start with the number of clients you currently work on (name them if possible)

EasyPay Group is split into 3 main companies: the mother company, EasyPay System with 1000 payment terminals network implemented in the Romanian market where the customers can use more than 240 payment services, EasyPay Production which manufacures customized self-service kiosk for any domain, and Easy Technix offering services for maintenance and service for kiosks and components.

What is your most beloved project you worked on?

Each project is special for us because we are dedicating all our efforts to be a successful one, for us and for our customers as well.

What project forced you to be creative and innovative (if possible)?

Each project it’s different and customized so for each solution, so we need to be 100% involved because each domain it comes with different requests and challenges.

What makes your company different from others in your field of expertise?

We are offering complete services to all our customers:

-customized solutions

-best delivery term due to the fact that we are working with stocks

-check room dedicated for customer for software implementation and last check before packing

-access in real time to the production status

-warehousing in 2000sqm

-loading and transport support

-technical support

-training for customer regarding the use and maintenance of the kiosks

What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?

With passion, patience, correct decisions and a dedicated team close to you, the business will be a successfully one. Also, each “failure” to be considered just a challenge which must be accomplished.

What do you want to accomplish in the next year? 

We continue our journey to fulfill Europe market with our self-service solutions.

Why did you join Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster?

We have a good presence in media and events, so by joining the Cluster we have a great support and access to the companies which may need our products as well as we can find the correct people and services which we are looking in our activity

How does it benefit you?

It’s a faster and shortest way to discuss with interested people in our products and vice versa.

Florentina Ispas – Commercial Director, EasyPay System


Meet the CxO – Dragoș Bubu, Co-founder, Head of Design  eleven-space.com

01

Aug 2023

Meet the CxO – Dragoș Bubu, Co-founder, Head of Design eleven-space.com

Tell us a few words about how your company started.
ElevenSpace has started with the intention of helping companies start or scale their digital products, solutions and ideas to a new level of design capabilities. With user experience research, UI/UX design, design systems, interactive prototypes we can validate fast any design idea to make best use of resources.

What drives you each day?
Our mission is to bring clarity to digital solutions and highlight the benefits of great design within organisations, everywhere. We are moved by our constant need to create beautiful and functional solutions.

What do you believe are the 3 main accomplishments that brought you here today?
– Pursuing my intuition of starting a career in design
– Working with a great variety of companies and domain industries
– My wish to become a great entrepreneur and leader

What do you believe are the 3 main failures that brought you here today?
– Failing with the first company I started, taught me a lot about business
– Setting unrealistic expectations from myself and the people surrounding me
– Not getting aligned with myself to generate greater value

Do you ever disconnect from the office? How?
Sure, I love traveling, reading psychology, going to the cinema and hanging out with my friends.

Tell us more about the business you are running. Let’s start with the number of clients you currently work on (name them if possible)
We’re currently working with 46 Labs (USA), Toboro (France), MyAbode (USA), all SAAS dashboard app applications focusing on redesign and extending the current capabilities with new features.

What is your most beloved project you worked on?
Hostelworld is one of our favourite projects and our biggest so far in terms of active users. We were delighted to be involved in this project for countless reasons.
Hostelworld is a leading global Online Travel Agent (OTA) focused on the hostel market. The design was lagging a bit and with a user experience focused exclusively on tourists and their travel experience, the app was in need of a glow-up: a timeless user interface and an intuitive user experience. The app already had a great user experience and after our contribution, the rating grew to 4.9 (out of 5) and to an amazing 5 million downloads!
What we did was to consolidate their main design system (Wanderlust) and to define the mobile user experience for the main screens, from logging in to completing a hostel booking. It was such a delight having this much freedom and eagerness to create a high-quality, competitive app supported by the internal team and the external stakeholders.

What project forced you to be creative and innovative (if possible)
Being active in the creative field, we managed to come up with new ways of thinking in every project we’ve been involved in, either by studying the competition extremely well, mixing ideas from different domains, or suggesting ideas that make us of the latest technology developments like VR, AR, AI.

What makes your company different from others in your field of expertise?
Our company has a systematic approach to design by documenting everything from the smallest atoms to components, modules, screens and design rules. This approach saves a tremendous amount of time and creates clarity for everyone involved from sales, marketing, management, design, and development can look at our work that is extremely documented and be on-boarded immediately within the design
solution.

What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?
My advice for entrepreneurs is to observe limiting thoughts and feelings: examine what they are, what influence they have on you and what change in behaviour you can do to dissolve them. More often than not, we are our own brakes in the face of progress and profit expansion.

What do you want to accomplish in the next year?
We wish to double our team size and build a greater network to offer complimentary services in order to deliver bigger and complex projects.

Why did you join Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster?
I think it is an amazing idea to be among so many experienced companies that have created so many digital solutions in the Romanian digital ecosystem. My wish is to help as many companies understand and implement great design in their solutions, to help the cluster and their customers.

How does it benefit you?
By partnering up, we can grow together faster. The partners and customers of the cluster can benefit from great design, idea validation, interactive prototypes, design systems, ease-of-use in solutions. My main benefit is completing projects together with complimentary teams and expanding my network of ambitious partners that can deliver solutions in a timely manner.

How do you see your company as being part of the cluster?
Our company can be a reliable partner for everything design related: discovery, 5W1H Method, User Persona, Competitive Analysis, UX Audit, Visual Identity, Brand Guidelines, UI/UX Design, Wireframes, Prototyping, Web Design, Web Apps, Mobile Apps, Dashboards, Design Systems, Copywriting, Pitch Deck


Meet the CxO – Mihai Nica, Country Manager Daktela Romania

17

Jul 2023

Meet the CxO – Mihai Nica, Country Manager Daktela Romania

Tell us a few words about how your company started.

David Hájek and Richard Baar, Daktela’s founders, put into operation the first interstate Czech-American VoIP link between two Asterisk exchanges. They founded the Daktela company as a pioneering company that, in the age of digital switchboards and low-quality Internet, took the path of VoIP technology. In the following years, Daktela established itself on the central market. For the entire path, discover more here.

What drives you each day?

We grow together with our customers and employees, working hand in hand towards success. Our commitment is providing companies with a complete Omnichannel solution. We are driven to continuously enhance the application, modules and technologies used. Additionally, I am delighted to be part of a skilled team, that is enthusiastic on a daily basis about learning and personal development.

What do you believe are the 3 main accomplishments that brought you here today?

In 2016, the latest version of Daktela 6.0 was released, which was designed from the ground up as a multi-channel application with support for any communication channels, including social networks, and support for a large number of modules.

In the middle of 2021, the Slovak fund Sandberg Capital will invest in Daktela. This connection allowed Daktela to expand even faster in foreign markets. Within five years, Daktela wants to become number one on the CEE market in terms of contact centers and customer care.

In 2022 Daktela buys a majority stake in the company Coworkers.ai, which is a leader in the Czech market providing its own intelligent chatbots and voicebots based on Natural Language Processing technology.

What do you believe are the 3 main failures that brought you here today?

We don’t consider it a failure, but rather an opportunity for growth, as we believe Daktela should have expanded earlier. The last two years have shown that Daktela has the potential to become a leader in the telecommunications and software industry. Daktela is capable of meeting the evolving needs of businesses worldwide. Our commitment is empowering organizations with our communication tools, improving efficiency and providing exceptional customer experiences.

 Tell us more about the business you are running. Let’s start with the number of clients you currently work on (name them if possible)

Since the beginnings Daktela solution has been implemented in a wide variety of different customer applications. Some customers use the full range Omnichannel functionality range, whilst some use only what they require for their business. Daktela has 1000+ customers as Muziker, Notino, Alensa, active in Romania as well. Some of the local customers are: Market Net, IHB Bucharest, Casa Seciu, Klap, Vitas IFN, Sportisimo, Digital Sale, Doing Business, Roxy Travel.

 What project forced you to be creative and innovative (if possible)

The expansion of the portfolio. Daktela is significantly expanding its product portfolio. The field of intelligent chatbots, voicebots and mailbots is represented by the Daktela AI Agent product line. Daktela Workforce Optimization helps with traffic management in Call Centers and other shift operations. Among the new and expanded functions, for example, the Daktela Intelligence analytical tool based on Daktela’s integration with BigQuery. Automated Machine Detection (AMD) helps in active Call Center campaigns.

What makes your company different from others in your field of expertise?

Omnichannel communication. Daktela is One App for all your customer communications. The best cloud-based Contact Centre software to help companies provide superior Customer Care. Handle voice, e-mail, web chat, SMS and all communication via social media channels in one solution with extended features, like CRM, real time, wallboards and much more.

What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?

As a young entrepreneur, here are some valuable pieces of advice to consider: follow your passion, embrace failure as a learning opportunity, surround yourself with a strong network, continuously learn and improve, calculate risks, focus on customer value, build a strong team, embrace technology and innovation, manage your finances wisely and be persistent.

What do you want to accomplish in the next year?

We are anticipating the expansion of our partnerships, collaborations and portfolio to provide support and tailored solutions that answers the needs of our clients. Recognizing the significance of AI as a important technology in both present and future, we are committed to further developing and embracing its potential. Our ultimate objective is to establish ourselves as industry leaders across all markets we operate in.

Why did you join Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster?

Membership in a tech community enables us to expand our reach and educate a broader audience, be informed about new technologies and innovations and provide added value to members through our expertise and product.

How does it benefit you?

Communities and networking provide valuable benefits to enhance the businesses of all the members. Additionally, the cluster presents opportunities for collaborative bartering, building cumulative brand awareness, organizing informative meetings and accessing a complex database. We are excited about the prospect of growing together, setting ambitious goals, educating our audiences and engaging potential customers.

How do you see your company as being part of the cluster?

By participating in the cluster’s events as attendees, speakers or hosts we have the opportunity to share valuable insights through webinars and provide informative content about our Omnichannel software. Moreover, we offer our tech & communication expertise specifically tailored for cluster members, engage in cross-marketing initiatives and potential barter activities. Additionally, we are open to new opportunities and innovative business ideas.


Meet the CxO – Victor Dragomirescu, CEO Romanian Software

29

Mar 2023

Meet the CxO – Victor Dragomirescu, CEO Romanian Software

Tell us a few words about how your company started.

It all started 22 years ago when Romanian Software was a company that specialized in developing custom software for worldwide clients. Together with my twin brother, we used that experience to acquire a great deal of knowledge about automation. At that time, we saw automation as a business opportunity applied to the field of human resources. In 2004, we developed a product to address the Romanian market of HR: “SAL, your expert in payroll”. At that time, we had no satisfactory payroll software available, which meant that individuals were grappling with the complexity of salary issues using pen and paper. This served as the foundation of what would eventually evolve into colorful.hr. Today, I am extremely gratified to state that colorful.hr is a complete HR software solution utilized by more than 750 companies to streamline and automate almost every aspect of the HR process.

What drives you each day?

My motivation relies on the fact that I still combine my passion for mathematics with my job. I approach each challenge as a mathematical problem and strive to discover solutions. My love for mathematics has been present since childhood and has been passed down through my family for generations. Although complex problems are the most captivating, the journey to reach a solution is ultimately the most fulfilling. This perspective has allowed me to maintain my passion for years, as I believe that growth is only achieved through effort, and innovation is made possible through growth.

What do you believe are the 3 main accomplishments that brought you here today?

Starting a family business has been and will always continue to be one of my greatest accomplishments. Although it may seem cliché, having a familial mindset when dealing with those around you aids in maintaining relationships in the long term. The transition from SAL to colorful.hr was pivotal for the business. During this time, we decided to develop a complete digital HR solution, and we accepted the responsibility that came with it. Finally, my ability to recognize opportunities has played a crucial role. Trends and new consumer needs will always arise in the market, and those who can seize these opportunities will emerge victorious.

Do you ever disconnect from the office? How?

To be honest, I am extremely passionate about my work and do not feel the need to disengage from it. But when it comes to free time, I indulge in calming hobbies such as playing chess and fishing.

Tell us more about the business you are running. Let’s start with the number of clients you currently work with.

colorful.hr is a comprehensive digital platform for managing human resources processes utilized by over 750 companies in Romania. For more than 22 years, colorful.hr has been transforming HR by providing professionals with the necessary tools to increase efficiency. Our product has been customized and modified to accommodate any business model, regardless of the number of employees. We are thrilled to have a varied portfolio and to cater to businesses from almost any industry, ranging in size from 2 to over 5000 employees.

What is your most beloved project you worked on?

Determining a favorite project is challenging because every project I participate in holds a special place in my heart. Nevertheless, colorful.hr will always hold a distinct place because it was a risk that I took, and I made it a triumph, growing it into a prosperous business with over 160 employees and a successful product. Our effort to enhance the payroll solution for colorful.hr resulted in the creation of CalculatorVenituri.ro in 2016. With CalculatorVenituri.ro, we broaden the functionalities we offer to companies through colorful.hr and assist employees, authorized natural persons, and entrepreneurs with payroll calculations.

My ardor for mathematics and informatics led me to another project that I cherish deeply, an NGO I co-founded with my associates to promote high-performance STEM education. The Upper.School NGO brings together outstanding educators and impassioned youngsters who require mentors, encouragement, recognition, and a community. Each of these ventures holds an equal amount of pride for me, and I am content to be able to bring about positive change today and for future generations.

 What makes your company different from others in your field of expertise?

In today’s job market, where benefit packages, salary offers, and job roles are no longer significant differentiators for companies, we believe how we treat our employees in a professional environment sets us apart. Since we started as a family business, we have always treated our employees with care, like they were part of our family. This approach has led us to create a diverse team, with employees ranging in age from 22 to 66 years old.

When organizing events or team-building activities, we take into account our employees’ diverse opinions, and we have seen the positive impact of this on their satisfaction. During recruitment, we have always avoided discrimination, both in job descriptions and during interviews. We provide a tailored onboarding process specific to each department and employee learning style but uniform in duration and welcome package.

Our high retention rate reflects our commitment to diversity, communication, and employee growth. Despite being a company with over 22 years of experience in the market, we have team members who have been with us for over 15 years. By valuing our employees and encouraging their growth, we have found building a strong and loyal team easy.

What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?

I have had the opportunity to interact with many successful entrepreneurs and observe their journeys, and some pieces of advice I would give to a young entrepreneur would be simple but important to maintain sight of them.

  1. Identify a problem and provide a solution: Successful entrepreneurs are problem solvers. Find a problem you are passionate about and devise a solution that can help people.
  2. Focus on your strengths: Identify them and use them to your advantage. If you are good at marketing, use that to promote your business. If you are good at technology, use that to develop your product.
  3. Be flexible and adaptable: The business world is constantly changing, and you need to be able to adapt to stay relevant. Be open to new ideas and be willing to pivot if necessary.
  4. Build a strong team: Surround yourself with people who share your vision and can help you achieve your goals. A strong team can make all the difference in the success of your business.
  5. Be persistent: Building a successful business takes time and effort. Stay focused on your goals, and don’t give up when things get tough.

Why did you join Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster?

I joined Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster to have the chance to work together with other entrepreneurs to promote innovation and technological development. I see the cluster as a platform for collaboration, networking, and knowledge sharing among its members to drive growth and competitiveness.


Meet the CXO – Soft Dreams, Ionut Dumitru

06

Mar 2023

Meet the CXO – Soft Dreams, Ionut Dumitru

How was your company incorporated?

I started coding as a freelancer during the University. I used to apply for jobs on a website called https://www.rentacoder.com/. At first, I did other people’s homework and then, as my rating was growing, I started to get better and bigger projects. I got to the point where I was in the 40th position out of hundreds of thousands of coders around the world and this allowed me to bid and be considered for bigger projects. Actually, the idea of incorporating my own company came in 2004 after winning such a project. Don’t imagine it was a fortune, just a couple of hundred dollars, but that was the spark I needed to move things further to the next level and start my own company.

I think my experience on the platform taught me the basics of business: how to make yourself visible and differentiate yourself from others – there’s no tougher coding school than the one where you’re bidding against highly competitive markets, how to value ratings and make them work for you, and how important it is to do your job well, to keep clients closer on the long run. It pays back, one of the biggest clients we had on the platform is now our client.

What drives you every day?

I think it is a combination of passion and the wish to do things that matter, goals you believe in. I absolutely love coding and I never get tired of doing it. And I don’t mind working overtime, going the extra mile, stepping out of the box, sometimes sacrificing my free time…

Of course, as in every business, there’ve been hard times and more challenging circumstances.

What do you believe are the three main accomplishments that brought you here today?

I think working with American companies has influenced me and my leadership style a lot.  I learned how to coach and nurture solid relationships in the workplace. I am all the time present and willing to help, I enjoy sharing my experience and I think I managed to build a healthy relationship with my team in which they know I am there for them. Besides coaching, I could say that the continuous learning mindset is something I borrowed and have been practicing and preaching.

Then, our server management product is an important accomplishment. We invested a lot of work in it and has a huge potential to go internationally. It would be a great step for us as a small company and a nice return on our investment.

Last, but every time on top of our list of priorities and most important is our team. Probably the pandemic was my toughest lesson because then I could see how important it is to be and work together and made the team even more relevant for the entire business.

What do you believe are the main failures that brought you here today?

We’ve had some. For example, food platforms are trending now, and I remember a project we had before apps such as Oliviera and Food Panda were launched. We created something nice, but when we went to the restaurants, we realized they did not know and were not willing to learn to use the tablets. Then, bigger players came with bigger marketing budgets, and we decided to give up the project. It would have been an unfair competition and I think it is good to know when to stop

Do you ever disconnect from the office? How?

In spite of my working long and random hours, my family comes first. I’ve tried to separate things a bit lately, so I invest my energy 100% there every time we are together or we plan holidays, outings, and events together, it doesn’t matter if I need to work during the night to catch up with my work.

Now tells us more about the business you are running. Before the pandemic, our clients’ portfolio included many American companies, but with the lockdown and all the budget cuts that in some cases left us out, we needed to find more sustainable solutions on the Romanian market, too. And the clients we started working with, brought us other clients.

We also work on a project we received financing for, Cluster CS, and we have an entire year to conclude that and get to the next level with the product. It’s a complex product that requires adding new functionalities, and the reconstruction of certain parts of the product, and we aim at getting with the product in an area where we can meet the quality and security demands to get bigger clients. The product is very interesting as it refers to scaling a server infrastructure in case of heavy traffic and it is something that could work in integrating very complex structures. We have only a few steps to take to be able to cover all key security aspects.

What makes your company different from others in your field of expertise?

We are a relatively small company, and we are all quite technical, therefore we have a similar understanding in terms of quality. We have extended experience in product delivery, and it is easy for us to be in our clients’ shoes and deliver the level of quality expected from all points of view: website structure, flow, server infrastructures, and cloud solutions. We understand very well the process, we come up with good recommendations and generally, the result is a high-quality product.

What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?

First, be ready to invest a lot of time and energy. You need to be willing to continually learn and study best practices. A mentor would also help you see if the path you’ve chosen is the right one and avoid making mistakes others have already made.

What do you want to accomplish this year?

This year is going to be focused on promoting our product, and that involves an entire switch from the service provider mindset to the product provider one. We’ll have two divisions, each focused on its own target and currently, we are evaluating the proper assignment of resources.

Why Smart Alliance?

You can’t work in your own box and expect to be discovered. Smart Alliance has been the perfect place to meet other Romanian tech companies and be introduced to their products as well as find partners. Being part of this community is also good PR for us as we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and our products not only among the Smart Alliance members but to the entire tech community.

Have you had any projects with the members of the cluster?

Yes, actually the project I was mentioning above was gained with the help of Omega Trust.


Meet the CxO – Codruț CHERESTEȘ, CEO at DosiTracker

24

Oct 2018

Meet the CxO – Codruț CHERESTEȘ, CEO at DosiTracker

Codruţ Cheresteş is a physicist-entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the field of ionizing radiation, founder of one of the companies of reference in Romania. Acknowledging that the value of a business is given by the quality of the people working for it, Codruț promotes competence and integrity, trust and respect, as principles underlying any action, raising the quality standard in individual dosimetry and gaining recognition at the level European. In 2015, Codruţ sold the leading market company he built to an international corporation and made the exit in 2017 to meet new challenges. His new “challenge” is called radon and is related to the health level of the population and employees as a result of their exposure to indoor radon at home or in the workplace. Although the impact of radon on health is in the attention of the European Commission since the early 1990s, monitoring of radon in Romania is a new field, with specific legislation being adopted only this summer. Thus, in a market that is only in the making and where the level of information about radon oscillate between ”shocking”news and ignorance, this new project calls for involvement, passion and responsibility, that is, those values that Codruţ has always been building on. He is also a member of the European Radiation Dosimetry Group and the European Radon Association, actively involved in the harmonization of procedures specific to the field of radiation dosimetry.

 

Tell us a few words about how your company started.

Being an entrepreneurial doctor in physics, after the exit from the company that I built into market leader in the regulated business of dosimetry, I embarked on a new journey called radon, the no. 1 cause of pulmonary cancer among non-smokers according to the American Cancer Society. Radon is a worldwide important topic for decades and starting 2013 it’s being standardized and regulated by the European Commission into the EURATOM Basic Safety Standards (BSS) Directive 59 that has to be applied to all European Union (EU) Member States. The health risks of long-term radon exposure are not widely known in Romania and even less the necessary steps towards radon mitigation. So, in a way we are the Evangelists of the matter, concentrating our efforts into increasing the public awareness, especially the one of the authorities and local decision makers.

What drives you each day?

The passion for science, but most of all for the way we can translate it into the benefit of professionals and general public.

What do you believe are the 3 main accomplishments that brought you here today?

There are three values that are guiding both my life and the way I do business: passion, involvement and responsibility.

What do you believe are the 3 main failures that brought you here today?

My academic evolution was quite sinuous and it was hard to find my way, at some point made me feel like I was in caught in a vicious circle from which I strongly felt the need to get out. I had the feeling that I was stuck in the mud or that I was missing the boat, all of which made me more determined about what I had to do. This engine kept me going to this day.

Do you ever disconnect from the office? How?

I do, quite often I would say. I like to discover and enjoy remote places that are  not on every tourist wish-list, preferably where there’s no GSM signal.

Do you have any books you wish you could forget just so you can read it again?

Dune, Frank Herbert

 Education – classic or alternative? Both?

Both.

Now tells us more about the business you are running. Let’s start with the number of clients you currently work on (name them if possible)

DosiTracker is a Romanian start-up that offers top integrated solutions for monitoring the radiation exposure of the health and industry professionals in their work environments, for both domestic and international clients. Currently, the core business of DosiTracker is represented by RadonAir, the brand that encompasses the intelligent solutions we offer for radon monitoring in samples of air, water and soil.

At RadonAir we developed a smart solution for indoor radon monitoring that is currently testing in a pilot conducted in some selected locations in different cities. RadonAir is the  proud partner of Alba Iulia City Hall in the Alba Iulia Smart City project, our solution being one of the +100 smart solutions implemented in which we are actively monitoring the indoor levels of radon in three different public buildings.

We are now concentrating to extend our pilot in few other cities apart from Alba Iulia and Bucharest (where we are currently present) so that we have a compelling and reliable showcase for all local authorities and private businesses that need to comply with the new set of regulations set in place this spring (Law no. 63/12.04.2018).

What is your most beloved project you worked on?

Since we are at the beginning, everything we do in relation to our latest passion, radon, is as exciting and beloved.

What project forced you to be creative and innovative (if possible)

Our smart solution for indoor radon monitoring that is aggregating in real-time the data gathered from our radon detectors and sends it to the building administrator, manager or employer to improve wellbeing and increase productivity by easily monitoring serious indoor air pollutants. Everything via RadonAir Dashboard, mobile app and an API option available for corporate use. This way, you are able to have a constant remote control of the radon levels in your building or workplace by getting automated alarms each time the average level of radon set to 300 Bq/m3 is breached.

What was the biggest struggle?

To detach myself from my previous business.

What makes your company different from others in your field of expertise?

As far as we know, RadonAir is the first private company offering integrated solutions for indoor radon monitoring in Romania along with being the exclusive provider of top detection and measurement equipments offered by renowned European companies.

Who is the biggest innovator for you?

Nikola Tesla

What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?

To not allow people who say ‘it’s not possible’ to influence their business decisions.

What do you want to accomplish in the next year?

To become profitable and include at least 5 big clients in our portfolio.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?

Our vision is to become the reference company in raising the standard of protection against indoor exposure to radon both in the private and business environments with a company value of minimum 5 M euro.

Why did you join Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster?

With our RadonAir App solution we use a variety of devices from the IoT area to collect data, being capable of communicating with the full range of smart radon detectors in our portfolio. By joining Smart Alliance we can only add our knowledge and expertise in a rather niche business to the assets of the other members, having in the same time the benefit of the synergies that can spring from other businesses that are at the beginning of the road like us.

How does it benefit you?

In this centennial year, I would quote few verses from ‘Hora Unirii’

Unde-i unul nu-i putere…

Unde-s doi, puterea crește…

(Where is one there is no strength…

Where is two the strength grows…)

Smart Alliance is the glue that binds different gems together into the most valuable piece of jewelry and, in the same time, it is the centerpiece that presents the jewelry to the world.

In other words, together, we are stronger!

How do you see your company as being part of the cluster?

As active ‘sharers’ of our particular expertise among members of the cluster and ‘gainers’ of more experience and credibility in the innovation technology area that is fundamental to our business positioning.

 


People of Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster – Dana BUTUC

21

Sep 2018

People of Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster – Dana BUTUC

When you picture Dana, you picture the energy of observation, of taking notice, of experiencing life. Dana is consciously making attention the first and foremost important gift from her to you and everything else comes after.

Why did you choose this company to work?

I choose this company because it presented the opportunity to work on various challenging projects and within an young and professional team.

Who’s the biggest innovator for you?

In my opinion, Elon Musk is the biggest innovator of our time. As a young child he always dreamed of going into space and following that dream resulted into SpaceX, a company that revolutionized the space industry.

What project made you proud of your work?

My favorite project was the implementation of AvanDoc for the City Hall District 5. It was a big challenge for me and my team because we had to teach 250 employees to use the platform.

If an outsider were to look at your team, what would they say?

Commitment for delivering quality.

What was the biggest struggle your team had to overcome?

Conflict between users of different departments is always a big struggle to work with. By trying to facilitate a healthy discussion in wich all the parties are heard  and make each user feel that he or she has been given a fair chance to present his or her oppinion is the approach that worked.

If God would ask you to build an app, what do you think it would be?

A CRM, because God has a lot to work with.


Meet the CxO – Mihai “Mike” Drăghici, CEO Techsource

17

Sep 2018

Meet the CxO – Mihai “Mike” Drăghici, CEO Techsource

Mihai ”Mike” Drăghici is a serial entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience turning ideas into products and launching startups in several countries including USA, Canada, Romania, Mexico, and India. He has founded over 15 companies that range from sole proprietorship in smaller local markets to several limited liability partnerships and corporations doing business across the United States. He has two provisional patents on proprietary technology for a mobile dispatching terminal used in taxis, a lottery gaming system for non-banked markets and a non-provisional application submitted for a luggage tracking device. He also has filed a US trademark on “PayByFace” (a face recognition payment processing platform). He is also a full stack senior software engineer and system architect with many years of experience working on enterprise cloud platforms, mobile apps, databases, web services, front office applications, business intelligence systems, ML/AI & data science, scalability and performance frameworks.

Tell us a few words about how your company started.

I recently returned to Bucharest in February 2018 after living in the USA for the past 35 years. I’ve been working in the technology sector as a software engineer and serial entrepreneur for over 18 years and it was very logical to start my first company in Bucharest as a technology service provider. Tech Source Consulting SRL will be the technology base and IT consulting for all the other incubator companies I have already started building here in Bucharest which focuses on disruptive fintech solutions, legal system software, enterprise risk management, entertainment networks, advertising networks, robotics & automation, B2C and B2B marketplace applications.

What drives you each day?

I love turning ideas into real products and services that solve problems, are disruptive and innovative. I’ve launched startups in several countries including Mexico, Canada, USA, India and now Romania. I enjoy all the innovation challenges and process inefficiencies that a new market presents when legacy systems can’t keep up with trends in society, human resource demand and infrastructure scalability problems. There will always be problems to solve and as an engineer this keeps me going every day.

What do you believe are the three main accomplishments that brought you here today?

In winter of 2017 I decided to sell all my property in Seattle, Washington and find a new investment venture for 2018. I closed the deal on my 40-acre property in western Washington and sold my sailboat and three cars. I also quit my job as senior engineer for Vertafore and was at a point where I could do anything I want next. I decided to buy a plane ticket to Bucharest and the rest is history…

What do you believe are the three main failures that brought you here today?

Going back to the situation in Seattle, the primary failure that guided me to come to Bucharest was that Vertafore decided to move their headquarters to Denver, Colorado and so over 80% of the Seattle headquarter staff was laid off, asked to relocate, or be part of the elite few who got to remain there. I was part of the elite few who was asked to stay behind but I wasn’t ok with the situation and therefore I decided to resign. The second failure which guided me to choose a new adventure in Europe was that my investment property to build an off-grid resort and vineyard in western Washington was becoming too challenging and too expensive to keep building and I decided to list it for sale and it sold right in time. The third failure which motivated me to fly to Romania was a strategic partnership with a VC firm that didn’t have sales traction in the initial phases while I was advising them on their enterprise technology solutions and architecture strategy for their portfolio companies and product offerings, so I decided to end that joint venture and look for something new.

Do you ever disconnect from the office? How?

Yes, absolutely. I like watching movies with my girlfriend and going on road trips on the weekends. We travel every chance we get, and we’ve already been to Italy this summer and she has shown me many places throughout Romania including the mountainside and the coastline and several castles and lots of sightseeing. But because I love what I do and have so many different projects and startups even work is not really work. There is a saying that when you love what you do it’s not work anymore, and it becomes fun!

Do you have any books you wish you could forget just so you can read it again?

I actually don’t read very much surprisingly. Since I write code as a programmer I try to stay away from “words” when I close my laptop at the end of the day. I prefer to be outdoors and gain knowledge purely from real experiences and from deep conversations with other smart people.

Education – classic or alternative? Both?

I didn’t obtain a degree and dropped out of school because my career took off at an early age and I was already learning more at my job than they were teaching in school and I was getting paid for it. So, it was an easy choice to choose “work experience” over school and I’m grateful I made this choice, especially because I’ve followed a serial entrepreneurship path in life and I believe having the freedom to explore ideas without judgments or direction and learning from multiple failures is perhaps a more advantageous and a more robust “educational system” in the long run.

Now tells us more about the business you are running. Let’s start with the number of clients you currently work on.

I’ve had many clients in the past 18+ years since I’ve been doing business in the tech space in several countries around the world.

Name a few of the biggest clients you work for.

My most noteworthy client here in Bucharest right now is Société General – European Business Services and I was selected to be part of their Catalyst 3.0 Accelerator program this year.

Name a few of the projects that made you a force to be reckon on the market.

I’d like to start with the most beloved project – PaybyFace. Its meant to make electronic payments with biometric means, in this case using facial recognition through a simple selfie. Although worldwide technology has allowed this for several years, such projects have not been outlined in Romania for the time being. From the start, PaybyFace was an application designed to scale and be deployed in many industries. For example, in retail,  I even started testing in beta, how a customer enters the supermarket, makes his purchases and then stays at a home where he can pay for himself, only through a selfie, then at that special house to receive discounts for making the payment in this way.

Another project ARTFIRST, which made me be creative and innovative in the same time. The purpose is to build a community of highly creative people and sets the stage for everyone to experience an art exhibit of original paintings, sculptures, photography and poetry alongside the artists who created them. ARTFIRST events happen in the capital city of Bucharest, Romania renown for its European and International art museums and art galleries that attract visitors from across the country and tourists from around the World. The appetite for art in the city is prevalent all the way from the endless graffiti in the streets to the National Art Museum’s one-of-a-kind collections and famous masterpieces. ARTFIRST gives artists a unique opportunity to shine in the spotlight at our art exhibits in different locations around town on the first Saturday of every month. Artists get a chance to stand by their creations, meet the audience face to face and talk to potential buyers during the silent auction events.

What was the biggest struggle?

Selling off my majority shares in a digital marketing company I built over three years back in 2011 in Seattle to my business partners.

What makes your company different from others in your field of expertise?

I have several companies and each one is unique with the solution, services and product offerings. I typically launch incubator startups in the disruptive tech space and I try to provide cutting-edge innovation to solve real problems. This strategy and vision usually put me ahead of my competition and sometimes I have no competition at all depending on the market I choose to launch in.

How are your products innovative?

I solve complex problems using a combination of existing, well-defined solutions from other sub-problems in order to achieve real innovation with a simple and easy to understand methodological process for the consumer/client.

Who is the biggest innovator for you?

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?

Don’t be afraid to fail, learn to negotiate and get what you want, hire a good accountant and a good attorney.

What do you want to accomplish in the next year?

Raise seed funding for any one of my Bucharest incubator startups.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?

Build a unicorn company in Romania. (billion valuation)

Why did you join Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster?

The people in the group I met with are in the same business mindset as me and their openness and willingness to help you succeed is priceless. Choosing your partners in business is critical to the level of success that you can achieve and my choice with Smart Alliance aligns with my company goals and my vision & culture.

How does it benefit you?

To gain more exposure in the local and global marketplace and to build my network of influence to achieve the goals I’ve set for my company growth trajectory into 2019 and beyond.

How do you see your company as being part of the cluster?

A mutual beneficial relationship.

How do you see the evolution of the cluster?

This group of smart individuals and the intellectual property they all bring creates a true potential for future growth and builds a force to break our limiting barriers, expedite solutions for all our customers, and deliver the highest quality products and services in the marketplace with the constant changing landscape from technology impacting our society year after year.

 


Meet the CxO – Șerban CONSTANTINESCU, Managing Partner QWERTY Solutions

02

Mar 2018

Meet the CxO – Șerban CONSTANTINESCU, Managing Partner QWERTY Solutions

Serban is a man of few words that likes action more than talking. He doesn’t seem to be the reincarnation of the true leader’s definition either. What he really is good at is to delegate tasks and thus helping his employees develop. Staying at the same U-shaped desk with his team, he is the kind of managing partner that most of the time talks on the phone with clients or potential clients, but is always there if someone needs help. This is how he managed to gather around him people that want to develop and are passionate about that they do. He built a bustling organizational culture around the idea of being yourself. The employees are laughing, slacking, hard and devoted workers, and geeks (that destroyed a printer to take its parts and reassemble it in something else).

Tell us a few words about how your company started.

QWERTY Solutions was born in 2006 based on the idea that outsourcing will become the next big thing in the Romanian IT market. Inside QWERTY we do what we learned – administration of IT infrastructure, design, consultancy, among others. It took us around 5 years to understand the market and see what it needs, thus only in 2011 we started to develop the business lines that we are working on till this day. We walked an extra mile and developed an e-mail marketing platform because we saw what the Romanian market needed it and for which we received great feedback. As we have operational expertise and an ITIL education we started to implement full systems of ITIL management and we have special customers for it.

What drives you each day?
The sheer pleasure of doing something new each day. I know it sounds like a cliché, but it is true. We’re lucky that we managed to enter a market that is challenging. In the same time, we learn new things almost daily. We all know that the IT market’s patron saint is Hermes, but that adds up to something invaluable – experience. Thus, we are constantly improving, coming up with solutions that will benefit our clients and in the same time to our employees.

Which are the 3 main accomplishments that brought you where are today?
There are three that come to mind, in no particular order, as all helped me develop, improve, and made my team to grow.
The first one is the fact that I’ve managed to do what I love and surprisingly I’m very good at (laughs). Becoming an entrepreneur was hard bit. Like many, I started in an apartment and only the fact that I am truly passionate about what I do kept me afloat when things were rough.
The second one is the fact that I successfully earned the trust of the people with whom I worked, clients or employees alike. My clients trust my decisions and they know that all what we do is meant to work without a hitch. If by misfortune there is a hitch, thanks to our monitoring systems, we can spot it making their business to run smoothly 24/7. On the other hand, my team is certain I am always acting for their benefit, even when I’m pushing them, as I’m just trying to get them to become a better programmer. We may argue, but at the end of the day they know I do it for them and for the team. Which, ultimately, is the same thing. Perhaps the fact that I’m a human being and not a boss (laughs) made them stick around for so long. When we have a not-so-busy-day we like to play, taking different hardware apart just to put it back again. Honestly, I believe that this is actually what makes them come here, each morning, with a big smile on their faces – and that is the most important thing for me.
The third and the most important – my family. I have 2 little boys that inherited my love for crafting things. After work or in weekends we spend time together building things. Or crashing them.

Which are the 3 main failures that brought you where are today?

The lack of courage to move faster. I’m the type of person that has to do everything perfect. I hesitated when it was to launch certain IT solutions because I thought they were not good enough and it didn’t seem fair to put them on the market before I was 101% sure satisfied with the result. It drives me nuts when I see similar ideas coming on the market but in a more precarious state than what we’ve thought about. That was the point where I realized the need for feedback.

Do you ever disconnect from the office? How?
Yes, I do. You have to disconnect from your work and routine otherwise you can’t step back in order to observe things from a distance. How do I do it? Weekends are weekends. I am not to be bothered with office problems. I go to the mountains, I walk, I chop woods for winter and in my basement, I have a turning machine. Now I am in the process of building my own 3D printer.

Education – classic or alternative? Both?
I’m an advocate for classic education, with a touch of self-education. The basis to build upon is given by what you’ve learned in school, but the wings are built solely by you. You cannot expect the school to give you anything but the foundation, so you have to put some hard work into it. The most important thing is to start doing this on your initiative.

Now tells us more about the business you are running. Let’s start with the number of clients you currently work on (name them if possible)
What we do is to deliver services – server administration or website, software implementation and more. We have over 30 clients, all happy clients, and you have to understand that for us there is no such a thing as a big or a small client. We see our services as something that has to work, regardless of the size of the contract. Each and every client is important.

Name a few of the projects that made you a force to be reckon on the market.
Not the projects, but the operational services made us famous on the market. The reliability and quality of our services proved to our customers that they can count on what we deliver. ITC has to function smoothly, once it is implemented and it shouldn’t be patched once every week. That’s why most of our turnover is on services, rather than projects.

What project forced you to be creative and innovative (if possible)
Each client is different. Creativity comes when measuring personalized services against controllable and guaranteed quality standards and the solution you put forward is the most beneficial cost vs performance.
10. What makes your company different from others in your field of expertise
QWERTY Solutions offers services that are quality-verifiable. Our clients will never have to worry and you get what you paid for. Regardless if it’s basic or complex, what you’ve asked for or what you needed is delivered to you and it is guaranteed to work.

How are your services innovative?
In our line of work the innovation is to anticipate the needs of the client and to offer him a solution in a certain standard of controllable and measurable quality that you can guarantee. Our services are standard and the way we deliver them it is the same. Our innovation comes by something more basic – proactivity. We are careful when analyzing the needs and the expectations of the customer. Needs and expectations are not necessarily the same. This is where the innovation is born and where we manage to make that big difference even though we are a small company.

What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?
First of all – do your homework. Study what you want to do and see what is the market for it. Once you know what is your thing, be determined. Don’t give up at the first hurdle and do not listen to each and every opinion preached to you. Always be determined on what you want.

What do you want to accomplish in the next year?
I want to grow my business, there is nothing else (laughs)

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
I want that QWERTY’s achievements to receive the recognition they deserve on the Romanian market.

Why did you join Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster?
It is an opportunity to grow our businesses together. It is a small cooperative of small companies that have much more to gain together than each one by oneself.
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How do you see your company as being part of the cluster?
Until the cluster will have a product of its own, I do not believe that me or my company, or others for that matter, will bring something to the cluster. Until this happens, we are strictly a bunch of managing partners that run a cluster.
How do you see the evolution of the cluster?
I believe it can prove, if it didn’t do it already, that people can work together for a higher purpose.


Meet the CxO – Marius PANĂ, CEO Spearhead

19

Jan 2018

Meet the CxO – Marius PANĂ, CEO Spearhead

A nerd by definition, an american by philosophy, a Romanian by heart, Marius is a  multicultural blend of ideas and values, partly because he lived in USA for half of his life. He sees opportunity where there is not, and has an relentless source of energy when it comes to successfully accomplishing an idea. He identifies himself with the concept of high-performance and lives by it. A gamer with a desire to change the face of the Romanian IT industry, he never actually passed over the line of being a soldier in the front lines. Even though he leads his own company, he still gets his ”hands dirty” every time he has the possibility, that’s how he created a feedback loop, a technology that made employees from Amazon and Google struck with awe.

Tell us a few words about how your company started.

In 2001 I came back to Romania from the United States and in 2004 I started my own IT company. My parents moved right after the fall of the communism and I spent my childhood in the USA. When I came back I had a sudden realization that IT services we’re not yet a professional service here.  Back then the mentality was something like,” everyone has a neighbor that knows computers”. There wasn’t this proficiency that we like to brag about. So, I entered in this game because I realized my knowledge could mean something – infrastructure administration with more complex technologies that despite the fact that these technologies were being used, they didn’t have so much impact. So, in 2004 I started like many other IT firms – with a desire to do things as they should be, but with no straight direction.

Without any strategy but with a drive that made us feel we could accomplish everything, I managed to land some clients that could almost touch this energy. The biggest downside to this is that we did lots of things from a bunch of different fields and that soon became a difficult to manage. I soon came to the conclusion that it did not represent me anymore because over the years I started to develop as well, to become better on a certain type of technology, with more clearer concepts, methodologies and so on.

So we started fresh. In 2010 we took the decision, in 2011 we implemented the strategy. The company I had shut down, we made a screening over the clients and we reduced from 7-8 business lines to only 3 but very, very focused and we started to build. The concept was Spearhead, as the name of the actual company, and we wanted and we still do, to be on the front line with modern, advanced and open technologies.

  • The most important thing is to be modern. Nowadays you have to be able to shift with ease from one technology to another, and the legacy ones do not allow you to have this mobility. At the same time, I’m extremely interested in how the methodology is applied and how it brings you the results you wanted.
  • Advanced because the concepts are pretty complex. What is easy is already done by others. There is no place for us. We have to do the hard stuff.
  • Last but not least, open source. Somewhere inside myself is a hippie that is very keen on things to be open source. I am very convinced about a single thing – in IT we managed to be where we are because of open source. How you see me right now and everything that is around you I managed to learn and do these things because some other fellows said “no, what I write, what I think, belongs to the community”. If they wouldn’t have been like that, I wouldn’t have been able to be here. So, I truly believe in this and I hope we can make some good with it.

What drives you each day?

The concept of high-performance. If you do a search on Google you will find a ton of materials on marketing, self-motivating, habits and what not. Some are very sad because you can see they are made only to make you feel better and to sell. I believe in another type of high performance that doesn’t have all this blabber – the one that I apply has ups and downs, it’s the real life as you feel it and how it actually is as a matter of fact. Its not like in the American movies where everything is going to be pretty in the end. There are days where you just watch the clock waiting to go home, and there are others when you do not know how to make the time stop. The whole concept of high performance means to know that life gives you lemons and honey and you must be prepared to manage everything, in one way or another but to always focus on getting things done.

This is especially something I learned while I was in the USA. While I lived there, we were fairly poor. All of us had to work hard to survive. That’s because their system is very well built –if you work, you are rewarded, if you work harder, you get bigger rewards, regardless if it means physical or intellectual work. I came back with this mind-set and this ambition to do things, to always get things done and we can feel it, as a company, that if we work hard results will come.

What do you believe are the 3 main accomplishments that brought you here today?

Probably, when we get older we remember more about our childhood and what formed us.

I remember my first job, as a newspaper delivery boy. At 5AM the pile of newspapers would come, I had to pack them up, put them in a bag and I started to deliver. I remember that I would get quite consistent tips. Let’s be straight – my salary was next to nothing, but there were some pensionaries that were very nice and they would tip me. I remember that each one of them had some special method of how they wanted their newspaper delivered. Thanks to this experience, I could figure out that if I take into consideration the personal needs of those to whom I deliver the newspapers I will have that human  touch and appreciation of the client and this is a universal truth applicable even now with all the technology and a much higher scale of doing business.

Persistence – you must be persistent and always have to work hard. I always wanted a business that will explode and I would be a billionaire overnight. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen but who knows. What we are now doing is applying ideas we had in 2005-2006, we are only now able to put them into practice. I’m not a superstitious person, but it seems that everything happens at its time, there is an element of luck to this as well.

I have a huge thirst and I like to believe that the company has it as well, for technologies, methodologies and the concepts of high performance. We are a company that delivers services in IT – this means that if I don’t know the latest technologies, I can’t serve your needs. And if you don’t have a methodology that can be efficient, you can’t scale the business. And this became a huge passion. I’m always up to date with ideas, models, agile and non-agile ways, you name it. Im trying to be part of those conversations so I could find what can be more appropriate for our clients.

What do you believe are the 3 main failures that brought you here today?

As you can imagine, there are a lot. There are so many different failures from which you can learn. Some force you to learn faster, others you need to be repeated. I can’t put my finger on something specific. I know that I can learn better from a mistake than from a win, and when I have a failure I put myself under scrutiny – what went wrong, what not, why did it come to this etc. Thomas Edison said – “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”.

Do you ever disconnect from the office? How?

Like a real nerd – I’m playing. I am gamer; thus, I play on my PlayStation and some on PC.  I also like to drive a lot. There are many times I jump in my car and start driving through Bucharest while listening to Bob Dylan. Traveling is also fun but only for short periods, I get home sick quite easily.

Do you have any books you wish you could forget just so you can read it again?

I wouldn’t say this, because I never want to forget. But I have books that I would like to read every time I am reminded of them. “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkings, “The Phoenix Project” by Gene Kim,  Henry Mintzberg about managing and last but not least “The Grand Design” by Steven Hawking and Leonard Mlodinaw.

I also read the user’s guide – systems manuals, apps and others.

Questions about the company you are running

Now tells us more about the business you are running. Let’s start with the number of clients you currently work on (name them if possible)

We are a IT services supplier. My number 1 product is my know-how and the methodology to implement it.

We love technology and we put it at the basis of our business activity. We are permanently updated with industry innovations and we consider IT as the essential tool for any modern company. Our main focus is to help organizations understand and use technology in order to raise efficiency and the quality of their activities.

We have 2 distinct lines of business:

  1. IT systems and applications monitoring. We are that company that gives you unprecedented visibility into your whole infrastructure. You want to know what happens with your server, with a certain app, some metrics inside an app, name it. We take all the data, chew it, prepare it, and present it in a single pane so the client can see from one dashboard the whole infrastructure’s status. If you know how to read it and you pay attention, you can see where there will be problems, where you have problems now and so on.
  2. The Cloud. We cover many big projects regarding public and private clouds and we have a fairly advanced understanding of these hyperscale type of solutions. We have to either draw an architecture, or to offer consultancy on projects. With them we work especially for building private clouds. We work with Joyent, Microsoft, Google to name a few, but with the last Joyent we have constant projects. In this area of cloud, you need maximum agility because there aren’t 2 identical clouds. We automate and we have a work metholody with tools from the open source community. Through automation we can save time which is by far one of the most important things nowadays. I can install an application in 5 minutes versus others that do it in 3 hours. Our biggest accomplishment in 2017 is building our own cloud that we are launching in the first quarter of 2018 which delivers high performance and a simplified experience. We want to get out of your way and let you run your business, not become an expert in cloud technologies.

All of our services are tightly coupled with our professional services.

We have somewhere around 60 permanent clients. Many of our projects are based on a subscription model. The number fluctuates from one month to another, but one thing is clear – their number is growing. The total number of clients for which we delivered projects is somewhere around 1,000, since 2011, from all around the globe and now with our public cloud taking shape, we are growing a bit more quickly.

Name a few of the biggest clients you work for (if possible)

Heineken Romania, Orange Romania, Orkla Foods, Ericsson to name a few. Depends on what you see as big.

What is your most beloved project you worked on?

There are plenty, but one took us over the seas. In 2015 I decided to show the world a small part of our methodology and we created something that we in the industry call a feedback loop. Inside the loop, each component output becomes the entry for the next component and so on.  It is a methodology we created for our monitoring software and some automation tools we use. We basically built self-installing, self-configuring and self-healing architectures, that can heal, repair and scale themselves according to some specific needs and it was very well received by the international community. Some employees from Amazon and some architects from Google wrote to us and told us they are quite impressed. And this touched a nerve that made us realize we need to invest more time. Since then we are working to make it better. There are plenty of people that still write to me after all these years because they find me on social media or read some article about what we built, but there are very few people that actually manage to implement it and especially to keep it alive. We only have three clients in Romania that use this particular concept.

What project forced you to be creative and innovative (if possible)

Each and every one. Most of the clients come to us because they have no other solution on the market or the solutions are vendor lock-in and expensive. And when something comes to me it is because it needs a powerful dose of creativity and innovation – and has something extra – it had to be done yesterday.

What was the biggest struggle?

There is not one but many. I can’t put my finger on something and say – this is it. As a personal philosophy, for me to be high performant, I need to be able to move past things quickly. If I stay and dwell on a failure I enter a very damaging and negative loop. But instead, I do an analysis, see where it went wrong and afterwards I say ‘’okay, move on’’. Now my struggle is because we try to be unique on something very specific and is very hard because you ask yourself – if your idea was so good, why didn’t the others do it? While you implement it, you overthink and second guess your every step.

What I can say is the biggest struggle is that I try to convince my clients of our value, because I never liked the idea to regurgitate another company’s solution without adding something of our own.

What makes your company different from others in your field of expertise

We have advanced knowledge, experience and methodologies built around IT service delivery. We are specialized in certain key technologies and this helps us be real allies to those who utilize IT as a tool. At the same time we are almost entirely dedicated to open technologies by design and this opens many opportunities for us.

We are also well positioned in regards to modern technologies and methodologies for service delivery. The cloud is one such area where our IT automation skills, tools and methodologies have proven extremely useful to a large portion of our clients and partners.

What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?

Be patient and dedicated. Be prepared to lose some sleep.

What do you want to accomplish this year?

We are considering expanding to Eastern Europe and Africa with our IT monitoring solution. And there it is a different approach in almost everything, thus we need a lot of strength.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?

We are launching a public cloud. We will present it in detail during this year, but is quite a unique thing in Romania. In our country we don’t have something that is as easy to use like in other countries. We hope that in the next 5 years this will be our core business. We want to become one of the main supplier for cloud services in Romania.

Why did you join Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster?

When I understood the vision Gabi (Gabriel Munteanu, president of Smart Alliance -Innovation Technology Cluster) and what he wants to accomplish through this cluster, especially because we cannot compare ourselves with the giants, I felt that it can come naturally. If we can bring companies that can add value. That ‘’if’’ is very important. There are a lots of companies in Romania that do the same thing. You can change the provider anytime and you really won’t feel the difference. I pointed out that we need to bring in companies that bring a change, not do what 50 other companies can do, that have unique methodologies for their service delivery and are generally modern and great at what they indifferent of their size. I believe we need to bring in companies that can create synergies within the existing ranks and minimalize the cannibalization.

How does it benefit you?

For the moment I can’t really say, it may be too early. In the idea of networking and how we can meet for business opportunities it is OK and we still have room to grow. Long term however we need to champion someHow do you see your company as being part of the cluster?

I have some ideas for Smart Alliance Academy. Specifically we can build a platform to empower the next generation of systems engineers that are so sorely needed at the moment.



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