In love with mathematics since secondary school, one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in Romania, Măriuca Talpeş (55 years old), co-founder of Bitdefender and CEO of Intuitext, currently works on a plan as ambitious as possible: she wants to help education in Romania to make a leap in the next 15 years.
„From the penultimate place in the European Union to Top 10 in Europe,“ she points briefly, highlighting some of the measures that would make this possible. Thus, in addition to concerns relating to teaching and learning with the help of technologies, she has proposed to make this plan possible with a group of people in the private area, including NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
„Together with the team we created, we had several premieres: the first multimedia interactive lessons on the Romanian school curriculum in 2001-2002; one of the first crowdsourcing communities in the world for teaching and learning didactic.ro, started in 2003; the first online training program for the high school admission exam, examenultau.ro”, Măriuca Talpeş details some of the projects materialized in the past years.
Moreover, along with the representatives of the Mathematical Sciences Society, she helped solve the problem of declining number of children who like math, through a project started in 2009. It is about viitoriolimpici.ro. But before she got very involved in education, the entrepreneur had had a very interesting business history with her husband, Florin Talpeş. What is it about?
Well, in 1990, they founded Softwin, then AntiVirus eXpert (AVX), which became Bitdefender in 2001. Before this step, after graduating from the Faculty of Mathematics, she worked as a researcher at the Institute of Computer Engineering in Bucharest. Thus, she has gained experience in this field. And still related to Bitdefender business, it was valued at over USD 600 million after the investment fund Vitruvian Partners acquired last year a 30% stake in the company from another investment fund, Axxess Capital.
The business had an accelerated growth, becoming well-known abroad, being present in America and Europe. At the same time, the company has also developed through a number of acquisitions.
„After 1989, we decided to stay in the country, and since 1999 I have been involved in projects so as to help Romania‘s education as much as possible“, says Măriuca Talpeş, who is also a member of the board of Romanian Business Leaders and initiator of the MERITO project, which brings to the forefront the performance of teachers.
In other news, the entrepreneur believes that, in general, in business, women take less risks, pay attention to the reactions and needs of clients and they also have empathy. And if she were to give some advice to an unskilled young woman who intends to set up a business, the first concerns a „thorough analysis“ of the market in which she will develop. „And because it‘s a period of profound transformation, they need to understand what are the new technologies that will change the field they want to work in and what could be the big effects on changing business models, what opportunities are there and what are the threats for current players in that field“, she also points out.
Last but not least, they need to understand that starting something new means being ready to quickly experiment, validate and invalidate assumptions that make up the „Go To Market“ model, quickly finding those microsegments of the market that clearly adopt your solutions or services. And in personal terms, Măriuca Talpeş says for a woman it is important to always develop her creative part, through art, music, dance, sports so that she can then innovate in business.