Just arrived at NetCamp 2012, one of the most important annual events for online entrepreneurship, organized by Evensys. As I promised here, I will do liveblogging so just refresh this page and find out what’s happening.
Section I. About the power of entrepreneurship.
Mihai Sfrijan, game producer and designer at King.com centers his presentation on the main idea that 1 million $ (in 40 days – only by the team from Romania) is not such a big sum for an online game (Zynga). Considering the company has bureaus in 5 countries and 25 employees only in Bucharest. People buy quality. Being the first one who offers good services is one thing that matters. You have to do them first, but very well. Get ready to fail, create small applications. You can’t reach 1 million $ on the first try.
Marketing on Facebook and mobile is not known in Romania. It’s something worth studying. OpenGraf is a Facebook tool that allows you to take stories out of a game and originally promote them. Mobile marketing is also based on Facebook, because of the channel of advertising.
Mihai says that if you mistake every day and allow yourself to recognize this, you won’t destroy your business.
The key to this business is to have good marketing people. Theirs are in London. But the business is not in Ro, it’s in the whole world. The game is not made starting from the users. Bucharest is great because there are good developers.
The HR process is quite long. Mihai knows a lot of talented people and he selected them well.
The company started with the work of 4 Swedish entrepreneurs. All of them are even today the first ones to come and the last to leave.
Ovidiu Paraschivescu, team leader applications, and content, Vodafone Romania talks about Vodafone apps.
It’s important to understand how many people can use a certain service at a certain time. There is a full-time team in Ro, for Romanians, which works on developing applications that can improve the consumers’ lives.
One of the big problems of the apps launched by others is that they need to get a critical mass of users to download apps. Vodafone has 1.600.000 downloads of its apps. They support app developers. After the apps contest, Ovidiu noticed that not all developers know how to monetize their apps. Therefore, Vodafone especially likes to collaborate with developers for apps who also know how to make money with them. It doesn’t make sense to collaborate with companies that don’t know how to make money.
Most apps that have success have apps pre-installed on their telephones. But they are available on all networks.
Participate at Vodafone.ro/start-up. You have 8 days.
You don’t need to promote apps. People just find their usability.
You can make more money selling through SMS. This is a great channel. Even Facebook uses this system. The time for electronic money has not yet come. The capacity of the operators to charge on behalf of customers is a great attraction for suppliers and it will remain so. Not everyone has smartphones.
I would really like to see an app developed which allows all users from Bucharest to know what training there is in the city in real-time.
Apps are also available on iOS.
Teodor Cimpoiesu, managing director, Eastern Europe, Romania & Bulgaria, Kaspersky Lab.
Mr. Cimpoieşu has 3 ideas he wants to share.
In marketing, we have to identify to whom we address our services. No one makes a service that is for everybody.
Ask the customer. What does he think? What does he use? What are his needs?
Communicate really. Get on the level and language of the people who you’re talking to – may they be customers, technical people
(keep reading ↓)
Section II. The New Opportunities of the Internet
George Lemnaru – Founder, Green Horse Games talks about a game addressed to the people who are passionate about cars. His start-up allows people from all over the world to virtually upgrade their real cars and participate in contests with people from all over the world. This is a game that allows different levels, based both on freemium models and on paid models. In January 2013, they plan to launch the website. The business model is to launch 3 games. He wants to get 200.000 euros and he intends to win millions of euros.
His pitch only to the people here is to be part of a select users’ club, having virtual goods of 50 euros for just 9 euros. For 4 years, any virtual goods will be 50% +. It’s a proposal for crowdfunding.
Cristi Manafu promotes Kickstarter. com.
8 people are interested. It’s the first time. But people do this because they like George, not the exact project. “It’s the first time I present this project and people understand it”, says George Lemnaru.
George counts on virality, to make products that are very interesting for people to promote from one to the other.
It’s not that he depends on this money, but it would be useful to accelerate the growth of the company.
Kaloyan Kanov – product marketing manager, Nokia Romania & Balkans presents the partnership experience of the company in the area of mobile applications.
He is here looking for developers, entrepreneurs interested in creating businesses based on mobile apps. He advertises Nokia differentiation. Nokia, as a company, invests in communicating with talented programmers in creating opportunities for this audience to get clients in specific markets. The advantage of an international company is interesting and profitable for a local developer/entrepreneur.
developer.nokia.com is the place where developers should go to collaborate in this initiative.
Zoli Herczeg – Business Development Manager – Applications, Microsoft Romania talks to potential clients for cloud computing.
A lot of people have started using Windows 8 since its launch in Romania.
The developers mustn’t think only about this opportunity, but also about developing apps for Windows 8.1 because Windows 8 will be easy to upgrade, just as Windows 7 was easy to upgrade to Windows 8.
Now, Windows accepts also Open Source apps from developers. So you don’t have to know .NET
There is a service for iOS and Android apps developers which is called Windows Azure. The simplest way to access this technology is from BizSpark – the tool to use for start-ups that are in their first 5 years. BizSpark Plus offers you services of cloud valued at 60.000 $ (2 years). Microsoft has around 300 start-ups from Romania which use BizSpark, and just a few which use BizSpark Plus. The collaboration between Microsoft and Zitec offers almost free audits, which delivers consulting for big online projects which need to develop in the cloud. The customers will be so satisfied after 2 years, that they will continue to use the service.
Vlad Stan talks about the accelerator Co-founder and CEO, Geekcelerator. They raise money from a lot of investors to support local businesses. They invested in 11 start-ups in Romania in the last 4 years. 4 are dead, 4 are still alive. Total funding: 600.000 $.
Vlad talks about one of the 30+ businesses he developed since 2000. He had a mobile platform for e-mail, which had not so many clients. Vlad says that the Romanian market is too limited for entrepreneurs and developers. A global market is a way to go.
Maria Diaconu, Catalina Rusu, Sabin Dima are his collaborators in founding this accelerator.
Think about building a product client-centered, not idea-centered.
How do you create a visually appealing product?
They invest up to 50.000 $ for 6-20% of the investment. The key is the founder. We don’t learn from success.
To get such a business: product skills, business skills, technical skills, and customer development skills. They DO things, they don’t talk, they don’t mentor. They work next to you. No BS!
To apply, there is the project Disrupt or Die. How can you, in just 2 days, develop a business?
Net Start-Up takes a break now. In 45 minutes, it continues.
I will participate in the Start-Up Now section, in which Vlad will make a public demonstration about how teams of people can create an app in a very short time. I don’t know whether I will be able to blog because it has been announced as an event about very practical stuff. Talk about it later.
StartUp Now! workshop with Vlad Stan on mobile applications development
In 90 minutes, teams made up of people who initially didn’t know each other found a business application on paper. it was great! The workshop was very interactive. Calin Fusu jokes: “Is there someone who hasn’t heard Vlad’s workshop even if they didn’t participate in it?”. I wrote about the idea my team developed here.
Cristina Alexandru, founder of startups.ro is the moderator.
Calin Fusu – CEO, at CeeVee.ro presents first.
All internet is moving now on platforms. Platforms are defined by identity, distribution, technologies, monetizations – all these are differences among them.
“It’s O.K. in Romania to copy businesses from other countries. Don’t add uncertainty to the weak local market. If you want to do something for Romania, don’t innovate! If you believe in yourself, you don’t go for Romania. This is just out of mathematical considerations. The profit potential is the market times the chances to have success. The entrepreneurs have to eliminate the risks.”.
Apparently many companies concentrate on many platforms to develop an application for, but if you don’t have resources, you don’t have to do that.
Calin has a kind of uninteresting presentation, as usual, but I think it’s better than in 2004. Don’t get me wrong, I love Calin as an entrepreneur and businessman, but his strongest point is not public speaking. Actually, even he didn’t really understand what he was speaking of.
Bogdan Secara – Owner @ Strategic Shift talks about the chimera gifted to the people by e-commerce. He has shared with everyone in the hall a small ticket with the question: “Why is comfort so important?”. In his opinion, comfort is the simplest and most contextual state of good. The context is your own little universe, here and now.
First, if you want to start a business in Romania, copy a working business model, and after that, change some things a little bit.
The state of good is actually a state of balance, of equilibrium.
To reach comfort, you have to feel uncomfortable first with what you have to get a solution to the problems. One has to monetize the fact that there are a lot of people who want comfort now.
Laura Mihailescu Marketing Coordinator, F64
F64 is a growing business (from 5 to 120). Another great business based on people. A great place to feel at work like at home. The business has a very complex selection process.
Dragoş Vărşăndan Owner, The Liquorstore
The story of a road to begin. He is a social drinker and a tester for all kinds of different drinks. He worked for Viva, TV Mania, and TV Satelit. He dropped his managing position at Ringier to find his blue ocean strategy. He founded an online liquor store. He had an acquaintance who became an entrepreneur. This business started as a passion.
After starting the business, he had a great opportunity that he got mainstream press coverage for his blog, to which then he attached an online store. November-December is a high season for drinks. Everyone wants something to drink. He couldn’t supply all the orders from customers.
What are the differences between theliquorstore: a long tail (many, many hundreds of drinks), serendipity (personal guide from a specialist), commodity (why look for a drink in town, when you can have it at home in 24 hours?).
After that, he made branded parties: Corporate Exit.
In 11 months, 15.000 visitors. 80% came through the Facebook pages of the publications where he writes. a 2 % rate of conversion. On average, the site makes about 200 euros a day sales. With his car, he makes most of the travels between the supplier and the customers. He was awarded for the best site on food and beverage at GPEC 2012 (Gala of the E-Commerce awards). He is fighting the lack of customers’ education.
Luigi Meclea – Owner, Breslo talks about a social shopping platform, one of the biggest in Romania.
He works with Ruxandra, his wife. They gathered the database out of contacts from fairs. In September 2008, they were the first ones to start such a business in Romania. Anyone can afford a store on Breslo. They offer all in one package, for a monthly package. They use the simplest, most effective method for taxing the suppliers: The people who make handmade pay a monthly nominal fee.
Text Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, 2012-present