[Startup story] Sales Time | Rubik Garage Accelerator 2022 Batch
July 22, 2022
First of all, we would like to know who’s behind the keyboard.
Hi! My name is Ciprian Tanasa and I’m an electrical engineer with experience in design and operation of electrical and automation installations. Before Sales Time, I was a sales engineer at Weidmueller, one of the leading manufacturers of connectivity products, for 6,5 years.
Tell us more about Sales Time. What problem do you solve? Who’s your audience?
Selling industrial products is a highly manual and personal experience affair. Building relevant experience in this field needs time, approximately 1-2 years.
The target audience for our solution is formed from manufacturers and distributors of electrical and automation products.
What motivated you to create this startup? What’s your „why”?
Last year I left my job to join an internship in a technology company, with the goal to make a career reconversion. When I’ve discovered briefly the possibilities that technology can offer, I’ve started to think about a solution to boost sales engineers.
Now coming back to answer what is my “why”. Simply, because sales engineers need to sell more, make more customer visits, keep their CRM updated and many more activities, while most of their processes are manual and time-consuming. We are building a suite of tools to support the hidden heroes in using automation for commodities replacement and focusing on solutions for their customers.
How is your startup different from competitors?
We are building our platform with the goal to help sales engineers be more productive, so they can have more “Sales Time”. Our operation is designed to stay in close contact with our users, so we can adjust our product database with relevant items for each market.
Do you have a team supporting you in your mission?
Yes, my co-founder, Valentin Radulescu, is bringing additional relevant experience and energy to the project. He also worked on sales of industrial products, and lately he was focused on production and project management.
As for the tech stack on our startup, we are grateful that we have developed a fruitful partnership with the Pantech team. We built a great online platform, without any additional stress for us, and allowed us to focus more on customers and product databases.
Additionally, we have other part-time collaborators that are helping us to develop our product database.
What are the biggest rewards of being a startup founder?
When someone is using and paying for your product, it is the best feeling in the world. Every day I’m taking my dopamine from the number of searches on our platform. Additionally, I may say getting to know so many great people from the startup community is something that I underestimated when we started this adventure.
On the contrary, what are the biggest challenges?
Wearing so many hats on a daily basis, as founder, sales, tax specialist, IT specialist and so on. But, the biggest one which I haven’t properly prepared before, is to stay motivated and concentrated on your mission, over the days/weeks with limited development.
What made you apply to our accelerator Rubik Garage?
We scheduled to launch the platform live in May, so the timing of Garage was perfect for our development phase, since it was the time to clarify the go-to-market strategy, prepare the pitch for investors and many more things covered by your agenda. I personally believe that timing is key in everything you make, so being selected to Garage gave us the confidence that we are on a good trajectory.
What are your top 3 learnings of the acceleration program?
The power of community, diversity and valuable feedback.
What do you like in the Rubikorns Startup Community?
Stay focused on your plan to grow and be open to learning new things every day.
What are your plans for Sales Time for the next 6-12 months?
For the next 6 months, we target >200 paying users on our platform, to have one strategic partnership with at least one Global Manufacturer. In 12 months, we aim to have raised our first investment, launch a second monetization feature and align the database with North American expectations, so we can onboard customers from that region.
What message do you have for other startup founders?
Build, talk with your customers, rework and stay focused on the long run.
What is your special power?
Extreme execution. To come to the idea of what we plan to build was the easy part, while the implementation is the confirmation that can rationalize a crazy idea. To put it in some perspective, we built a manual database in 6 months consisting of 25.7k products, 16 manufacturers mapped in 12.7k correlations. Our north star is to reach in two years 1 million products, 250k correlations and more than 100 brands.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
Building a startup is extremely challenging and rewarding at the same time, I consider the last year one of the most provocative of my entire career. If there are people that want to go in this direction, I propose that they experiment for 6-10 months. Determine your monthly budget for your needs and save the amount needed for the exercise. Then ignore your income for the entire period, to see how you feel during that time. Imagine how it is not to have a steady income, work almost double the time and maybe you need to find additional money to continue the development of your imaginary startup.
Stay tuned to discover the story behind the other startups from the Rubik Garage accelerator! #WeAreInThisTogether
Rubik Garage is an equity-free acceleration program aiming to support startups from CEE. We are helping early-stage startups get to their first paying customer, raise investment or go international.
The accelerator started with a Founders Bootcamp in Piatra Neamt. Four months of acceleration will culminate with a Demo Day in September, where startups get the chance to pitch their startup in front of investors. For the most motivated teams, the journey will continue in the next 6-12 months – our team will offer their full support to help them raise an investment round.
If you want to pre-apply for the next Rubik Garage edition, complete this form and be the first one to get the chance of starting their acceleration journey!