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I started my career in entrepreneurship in my last year of college (1992), when I negotiated with professor Stancescu, my Manufacturing Technology professor, the sale of my diploma project – a library of machine parts on a CAD platform – this was actually the only software I wrote with my own hands.
The negotiation eventually led to my first exit and to understanding the business of intellectual property: it’s great to work once and be able to sell multiple times after that.
In 1992, I set up the first GECAD company and in 1994 we began developing RAV antivirus, as well as 3 other software products that weren’t so successful. Well, actually those were failures. This was another entrepreneurship lesson learned: not all projects have the same chances to succeed. With RAV, however, we struck gold. In 2003, we had more than 150 resellers in 60 countries and, that same year, this technology attracted Microsoft’s attention, company with which I eventually negotiated the sale of RAV.
I kept GECAD and the management team, after each of us refused some very important job positions at Microsoft. Why didn’t I go to Redmond as a security VP? Because I am an entrepreneur at heart and I really don’t see myself doing anything else. So I stayed to start again. From the beginning.
In 2004, GECAD Group was born and back then it incorporated 5 companies. We started developing 3 new software programs: an email server – Axigen, an online payment platform – ePayment, an ESD (Electronic Software Distribution) platform – Avangate and a security solution (non-antivirus) – Sentinet.
In 2010 was bought by Allegro/Naspers, marking a major step forward towards regional development. For me this was a very successful exit for two reasons: a) the company we started in 2004 from scratch practically built an entire industry in Romania: the industry of electronic commerce and b) it showed that RAV was not a one-time lucky shot.
In 2013, Avangate was 100% acquired by Francisco Partners, one of the largest private equity companies in Silicon Valley, marking thus the third international exit for GECAD Group. In 2014 Axigen was acquired by a group of enthusiast professionals that believed so much in the technology that they wanted to get involved. And the show is now going on…. one more ten year cycle started with exciting new startups.
But about my involvement in GECAD Group I’ll tell you more as we go along.
As a conclusion I’ll say this: I enjoy what I do tremendously – I love being an entrepreneur, I like having new ideas to put into practice or at least to try to put them into practice; I like sharing my ideas with the others even if these ideas are good or bad; I like encouraging entrepreneurship especially among young people; I like sharing the experience I’ve gathered so far, hoping to give back to new generations what life as an entrepreneur has taught me over the years. I like learning every day and from everybody. And most of all I like being part of a statistic and not being forced to censor myself. Take only what you like from me; the rest is only an opinion.
This is why I decided to start this blog that I hope you’ll enjoy reading and possibly find it useful.