I was recently reading an article about the start-up environment in Bucharest and even though at first my thoughts obviously went towards the start-up scene in Bucharest, it somehow made me curious about our company’s history. When this office opened, probably few Romanians knew what a start-up truly is; or they were not looking at it as we do today – due to its lack of popularity back then.
We still feel sometimes an atmosphere of a start up in our office – with its positive points, but the truth is there are many aspects that evolved or changed. I decided to take a look at the facts, and here it is what I found out.
1. The Avira Romania office was opened in 2004
March is a month with many celebrations here, in Romania, and in Avira we add one more to the top – local office’s anniversary. Each year we celebrate this moment with the biggest flag on our timeline: official „birthday” of Avira in Romania.
2. We started with 5 employees. 8 of them still work here
And no, my math is not wrong. In the opening month we had 5 employees, but by the end of the year there were 26 people crafting Avira’s future. We still share the office with 8 colleagues that started their Avira careers in 2004.
Being 10 years part of a company is not a small deal, so this made me curious about the reasons behind our longevity. I talked with few of my colleagues who are part of Avira’s team since 2004 and they revealed some of their thoughts.
„Working for such an innovative company as Avira has proven to be both challenging and fulfilling. For the past years we kept a step ahead of the major movements in software development and provided our customers with brand new, cloud-based malware detection technologies which supplement our award winning detection engine integrated in Avira’s products.”
Cosmin – one of our Software Developers, working for interesting projects as Avira Protection Cloud, the technology we integrate in our products
„It’s always an interesting perspective to think about the people that are protecting a security company: who watches the watchmen? It’s what I have been doing for the past 10 years in Avira, being in charge of servers which need to keep vital services up for Avira and our customers: serving our global websites, crunching data to help our detection rates, pushing notification to our products, passing instant messages between our employees, routing emails, protecting our network — and, in the end, protecting our users. It’s a huge responsibility that once you live in it you get used to, just as you will get used to the idea that every minute of the day, every single day, there are hundreds of hacking attempts on your servers. And, despite the monsters scratching at the door, you are still able to have a good sleep at night: you know the door is safe, since you secured it yourself.”
Mugurel – our Sysadmin, in case you did not notice from the description
3. Our first office was 60 square meters
We know, it was very small. But seems it was not an impediment in accomplishing huge thing, as you’ll see below.
4. The main activities back then were web and product development
With the fierce support of IT in creating the needed infrastructure. It’s good to notice at the beginning everything was a one-man show…or “one-man department”, as the teams were not expanded yet.
Many interesting projects started from here, including our website, avira.com. Now we hit 1 milion visitors per day at least, but back then we had about 2000 visits – in the good ‘ole days.
And even though on the website things were not moving that fast, the communicaton within the team was. The fast-pace environment but also small employee-base and Romanian culture encouraged spontaneity, direct communications and the can-do attitude.
5. We are about 100 employees (and growing still)
Basically our number multiplied 20 times from the first month.
6. Our office is 1944 square meters
This and the previous point explain why we needed more than half of the building we are located in. Now we have 3 floors deidcated to workspace and one floor with a big terrace mainly for relaxing purposes. Like eating ice-cream or throwing barbecues with Bucharest’s skyline stretched out in front of us backdropping our conversations like this coming Thursday’s Hadoop User Group (HUG for short) mentioned here.
7. We drink about 45 liters of coffee/day
Guilty pleasure, not really an accomplishment, we know.
8. We have expanded our scope in Bucharest
Product Development is still in place facing today’s technologies like web and mobile. IT, Customer Support, Virus Lab, Business Development and System Integration are familiar to us as we have some new teams kicking off their specific activities. And we also have our Online business unit which accomodates several teams, from Big Data and Business Intelligence to Online Marketing and Front-End Development.
True, the start-up times have passed a long ago but we try to keep the dynamic team environment and flawless execution in the projects we work at. And definitely, we never get bored.
9. We are giving back in fun ways, mixing team-building with social responsibility
Trying to give to teambuilding another direction and not only to go and relax on a beach or being helped by some mountain fresh air, this year we volunteered for SOS Satele copiilor. We shared a glimpse of the exciting weekend here.
Our near future
10. We plan to expand our office with ~40 more colleagues
If you are curious, you can find here all the available openings.
We know we do not „brag” often about us because we keep ourselves busy with lines of code, our massive buckets of data, recruiting new colleagues or making the final touches to our work. Even if we talk about our growth in numbers, teams expansions or insights, there is one red-thread: we have evolved. We build new muscles for our emerging departments as we keep the pace and deliver what’s best for the customer. And yes, we are doing this right from Romania. Wouldn’t expect that from a global business, huh? But seems Bucharest is a great software environment not only for start-ups.