Romanian entrepreneur interview: Sebastian Vaduva, CEO Appscend
Romania-Insider.com talked to Sebastian Vaduva (in picture), the CEO of Apppscend, a young Romanian company which delivers turn-key app creation solutions. The company, already an international player with the majority of its clients coming from abroad, plans to set up an office in the UK.
Interview by Corina Chirileasa
Who founded the company, when and what was the main reasoning behind setting it up? Please describe your project.
Andrei Marinescu, Gabriel Dobocan and myself founded the company in 2011. And it has gone smoothly ever since – we have known each other for about 12 years and working together was somehow natural.
Since University, we were involved in various business projects and then started working in one of the largest media holdings in Romania. In 2009, we began as young entrepreneurs with Vitality Media, a web services company. It lasted a year, then we had the ambition to create our own product: Appscend.
Appscend is the world's first performance oriented mobile application solution offering its customers a cross platform development technology together with a complete mix of backend services that ensure application and user management, a push system as well as a complete set of app analytics.
However, in 2012 with smartphone penetration surpassing 50 percent in the US and Western Europe, ignoring mobility is no longer an option. Moreover, considering the short lifespan of mobile applications requires extremely compressed timeframes, Appscend’s features improve the entire process by up to 80 percent, with no learning curve whatsoever.
Since the official launch of the platform – March 2011, Appscend numbers 2000 registered companies and 250 apps in Apple Store and Google Play. For 12 months, we believe it is a very nice start and we’re working on fulfilling our business objectives for the third quarter of 2012.
Why did you choose to set the company up here?
The company is based in Bucharest, but it brings a solution for the global market. I know, traditionally speaking, entrepreneurs see Romania as a drawback, but for us Romania is a great place for development. For instance, we now number 10 talented employees and we started out with 3: Gabi, Andrei and myself. Romania has wonderful tech and business talent environment and there is no better place to create the right team in order to generate the right product.
Of course, it is not an easy process to establish leads when based in Romania. This is why in the next couple of months we are working our way towards opening an office in London, UK. Nonetheless, even located in Romania, over 80 percent of Appscend’s clients come from Western Europe and the US. When your product or service proves to be productive for any market and any business vertical, then you should have half of the equation figured out. The next 50 percent relies on your ability to market and endorse your business.
What were your main struggles as an entrepreneur? How did you overcome them?
Probably any new project has to face establishing the companies’ presence and educating the business market. The mobile app industry is still in its initial stages, with a four year history. Thus, it is only understandable that apart from convincing business managers that Appscend brings the right solution for their needs with mobile app development & management, businesses need a better understanding of the market: tools, time, management.
What do you think of Romanian entrepreneurs, what sets them apart on the international business scene?
Ambition. Talent. Dedication. True, all talented entrepreneurs have that. But I believe that the Romanian startup community has plenty of aces up its sleeve that prove that businesses ideas with global impact can be born and developed from here. We’re working 24 / 7 to prove that.
What is your personal target for this project? What is your business growth strategy for the project?
When you’re challenging such a dynamic market that grows by over 100 percent each year it’s difficult to create a personal target. In terms of strategy our main focus right now is developing a partner network worldwide and reaching as many organizations that are ready to embrace mobility but have not yet found the perfect mix of tools that can ensure their ROI and accelerate their business results.
What is the size of the project – team members, financials, any other milestones you want to share?
- 10 team members
- 250 published apps in Apple Store and Google Play, 2000 registered companies, 500,000 customers
- Peter Barta (Post Privatization Foundation executive Director) is Appscend’s business adviser together with a seed investment in 2011
- USD 220,000 USD revenue, with a 20 percent increase by the end of the year
- Romanian clients: Groupama, BMW Motor AG, TVR Info, DOMO, Tiriac Auto, collaboration with Vodafone Romania
- International clients: Great Marketing Work [Great Britain], Svarod Direct [Norway], Vorarlberger Medienhaus [Austria], WSI Franchisees [USA].