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The Rising Star: Teodora Moraru's Journey to Becoming a Forbes Romania 30 Under 30 and Google Generation Scholar!



Teodora Moraru is a name that is quickly rising in the tech industry. She has achieved so much in such a short amount of time, and it's no surprise that she's been recognised by Forbes Romania as one of their 30 under 30 for 2022. This young and talented CS engineer has also been awarded the Google Generation Scholarship for 2021, a testament to her hard work and dedication to her craft.


But that's not all.


Teodora is also an IT Project Manager at Virtono, where she oversees the CGO Admin Tools. She is a board member of both Autentica and Cult of Coders, two of the most innovative tech companies in the industry. It was at Websummit Lisbon 2023 where we had the pleasure of meeting Teodora, and it quickly became clear that she is a rising star in the tech world. Her accomplishments to date have only served to reinforce this fact, and we at Her Expat Life are excited to see where her career will lead her next. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at Teodora's journey to success, her work with Virtono, and the impact she's making in the tech industry. So, sit back and get ready to be inspired by this incredible young woman.


1: Teodora, your career achievements are truly impressive, from being named Forbes Romania 30 under 30 in 2022 to earning the Google Generation Scholar award in '21. Can you share with us the story behind these accomplishments? We would love to hear about your journey and the hard work that led to these prestigious recognitions.


Thank you very much for recognising my achievements. Looking back, my career journey has been one filled with passion and perseverance. My interest in mathematics, computer science, and physics began during high school in my hometown of Constanța. This initial curiosity turned into a deep passion, leading me to the Faculty of Automatic Control and Computer Science at the Politehnica University of Bucharest.


My recognition as a Google Generation Scholar and my inclusion in Forbes Romania 30 under 30 in 2022 were greatly influenced by my active participation in various competitions like the International Space Settlement Design Competition, the National Salon of Inventions and Scientific Creation for Youth, Cansat, Ericsson Innovation Awards, Thales Tech Challenge and Atos IT Challenge.

My Forbes nomination especially was a reflection of my entrepreneurial journey, encompassing both my extracurricular achievements and my impactful work with tech startups.


This includes my co-founder role in Tire2Tire (which became an official university research project) and management roles in companies like Admin Tools, Virtono Networks, Autentica and Cult of Coders. Creating innovative solutions and leading impactful technological projects have always been at the heart of my work. Each of these achievements came with its own set of challenges and important lessons. I learned the value of teamwork, the importance of resilience, and the necessity of continuous adaptation.


2: It was a pleasure to have met you at Web Summit in Lisbon in 2023! We would love to hear your thoughts about the event and what interests you about attending such events. Please share with us your experience and what makes these gatherings special to you.


Meeting you at the Web Summit in Lisbon was a great experience. Attending the Web Summit was not just exciting but also a milestone, as me and my team were part of the first official Romanian delegation to the event, supported also by the Embassy of Romania in Portugal. This was a significant moment, marking Romania's growing presence in the global tech scene.


I love this kind of event for the dynamic mix of entrepreneurs, startups, investors, and multinational companies. Every conversation at these conferences proves just how useful our services are and energises our team. It's a chance to see how our offerings stand up on a global stage and to gain new insights and motivation from being around other innovators and entrepreneurs.


3: Congratulations on being the Co-Founder & CEO of Vistyle AI! We would love to learn more about your journey and this exciting venture. Could you please share some details about how it all came together and what inspired you to embark on this adventure?


Thank you for your appreciation! The journey of founding Vistyle AI has been incredibly exciting and deeply rooted in our daily engagement with cutting-edge AI technologies. We recognised a significant opportunity for AI in the fashion industry, which led us to develop a product aimed at revolutionising how clients match with stylists and salons through realistic hair and style simulations.

Our journey began just a few months ago, and we've already reached some significant milestones. We've developed a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and were thrilled to be finalists in an important Romanian accelerator, Commons Accel. This gave us the fantastic opportunity to present our startup to a community of investors and fellow entrepreneurs.

Currently, we are focused on the official launch of our prototype and its market validation. We are eager to see where this adventure leads and how our innovative approach will reshape the fashion and styling industry.


4: We are curious about your experience with CGO Admin Tools, your role as an IT Project Manager at Virtono, and your position as a board member at Autentica and Cult of Coders. How has your background as a CS Engineer helped you in these roles, and what challenges have you faced while balancing these responsibilities?


Joining the Virtono team in 2021 marked the beginning of an exciting chapter. Since then, I've been focused on introducing new growth initiatives and enhancing the online visibility of our web and cloud hosting services. My role involves boosting customer numbers and sales, underlining the team's professionalism.

Parallel to my journey at Virtono, I began working on Admin Tools, a project tangentially related to Virtono's technologies. My involvement here centres around brand creation and validating the prototype stage. Admin Tools is combining innovative global network and business performance monitoring tools with a pioneering low-code/no-code Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) management solution.


Additionally, I became a board member at Autentica, a platform for verifying the authenticity of NFTs, and Cult of Coders, a company building diverse software solutions. My focus in these roles is primarily on branding and marketing. My CS Engineering background is incredibly beneficial in these positions. Given the technical nature of these companies, I feel I can more deeply understand and optimise their processes.


This technical insight allows me to make a more significant impact, particularly in areas that blend technical and strategic business decisions. Despite the multitude of roles I undertake, which might seem overwhelming at times, I've been able to successfully balance them, largely thanks to the incredibly strong and dedicated teams I belong to. Their great support and dedication are the key factors that enable me to maintain a successful balance across all my responsibilities.


5: What advice would you give to women who are starting their own businesses?


To women embarking on the entrepreneurial journey, my first piece of advice is to invest a significant amount of time in personal development. This means not only advancing your technical skills, but also enhancing your soft skills and managerial capabilities. Such growth will be invaluable when you inevitably encounter challenges along the way.


Secondly, expose yourself to as many challenging situations as possible, such as public speaking, pitching to investors, or conducting customer interviews. These experiences will help you grow and make similar situations easier to handle over time.


Moreover, engage actively in networking events. The community you build and become part of is a key element that can open a multitude of opportunities. It's not just about what you know, but who you know and how you connect with others.


Finally, once you've gained experience and knowledge, don't forget to give back. Mentor young women, share your journey, and help uplift the next generation. By passing on what you've learned, you contribute to a virtuous cycle of empowerment and growth within the community.


6: Can you share some of the obstacles you encountered while pursuing the achievements you have attained?


Throughout my journey, especially during my academic bachelor's period, when I started my official entrepreneurial evolution, balancing my limited time between business tasks and my academic responsibilities was quite challenging.


However, striving for balance taught me valuable lessons in time efficiency, lessons that still benefit me today as I own multiple management roles.


Another significant obstacle I faced was some skepticism from the transportation industry representatives regarding our Tire2Tire research project, an autonomous robot designed to measure the wear on truck tires. This resistance indicated that perhaps the Romanian market wasn't fully ready for such innovation at that time. Despite this, the constructive feedback received was invaluable. It allowed us to implement more effective market validation tools in our future projects.


7: Can you describe a particularly rewarding experience you've had in your career so far?


Throughout my career, I've been fortunate to have numerous positive experiences that have recharged me and validated the hard work and effort I've put into all my projects. However, one of the most rewarding experiences was undoubtedly my nomination in Forbes 30 under 30 and being featured in Forbes Romania magazine. This recognition opened the door to an invaluable community of esteemed entrepreneurs and investors.


The connections I made led to invitations to various business events as a speaker, where I could share the knowledge I've accumulated from my short but intense business activity. I've had the privilege to address diverse audiences, from children and young girls in STEM fields to individuals looking to digitise their businesses. Each opportunity to share and influence has been incredibly fulfilling for me.


8: What are your goals for the future, both personally and professionally?


My main goal for the future is growth, both personally and professionally. On a personal level, I aim to travel more, immerse myself in new cultures and mindsets, and dedicate more time to healthy cooking, exercise, and other wellness practices. I believe that taking care of my body will directly boost my productivity and effectiveness at work.


Professionally, my ambition is to see the innovative technical solutions my team and I are working on being adopted internationally in the near future, making a substantial impact on client or partner businesses. I aspire to drive change and improvement in industries through our technological advancements, contributing to a smarter, more efficient business landscape in Romania and globally.


9: How do you balance your work responsibilities with your personal life and hobbies?


I consider myself fortunate that my work aligns with one of my greatest passions: traveling. This brings a lot of joy and fulfilment to my life. Then, what I like the most is the time flexibility. There are days when I'm driven to work more than 8 hours, but there are also times, especially during weekends, when I work just a few hours and then spend the rest of my time relaxing. I enjoy visiting new places and museums, dining at a nice restaurant, engaging in DIY projects, or playing video games on my console.


Despite this flexible approach, I find that my mind is almost always connected to the world of work and business. I frequently attend personal development workshops and tech and business events, which keeps me engaged and informed. This continuous learning and interaction with the industry help me maintain a balance between my professional commitments and personal interests.


10: Lastly, what is life like in Romania? Would you recommend it to fellow female entrepreneurs & Digital Nomads? What is the lifestyle like?

 

Romania is a wonderfully diverse country with much to offer in terms of leisure and exploration. The natural environments are unique and perfect for relaxation, and the overall cost of living is quite reasonable compared to other European countries. The people here are welcoming, and the cuisine is fantastic. From a business perspective, Romania presents a very open and cost-effective environment for testing and validating new products and services in the market.


However, it's worth noting that starting a new business here does involve navigating through a fair amount of bureaucracy. I would recommend fellow female entrepreneurs and digital nomads to consider spending some time in Romania to connect with the rapidly growing business community.



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