The software industry in Romania remains in the top of key industries for the country’s economy, with a volume of approximately 6.2 billion euros in 2019, according to specialists, and is also one of the most balanced industries in terms of balance between foreign and Romanian capital.
Romanian Ion-Alexandru Secara has recently moved to the United States after being selected to be a member of a highly competitive entrepreneurial program, designed to bring Europe’s top software engineers to San Francisco to help build and scale hyper-growth tech companies. He has also held Software Engineer positions at Iron Sheep Tech, Intuit and Adobe, specializing in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision.
We wanted him to share with us a few thoughts on how his entrepreneurial perspective has changed since moving to the United States, but also on how this experience will help him achieve his goals in the future.
What can you tell us about tech entrepreneurs in San Francisco?
There are so many entrepreneurs in San Francisco, it’s incredible. So far, of all the people I’ve met over here, only 1 or 2 have not attempted to start a company before. Since there are so many entrepreneurs, the competition for investment and clients is fierce. Therefore, many of the entrepreneurs here are really trying to come up with extremely novel ideas, since anything even slightly generic is probably implemented already. I’ve noticed that quite a few successful startups come from very innovative research, at renowned universities and institutes, that people, without specific expertise, would not be able to develop.
How many hours a week do you spend working? Do you still have time for hobbies?
Well, I work 8 hours every day on my day to day job at LoopUp. Then I work on optimizing and expanding my patent in my free time, by carrying out research in the domain of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision. My family is back in Romania, so I can only talk to them on the phone once, maybe twice a day. I am an avid sports lover so I go on 30 minutes runs every day and then I work out for another 30 minutes on the rooftop of my house. Being physically active really helps my focus. In general, I try to do my workout routine at around 4PM, since this is the time when I start losing productivity, so I can use a little boost. Also, it won’t come as a surprise if you find me reading books or drawing – I believe those two really help with mental health.
What is your opinion on the state of Romanians in tech right now?
I have met numerous Romanians that have their own successful startups or that hold key positions in large tech corporations in San Francisco. There is a strong Romanian tech community, that organizes meetups and events in various cities around the world. Moreover, there are startups started in Romania that now have a global impact. UiPath and BitDefender are two key examples. I strongly believe that Romanians have a strong presence in the global tech world.
Would you consider coming back to Romania?
That is my plan! I want to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible, while I’m still in the US, so I can move back home and really help the tech community in Romania by sharing the invaluable insights I learnt.
What piece of advice would you give to a young entrepreneur just starting to build a company?
There are two pieces of advice I would give a young entrepreneur. The first advice is “Your startup fails only when you give up!”. At first this sounds trivial, but I truly believe it is the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. When you really think about it, a startup will never fail if you keep going. So, my advice for a young entrepreneur would be: find a field that you absolutely love (since hard work will come from passion), find a problem that the people in the respective field face (talk to potential customers, create quizzes and really try to understand the problem they face and what would be an adequate solution); then start working on it. The second piece of advice is about networking. Once you establish a strong presence in the field of your choice, make sure you put yourself out there, go and speak at conferences, attend meetups and try to meet other entrepreneurs who share the same passion. It’s so much easier to find partners, investors and clients if you build a strong relation with them, before you showcase your idea. And remember: never give up!
Romanians have gone abroad, to study or to work, but some of them have got precious experience in key domains, and they want to use this experience back home, in Romania. One of these young entrepreneurs is Alexandru Secara, whom we have the pleasure to talk to.
We wish him good luck with his initiative and we can hardly wait for his returning to Romania as a successful entrepreneur.