Nowadays, the Internet has established itself as a colossal industry, which reunites millions of people who work together around the world and back. But, in order for the revolution to take place, the small group leading the change needs to have a common space where to meet, collaborate and work. Therefore, incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces have emerged to fuel up the new momentum. Eastern Europe has always been looked on as a heaven for both “hackers” and rock star developers. As the first was nested in the poor economic conditions, the second capitalized from the strong technical and science inheritance, established long before the Iron Curtain was shredded.
Because the latter is the important one in our (r)evolution and with the likes of Skype’s success still “hunting” the collective memoir, a crew of visionaries has decided to foster the revolution in Bucharest, Romania’s capital. The city, often dubbed as “little Paris” due to its francophone past and reminding architecture, prouds itself with a rich cultural life, low living costs, hot chicks plus armies of geeks and creative people. It is here where TechHub Bucharest, a working space for people working in technology, was launched. I had the pleasure to have a chat with two of the founders who were extremely kind to give an extended interview for StartupStay.
Startup Stay: Please tell us a few words about you and your team.
Bogdan: I’m Bogdan Iordache, co-founder of the How to Web Conference and of TechHub Bucharest. In the last 4 years, How to Web grew to be the most important tech & entrepreneurship event in South-Eastern Europe. Along the conference we’ve launched the Startup Spotlight program & competition and we’ve just launched TechHub Bucharest.
Daniel: I’m Daniel Dragomir, co-founder of TechHub Bucharest, together with Bogdan Iordache and Stefan Szakal. TechHub is my first entrepreneurial project, therefore I’m happy to have two more experienced cofounders next to me J. An important part in building this project should also be credited to Monica Obogeanu – Community Manager of How to Web and Irina Scarlat – our PR manager.
Startup Stay: When and why did you decide to execute this new idea, considering that you’re quite busy running How to Web, one of the biggest web and technology events in South-Eastern Europe?
Bogdan: It was June last year when we were announced that Bucharest Hub, the only technological hub in Bucharest, was closing, and the team was moving on to found Geekcelerator. Our offices were in the hub, and we didn’t want to move to an apartment or a conventional office, so we thought we might open a hub on our own. After a few weeks of seeing office spaces I discovered that it was much, much tougher than expected, and then How to Web 2012 came along and I didn’t have the time to continue the process. However, two weeks before How to Web I had a talk with Daniel who gladly joined the team as co-founder and assumed the tasks of developing the next technological hub in Bucharest: TechHub.
Daniel: When Bogdan first told me about the idea of developing a co working space dedicated to tech entrepreneurs in Bucharest, I was thrilled by the perspective. In the three years prior to this, I had organized educational programs and conferences for entrepreneurs and I enjoy being surrounded by people full of energy and initiative. TechHub has offered me the opportunity to become an entrepreneur myself and to work on a daily basis with the coolest entrepreneurs in Bucharest. What else could I wish for?
Startup Stay: What do you think are the most important facts that separate TechHub from the other existing co-working spaces in Bucharest?
Bogdan: That’s a very simple one: it’s the only one entirely focused on tech.
Daniel: As Bogdan was saying, we focus on startups in technology, the only ones that can become resident members in TechHub Bucharest and enjoy 24/7 access. Moreover, the events and workshops that we will either organize or host will be exclusively oriented towards entrepreneurship and technology. However, we are also open for non-tech entrepreneurs and freelancers and we have the co-working area at their disposal.
Startup Stay: From a more global perspective, how does it help the local and international entrepreneurs?
Bogdan: We hope that TechHub we’ll become a central point for the local tech scene that can connect the entrepreneurs from the community and be also a check-in point for all the international entrepreneurs that want to meet the local community.
Daniel: TechHub Bucharest is a bridge to the international TechHub community. Our mission is to crystalize the tech community in Bucharest around a physical space and to offer tech startups the necessary support for an ongoing and sustained growth. We aim to provide our startups with global networking opportunities and access to an international community, know how (technical and business oriented), investors (both local and international), and an affordable working space.
Startup Stay: We know that TechHub is already present in the UK and Latvia. When you look at the map of the locations it looks like a triangle. Do you intend to extend this geometrical figure in the near future with new locations?
Daniel: TechHub will soon become a global network for technology entrepreneurs. We cannot unveil the extension plans of the network but I can tell you that in the next period the number of cities having a Techhub will increase rapidly. For now, we’re happy that Bucharest is among the first cities to host a TechHub.
Startup Stay: Is there a more social oriented reason as well, connected to the Romanian youth and its role in developing Technology Entrepreneurship?
Bogdan: By definition, a hub is a non-scalable business that is limited to the amount of physical space you have at your disposal, so it’s not the greatest business in the world you would want to start if you want to make a profit. We decided to start it not because of the potential profit, but because of its potential impact, hence I’d say we’ve took in consideration the social role heavily.
Startup Stay: Do you have a message for Startup Stay’s members? As you may know, we’re a community of people in love with technology and travel.
Bogdan: We’d love to hear more from the Startup Stay members and to help them connect to the local tech community in Bucharest. I’m a member of Startup Stay and when I’ll get back to Bucharest (currently I’m acting as Program Manager for Springboard IoT and reside in Cambridge) I’m planning to refurbish one of my apartment’s rooms just to have a space where Startup Stay members can crash :)
Daniel: Startup Stay members are more than welcome to TechHub Bucharest, where they will be able to meet the local tech community or participate in our events. You should definitely pay us a visit!
About the author
Lucian Avadani is the Startup Stay Ambassador in Bucharest, Romania, and the International Development Manager of uCoz, a leading free website builder in Eastern Europe. Before joining the company as a Romanian Localization Manager, he co-founded two offline startups. But, the love for the internet, internationalization and innovation made him return in front of the screens and now is an active supporter of startups, technological progress and the nomadic lifestyle. You can follow Lucian on Twitter and connect on Linkedin.