Judging criteria: development of the business over the past two years; unique characteristics of the business; results achieved against investment and the overall industry; ethics and values embodied by the business.
Radu Georgescu, owner of Gecad Group
The serial entrepreneur last year sold the full stake in international e-commerce solutions provider Avangate, which he founded in 2006, to California-based private equity firm Francisco Partners. A leading private equity firm with more than USD 7 billion under management, it intends to inject fresh growth capital into the business to fuel further expansion, product development and growth.
It was the third exit for the Romanian businessman, after the sale of online payment processing company Gecad ePayment to Naspers in 2010 and the RAV anti-virus to Microsoft in 2003. The strategy of moving the company’s international headquarters to Silicon Valley has resulted in Avangate becoming a major e-commerce player in the North American market. The move also demonstrated the strong technical acumen of the Romanian technical and product development team.
Felix Patrascanu, managing partner at FAN Courier
Under his management, the company expanded the Express Loco service to national level, and inaugurated two new services: Collect Point in 153 OMV gas stations and the innovative Print&Go service. In 2013 it invested EUR 7 million in equipment and the diversification of added-value offers, while maintaining e-commerce as the company’s main focus for growth. With a total of EUR 50 million invested over the past 15 years, the company is looking to consolidate its market leader position and prepare for a transition from fast to very fast delivery services.
Dragos Petrescu, City Grill
City Grill reported a turnover increase of 18 percent last year and won a raft of awards: Food & Bar Awards 2013: best restaurant serving Romanian cuisine for Caru’ cu Bere (first prize); special prize from Food & Bar Magazine for City Grill Group; best casual restaurant serving foreign cuisine for Trattoria Buongiorno (second prize); best new location for City Grill Covaci (third prize); favorite venue of Pepsi fans for Caru’ cu Bere (second prize). The company plans to increase its turnover by another 10 percent, retain its position as the most important chain of restaurants and cafes in Romania and open a new restaurant in a well positioned location in terms of the flow of people and tourist attractions.
Dragos Atanasiu, Eurolines Romania Group
The top priority for 2013 was transforming a leading group in Romania into a company based on excellent customer service. In 2013 the company reported a 30 percent increase in sales volume (2013 turnover compared to 2012) and added 16 new units to the network. It also developed internationally, in Germany and Moldova, all in an industry that stagnated in 2013 at a national level. Eurolines opened a new travel agency concept (in AFI Ploiesti and Mall Baneasa) that centers on the idea that agency customers need an unforgettable vacation experience that starts with the first visit.
Denissa Radian, SC Demiuma Comipex
Denisa Radian heads the local fashion brand Nissa, which grew its turnover by 20 percent in 2013, while tapping into three new export markets. The company introduced a new brand for kids and one for upmarket products, and achieved a 50 percent increase in online customers.