Bucharest is a very special place right now. A city shaking off the past and emerging as an East European capital determined to make its mark on Europe, and beyond. Here in Bucharest, there seems no shortage of ideas or energy; instead an innovative hub, were entrepreneurs – both local and foreign – are coming together to transform their ideas into reality.
Speaking of hubs, it's places like Impact Hub – a coworking space in Bucharest –that provide the catalyst for innovation and collaboration. Aside from providing entrepreneurs with a cool space to work, they host events like the rather cheekily named Sexy Salad. A weekly event brining community members and visitors together over a rather tasty meal – my thanks to the chefs – and giving everyone the opportunity to introduce themselves, debate interesting ideas, and to enlist help from fellow hubbers.
A visitor myself, I landed up sitting across the table from Tom Anderson, the Lead Developer from San Francisco based startup Roomi. Tom is working 100% remote. In fact, the majority of his company is distributed across the planet. So Tom is making the most of the opportunity and working his way through 100 countries, spending no more 2 weeks in each. On weekdays Tom sets up his mobile office wherever he can find a desk and some internet and on the weekends he moves along without leaving a trace – and I thought I had a nomadic life.
But entrepreneurship isn't limited to Bucharest's coworking spaces, the city has success stories both big and small.
There are companies like Brainient, Europe's leading developer of Interactive Video Advertising. They occupy the top floor of a downtown office, with all the mojo and table tennis you'd expect to find in a Silicon Valley startup. Having conquered Europe, they have their sights set on the rest of the world.
And then there are places like Bruno Wine Bar & Bistro in the Old Town. It was here that I met a fellow from Dublin, in town to teach Salsa. And a couple of folks from Denmark, who come often. Crowded around the bar, we exchange stories of Bucharest, as the lady behind the bar expertly introduced us to some of the countries finest wines. Sadly, I didn't take any notes – a good reason to return.
The entrepreneurial energy is everywhere.The Romanians are proud, hardworking people who are determined to create a world-class city. And with flights between Bologna and Bucharest running at around 10 Euro, cheaper than the commute into central London, I'll be back for Sexy Salad every other week.