How Romania became Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe
Cluj-Napoca, the unofficial capital to the historical province of Transylvania is on the up and up. Now, without sounding clichéd, if you thought about a certain bloodsucking count when you read ‘Transylvania’, you can be forgiven – pop culture has done more than its fair share of perpetuating that myth. These days Cluj is being hailed as the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe due to the major inroads its making in the tech sector. As Romania’s fourth most-populous city, Cluj has established itself as an economic hub, sporting 12 universities, 80 000 students and half a million inhabitants. To address public issues and drive sustainable development, Cluj has devoted all efforts to what it deems as economic engines. The ultimate goal being to improve the quality of life for its inhabitants, and it’s taken on this challenge by focusing on areas such as transport and mobility, citizen engagement, energy, infrastructure, and internet access.
Adding to the IT boom
As it stands more than 15 000 people work in the IT sector and the city houses almost 1 300 IT business whose focuses lie primarily on process optimization and outsourcing. The city has created initiatives geared toward roping in fresh university talent by way of the Transylvania Industries Cluster. The idea is to give the already booming IT sector a boost of creativity and innovation and to create a cluster effect that promotes competitive growth through the sharing of information and resources and business partnerships. This has also lead to investors and VC’s buying shares in tech and startup companies they believe will succeed.
Start-up hubs feed the industry
Cluj has created the ideal climate to nurture its start-up community, from which many are now showing great promise. Cluj’s ability to serve as a tech incubation chamber is certainly starting to bear fruit. Here are just some of the city’s most promising start-ups:
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Neurolabs offers up AI solutions tailor-made of the retail sector. Through the use of deep learning the company provides automation solutions to things like supply-chain demands such as on-shelf monitoring and self-checkouts. Neurolabs’ solutions are not meant to disrupt existing supermarket set-ups and instead to integrate and improve upon them.
FreshBlood.Health was founded in 2017 as a community geared towards supporting new startups in healthcare. Through the combination of medical knowledge and technology, the community brings together a pool of talent consisting of students, young doctors and software developers to collaborate and create feasible solutions for the healthcare industry.
Cluj Hub has established itself as Cluj Napoca’s most frequented co-woring space. It serves as the ideal go-to spot for freelancers, business people and entrepreneurs with an interest in digital and creative endeavours. This ideal incubation hangout has hosted more than a thousand events in the last two years and has roped in big players on the global scene such as TEDx, NASA Space App Challenge, CreativeMornings and a host of others.