With little more than some good ideas, boundless energy and a willingness to work hard, young entrepreneurs are creating exciting new IT-based businesses around the country. Shown here are some of the leaders behind the movement that is helping turn Hungary into a European startup hub. Photos and words by Jessica Fejos.
Brick Visual opened its doors in 2012, offering a new means for architectural visualization design rendering.
“We are using technology to make artistic images. It’s a mixture, or combination, which is a nice example of technology affecting art,” says Andras Kaldos. As a young entrepreneur, he says, his original business plan seems naïve, but he adds that the market, paired with the growing ability to connect on a global scale, has taught him a lot in just three years. The firm is thriving, with more than 35 employees in their Budapest office.
Soon after graduating from the University of Szeged, Zsuzsa Kecsmar became involved in the founding of Antavo. The company develops an online tool for e-commerce businesses and general retailers to collaborate with customers and build loyalty through promotions like sweepstakes, contests and giveaways.
Csongor Bias specializes in technology for Design Terminal, a government agency that is responsible for supporting designers, startups, innovators and entrepreneurs in Hungary. He says there are a lot of possibilities for young people starting their own firms here to find a niche in the business: “Budapest has it’s advantages. We have good resources of tech talent and engineering talent, and you don’t need to compete directly with tech giants like Facebook and Google.”
Central European University alumnus Mary Collins Alcantara and a classmate co-founded TandemLEAP, a firm that promises a one-stop-shop for startups hoping to break into the American market. “We were at the right place at the right time. We grew by word of mouth,” she says of her company’s successful start. Her advice for young entrepreneurs: “There is no time like the present. Definitely go for it and learn a lot. Now is the time to pursue these kinds of things.”
Founded in Budapest in 2011, Tresorit is a new kind of file-sharing service that is designed to provide true security in a cloud-based environment, so that only authorized users can access data. “We started on our own. We had a nice office, my living room.” István Lam quips. Business is doing well, and the company now has a new office overlooking the Danube River. Lam says he believes that in today’s tech world, age does not play a role. If age does matter at all, he adds, it is more of an advantage to be young.