I’ve been involved in the local and international startup scene (Silicon Valley, Israel) for several years, the name of Octavian Patrascu is associated with participating in countless events. I directly interact with many entrepreneurs, programmers, founders, other investors and mentors. Thus, I can say that while five years ago the Romanian startup scene looked pretty poor, nowadays this still young and volatile environment has began to think globally.
Several success stories of Romanian startups who have developed rapidly (Vector Watch) or were bought with millions of euro by companies such as Facebook or Twitter (Summify, LiveRail, UberVU, Axosuits) are motivational models which inspire both investors and other startups. However, Romania is internationally known mostly because of outsourcing (90% of total IT startups).
Investing in startups. Overview
According to KeysFin, the last four years have seen an explosion of startups focused largely on developing software for the internet, web pages, applications, dedicated services, currently the focus is on IoT, wearables, gaming and digital healthcare. In early 2015, there were listed on related platforms more than 250 of active startups, 7 accelerators, 40 events, 10 co-working spaces and over 500 founders.
To reach a developmental stage (remember the above mentioned companies) a compromise is needed. The management exodus (to achieve sustainable financing) while the technical team works in Romania (lower production costs, higher level of execution and professionalism of Romanian programmers). In such a situation the solution I can think of is to create successful startups, strong enough to attract investors plus more investment funds for consistent financing at home.
ConsultaClick. The inception
ConsultaClick, a social impact startup developed in Romania where I’m active angel investor is such an opportunity. In 2014 when one of its four founders-Ricardo Cravo, looking for funding presented his pitch (story, vision, the facts and figures) I knew I found the impact investment fully compatible with my objectives.
What is ConsultaClick? From idea to business plan
ConsultaClick is an online platform for medical appointments started from an idea that proves its practicality and necessity. Duarte Champalimaud, after a motorcycle accident, became aware of the wastefulness of money and time used to make a medical appointment over the phone. In 2011 he built ConsultaClick.com, the first website of its kind in Portugal, which in 2012 was brought to Romania, a market familiar to the project initiators (Ricardo Ribeiro, Ricardo Cravo, Jose Carlos Fonseca and Carlos Alves).
The expansion in 2013 in Brazil and Spain confirmed market availability for such a product. The next steps to strengthen the business were to seek partners, funding and the constant upgrading of the variety of medical services offered by their digital healthcare platform. The following list outlines the reasons for considering ConsultaClick a groundbreaking business.
- project with social impact creates transparency in the doctor-patient interaction and a streamlined digital process of medical services. Each user can provide feedback about the quality of the consultation, increasing competitiveness. ‘Self- diagnosis’ so frequently encountered is replaced by a specialised prediagnosis
- product with high added value based on technology, innovation and education. Patients can access the site free of charge to make an educated choice about seeing a physician. Over 3,900 doctors (both from the private and public sector), more than 300 clinics from all over the country (and all specialties) have contracts on this platform. 50 % among the 110,000 users have used medical services from the private sector for the very first time as they got informed on the financial affordability of this area from the site
- awarded development: 1st prize at INSEAD Alumni Romania Start-up e Investment Club; selected to enter the Investment Ready program supported by Impact Hub Vienna; official guest of SOCAP14, San Francisco; 1 of only 2 projects invited to present at the Global Impact Forum 2014 Zurich
- intensive promotion of the service among doctors and patients who are not well acquainted with business intelligence products and need to be educated about the opportunities offered by such an innovative tool. Requires decentralization and proper infrastructure
Opportunities: great potential of internationalisation of the business:
- developing partnerships to provide a wide range of integrated medical services
- immediate geographical expansion in 12 countries from Central and Eastern Europe
Therefore, in my opinion, the Romanian social-impact startups is exactly the type of long-term investment that could change the situation and ConsultaClick is relevant as a model. It’s how we can sustain the local community of startups by adding value to the society, investing capital in the Romanian economy, increasing employment, creating network events and programs dedicated to this business. By doing this, the Romanian market of startups can gain credibility to build the tools needed by the young people who want to innovate the world’s economic stage through their ideas.