HTW Success stories: Mavenhut goes to Startup Bootcamp after meeting accelerator co-founder at How to Web 2011

This story could very well be called Bobby Voicu trades his sabbatical year for “What the hell would I do in Dublin?”. When I first found out that Bobby was going to Startup Bootcamp Dublin, I remembered seeing him talk to Eoghan during the conference. Even now, browsing through the photos of last year’s conference I found two pics showing them having a conversation in the different conference days. I guess in this case, the right people really had found each other. What am I talking about? Read about it, in Bobby’s own words:

How to Web 2011 was about to be the first edition that I would miss. I was really tired after a difficult year and all I wanted was to take a sabbatical year (or half-year) and the first step should’ve been not going to any events.

But, as it happens, plans do not always go the way we want: a friend of mine bought a ticket to How to Web and actually forced me to go since “You cannot really convince me that this is the best event for an online entrepreneur and you just skip it!!!”.

So, there I was, in the first day, in between panels, talking to an Irish-American guy that looked a lot like Richard Branson. I was telling him about some projects I had, some fails, some successes… when he told me something like “Hey, why don’t you come to Dublin?”.

My answer? “What the hell would I do in Dublin?”. Well, actually it was a little bit more colourful, but since this blog is a civilised one, let’s keep it this way 😀

Well, apparently, there was a business accelerator there. Initially I sad no (remember, sabbatical…), but after meeting the same guy, by mistake, in the same restaurant I went to eat two days later, I got convinced. After all, you should not fight serendipity, right?

And 2 months later, here we were, in Dublin, a spinoff of Farender, a small gaming studio that accepted me as a full partner: Mavenhut Limited.

Since then, me and my co-founders (Elvis Apostol and Cristi Badea) started with the idea of a platform for real money gaming, pivoted to social games, launched a multiplayer Solitaire game that is now at 50,000 registered users and, along the way, we had an eye opening experience. We also got the People’s Choice Award and got featured in the Irish press.

The most important thing, though, is that we met a lot of great people along the way, people that are now helping us in any way they can: potential partners, potential investors, potential and actual mentors. And the best part of it? In the process, Mavenhut is becoming a better and better team.

And, when you think about it: we almost didn’t want to go. What a mistake would’ve that been! We learned and did so much in those accelerator months, it’s been really tough to keep it up in the following months.

Finally, for those that don’t know yet, the accelerator is Startup Bootcamp Dublin and the Irish-American guy is one Eoghan Jennings, the guy in the picture above (not the one in blue, ok? 🙂 ). Eoghan helped us a lot (though it took us about 2 months to get his name right: it’s Eoghan, pronounced as in Owen) and is still helping us in lots of ways.

P.S.: during our time there, we also met Bill Liao, one of the speakers for this year’s edition of How To Web. And we helped get Bogdan in contact with him. This is the least we could do, as a token of our gratitude for the effort he puts in organising HTW year after year. Good job, man!

Guest Post

Bobby Voicu

Co-founder of Mavenhut

Bobby is an online entrepreneur, interested in gaming and gambling, and an online marketing and communication consultant, interested in social media and content marketing. He managed Yahoo!'s business in Romania, also had a small stint as the General Manager for the internet division of the biggest media group in Romania, Intact Media Group. He worked as a consultant with companies like Heineken, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, Romtelecom, OMV-Petrom a.s.o.

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