May 24, 2015

Spherik Demo Day – reflections

                    See the Demo Day pitches at:  YouTube – Spherik Demo Day Pitches Demo Day 2015, Spherik’s inaugural Demo Day, marked an important milestone not only for our teams, but for Spherik.  Bringing together more than 100 people, from business and tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors, community members, and more, the day was a testament to what is possible with hard work, dedication, and risk taking.  I am especially proud of all our teams, who pitched their start-ups exceptionally well, and our mentors, who helped us come so far. But finally, a Demo Day is merely a milestone–a the time to bring together the people who have helped the teams get this far, as well as those who can help them go further.  After Demo Day, things don’t end—we will be working hard to bring more opportunities to the teams.  The teams are already right back to work preparing documents to send to regional and international players who could not come, but are eager to see what they’ve got. The day was as much a celebration of our teams and our mentors as a statement about our vision for Spherik.  With thought-provoking presentations from Irina Albu, Executive Director of Tech Angels; Mary Andronic co-founder of Venture Connect; Dan Sturza from Fribourg Capital; and  Leontin Toderici, COO of Banca Transilvania, we sought to provide value not just for our teams, but also for our mentors, supporters, and community.  Each time a mentor comes to us, we want them to find value—by meeting eager and hardworking teams, meeting interesting people and networking, and by learning through teaching.  This is what we want to create here—a community of value created by sharing not only hard work (and trust us, both the teams and mentors have been working […]
May 21, 2015

#StartupMoment goes offline

For the last two weeks, five startups from Cluj-Napoca captured moments that depict their way of working – from the early morning coffee, hardcore coding, brainstorming and team meetings, to the after-work beer or late evenings spent at work. Using the #StartupMoment hashtag, their photos went online daily on social media, for everyone to watch and get inspired. After Moqups, Halcyon Mobile and Rently.ro showed us how they walk the talk in their working spaces – it was time for some fresh startups to (literally) give it a shot: SpotTune, a mobile app for managing repetitive tasks, was launched at the beginning of this year. The founders are four young entrepreneurs working extra time to set up a business. SpotTune was also one of the startups in Cluj from this year’s edition of Innovation Labs. Watch how they prepared their final pitch on Twitter,  Instagram and Facebook. Intrapreneurship is a means for organizations to foster innovation and creativity and let employees take initiative. Trubzi is such an intrapreneurial project, currently preparing for Beta launch. They are working hard to launch and #StartupMoment helped building up the enthusiasm. See them at work on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The #StartupMoment photo exhibition is installed at Liberty Technology Park, waiting for all entrepreneurs, passers by and the visitors from Photo Romania Festival. By showing how entrepreneurship evolves on a daily basis, Spherik Accelerator is celebrating startup life and invites you to capture and share your own #StartupMoment.                                
May 8, 2015

ITCamp conference. Two weeks left.

The month of May is crowded with all sorts of happenings and Cluj looks particularly promising with its IT events rolling this month. After a series of hackathons that stirred up programmers of all sorts, Cluj is hosting ITCamp, a conference focused on Microsoft technologies. We talked to Florin Flestea, involved in organizing the previous editions to catch the vibe of ITCamp. Spherik Accelerator: The first edition of ITCamp took place 4 years ago. What happened ever since, how is the conference different today? Florin Flestea: Since the first edition of ITCamp, the major change was in the topics and number of participants. If four years ago there were only 2 tracks (IT and Dev), the 2014 edition hosts now 4 tracks. The number of participants also grew from around 200 to 400. Also, the quality of the presentations increased, I have seen an ongoing concern to bring better speakers and presentations. Spherik: What are ITCamp 2014 main highlights for you? Florin: The main highlights for me are the presentations regarding better ways to develop code and the ones involving soft skills. Spherik:  Can you describe a .NET community member? What are his/her professional skills and human habits (hours of sleep, favourite gadgets, hang out places and other profane details)? Florin: In my view, a .NET community member is a person with, predominant tech skills, trying to improve himself. The human habits are different from person to person. Each having its own way of evolving, of learning. A .NET community member gets involved in discussions, trying to share his knowledge and to learn more from other by self-learning and by going to .NET community meetings or conferences. Spherik: What do you think the Cluj IT ecosystem is missing to turn into a true flagship of innovation and technology? Florin: I […]
May 6, 2015

From an Outsider’s Perspective

Hi! I’m Florina, but friends call me Flo. I’m the newest member in the Spherik Accelerator team, and let me tell you how it was so far. For you to make an idea about the situation, I’m studying Human Resources and Psychology. Not much of a tech background you might think. In fact, what I do have is the motivation to work with people, the fascination for developing organizations (and teams) and the passion for communication, including Social Media. So, with this weird mixture of interests and a stirring background I was assigned to be the Program Assistant for Innovation Labs 2015. One of my first responsibilities was to be part of the InnovationLabs Hackathon 2015 as Press Responsible. Man, wasn’t I excited about that! I was so curious how the event looks like from different perspectives. The organizers were expecting to see interesting ideas and well prepared teams. (And they did!) The mentors were pleasantly surprised about the number of ideas and their complexity and maturity. The participants were so diverse: from men to women, from first-time hackathon participants to more versed participants, from people who came with their idea to people who came in search of an idea. And then there was me. And I was awed by the enthusiasm and the energy that was present there.   Twenty four hours later, 7 ideas were selected in total and 6 of them became the Cluj Innovation Labs Program, working with the great Spherik mentors. I’ve been working with them since then and what an adventure that was… and still is! We just had the Boost Day few days ago and I had a reality-check. I remembered each one of the teams back then and I was watching them now. Seeing their progress was inspiring! I guess the distance from idea […]