[Startup story] TULIPR | Rubik Garage Accelerator 2022 Batch
August 1, 2022
First of all, we would like to know who’s behind the keyboard.
I am Ioana Dragomir, co-founder and one of the two passionate female founders of TULIPR. I’ve spent more than a decade working as a project manager & digital transformation consultant for companies all over Europe and two years ago I’ve started my entrepreneurial journey with TULIPR.
Tell us more about TULIPR. What problem do you solve? Who’s your audience?
In an industry that is rapidly growing, highly challenged by the recent pandemic and tech-starved, we are laying the ground for a digital foundation so that event organizers can focus on what matters the most: creating memorable experiences for attendees.
TULIPR is a one-stop shop for everything related to events. It helps businesses, agencies and event organizers find & book verified suppliers for their events. At the same time, it supports thousands of event suppliers gain more clients at fewer costs.
Whether we are talking about clients or suppliers, our audience is made of tech-savvy millennials interested in getting the right mix of quality, time & cost.
What motivated you to create this startup? What’s your „why”?
I found it very frustrating that creative, passionate people in this industry have to take other full-time jobs to support themselves and only 1/4 can make it through as freelancers or small businesses in a space that is all about engagement, creativity, and passion.
And then there’s the process. You can’t expect a business to thrive while working like 20 years ago. As a millennial myself, I strongly believe that the small businesses of tomorrow (especially in Romania) have to embrace digitisation not for a competitive edge, but for actual survival.
We want to support talented event professionals to build a sustainable business and contribute to the transformation of the events industry.
How is your startup different from competitors?
TULIPR brings the most exhaustive catalog of services – starting from venues, services, entertainment, staff, ticketing, virtual event platforms and all the way to event insurance. We take a Service as a Product approach, removing friction and enabling selling & hiring of services as easy as booking on AirBnb.
We are introducing key business management tools to increase efficiency and transparency, helping SMEs grow.
We are ready to support virtual 3D & immersive events and are working to bring sustainable event solutions to the platform as well. But I think what sets us really apart is our vision – we are creating an advanced digital platform above all, leveraging my entire experience in digital transformation, tools integration, process automation and data analytics.
Do you have a team supporting you in your mission?
Myself and Larisa Burca are the co-founders and we are supported by the best possible technical team. Special appreciation should go to our CTO (Serban Cioclov) who’s been working with us from the very beginning.
We have a talented and hard-working team of developers, starting with our Senior Developers (Bogdan Policsek & Dennis Stroe) and Juniors (Karina Mateciuc & Vladimir Schmadlak) who challenge our status quo one feature at a time.
I do believe that our superpower lies in our diversity. It’s not just the background, but also the complementary skills that got us this far. And the strong belief that we are building something meaningful.
What are the biggest rewards of being a startup founder?
The learning and the growth – it’s amazing how much you learn in a years’ time of being a founder. There are also the “Magic Moments” as Andrew Chen describes them in The Cold Start Problem. When nothing seems quite right, suddenly something clicks and your clients start getting significant value from what you are building.
On the contrary, what are the biggest challenges?
Before you can see the learning & measure the growth, it’s the constant struggle to find a way and breakthrough. Before you have the “magic moments” you need the confidence & persistence to keep going despite all roadblocks.
What made you apply to our accelerator Rubik Garage?
It took me almost two years to realize what a lonely journey founders have. I strongly wanted to be part of a community that truly understands the challenges and can support us along the way – and Rubik Hub is the perfect fit.
What are your top 3 learnings of the acceleration program?
There has been valuable knowledge shared during the acceleration program and I strongly encourage every founder to take this road, but at the end of the day it was all about HOW this knowledge was delivered and HOW the learning process took place.
What do you like in the Rubikorns Startup Community?
It’s the quality & passion of people involved in the program and the willingness to help us thrive.
What are your plans for TULIPR for the next 6-12 months?
TULIPR is moving to an AI-first product, launching a brand new version of the platform that supports our Service as a Product Model and will enable us to grow and scale faster.
Our entire focus in the next 6 months goes towards:
- Raising our Seed Round
- Launching our improved MVP
- And consolidating our position as Romania’s largest events marketplace
What message do you have for other startup founders?
Building a business is a learning process – you can’t fake or automate learning, it just takes time.
Fail fast and cheap
Learn from others
What is your special power?
I don’t have spectacular powers but I like to describe myself as analytical, focused, pleasantly persistent and hard-working – as in I enjoy working above any other hobby.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
That you guys at Rubik Hub are a special breed and I really encourage every founder to go through this acceleration journey with you.
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!