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A Romanian startup case study: uberVU – from idea to exit & beyond

Comments Off on A Romanian startup case study: uberVU – from idea to exit & beyond April 21, 2016 |

This appeared originally on How to Web blog. How to Web (Romania) is one of the biggest tech conference in Central and Eastern Europe.

Back in 2008, Vladimir Co-Founded uberVU, one of the first all-in-one social media services in the world highlighting insights from billions of conversations happening on many social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc). They won Seedcamp in 2008, rapidly turned into the service of choice for thousands of customers around the world, closed two financing rounds and were acquired by Hootsuite in January 2014.


After the acquisition, Vladimir remained with the company as Director of Product, in charge with all Analytics products. During his career, he wore many hats, from product manager to technology chief or marketing guy and he led UberVU through various stages of growth, from the early days to scaling globally, the exit and beyond. Last week, Vladimir shared his story and the lessons learnt along the way with the startups in MVP Academy Batch of 2016. The story of uberVU is an insightful case study for early stage startup founders, and we are happy to share with you the key take-aways of the discussion.

uberVU – the beginnings

Before founding uberVU, Vladimir Oane, Dragos Ilinca and Dan Ciotu had a media agency. Passionate about tech products, they started considering their options to develop their own product. Their first idea was to build their own CMS, and then they decided to make a social media publishing platform.

In 2008, they attended the second edition of The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam in order to connect with relevant people and gather feedback for their idea. One of the first persons they talked to was Robert Scobble, American blogger, technical evangelist and author, a well-known figure on the global tech scene having worked at Microsoft, Fast Company, Rackspace, or Upload VR. His positive feedback motivated them to go forward.


After attending The Next Web, Vladimir and his Co-Founders took the decision to close the agency and go the product way. Said and done, they applied with their idea and a prototype at Seedcamp in London.

“We submitted our application one day before the deadline (and it was shallow at best). When the guys from Seedcamp called us, we decided to go to London. We pitched our product there and we won. Being in London was an interesting experience, but we did not really grasp what was happening with us. The biggest challenges we faced in the beginning were opening a bank account and finding an apartment to stay in”, Vladimir remembers.

Raising money

They went to London without having a registered company and they incorporated afterwards, donating to the newly founded company the work previously done. Being a London-based company helped them later on in raising money, both from Seedcamp and from Eden Ventures, their second investor. This is because most VC funds invest in companies where they are familiar with the legislation (the reasons are not tax-related, but investment related – legislation in countries such as UK or the Netherlands provide all the required details for the entire process to go on smoothly).

“We initially raised 50k EUR from Seedcamp in mid-2009. After validating the technology and there were signs that we’ve got good chances to make it, we raised a new round from Eden Ventures, a London-based VC fund”, Vladimir explained.


Read more on How to Web blog.

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