Calin Vaduva is the founder of IT company Fortech from Cluj-Napoca, part of the Cluj IT Cluster, with over 15 years of experience in software development and one of the main outsourcing players in the region, with the fastest and most constant growth.
His first job was teaching. He worked abroad and returned to the country to teach, before he developed his own business.
“I finished Communications in ’95. That period was quite difficult. I worked in IT and was offered the chance to work in Greece for a year in 1996, where I learned a lot of things. It was initially a six-month contract, but it got renewed. I worked as part of a top team and gained a lot of useful skills. A year later, I got back to Romania, even though I could have stayed because there were plenty of offers. I returned to university and wrote a book about Java programming. The book didn’t help much financially, and the university salary wasn’t great, either. I was teaching, I started my PhD as well, but had a lot of expenses and my child also came into the world,” Calin Vaduva recounts.
A company in Japan recruited him as part of a team of fifteen professionals. “I was working both here and in Japan,” he notes.
Starting out as an entrepreneur
The experience he had gained in Japan gave him the courage to start his own business, as a partnership. The project was called Art Net and it was the first software firm in Cluj, which had a promising start, but then the main partner went bankrupt. “A few of the shareholders and I opened Fortech. Whoever says they knew how this is done from the beginning, or that they learned it from books or television, is plain wrong. It’s just a good feeling, a lot of work and persistence,” the businessman says.
The Fortech project started in December 2003. Things went well for a year and the company started to grow. This time, they weren’t relying on a single partner. He remembers 2005 as a tough year, when he had to fire more than half of his employees.
Since March 2009, Fortech has seen constant growth. “The most difficult thing was fighting the pre-conceived notion that someone from Romania couldn’t be trusted. It was an organised and determined execution period. I have a wonderful team whom I’ve always trusted and who has never let me down,” the entrepreneur says.
“Software outsourcing is the core of our activity. We cover the entire development cycle of a software product, from business analysis to specifications, architectures, UX and UI services, development, testing and maintenance. We mainly target clients in the US, Western Europe and Nordic countries. 55 percen of our clients are from Europe and 45 percent are from the US,” he explains.
The founder of Fortech believes IT development could be split into three major phases: from 1995 to 2003 conditions were created, from 2003 to 2011 a lot of IT companies started to appear and develop, and after 2011, outsourcing companies came along.
“We continue to aim for organic growth”
Fortech ended 2017 with a turnover of EUR 24 million and has around 750 employees in its offices in Cluj-Napoca, Oradea, Iasi and Brasov. In 2018, the turnover will grow to EUR 26.5 million. “Fortech is a stable company today. We have more than 170 clients who have trusted the company in various development stages. Of these, 65 are long-term collaborations. Some of our clients have been with us for over 10 years, and the most recent survey has shown that 9 out of 10 clients have said they would recommend Fortech as a development partner. I think we’re among the biggest Romanian outsourcing firms at the moment. Most of the others have been taken over by international companies. We continue to aim for organic growth, especially since we’ve made constant investments over the past two years to develop our organisational structures and grow our management levels in order to support a new development phase,” Calin Vaduva states.