We had a small chat with Alexandru Negru from Minutizer, a pay-per-minute tool for online live interactions and one of the cool startups who is a resident at TechHub Bucharest in order to try to find out what he got from his experience at Mini Seedcamp in Vienna last month.
What was the level of the startups present at Mini Seedcamp?
The event had participants from Eastern Europe and a few from Berlin, Paris, Vienna and other neighbouring cities. The business potential was definitely above average, but I noticed a big difference:
- Eastern European startups are hard core, since they focus on data modelling, tackling more complex issues related to algorithms, structural innovation, etc. I don�t know if these startups manage to properly communicate the viability of their business though.
- the Western startups are �lighter�, more appealing from a marketing perspective and they do a better job at exploring the networks they have in their respective geographical regions.
A difference in perspective
There are some differences between the way we see our businesses and the way we develop them for success and the way Western startups perceive the business market and economic conditions. Startups from Western Europe are �softer� because they don�t have major economic or other types of difficulties to overpass. Their environment is more permissive and it�s more difficult for them to come up groundbreaking businesses. I don�t think I would have thought of Minutizer if I hadn�t been born in Romania. Massive obstacles compel people to innovate.
What was the most valuable thing you derived from your Mini Seedcamp experience?
At Mini Seedcamp we got to pitch our startup during a pitch practice event coordinated by Philipp Moehring. We received feedback not only from him, but also from the other startups there that heard about us for the first time, which was very helpful. We actually tweaked a few things on our website and in our pitch as a consequence.
For us it was also valuable to relate our startup to the others at the events and see where we stand in comparison.
Your goal for the event...
Derived from the general objective which we set for November: get our startup out there and reach the right people � VC�s and potential investors that can understand Minutizer�s potential and are interested in the fin-tech startups.
What could be improved in the format for Mini Seedcamp
Direct feedback from a larger panel of business angels would help a lot.. The fact that Mini Seedcamp was integrated in a bigger event such as Pioneers helped a lot and we believe that this could be a successful strategy for startup programs.
The people who heard about our startup were interested to see such a solid business having emerged from Eastern Europe. Some investors are actively searching for viable businesses, but they don�t consider Eastern Europe, but were glad to see that good ideas were emerging from this region. We were happy to tell them more about the possibilities in the region.
Why geographical proximity still counts
Because we got to Vienna a day earlier, we got to visit a co-working space, Sektor 5, where we met other teams that would participate in Mini Seedcamp. Their countries of origin were Slovakia, Hungary and countries no farther than a few hours� train ride to Vienna, Berlin or other cities such as these, where tech events are abundant. By talking to them, we also noticed that there are many programs and accelerators that we�re not aware of, because they function sometimes on a local level. I found out at Seedcamp that there are many, smaller initiatives that come from Eastern Europe than we imagined. This geographical disadvantage of being farther from the cities mentioned above shows that we have to overpass this obstacle by taking more trips to these cities.