Issue 19

Startup Weekend – Here and There

Irina Rotaru


I don"t know about others, but for me America has always been the place where all the dreams come true. Making a short note, America for me is the whole North American continent, because since recently Canadian cities started to have a big contribution in the world of innovations. Out of curiosity; look for Innovation Center Mars in Toronto.

The American dream has also set a certain level of expectations when talking about events. It was the case for Startup Weekend. Being developed in US, the concept made a lot of people in local communities to doubt it"s full potential and even if no one dare to say it, a lot of them considered that Startup Weekend Cluj could not be so cool as the one organized on the other side of the Atlantic. I believed them… until recently.

I had the luck to be involved in the organizational team of Startup Weekend Montreal. Although my "luck" is not quite luck, it"s the proof of the big community that exists around Startup Weekend. This is one of the event"s values materialized in the real world.

Being there, I had as many others, a lot of expectations from my team mates used with the American style, but my expectations were gone pretty fast. During our meetings and at the event, when sharing the experience from our Cluj events a lot of people stared at me, amazed "Really? You"ve done that? That"s awesome!!!" This was the point when I realized that our nationality, geographical position, communist era and all the other reasons are just excuses. Creativity, enthusiasm, intelligence and our motivation are the same or even stronger compared to the people across the ocean. The difference is probably our timidity or laziness.

It"s well known that the event organized under the mentorship of US team respects the values and the spirit of entrepreneurship all other the world. Educational purposes and the ability to test your idea, mentorship and the energy that almost explodes during the event are the same, no matter what your coordinates on the map are.

The energy and the vibe of the event deserve a special attention. Having the same level of expectations, I wondered how is it going on this part. But I was surprised one more time, analyzing the editions I"ve seen, I realized that there is no difference - people who are striving to change the world with their creativity, passion and crazy ideas are all the same, both in Montreal and Cluj.

Thanks to the event, I also had a chance to chat a little with the people involved in the financial sector of the startups. The entrepreneurs were as skeptical as here about getting the desired amount for their idea and the investors were careful as well - stepping into a new company requires a lot of analyses and calculations.

I think we may talk a little about the differences…

One of the most interesting aspects that I noticed was the awareness about the theoretical concepts. Hustler, hacker, customer validation, business plan: there are just a few things that seem to be more familiar in entrepreneur group of Montreal.

The other thing is the legal one. If in Cluj you start you startup by writing code and validating it in business, in Montreal the second step is to visit a lawyer. There is nothing you can do without a legal consultation and the lawyers are also interested to actively offer support to the young community, they really believe in a win-win business.

Of course, some of you may tell me that the main difference lays in the continuation of the projects. If I may talk in statistical language, I could say that Montreal is stepping back, because there are 2 teams that continued with their projects (Crowdmedia and Dashboard), since in Cluj after 2 editions there are 3 teams that are going forward (Usetogether, Doitfor, Omnipaste) and I recently found out that one more team from the first edition is going to be launched (Evolso).

Now, starting the preparations for the 3rd edition of Startup Weekend Cluj, I am more confident than before. Besides the notoriety and proved success of the last two events, I am convinced by my own experience that we can rock it and have cool, mind-blowing ideas, like our American fellows.





  • Accenture
  • BT Code Crafters
  • Accesa
  • Bosch
  • Betfair
  • MHP
  • Connatix
  • BoatyardX
  • AboutYou
  • Telenav
  • .msg systems
  • Grab
  • Colors in projects