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Romanian software company Zitec relocates to new unconventional HQ inspired by science fiction

How is to work as if you were starring in Star Trek or Dune? The employees of a Romanian IT company do know that feeling, as they are accommodated to the new sci-fi, hi-tech HQ.

Zitec, IT leader in Romania, specialized in developing customized software solutions and services, has marked its 15th anniversary by relocating to a new office hosted within Timpuri Noi Square office ensemble. The new premise, stretching on an area of 1,700 square meters and concluded after an investment of roughly EUR 425,000, is inspired by some design themes which are quite familiar among IT developers: science fiction, outer space and rock music.

Currently accommodating a team of 120 employees, the new office can provide room for 190 people, the team expansion target being actually among the company’s goals in the upcoming future.

The concept design of the new office is based on the science fiction universe and the outer space, as the team wanted a new working area that should transpose in design elements the ambition to increase through innovation and the courage to explore unknown territories. Themes from sci-fi books and movies such as Dune or Star Trek or representing the solar system or the Milky Way, have been integrated in the interior design of the office spaces.

The Zitec’s Graphic Design  has signed the graphic elements of the design, while the concept has been implemented by Prographic architecture studio. Some rooms host original wall illustrations signed by famous local illustrators.

The office is perfectly integrating work and leisure spaces, including a room inspired by Elvis Presley theme, a green area with natural moss and hammocks, as well as a salt mine room, made of Romanian Praid salt walls, also decorated with Himalaya salt.

The space where we spent most part of the day is very important to us. On one hand, we aim the efficiency of the team work, and on the other hand we want an environment that should encourage creativity. Therefore, fitting out an office that should respond to our colleagues’ passions and hobbies, but also to the business expectations is a major investment on long term in our team. We managed to include the innovation elements while preserving the efficiency of a modern building at the same time,” said declară Alexandru Lăpușan, CEO and co-founder Zitec.

The renting contract in Timpuri Noi Square building has been inked for five years, but, as the Zitec CEO vowed, the plans are to stay longer than that.

The relocation to the new HQs is also owed to the EUR 1.7 M investment made by eMAG in Zitec last year, as CEO Lăpușan confessed during a press conference on Tuesday.

The Dante group/eMAG investment allowed us to have more confidence in ourselves and this new HQ is mostly due to this investment,” he stated

Among other short-term ideas on the agenda of Zitec, there is an increase by 28% of the turnover this year as against 2017 (the forecast is for a turnover of over EUR 6 million in 2018), but other plans include expanding the team and investing mainly in international start-ups, with hot news in this regard to be available at the end of this summer.

In terms of  hiring, Zitec is not rushing up to quantity, bu it is rather eyeing quality. „We want to grow thoroughly step by step, we are pretty picky about accepting a new colleague in the team and that means we are focusing on quality very much,” explained Alexandru Lăpușan and this despite the workforce deficit on the market.

As for investing in international start-ups rather than in local ones, the Zitec CEO explained this step has to do less with money, and more with the possibility of experiencing and working with new technologies that are more available abroad at this point. „There are more high-quality start-ups abroad, they have a better entrepreneurship education and, more important, they have an easier access to financing,” Lăpușan said. One of the foreign start-ups Zitec has invested in since 2011 is Zipongo, that received funds of EUR 50 M and is estimated now around EUR 100 M, boasting ‚heavy’ clients such as Google.

And speaking about financing, Zitec has filed 10 projects for EU funds this year, with an internal project under way since last year where Zitec is co-financing 30-40%.

Besides the brand new unconventional office, Zitec, set up in 2003 by Alexandru and his wife Simona, is also known for its unconventional projects. It is the IT company that has its own rock band, Ziband, set up in 2014, that developed its own beverage, the White Rabbit beer (which provided 2 tons of beer in the past two years) or the campaign cei1024.ro, through which employees can donate blood at work (currently over 20 companies, mostly IT firms, joined this project, with employees donating blood at work instead of going to the transfusion center and with over 5,000 lives saved).

The white rabbit theme is perfectly integrated in the new office’s design concept, and it is not only referring to their beer brand, but it has a more in-depth perspective. „The white rabbit is also about a concept, similar to the one in Alice in Wonderland or Matrix. It is about daring to follow the white rabbit down through the hole, to invest in less usual projects and locations, for instance to invest in start-ups in the other side of the world, in consortia and in your own products. Where the tunnel leads? We are sure it leads to something good,” Alexandru Lăpușan concluded.

About Alina Grigoras Butu