A Growing Startup Ecosystem
Cluj-Napoca, the 2nd largest city in Romania, is well known for its strong focus on IT development companies. The city has not only tech talent, but can also innovate and help the country’s economy.
Cluj-Napoca’s ecosystem is growing faster compared with any other Romanian city. With more than 10.000 developers and software engineers in the market and with Universities that constantly provide talented work force, Cluj-Napoca has already started to build its reputation in the entrepreneurial field.
According to Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou “Romanian developers seem to be superior, compared to their Balkans counterparts, primarily because of their long tradition in the outsourcing business. Especially in Cluj, there are more than a dozen companies employing more than 500 Devs each — purely targeting international tech projects. They execute fast, they operate adequately and they follow international standards.”
Besides Universities, there are some other important parties that invest, educate and develop the ecosystem.
Local and international events pin the city on the European map: Techsylvania, Startup Weekend, IT Days, 3Day Startup, Startup Live, Startup Pirates. Among the ones that are regularly organised, there are some local initiatives supported by either EU-funds, companies, Universities, NGO’s, entrepreneurs etc.
International events like YAPC will be hosted in 2016 in Cluj-Napoca.
There are local acceleration and pre-acceleration programs, such as:
Spherik is the first acceleration program started in 2014.
Innovation Labs is an entrepreneurial learning program that provides hands-on development for students. They focus on IOT, Big Data and Digital Life.
Sprint Point is a Pre-acceleration program at his first edition in 2015.
Seed For Tech is a product-based company dedicated to early or later stage startups, which provides software services for startups and co-investment for the most promising ideas and teams.
Cluj-Napoca is seen as a city capable of providing important resources for entrepreneurs who has already build successful businesses.
Skobbler, a startup that was creating smart location-aware apps for end-consumers and advanced maps technology for professionals and enthusiasts has been acquired by Telenav, the giant that has been successfully developing apps and GPS in the mapping industry.
Liverail, the monetization platform for publishers acquired by Facebook in 2014, for around $500M.
Pangea is an innovative startup that has been solved the problem of billions of unconnected people around the world online. They turn data into a sound wave, modulating it to sounds like a human voice to a telco’s backend and then reverting it back to data on the end-user’s device.
Onyx Beacon is building a promising business in the IOT industry. They were nominated for the Best Cloud/Data Application 2015 at CESAwards2015 Grand Finale that took place in October 2015.
On the list there are other startups like: Moqups, TinTag, Mira Rehab, Zonga, Squirrly, Hip Menu, Dollarbird, Microstockr, Troffee, MimeChat, iMedicare and Catwalk15.
Liberty Technology Park Cluj is the first technological park in Romania, located in Cluj-Napoca. It’s a park for creative ideas built in a revolutionary place designed to offer exceptional growth and quality environment for companies in the IT&C and R&D domains, all in one unique area both conceptually and architecturally.
According with Cluj Innovation City project, there are 17 research institutes which covers 4 smart specialisations: healthcare, bio economy, energy efficiency and information technology.
Co-work spaces are worth added to the list: Cluj Cowork, Cluj Hub and Impact Hub.
In terms of meetups, Cluj has to offer a big range of topics, especially on tech. There are more than 30 active meetups.
There are two licensed TEDx projects happening once a year each: TEDx Eroilor and TEDx Cluj.
Today Software Magazine is a very reliable source that curates the news about the ecosystem and cover important topics about tech, startup, industries, etc.
Cluj-NapocaCoworkingecosystemEntrepreneurshipEventsImpact Hublocal acceleration programsStartupstechTechnology Park