“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
The value of education is immeasurable. Looking forward, choosing a university to pursue is one of the most influencing decisions for one’s professional development. Looking back, we can better understand which activities, courses, programs, and universities best shaped the SEE entrepreneurs of today, seeding and nurturing their interest in innovation and business.
The Recursive continues the series exploring the educational hotspots for entrepreneurs in Southeast Europe. We follow the journeys of startup founders and investors from the regional ecosystem all the way to the educational institutions where they gained knowledge and honed skills.
Having recently celebrated 200 years of existence, The Politehnica University of Bucharest (UPB) is the oldest and among the most prestigious technical universities in Romania. It has 15 faculties and 30K+ students. UPB assumed the mission of blending education, research, and innovation, training specialists in different technical fields, and contributing with knowledge and innovation to the country’s technological, economic and socio-cultural progress development.
After realizing that over half of Romanian students plan to start their own business in the next two years, UPB also started a program to meet the needs of young student entrepreneurs, in partnership with the Romanian Association for Smart City and Mobility. UBBizz offers students entrepreneurship education, mentorship programs, and access to financing sources.
Next, see our list of 5 entrepreneurs that started their journeys in the world of tech at the Politehnica University of Bucharest.
Politehnica University of Bucharest Alumni
Name: Vladimir Oane
Position: Co-founder at Deepstash
Market specialty: Information services, mobile, education, knowledge, machine learning, and AI
The story in a nutshell: Vladimir Oane is one of the co-founders of Deepstash, a startup with a mobile app offering community-curated short and meaningful content. By offering bite-sized information, the app wants to make it easier for people to consume, remember and use content. In 2020, Deepstash secured €3 million in a seed round from Connect Ventures, GapMinder, Cultivate Capital, among others. The company also won the Startup of the Year award from The Employers’ Association of the Software and Services Industry in Romania, surpassing competitors such as TypingDNA and Planable. Prior to founding Deepstash, Vladimir founded and then acted as the Chief Product Office of uberVU, a social media management platform was later acquired by Hootsuite, where Oane further served as Director of Product. Vladimir is also a Board Member of Innovation Labs and Smartree Romania.
Name: Cristian Baita
Position: Co-founder and CTO at VoxiKids
Market specialty: health tech, e-health, SaaS, speech therapy, virtual speech clinic, and language development
The story in a nutshell: Cristian Baita is a co-founder and the CTO of VoxiKids, a digital clinical platform and app dedicated to improving speech therapy (The Recursive previously told you about them here). VoxiKids offers materials, speech therapy, and management tools to improve collaboration between parents and therapists in order to assist with the children’ recovery and integration. The app uses games to help children develop language skills in an easy and playful way. So far, VoxiKids raised a total of €275K in funding rounds from TechAngels, GapMinder, and Cleverage. Before launching VoxiKids, the team was looking for a niche where they could bring an impact; researching the health sector, they discovered that over 500K children were in need of speech therapy in Romania. Prior to this, Cristian worked extensively as a developer and programming trainer.
Name: Sorina Vlasceanu
Position: Co-founder at Soleadify
Market specialty: internet, data enrichment, artificial intelligence, B2B Sales, B2B Data, cold outreach, big data, and business data
The story in a nutshell: Sorina Vlasceanu is one of the co-founders at Soleadify, a Bucharest-based startup providing business data enrichment to clients worldwide (The Recursive previously introduced Sorina here). Using AI and machine learning, the company has created a huge searchable database that helps businesses find clients across industries. In 2020, Soleadify raised a $1.5 million in a seed-round funding from GapMinder, DayOne Capital, and several business angels through Seedblink. Back in 2018, Soleadify was one of the 16 teams that pitched in the finals of pre-accelerator Innovation Labs, an experience that helped them bring their idea to market. Sorina was joined by another software developer and a marketing specialist in the building of the company. Previously, Sorina worked in web applications and software development at various companies, including Fitbit.
Name: Mihnea Calin
Company: CODA Intelligence
Position: Founder and COO at CODA Intelligence
Market specialty: Computer & Network Security, Software Development, Asset Management, Patch Prioritization, SaaS
The story in a nutshell: Mihnea Calin is the founder and COO of CODA Intelligence, an AI-based, cloud-agnostic cybersecurity platform based in the US. Using proprietary Vulnerability Management™ and Contextual Risk Scoring™, the platform reduces cost and complexity of risk management for managed service providers and SMEs. With cybersecurity a strong area of investment in Romania, the company recently raised a €800K seed round from Early Game Ventures, ROCA X and Marius Alexe. With a blended background in IT and project management, Mihnea is also the founder of Global Resolution Experts, a professional consulting firm offering security and compliance audits, implementation of information security management systems, and project management of IT.
Name: Alexandru Artimon
Position: Co-founder and CTO at Medicai
Market specialty: Information Technology & Services, health tech
The story in a nutshell: Alexandru Artimon is one of the co-founders and CTO at Medicai, an online AI-based medical imaging platform. The app aims to improve communication and collaboration between patients and doctors on imaging investigations, such as CT and MRI. As such, Medicai wants to replace the current use of CDs, saving time and costs, and improving security and control over data. Back in 2019, Medicai raised €500K from Sacha Dragic, ROCA X, Gapminder, to scale the app. Previously, Alexandru held various roles, ranging from software engineer, to technical lead, and IT Consultant, and co-founded Atta Systems, a company building software products in collaboration with big organizations and funded startups.
+++Read part one of the series about entrepreneurs that started their journeys at the Technical University of Sofia.