‘’Hub for startups’’ is my new project designed to bring my contribution to the development of Romanian ecosystem of startups. This is the next step after my experience as an angel investor in successful startups such as Vector Watch and shareholder in the social impact startup ConsultaClick. The project aims to set up a hub for startups- a space dedicated to future entrepreneurs, young innovators looking for funding and mentoring.
What is the meaning of such an investment?
According to the picture in my mind, at the moment, this project provides:
- the needed items to help young businesses that just start their journey to grow: incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces
- financial support and partnerships to create an investment fund for startups
- human capital and material resources covering business logistics and management: consulting, administration, legal, financial, HR
- modern Google style offices equipped with recreational facilities
- leading-edge IT&C infrastructure and telecommunication services
- mentoring programs, events and connections with prospective angel investors
- online marketing and product promotion: networking activities, exhibitions
‘’Hub for startups’’-the missing piece of the puzzle
As reported by studies (conducted by EY and Impact Hub 2016) a number of needs and shortcomings characterize the Romanian ecosystem of startups. The top obstacles encountered by young entrepreneurs are related:
- lack of adequate financing
- not enough entrepreneurial education
- poor media coverage
- undeveloped business angels’ culture
- no tradition of innovation
To make a startup hub means to put together the pieces of the puzzle by creating a space where all these problems are solved at the same time. Investors get the chance to meet lots of business ideas that compete with each and they can sort out the most lucrative ones. And future entrepreneurs receive the necessary support and encouragement as well as PR. Romania needs lots of interconnected hubs in as many cities as possible if we want our young people and startups to grow and succeed here.
From consumerism to ‘’sharing economy’’
I am happy that I can use my investments in real estate (two buildings are already available) to create this unique space which promotes the talent and cultivates the dialog. Also, young people will benefit from my experience and know-how regarding the development of a business. Thus, they are able to do what they do best: to be inventive and creative.
It’s an effective use of resources that replaces consumption by sustainable development. The concept of ownership becomes obsolete if it promotes isolation. Instead, these collaborative spaces create a gateway for responsible innovation. Startups have access to these services in exchange for a certain percentage of the business for which they contribute together.
In addition, I am convinced that this project is a successful one. Because I have seen how things go both on the Romanian market of startups, but also at an international level. I already have the experience of being in constant contact with Silicon Valley through my brother who lives there. He took part in an exit when the company he worked for was bought by IBM.
I also participated in an exit for an Israeli tech company. Israel has one of the most dynamic markets for startups. It is ranked number 2 for the concentration of venture capital and private equity funds. It is also the second country having the largest number of startups (over 3,500), right behind Silicon Valley. In the first half of 2015 this market segment managed an increase of 65 % in terms of acquisitions, 33 startups hiting exits.
Romania is famous for its advanced technological capacity (ranked number 10 worldwide). Of the 95,000 IT experts, half of them are software developers wanted by companies from all over the world. The implementation of such projects can help us to become a standard for Europe. This way our gifted young people may have the chance to compete as equals with hose in Silicon Valley.