Most people that are familiar with the startup ecosystems in the eastern part of Europe agree that it’s developing fast, access to money is also not an issue any more, however there is still something hard to find – smart money. But how can these ecosystems achieve more smart money on their markets?
I feel very lucky to have had the chance for this interview with Ákos and Bálint, not only because their incredible journey makes them true role-models for the up and coming entrepreneurs in the CEE region (and beyond), but also as they showcase the way how it’s possible to make that next step possible in our ecosystems.
Starting a little development agency called Distinction as students back in 2010, acquired by Skyscanner just 4 years later, making their Budapest office the global mobile development competence center of Skyscanner sounds just incredible. Last year they decided to quit their jobs and together with their former investor, Zsolt, founded A3 Ventures to give their experience back to the community as angel investors.
So Ladies and Gents, let me introduce you the story of these guys.
What is your personal story? Where do you come from? Where does the idea come from?
How did you get the idea to start up at Distinction? What did inspire you? How did you manage to break through the, I assume, prejudgements being relatively very young?
How did you see Zsolt in the beginning? Why did you decide to trust him as an investor and partner?
You had a third co-founder, László, but you got separated earlier. May I ask what happened?
What were the main stumbling blocks for Distinction, especially during the first year, and are the main learnings? What was the inside drive that made you still go further? How did you experience your successes?
How did your partnership develop through the years?
Ákos, Bálint: What made you make the decision to leave Skyscanner behind, full of amazing career opportunities, and start this new lifestyle, together again?
What is your main vision for your future as A3? Where are you going?
In the next 5 years if we can have 10 success stories to which we’ve significantly contributed in some form I’d be really happy with our performance.
How do you see the CEE region for startups?
At the same time there are increasingly mature startups being built by founders with previous experience at either other startups or agile organisations. These startups have the basics right, and if they can keep their open minded approach while scaling I believe there is space for many strong companies being built.
Anything else you may give back to the readers?