Recently, Techcrunch noted a remarkable progress in terms of tech and business development made by Romania, which gives one of the CEE and post-USSR countries a very promising forecast soon to become the top entrepreneurial hub in the region. Romania possesses an exceptional reputation of the hotbed for tech companies, majoring in outsourcing and software development. In addition, the local startup ecosystem is booming: over 300 startups, 600 incubators and angel investors are reported to be present in Romanian Startups database.
As for the startup culture, Romania has several projects to be proud of:
- Vector Watch (a team of engineers that developed a smartwatch equipped with a super battery lasting for 30 days)
- Axosuits (a robotics startup focused on creating exoskeletons for disabled people at affordable prices)
- LiveRail (a monetization platform for video publishers, acquired by Facebook in 2014)
- Avangate (an advanced digital commerce service, acquired by Francisco Partners in 2013)
- Summify (a daily news summary service, acquired by Twitter in 2012).
In total, 16 Romanian tech companies have been acquired by world tech giants in the last 3 years, added to another bunch of 13 media and entertainment companies.
As already mentioned before, Romania is an attractive outsourcing destination. The leading world companies like Intel and Oracle are launching call centers, software development and support points at the heart of Eastern Europe. Why Romania?
Romania is number 10 in the global rating of the number of certified IT specialists. Around 90% of Romanian IT specialists speak English. In general, Romanian IT workforce is growing and expected to triple by 2020.
Romanian universities have been topping the IEEE Design Competition, as well as European Informatics and Math Olympiads.
In the last 20 years, Romania has been one of the fastest developing economies in the European Union, with a huge entrepreneurship potential, encouraged in local schools and nonprofit organizations.
However, there are a number of vital factors that hit the brakes on Romanian evolution into a prosperous tech hub:
Like many other post-USSR countries, Romania experiences lack local investment and government initiative to put a bigger focus on technology.
Romania is one of the poorest EU nations, where salaries in the IT sector are 3 times below the norm.
The local risk-taking culture is immature, added by the slim access to capital.
Finally, there is no proper legislation to coordinate and support startup activity, which is even more complicated by high government bureaucracy.
Despite a big number of problems to overcome, Romania represents a huge business potential and hopefully will experience positive changes. For now, there is a certain buzz in Bucharest and Cluj – the second largest city in Romania. Both cities serve home for the biggest part of the country’s IT community and house the offices of such prestigious companies as Oracle, Intel, Adobe, and IBM. Currently, there is a big project coming to live – Cluj Innovation City – aiming to bring together universities, representatives of the local business communities and state authorities in order to work together on tech development.
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