Surround yourself with the right people and you will succeed!
The reason we chose Growceanu is smart money.
Ovidiu Stegari is an opportunities seeker. Which is why he detected and jumped at the opportunity to help parents address a significant problem in their lives: babysitting and childcare. He conducted research for a month and planned it for over a year. Then he got European funding and launched Helperz.ro - the first online platform for care services in Romania.
Ovidiu has studied Information Systems for Businesses and has been working in the Business Intelligence & Business Analysis for over 4 years.
How is your company making the world a better place?
We give time to families. Whether you need time to do everything you need to do, or you need time to rest and get refreshed, so you can be at your best when you are with your children and family, Helperz is here to help. We understand people need help they can trust and we do our best to meet that need.
What are the abilities and values that make you excel, as an entrepreneur?
I laser focus on my customers – who they are, what they need, the solutions I can create for them. I love to keep things simple, as I believe simplicity makes everything clear and functional. I am open-minded, which keeps me informed and innovative. I believe in making your mark – there is a point to your skills and abilities, so make them count! I find failure to be an informative and necessary experience.
What motivates you?
Making an impact in peoples’ lives is meaningful and rewarding. And when that surrounds you with such cool people, making up a team you can trust and be inspired by...it’s just a great feeling, what can I say!
Can you give us some examples of the impact you’re making?
We’ve had parents who could go back to work, 2 entrepreneurs who had no help with their children managed to keep their business alive, some parents who revitalized the social life they had prior to having a child, and generally everyone has more time to focus on hobbies, passions, the things that keep them nourished, refreshed and ready to perform as parents, spouses and professionals.
I love to keep things simple.
What sparked the idea of the services provided by Helperz?
The market need. Laura Bulai, our Co-Founder, used to be a baby sitter, and parents kept contacting her for a long time, even after she switched to a different career. Laura looked after children for 8 years, so she has an in depth-understanding of what both parents and sitters need. She helped our team understand the process and what it takes for it to run smoothly.
What’s new about your product?
Digitalization is a novel way of making things efficient and comfortable for parents and sitters. We’re now developing the match-making service, which will be based on machine learning and compatibility, thus making the process even easier and more satisfactory for our customers.
What other interesting things are you planning on?
We’re working on becoming the largest platform where families can find help for the work around the house. We’re adding matchmaking based on machine learning and compatibility, a feature we are very much looking forward to. Within 5 years, we will add the service Uber for care: Find the right person in 30 mins. It’s all very exciting and it keeps us focused on the future.
What is one of the greatest challenges one must face, in your industry?
There is a great need for user education, the market is heavily unregulated, and there is also the stigma related to it – as being a sitter is not necessarily something to be proud of, in our culture. We’re trying to do our part to change that, but it’s a difference we all need to make, together. After all, this is about our children, and our families. What could be more important than that?
Fall in love with the problem, not with your product.
What about the main trends and opportunities in your industry?
The childcare market reached $ 339.1 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to $ 520.4 billion, with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 11.3%. In addition, we can expand to other complementary services, include virtually any service that involves home care.
Which of your competitors are you paying most attention to?
Care.com, the greatest player in the USA.
What difficulties did you encounter at the beginning of the project? How did you overcome them?
The resistance to a new product was definitely there. People’s reluctance to book a person online has been something we also had to tackle. Having your children looked after and getting help around your home is a very sensitive affair. Privacy, safety, the people we love – this is right at the core of our wellbeing. So we focused on learning about our users, product development, content marketing etc. Funding and networking have been both a challenge, and an opportunity – as the pre-accelerators and start-up programs we’ve taken part in have provided us with invaluable support and expertise.
Whose successes and failures have you found inspiring?
Toma Grozăvescu – I admire his courage, he started a business in an industry he knew almost nothing about. Nevertheless, he built an excellent team and he continues to inspire people.
Doru Pelivan – I admire his growth and perseverance. He started quite a few businesses and many of his start-ups failed, but he kept going and hit it big with eduKiwi.
Mihai Brenda – The passion he put into EuCeMananc was thrilling to me. I learned a valuable lesson from him: surround yourself with the right people and you will succeed.
Growceanu – for making start-ups feel that they too can be the next unicorn and for offering their expertise and mentoring to entrepreneurs, right at the beginning of their journey. It's a springboard for start-ups, especially the early stage ones.
All the mentors in the acceleration or pre-acceleration programs - because you can take so much inspiration from their experience, learn from their success, and especially from their failures. You can definitely bypass some mistakes, which saves you money and time that would be otherwise allocated in the wrong direction.
I look for investors with expertise in a field I don’t excel at.
How does entrepreneurship help a country’s growth and development?
Entrepreneurship increases economic welfare, it creates new markets and it sparks innovation.
What options did you consider when you started looking for funding? Why did you choose Growceanu?
We looked into European funding, loans, business angel investments, VCs, crowdfunding.
Smart money is the reason we chose Growceanu. We wanted to reach investors with significant entrepreneurship expertise.
How is Growceanu contributing to your success?
They give us all this access to their knowledge, they share great expertise with us, giving us the opportunity to skip some of the mistakes they made, and create greater opportunities for our business. Basically, they give us constant access to mentors with a vast experience in different niches. It’s quite empowering!
What makes for a functional relationship between an entrepreneur and investor?
They must communicate openly – holding back or working on assumptions can misdirect their efforts. Setting clear expectations also drives a fruitful relationship. Being open to getting advice absolutely serves your interest. And chemistry, definitely.
How do you recognize an investor you just know you’ll make a good team with?
I look for investors with expertise in a field I don’t excel at. Compatibility comes next, which means: our visions must align; they need to be the kind of person I can speak openly with, as we will hit tough spots along the way; they must not micromanage – I don’t support it, I don’t apply it.
What would you say to an entrepreneur who’s just starting out?
Fall in love with the problem, not with your product. Build a strong network. Be open to advice, then choose what is right for you and your business.
How do you see the start-up ecosystem in Romania?
It is in full expansion! There are so many bold, young people, with great ideas, looking to make an impact. It’s empowering and it gives us a lot of hope!
What’s the social impact start-ups have?
They create sustainable products and services that make peoples’ lives easier, which is always a good thing, given how complex our lives have become. They also create new, meaningful jobs.
How do you see Growceanu’s role in this ecosystem?
Growceanu strengthens and empowers the start-up ecosystem in Romania. It gives start-ups the chance to grow - especially the early stage ones, with limited options to attract investments.
The mentoring and networking are invaluable, as well - start-ups get access to great expertise and come into contact with the right people.
Final thoughts for investors?
To keep promoting start-ups with a social impact! Communicate openly with the entrepreneurs, be transparent about their expectations from their investment. Respond to the start-ups requests for help and assistance, because the beginning is tough and filled with challenges, so the investors’ advice and expertise can definitely make the difference.
I’d also like to communicate my appreciation for their work, and for supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Romania. Keep up the good work!