You have met Raluca Georgescu at our launch event in November. She has kindly answered our request for an interview, so that we can share with you more of her story and experience.
Raluca is the Country Manager of Allegro Group (the top e-commerce player in Europe) in Romania and also an entrepreneur and supporter of technology startups. She is one of the co-founders of How To Web, the most important South-East European technology and entrepreneurship conferences and also the founder of Raluk.ro, a Romanian going-out and coolhunting website. During her career as an employee, Raluca managed different online business teams on their way to success and achieving top results. She holds a Bachelor degree in Computer Science and a Master Degree in Business Administration.
Tell us more about yourself and your projects.
I am the Country Manager of Allegro Group, the top e-commerce player in Central and Eastern Europe, in Romania and I am currently leading the local team and projects. As I’ve always been passionate about technology startups and chosen to be a supporter for the Romanian web projects, I joined Bogdan Iordache in 2009 as one of the co-founders of the How To Web conference. I’m also still running an entrepreneurial project I started many years ago, which is called Raluk.ro – a Romanian going-out and coolhunting website for Bucharest.
After a successful career in different companies, you have chosen to start on your own and you co-founded Raluk.ro, a going out and coolhunting website. What was your motivation in doing so?
When I started Raluk.ro, it was more for the purpose of applying the know-how I obtained in web publishing, online marketing, team building, leadership, and so on. While the project was progressing, I realised that there was no such thing as real coolhunting done right in the capital city and understood that the public needs recommendations in order to plan their going-out time and we were the main resource they turned to. Soon, other enthusiastic coolhunters, movie and food critics joined the Raluk.ro project and it started growing and becoming so much more than what we planned in the first place. This autumn we organised the first long night of Bucharest venues, where the best restaurants, coffee shops and bars offered their top products for free for one whole night. The event was a real success and more than 6000 Bucharest inhabitants participated.
Raluk.ro was followed by a second entrepreneurial project: Wembrio, which organizes one of the most important web and technology conferences in Central and Eastern Europe. Why Wembrio?
I joined Bogdan Iordache’s team, Wembrio, as a co-founder in 2009 because of my wish to support Romanian tech startups. I believe we have a lot of local talent and very little access to resources and know-how in order to get competitive projects started. This has, fortunately, changed through the years thanks to local investors and entrepreneurs and thanks to projects like How To Web, but there is still a lot of room for improvement in this area.
Besides your entrepreneurial projects, you are also Country Manager of Allegro Group Romania. How does a normal day in your life look like?
Obviously, busy… However, in time, I’ve learnt to build teams I can rely on and I use this in order to make things happen all the time. I have a great team in Allegro Group and some really dedicated colleagues that push things forwards all the time. Also, I am lucky enough to have the right person in the right place in the Raluk.ro team – Ioanina Pavel, the Project Manager, whose vision and dedication keeps the project running with very little input on my side.
How do you solve the “work/life balance” problem? How do you spend your free time?
There are times when this balance is a real issue for me and I get to spend my evenings working. However, my free time and my personal life are very important to me, so I try to keep in mind that my working time is only 9-10 hours a day and finish work at 7 pm tops. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Most of my free time I spend with my boyfriend, family and friends and I try hard to dedicate a fair share for myself and my hobbies – movies and sports.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced as a young entrepreneur? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was not being taken seriously. Everyone around you says you are going to fail, no one thinks you’ve got real value going on and it is seriously difficult to keep your motivation when everyone around you insists you will fail. I think believing in your project and not giving up is key when facing this negative outside feedback. It’s more a question of attitude than of anything else.
What do you plan to do in the future?
In 5 years time I would like to have all my time dedicated to entrepreneurial projects. And I am thinking about something bigger than Raluk.ro. However, until then, I have a few more challenges I have to meet with my current projects and the competition will prove difficult enough to keep me very busy
What recommendations would you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?
To find a project that really motivates them and to not give up when facing negative feedback or obstacles. To find other enthusiasts and build a strong team. I think teams perform far better than individuals, even though entrepreneurship is said to be an individualistic activity.