Start-ups are beginning to be a fashionable subject in 2013. There are more and more organizations which wish to support these efforts, and we have recently published, in no. 12, an article on Gemini Foundry. We come back to this subject since different start-ups have shown interest in this initiative and there is the need of some clarification. Serban Tir, the technical director of the Gemini Solutions group of companies, together with Radu Popovici, have answered a few questions for us.
What do the start-ups mean for Gemini Solutions, from the perspective of the collaboration with them?
Gemini Solutions has a long history of working with start-ups, so far from Silicon Valley. From this point of view, we believe we understand very well the startup culture. Even if the Romanian startups are a little different from the ones in the USA, their culture and their way of facing the problems is essentially the same.
From this point of view, Gemini Solutions holds enterprising people, entrepreneurs and the startup culture in high esteem, as it has always been attracted to such initiatives and it wishes to enter different types of partnerships with them.
How do you see the correct evolution of a startup in order for it to become a success?
We do not think someone has a recipe that generally holds true for the success of a startup. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to its success: of course, the idea also counts - but not as much as we tend to think on a first impulse, what matters is the fine tuning of ideas - a complex process that needs to take into consideration a lot of factors such as the target public, the forms of promotion, its virality, the correct assessment of the targeted market niche.
Obviously, what also matters a lot is the execution of the product itself, the understanding of the feedback from the users and embedment in the product, as well as the future development directions that one aims at.
It is very important for us to understand that once a product is "out in the wild", comprehending the feedback from the users and taking actions accordingly is a key factor in maintaining the product appealing to the target customers.
Another factor which usually tends to be less elaborated than it should be is the correct evaluation of the potential methods of monetization. Nowadays, the classical methods of monetization (selling the application, revenue from adds, etc.) tend to no longer be in the pipeline as a main revenue source, but rather as additional sources of income.
What is your opinion on the Romanian start-up market until now and can you offer us a forecast on the following two years?
We believe and hope that the start-up market of Romania will grow considerably during the next years. Economically speaking, Romania will no longer be able to sell itself as a cheap work force country - even in the case of areas where high qualification is required.
Under these circumstances, the next logical step is for economic activities of higher added value to emerge. Obviously, this can only be done through innovation, and start-ups are the essence of innovation.
Concerning the present start-up market from Romania, we are clearly at the beginning, which means that the covered area, the initiative approach manner by the local entrepreneurs is quite inconsistent, as there is no local culture or tradition in this respect. This means that we have encountered start-ups which have very well understood the problems and have a clear development direction - measuring up to those over the ocean, but also start-ups with a rather empirical, if not naive, approach. Of course, in regard to the number of start-ups, we hope it will increase in the future.
What does Gemini Foundry mean for the Romanian start-ups?
Gemini Foundry is intended as a road Romanian startups can take if their target is the American market. We believe that after almost fourteen years of working with companies from Silicon Valley - many of which were startups - we have a good understanding of the ecosystem and the mechanisms over there and we can help Romanian startups reach that market and be successful there.
As far as we know, there will be an official launching of Gemini Foundry, organized on September 24th, in Bucharest. Can you tell us a few words about the guests of this event?
On September 24th, 5:00 PM, at Marshall Garden Hotel, the official launching of Gemini Foundry will take place, an event organized together with the Commercial Department of the United States Embassy in Bucharest. Among those who will take part in this event we mention: Mr. Theo Nissim - CEO of Gemini Solutions company group, Jim Cunningham - Regional Senior Commercial Officer, South-East Europe, as well as Nicolas El Baze - General Partner, Partech International.
We will also enjoy the presence of Mrs. Adina Magda Florea, Dean of the Faculty of Automatic Control and Computers of Politehnica University of Bucharest. Of course, we also invite all of you young entrepreneurs of the IT domain, full of ideas and initiative, to participate.
For the TSM readers who wish to take part in the Gemini Foundry launching, what is the registration procedure?
The participation to the event will be based on the registration form on our site www.gemsfoundry.com and subsequent confirmation.
What is the difference between an Incubator and a Foundry?
While an incubator is an initiative which helps the startups with a clear and pre-defined list of services and facilities, the Foundry is an initiative characterized by flexibility, which builds its offer for each startup, according to its necessities and particularity.
Which is the particularity of Gemini Foundry as compared to other similar initiatives?
Gemini Foundry"s particularity is that it aims to "raise" start-ups which have as a final target the United States market and it offers direct and concrete connections with the institutions, the entities and the business environment over there, maximizing thus the chances of the startups to receive investments and have a real success on the market there.
What does Gemini Foundry offer to and get from a partner startup?
I would like to group what Gemini Foundry has to offer into several categories of services. Among these categories I believe there are: services meant to ease the entrepreneurs" life, in the way that it relieves them from the routine, but important everyday tasks, and allows them to focus on their business idea (legal services, accounting services, office); services meant to lead to the rapid and healthy development of the business, such as mentorship and technical support, qualified guiding regarding business development, but maybe most important, we offer direct and concrete connections with the investors and the environment of Silicon Valley.
What do we get in return? It"s simple. We get a percentage of the incubated company, which will remain minor, anyway. Evidently, this percentage differs depending on the offered services.