Oradea, one of Romania’s rising tech hubs, has an ace up its sleeve: the first public-private partnership program in the country to nurture and invest in the startup ecosystem. Managing a €300K fund within the Bright Labs Incubator, Make IT in Oradea recently made their first investment of €50K in the pre-seed round of B2B commerce platform OptiOffer.
Sparking the creative and innovative IT talent in Oradea
The program’s first investment comes less than a year after its launch under the auspices of the Oradea City Hall and a few local companies. This makes Oradea a rare example in the region of a city with a municipality actively involved in funding startups.
Legally organized as a non-profit, the organization aims to help grow the IT and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Oradea, by honing entrepreneurial skills, consolidating the startup community, offering financing opportunities, and attracting and retaining talent in the city.
“The role of Make IT in Oradea is to help startups with real market potential to develop and finance their operations from a very early stage, namely pre-seed. It is one of the most difficult moments for the founders and the stage at which there are very few funding options to turn to”, David Achim, Executive Director of the program said.
To that end, Make IT in Oradea manages an incubator targeting founders at very early stages in the entrepreneurial journey, offering mentoring and financing. The program runs yearly, for a period of approximately 9 months. Graduates in the program become eligible for funding of up to €50k.
Investing in the streamlining of B2B commerce
OptiOffer essentially offers a Supplier-Reseller Platform (SRP) that facilitates business transactions between the two groups to make purchasing and selling more effective. The product is dedicated to SMEs that sell equipment across industries, from hospitality to energy. More than 150 users registered for the company’s beta product in a month.
In a way, it aims to bring the streamlined experience of B2C commerce to the B2B market. This is far from the reality of current B2B transactions, Bogdan Bota, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer explained in the official announcement, adding:
“In the sector of professional equipment, in order to create a single price quote, it can take from a few hours, up to a few days, depending on the complexity of the project. Currently, this process is done manually: the salesperson copies the product descriptions, specifications, and prices from PDF catalogs into a Word or Excel document – the price quote. It is a back-and-forth process for many companies, which hasn’t improved considerably since the 1990s.”
With OptiOffer, resellers can send price quotes to customers more easily, while manufacturers have access to a network of verified resellers, and can create their eCatalog of products for sale. In this way, all parties involved are aligned along with any product and price changes, lowering the error factor and improving deals, said Nichita Herput, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of OptiOffer.