Interview with Albia founder at Seedcamp Week 2010

While attending Seedcamp Week 2010, we have had some time to talk to some of the participants and finalists of the startup competition. We were very happy to find a successful finalist from Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Albia start-up, based in Sarajevo and delivering a broad range of business and technology services that deliver real business results. Currently, Albia has several software innovations currently under development, and the first finished and available product is Testadon – a pioneering testing platform software which incorporates User Interface, Functional, Load & Stress, System, and Integration testing with test case graphical modelling, simulations, real-time monitoring, and automated reporting for enterprise systems. Let’s hear more about it from the founder.

Startup Challenge: Private workshop with Jon Bradford and Stewart Townsend

If you are still looking for an extra excellent reason to register at Startup Challenge, at How to Web 2010, here’s one of the best: a very special private workshop offered by our partners UKTI / Global Entrepreneur Program!

How to Web will conduct a half-day session (10:00 to 14:00) where you get to present your start up to Jon Bradford (Founder of the Difference Engine) and Stewart Townsend aka “The man in the shirt” (Former Manager of Sun Startups Essentials) who will supply the tough love and tell it like it is.

Each team registered in Startup Challenge competition will have the opportunity to present it’s business and get direct feedback and advice from Jon and Stewart regarding their product, market and overall strategy. The workshop will take place at Bucharest Hubb, 21 Stelea Spatarul, Bucharest.

Don’t waste this awesome opportunity! Register your start-up now!

We thank our partners UKTI and wish the best of luck to all participants at Startup Challenge!

HTW Tour on the road again: Timisoara, Cluj and Bucuresti

How to Web is hitting the road again, meeting new people and getting connected to some of the most important tech scenes in Romania.

We’ll be meeting the local Timisoara community at Cafe 700 on 08 October (this Friday), starting at 17:00, along with some great friends: Dragos Manac, Octav Druta and Mihai Mafteianu. We’ll be talking about the web business development, web trends and entrepreneurship, and hope to see you all there for a little chat afterwards.

On 9 October (yes, that’s the second day) we’ll be in Cluj, along with the same great guys and some new others, meeting the local entrepreneurs at BT Cafe starting at 14:00.

Next week we’ll have a very special guest at OpenCoffee Bucharest: Alexandru Costin, Director of Adobe Labs Romania. That’s the only guy from Eastern Europe who sold his company to Adobe, available for a two hour chat about entrepreneurship, web development and the reasons why Adobe develops core products in Bucharest.

Please register to our Facebook events for keeping you updated. See you all soon !

HTW Tour at Timisoara’s GeekMeet: Hidden businesses and lots of enthusiasm

We’ve started out HTW Tour at Timisoara, with Radu Ticiu, the manager of the Timisoara Software Business Incubator, and Andrei Firoiu, a local web entrepreneur and long-time friend.

First step was meeting local business owners and entrepreneurs for getting a taste of what Timisoara’s tech scene looks like. Had a lot of talks and meet a lot of people, but one story was trully special and I want to share it with you.

Who heard of Mindomo ? Not too many, right ? Well, this project seemed to me the perfect example of what looked like an Eastern European startup in the pre-Seedcamp era.

Mindomo was started in 2007, helping people to use mindmaps for organising their ideeas or knowledge. Since 2007, Mindomo bootstraped without getting any financing money at all. They’ve got two mentions on TechCrunch, when announcing that MindMeister bought MindMaker (“If you’re interested in checking out more mind mapping tools, you might want to take a closer look at Mindomo and MindJet, too.”) and when MindMeister released it’s iPhone App (“And on the web we have and mindomo.”). And that’s it.

With no budget for marketing and PR, Mindomo reached an outstanding number of 200.000 registered users during these 3 years. They’ve sold hundreds of licenses in South-East Asia, especially to schools and public insitutions. But nobody knows of them. I challenge you to think about the path this company would have had in a fully-developed entrepreneurial ecosystem.

On Sunday I’ve went to the local GeekMeet, had a lovely capuccino and had a talk about how to get from a Geek to an Entrepreneur in 7 simple steps. Met a lot of people and had a great time, hope I’ll see them again soon 😉

Eastern Europe’s got web talent, but does it have business potential ?

When we started to organize How to Web 2010, a lot of people asked me: is Romania or Eastern Europe ready for this ? Is the local and regional industry developed enough so it can be interested in a big and expensive international event ?

Everybody knew that, during last years, more and more web businesses have arised from Eastern Europe. You can see that just by looking at the winners from the major startup competitions across Europe. Also, we’ve got Adobe Labs in Bucharest and Amazon developing cloud technologies in Iasi, and that’s a big leap forward from the traditional support centers we’ve got all around Eastern Europe.

Well, my answer (and my bet) is that we are at the begining of a new development stage for the Eastern European tech scene. Up until now we’ve only got the technical talent, along with a major lack of venture funds, international exposure and entrepreneurial skills. However, the startup scene is getting more global than ever, and talent starts attracting the money and the attention it deserves. All we need to do is ask.

And that’s what we’ve been doing for the last 8 months: we’ve been asking major web players and personalities to switch their focus to Easten Europe too, and we managed to get their attention. First part of the problem was solved.

Now moving to the next one: do the local business people understand their potential and want to move forward ?

Well, that’s one thing we’ve still got to find out in the same direct manner. Since last week, we’ve started to meet with local communities for small and focused presentations and direct chats. But that’s not enough, as we’ve found out some amazing things. More to come !

The Seedcamp secret: it’s the network that matters

Everytime I thought of Seedcamp I’ve consider it a competition event. Well, that’s not the case anymore.

When entering the Seedcamp Week venue, I’ve could do nothing but dazzle looking at all the great entrepreneurs and investors gathered there.

When starting a startup or just moving your web business or project to the next level, you need a lot of things: market information, PR exposure, probably some investment, but also a lot of knowledge about how to handle your innovation. Most of the times, you have non or little of all of that.

And here comes the amazing part: Seedcamp puts you in the same room with people having knowledge on all of that. All you have to do is grab the opportunity and have your 1 minute pitch as many times as possible. You’ll get some knowledge, but mostly direct access to people who can help you during a longer period.

Beyond the actual competiton, Seedcamp is a great networking event. And the most important part is that it really helps all the participants, winners or not.

Networking is one important thing we’ve been focusing on at How to Web 2010, and for sure the ones that want to enlarge their network will be able to do it big time.

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