I am all about people! Interview with Andrei Munteanu, Community Manager, Growceanu

Angel investors can be a start-up's best friends

Andrei Munteanu, Community Manager & Angels Keeper, Growceanu

My career, so far

I started working in 2011 at Continental, first as a software tester, then SCRUM Master, Team Leader, and finally I got to technically coordinate the testing teams in Germany, India and Romania (15-20 people) and to administratively coordinate the team in Timișoara (6-7people).

Since 2014 I have been involved in organizing events for the local tech start-ups community -either events inspired from abroad (e.g. Startup Weekend) or concepts created by us (e.g. Startup Survivor). I co-founded the Learn, Build and Share association,which is supporting these programs.

In 2017 we co-founded Cowork Timisoara, as a physical venue for these events and as a support point for tech entrepreneurs. This has been my greatest achievement.

The biggest challenges so far have been the ones entrepreneurship has raised for me (which were bigger than the moving away from the comfort of a 9 to 5 job), and the onset of the pandemic – which meant good months of silence or co-working spaces. But we took this silence and turned it into a new venture: GranulR - Specialty Coffee.

How I work

 I’m all about people

I like people! I like to be around people, talk to them,this exchange of positive energy stimulates me. Working with people, however,always comes with challenges. You have to constantly develop, every situation is different because every person is different. Once I understood that, I've always focused on putting people first. It's a skill I want to improve, I'm working on it. But I work well with people, I am a good coordinator, and, together, we always develop exciting projects.

I'm a workaholic, but I also know how to switch off. I like technology,start-ups, motorcycles, and love good coffee! :) I think it's good to look for work-life balance and I believe we can reach it - it's all about paying attention to what we do.


Community is where we can learn from each other

Tech start-ups fundamentally change the way various issues are now addressed, and the way we improve our lives (see HealthTech) etc. I strongly believe this. It's all about making the match between what a start-up has to offer and the needs on the market. There is always a match. And I will always be open to it.

In terms of the relationship with a start-up, the key is, again, people. It's all about our ability to empathize, to actively listen, and to help.

I'm a good listener, I’m always open to talk over a good cup of coffee. I ask questions, many questions. And I always ask: Why don't you just do it? One of the lessons I learned is that one must make the MVP and put it out into society as soon as possible.

When I talk to the founders, I encourage them to be optimistic, but I also urge them to always be anchored in reality, to work their pragmatic muscle. Being a visionary is as important as having a“let’s do it” attitude. My approach is mostly analytical approach, given my tech background.

I have always offered founders advice and access to my network. We speak often, I guide them to various pre-acceleration / acceleration / fund raising programs. And,depending on their specific needs, I introduce them to potential mentors,collaborators, or colleagues.

I am satisfied with my work when I help a start-up, when I see it growing and getting better, little by little every day, until,eventually, I see it on the news. This takes time and patience.

I like the idea of ​​creating start-up communities. Simply put, the right people who come to the same place for the same purpose forma community. The community is where we can learn from each other, we can relate, we can talk about what is going well, what our challenges are, and we can help each other. 


 Angel investors can be a start-up's best friends

We, the Growceanu team, really want to help start-ups! We want to be actively involved, financially and with know-how - because we have brilliant expertise, we come up with an impressive skill set! I believe the know-how often is even more important than the financial contribution the investors make.

My joining Growceanu, in June 2021, came as a natural continuation to the support I have been offering to start-ups.

I am always looking for start-ups and I work on improving the application process. I am in constant contact with national and international programs, I organize Growceanu pitching sessions.

My goal is for start-ups to know Growceanu is a platform of experienced investors, who are focusing on growing tech start-ups.

What the future looks like

I love working independently, from anywhere with a kick-ass team by my side. I love challenging projects and I like the satisfaction they bring me. We are always learning  - which is both a challenge, and a joy.

In the future, I see myself as an important pillar for the tech start-up community in Timișoara, in the country and in the region.