Last week, I attended the "How To Web" conference in Bucharest, marking my inaugural visit to Romania.
Initially, I had set my sights on Techsylvania in Cluj after an invitation from the ever-energetic Vlad. It astounds me that Romania boasts two great tech events. Unfortunately, the dates of Techsylvania clashed with Super Return. However, "How To Web" presented a golden opportunity.
Small is beautiful
Smaller-scale events often surprise me with their offerings. They're gold mines – I unearth invaluable connections, spot exceptional founders, and establish genuine community ties. These events offer an irreplaceable authenticity.
A decade ago, I remember Robin Wauters, the founder of Tech.eu, speaking at the inception of "How To Web." My tenure at Axel Springer in 2011 was punctuated by frequent conference visits, especially during the establishment of the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator. I crossed paths with N26 founders Valentin and Max at a Berlin conference. At that time a nascent credit card initiative for children.
Despite having little to showcase, I pitched the potential of our accelerator program. This endeavor led me to be the first check investor of N26 with ASPNP. I've always believed in being proactive, creating opportunities rather than waiting for deals. For that reason, being front-row myself, going to conferences like How To Web, and having my boots on the ground have always been valuable.
A masterclass in event production
The "How To Web" conference was a masterclass in event production. Its vastness was complemented by impeccable organization, ensuring ample networking opportunities. My experience organizing events, such as the Hiring Success of Smartrecruiters, and advising
Slush, has taught me the pitfalls of overloading content – a "How To Web" mistake gracefully sidestepped. The conference showcased three stages and expansive spaces and facilitated interactions between investors, founders, talents, service providers, and more. It served as a melting pot for individuals from the CEE region, drawing participants from Bulgaria, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Baltic States, and beyond.
Babyface and Bird
The mastermind behind this amazing event is Bogdan Iordache. Like me, he's a Solo GP. We back each other up, exchanging insights and expertise. Bogdan's journey in the Romanian tech ecosystem began with a modest community of around 75 people a decade ago.
Today, with success stories like UIPath, it's evident that Romania is on the cusp of a tech revolution. I fondly dub Bogdan "Babyface" due to his youthful appearance, leading us to christen each other with playful nicknames – he calls me "the bird." It's heartening to forge bonds with individuals outside your home region. Bogdan's Underline Ventures has played a pivotal role in shaping the tech landscape in Romania and the entire area. His vision and commitment are laudable.
Here's a glimpse into the conference. While these snapshots can't fully capture the electric atmosphere, they provide a taste. I'll let the images talk this time, sharing a vibe rather than words.
It was a whirlwind of camaraderie, brilliant founders, engaging investors, dynamic interactions, and abundant business opportunities. Above all, it was heartwarming to reconnect with familiar faces and forge new friendships.
This article is authored by Robin Haak, solo GP and founder of Robin Capital, syndicated from Robin Capital's newsletter, and used with permission.