But US wearable technology company Fitbit’s acquisition of Romania’s Vector Watch in January seemed to confirm that Romania’s science-savvy workforce, a sizeable and growing domestic market, and EU membership make it a promising European destination for tech investors.
The downside has been an under-developed and fragmented funding environment, but a wave of recent deals indicate the tech sector’s growing vigour.
“What I find most impressive and reassuring is the active number of young tech entrepreneurs, kids in their early 20s, who have the imagination and power to challenge a global start-up ecosystem,” says Eric Friedman, Fitbit’s co-founder, adding: “The evolution of the tech start-up scene in Romania is highly positive. New investment funds and business angels support more and more tech-based start-ups.”
The Vector Watch acquisition is seen as proof of Romania’s potential. Launched in 2015 by former Timex chief executive Joe Santana, the company won international praise for its watches’ 30-day battery life, cross-functionality, and design. The acquisition was not only adding to Fitbit’s product range. Mr Friedman said it was using Vector Watch — which has a commercial presence in 27 countries — to boost its presence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and to help it establish a development centre in Bucharest.
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