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Nu toate milioanele sunt egale

Au aparut in ultima vreme in presa din Romania cateva articole despre Brainient care folosesc cifre ce sunt departe de realitate si consider ca este de bun simt sa le clarific.

S-a spus in cateva randuri ca Brainient valoreaza 50 de milioane de lire. Pe cat de mult mi-ar placea sa cred ca atat valoram, un startup in tehnologie este evaluat intr-unul din urmatoarele doua momente: in momentul unei investitii sau in momentul unei vanzari. Intr-adevar, Brainient a primit finantari in valoare de 5 milioane de dolari, insa din motive comerciale am decis sa nu facem publica evaluarea companiei la care a fost facuta investitia. Compania nefiind vanduta, nu exista in momentul de fata o evaluare externa pe care sa o facem publica. Drept urmare suma vehiculata este, cel mult, un ‘wishful thinking’ al fondatorilor si in niciun caz o evaluare declarata si asumata a Brainient.

A doua idee vehiculata este cea conform careia cateva milioane de lire s-ar afla si prin conturile mele personale. Realitatea, insa, este alta. Pentru a construi un startup, un fondator sau mai multi pornesc de la o idee. Pentru a transforma ideea intr-un business, acestia iau bani de la investitori, care primesc, la schimb, un numar de actiuni in cadrul companiei. Toti banii sunt investiti in companie pentru a o dezvolta, iar singurul moment in care fondatorii primesc bani (in afara de salariu) este acela in care compania este vanduta (ceea ce inca nu s-a intamplat pentru Brainient). Ideea ca as fi milionar mi se pare amuzanta, avand in vedere ca realitatea este cum nu se poate mai diferita: de cand am fondat Brainient, in primul an nu am primit salariu deloc, in urmatorii doi ani am fost platit cat sa imi pot acoperi costurile in Londra, iar in momentul de fata sunt probabil unul dintre cei mai prost platiti CEOs din tot sectorul de tehnologie din Marea Britanie. Nu am o problema cu asta, pentru ca interesele mele materiale nu au fost niciodată motorul dorinței de a porni un business. Acestea fiind spuse, nu pot sa nu zambesc la ideea ca as fi un tanar milionar, in conditiile in care, din fericire, nu sunt decat un tanar antreprenor.

Sunt recunoscator pentru atentia acordata de catre presa din Romania pentru Brainient, si ma bucur ca cea mai mare parte dintre informatiile prezentate despre noi sunt corecte: avem clienti in 20 de tari, suntem lideri de piata in Marea Britanie si avem cel mai bun produs din industria de interactive video advertising din Europa. Dar recunosc ca mi-ar placea ca in loc sa fie vehiculate sume fabuloase care, stiu bine, fac rating, sa se vorbeasca despre faptul ca cele mai mari televiziuni din Europa folosesc o tehnologie construita in Romania de o echipa de romani talentati.

The #elderproject #7: Franco the tailor

Yes, I know it’s been a while and no, I haven’t given up on the #elderproject. I’ve just been busy and as it turns out it’s not that easy finding, interviewing and writing about people. That being said, I believe the wait will be worth it. 

Today’s elder is my London tailor of many years, Franco Santoro. Every few months, I enter the little door at 26 Kingly Street in Soho to adjust some trousers or a suit, knowing that no matter what time of day I’ll go or whether it’s a weekend or not, Franco will be there. At 72, he’s the hardest working man I know and this was the most intense and emotional interview I’ve taken so far for the #elderproject. I hope you enjoy it.

[RO] Expozitie de arta pentru Hospice Casa Sperantei

Marti, 21 Aprilie de la ora 19:00 organizez impreuna cu Hospice Casa Sperantei o expozitie de arta la Capital Plaza (Bld. Iancu de Hunedoara 54), cu obiectivul de a strange fonduri pentru construirea unui centru de ingrijire pentru bolnavii incurabili in stadii avansate, in Copaceni.

Vor fi expusi cinci artisti care au acceptat sa doneze 50% din vanzari catre Hospice. Preturile picturilor vor incepe de la doar doar 300RON, si dorim sa strangem cel putin 4500RON in urma evenimentului.

Detalii:
La inceputul acestui an Graham Perolls, fondatorul Hospice Casa Sperantei, m-a invitat sa fac parte din Honorary Patrons Committee al organizatiei. Intre membrii comitetului se regasesc Sir George Iacobescu, Printesa Marina Sturdza si Abasadorul Romaniei la Londra Dr Ion Jinga, iar obiectivul nostru este sa ajutam Hospice sa stranga fonduri pentru proiectele in derulare.

Hospice Casa Sperantei este o organizatie de caritate neguvernamentala infiintata la Brasov, in anul 1992, la initiativa britanicului Graham Perolls, cu scopul introducerii si dezvoltarii serviciilor specializate de ingrijire pentru bolnavii incurabili in stadii avansate. Este prima si cea mai mare unitate de acest fel din Romania si centru de excelenta pentru Europa de Est, in domeniul ingrijirii paliative.

Va fi o seara cu artisti talentati si lume buna, asa ca va astept acolo. RSVP in comentarii la acest post sau pe pagina de Facebook a evenimentului.

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Giving back

Those of you who’ve listened to my #elderproject interviews know that one of my questions is “What would you change if you could go back in time?” The most frequent answer I’ve been getting is that they would try to be kinder and more generous.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, so I was thrilled when Graham Perolls, the founder of Hospices of Hope, asked me to be on the organisation’s Honorary Patrons Committee in London. Other members on the Committee include Sir George Iacobescu, Princess Marina Sturdza and the Romanian Ambassador in London Dr. Ion Jinga, so I’m honoured to have been considered alongside such amazing individuals.

Today, I would like to announce that I have accepted to be on the committee and I’m very excited to be helping Hospices Of Hope raise money for their ongoing projects. 

I’m starting by organising an art exhibition in Bucharest, on April 21st from 7pm at Galeria IX (Bld. Aviatorilor nr. 9). Five up-and-coming artists have agreed to exhibit their works and donate 50% of all sales to Hospices of Hope, and Galeria IX have agreed to donate 10% of all drink sales as well. It’s promising to be a great event packed with wonderful people so if you’d like to participate please RSVP on Facebook.

Hope to see you there!

The #elderproject #6: David Moore

My 6th interview was with David J. Moore of 24/7 Real Media fame. Dave has been an ad man for longer than I’ve been alive, sold 24/7 Real Media to WPP in 2007 and is currently the Chairman of Xaxis. He is one of the most successful and at the same time one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure to interview. 

Our discussion was a bit longer than the others but it’s totally worth it, with lots of stories, gems, quotes and a pretty awesome response to my question about money. Enjoy! 

The #elderproject #5: Jeff Hutchinson

This week’s elder is the oldest one I’ve interviewed so far, and yet one of the happiest. Jeff is 83, British and has more charisma than Obama & Clooney put together. He had a wonderful, wonderful story about love which was perfectly timed as I interviewed him on Valentine’s day. 

Apologies for the pick hammer sounds in the background, I haven’t had time to remove them but will try to do so at one point. 

The #elderproject #4: George Betianu [RO]

Apologies for not posting an #elderproject interview in a while. I’ve been doing them at a rate of one per week but converting to mp3, uploading to soundcloud and writing the summary takes longer than I thought and work has been very busy. I’ll try posting a few of them over the next few days. 

My 4th interview was with George Betianu, a Romanian entrepreneur who moved to the UK in 1991 and started a group of businesses in London (mostly in the hospitality industry) that currently employ over 600 people. George used to be a professional boxer back in Romania and is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Unfortunately the interview is in Romanian as George felt more comfortable doing it in his maternal language.