Articles

August 3, 2016

#impactspotlight – The story of a Romanian doing an education startup in India…

Click aici pentru a citi în limba română! Spherik is all about #aweomepeople doing #awesomethings.  With that in mind, each month we will be bringing you news of an awesome Romanian doing something dynamic and impactful, stepping outside the bounds of the conventional and expected.  We hope you’ll enjoy! In order to get the message out there as much as possible, you can read about these amazing people both in English and in Romanian (see below).  If you would like to nominate someone, just drop us an email at hello@spherikaccelerator.com/old. “As an AIESEC alumna, I am proud to say that it often happens that I find out that people I met at some point in my life are now making the world a better place. Five years ago I had the pleasure to meet Daniela Gheorghe on our way to an AIESEC conference, as we were both members. At that point, she was just preparing to go to India for the first time. Now, she is providing the children in India with better education through her start-up, vChalk, which you can also support.” ~Mara Bujor, Spherik Operations Manager Mara: How did your path go from being a student in Romania to creating and managing vChalk? Daniela: I graduated from SNSPA in Bucharest in 2008, but I started working in political marketing in 2007. Later in 2009, I became fed up with politics and its strategies. I moved to Cluj and worked as a PR with Habitat for Humanity until I met AIESEC, a global student-led organization. So in 2011, here I was, coming to Jaipur, Rajasthan, India for a management internship with an education consulting company through AIESEC. 2 months later, I quit my role there and started reading a book by C. K. Prahalad, “The Fortune at the Bottom […]
October 15, 2015

Creative minds and do-ers are running the Spherik Accelerator workshops

As the deadline for applications draws near, we are excited to present you the dedicated panel of mentors who are joining forces to develop the startup community in Cluj-Napoca. Coming from very diverse backgrounds and geographies, ranging from highly experienced investors, entrepreneurs and CEOs and to very talented startup founders who have just taken off, they are looking forward to meeting the selected teams and getting down to business, through weekly workshops, face-to-face or remote mentoring. Spherik teams will learn about what strategy means for a start-up from one of the most dynamic strategy professionals in the industry, with over 15 years of experience. Iulian Padurariu began his entrepreneurial career by opening Jack Trout’s consulting office in Bucharest and is now working in Vienna with diverse clients across the region. Iulian is very supportive of the entrepreneurial scene in Romania, and acts in several entrepreneurial initiatives.   Ana-Maria Andronic is partner at the Biris-Goran law firm and co-founder of VentureConnect. She is one of the leading Romanian experts in matters related to startup incorporation procedures, both for Romania and USA. Ana-Maria is the go-to person for legal issues related to start-ups, and will be leading our workshop on Conflict Management, Prevention, and Legal.   Bogdan Colceriu, co-founder of Trilulilu, is a marketing and branding expert, and has developed brands such as Okian or Frisbo, where he serves CEO and CMO respectively. Bogdan will lead our workshop on Sales and Marketing. Besides being an experienced entrepreneur, Bogdan is highly involved in youth debate teams and the founder of the Romanian curling team.   Radu Georgescu is, without a doubt, one of the most successful Romanian tech entrepreneurs and a recent angel investor. Having had two very successful exists, as well as numerous other positive entrepreneurial experiences, Radu will help our teams learn and practice Pitching to Investors, providing them with critical feedback […]
July 1, 2015

Spherik Smart BirdHouse: A User-Centered Design Process

I think I’ve mentioned before to some of you that I like birds?  So when I heard about Liberty’s “Happy Bird” contest I was excited!  I’ve had the chance now to be here through autumn, winter, spring, and summer and each season brings different wildlife residents.  Just today I saw tadpoles in our little pond.  Working late the other night I met an upstanding hedgehog family patrolling for dinner.  Being able to enjoy green and wildlife at the office is such a treasure and a great benefit of being at Liberty.Taking up the Happy Birds challenge, we considered carefully:  what would make birds happy?  First we had to think of which birds we were targeting.  With more than 10 species of birds making their home here, all with different needs, this required some research.  We finally settled on targeting vrabie (sparrows) and blackbirds (mierla) due to their proclivity for nesting in houses, their high population at Liberty, and their similar space requirements and other needs.  What are the biggest problems of a nesting bird?  Predators.  Bird life can be hard—with all manner of rodents and other birds taking any opportunity to make a breakfast of your eggs.  With that in mind, we sized the entrance hole to be attractive to them but not so large as to invite unwanted guests.  We also placed the entrance off-center, leaving a longer distance between babies and any grabby predator.  The birdhouse has no exterior perch so as not to give predators a place to hang on to.  For that same reason we used a slick exterior finish.  The paints are child-safe, so any flakes that come off should not harm our guests.  We were careful to include proper ventilation and drainage, so the future residents could breathe fresh air and so the house […]
June 2, 2015

Techsylvania: Get it. Now

Let me preface this by stating that  I don’t generally promote events.  There are just so many of them at any given time to do so. But one event stands out so much in what it is bringing to the community that I am compelled to bring it to your attention. Techsyvlania:  get it, or get lost.  I mean that in the nicest possible way.  Sorry, this week has been too exhausting to be overly flowery or diplomatic in making my intended points.  Moreover, I am very frustrated and exhausted with watching people lose or disregard opportunities because they either don’t understand or are unwilling to invest. Even if you bought the $1,500+ plane ticket, grabbed a hotel, and leveraged all your connections, chances are you couldn’t get meetings with the speakers that are somehow coming to Cluj.  We are talking about people from Google, 500 Start-ups, Dropbox, TechStars—some of the leading names in tech, and others that are just as important but that you don’t know about.  I, for one, am especially ecstatic to hear from Joyce Shen from Thomson Reuters—the multibillion dollar information and news organization that I’ve relied on throughout so much of my life for secondary research. In just one year this event has grown from 19 total speakers to 40+, including 25+ international speakers.  That kind of growth takes a year round effort on behalf of the organizers, who have truly done something wonderful for this community with this conference.  This event is helping to put Cluj, and Romania, on the map.  Our turn out for this event will define the future opportunities that come to Romania and Cluj.  We have the chance send these international influencers back completely blown away by the engagement and potential of this community.  Do not take this opportunity and […]
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 […]
April 29, 2015

Join the #StartupMoment photo parade

Besides the actual programs designed for elevating tech startups, an accelerator’s role, as part of an effervescent environment, is diversifying the tools of interaction and creative expression. #StartupMoment is such an initiative, of celebrating startup life, by showing how entrepreneurship evolves on a daily basis: from the early morning coffee, hardcore coding, brainstorming and team meetings, to the after-work beer or late evenings spent at work. For two weeks, startups in Cluj will capture moments that depict their way of working, in an attempt of disclosing the good and the bad of startup life and inspire others to join. Next week, three startups are going to share some of their time with the rest of the world: Halcyon Mobile is a design awarded company delivering mobile apps since 2005, that has launched its first own product this summer (Dollarbird). They recently relocated in Liberty Technology Park, which made the 26 team members our neighbors. We’re curios to see how they fixed their new office and interested in how the life of a mature tech company, that partially functions as a startup, is rolling out. They will be posting via Instagram,  Facebook and Twitter. Rently.ro is an online real estate platform. Its founders met in 2013 at a Startup Weekend event and are now located in both Cluj and Bucharest. We are about to see how a startup team manages to work across 400 km, with high broadband speed lighting the way from Cluj Hub, where development takes place, to Tech Hub – the marketing, sales and operations office. Be sure to explore their pictures on the Rently blog, Facebook and Twitter. Launched in 2012, Moqups is a wireframes /mockups / UI concepts /prototypes (depending on how you like to call them) online tool. The team has a technical background, so we’re […]