What To Expect From 2024 – The good, the bad and the exciting from 10 Romanian entrepreneurs & investors

2024 is here and it looks like it’s going to be a long ride for the startup ecosystem, in our region and beyond. We took the pulse of the industry directly from the stars of this show, the entrepreneurs and investors whose sharp antennas generally peek above the immediate, to get their perspectives on what this not-so-new year is going to look like.

Their responses provide a panoramic view of hot industries, imminent challenges, and a touch of optimism that’s essential for anyone in the startup ecosystem facing the unpredictable tides that come with the territory in the tech world. This article lays out their collective wisdom, offering a glimpse into growth, the hurdles on the horizon, and the hope that keeps entrepreneurship alive.

Hot industries to follow this year

Expectedly, our first question was ‘What three sectors do you think will develop decisively in 2024?. While most of the answers pointed towards AI, the challengers are more diverse:

Alexandru Boghiu – Partner At The Mavers: Climate change startups, biotech – new wave of smart drugs, EV infrastructure and everything connected to this ecosystem.

Dan Calugareanu – Partner At Early Game Ventures: Deep tech, AI, Cybersecurity – verticals that are rapidly evolving, with applications across various industries.

Andrei Stefan – Co-founder & CEO Oveit: AI, as it would be interesting to see how far Open GPT will go. Blockchain will reach a tipping point at which an industry consensus must be reached in regulation. And events SaaS, which in 2024 still struggles with two issues: being understaffed and under digitized; this year we’ll witness the race for automation tools in this industry.

Eduard Cristea – Co-founder & CEO SalesStack.AI: AI in sales tech, telemedicine, and entertainment will take big leaps in 2024.

Razvan Crisan – Co-founder & CEO Kane Group: Definitely accounting & financial services for companies will transform significantly because of AI. Hospitality as I act in this field and I see a huge rebound after the pandemic, especially in countries like Romania which are still underdeveloped. The third one would have to be renewable energy & alternative sources of energy.

Alexandru Bogdan – CEO Roca X: Every year there are some technologies or keywords that capture the public’s attention, and in 2024 probably the rapid evolution of AI and the focus on longevity initiatives will continue to keep the headlines.

Cosmin Ochisor – Partner at Gapminder: I think 2024 will be (like 2023 was as well) the year of AI. The difference is that in 2024 we will see some maturity regarding this trend, which should confirm all the hype around LLM. Fintech as well will continue to develop especially on the European markets and this will be fuelled by the availability of the BaaS (banking as a service) providers which will allow other services to be developed on top of it without the need to deal with all the regulatory and compliance requirements.

Challenges that will shape 2024

Funding has always been the main challenge in times of economic uncertainty, and going back to the basics is a recipe for survival. Although there still exists variety in funding, it is expected to shift towards better profitability and safer margins, according to the answers we received.

Vladimir Oane – Founder & CEO at Deepstash: We are returning to early 2000s foundations: create a great product people love, charge customers money … generate profits. We can no longer ‘get high’ on other people’s money, because that money is running out, as Thatcher famously said.

Alexandru Boghiu – Partner at The Mavers: Harnessing technology tailwinds while undergoing economic turmoil.

Dan Calugareanu – Partner at Early Game Ventures: Economic conditions can significantly impact the startup ecosystem. Navigating the talent war and building a strong team can be a persistent challenge. Despite economic uncertainties, there continues to be a variety of funding sources for startups.

Evelina Necula – Co-founder & CMO at Kinderpedia: Fundraising – as we aim to raise a bigger round and attract international investors, we anticipate that to take some of the founders’ time and energy. And attracting talent – I believe finding the right people, with skills and most of all with the right mindset will continue to be hard.

Andrei Stefan – Co-founder & CEO at Oveit: Funding, since we have witnessed a drying of the VC funding in 2023 due to the war, economic uncertainty, political reshaping and tech bubble. As a result, sales will continue to undergo challenges, and valuations, too. Somewhat a logical consequence of the fact that startups have seen a decrease in their valuations in 2023, which will also continue in 2024.

Bogdan Nicoara – Co-founder & CEO at BrightSpaces: Flight to profitability from burn to growth is impacting the time needed to reach exit stage which impacts VC funds and LPs. The lack of exits in 2023 will probably make 2024 the year of mergers and defensive exits for a lot of startups not capable of securing the next round or to show significant organic growth.

Alexandru Bogdan – CEO at Roca X: 2024 is an election year for half the population of the globe, and while usually, early stage investments are less susceptible to such political events, this year with so many populist actions, so much disinformation around the globe and a great appetite for negative news. On the local market, the need for financing will remain a challenge as the new wave of bigger funds approved by EIF will also have to attract private financing and with the current economical landscape raising just from high net worth individuals amounts several times bigger than in the first ones will be a huge challenge.

Cosmin Ochisor – Partner at Gapminder: In the tech area the biggest challenge is the fundraising environment, fundraising both for the VCs, as the traditional LPs were rather conservative for the last year, and this trend will most likely stay in 2024. Fundraising for early stage (Seed/SeriesA) will be challenging and most likely for scale-ups we will see more bridge rounds.

What Romanian entrepreneurs & investors look forward to

Actively pursuing the silver lining is an embedded trait of the entrepreneurial mindset. So there’s no surprise that we discovered a glimpse of optimism to help navigate the uncertain.

Vladimir Oane – Founder & CEO at Deepstash:  As a tech enthusiast, I hope all the fundamental advancements we had in areas like crypto or AI are gonna be put to good use, so we can all enjoy amazing new products. As opposed to scams and overhyped vapourware. 

Evelina Necula – Co-founder & CMO at Kinderpedia: Our users’ feedback. Knowing that we created something that brings value to teachers, school leaders, students and parents every day is the greatest reward and the reassurance that whatever we do next can only shape education for the better.

Bogdan Nicoara – Co-founder & CEO at BrightSpaces: As the saying goes: tough times create tough people who, in time, create good times. I think this reset will favor the most agile teams, adaptable and willing to do what it takes in order to prove ROI faster, in tough market conditions and with limited resources.

Eduard Cristea – Co-founder & CEO at SalesStack.AI: The resilience and inventiveness of entrepreneurs never fails to amaze me, that’s my optimism fuel.

Razvan Crisan – Co-founder & CEO at Kane Group: The capacity of humans to adapt to the most extreme of conditions. Also the fact that Romania is still underdeveloped so there are a lot of opportunities in many fields.

Alexandru Bogdan – CEO at Roca X: 2023 financing challenges helped accelerate the survival of the fittest organic selection process while growth at all costs seems already to be a model for the history books. The surviving companies are better, more efficient and sustainable companies with longer term vision.

Cosmin Ochisor – Partner at Gapminder: It seems that when it comes to the capital markets we are going towards a soft landing and not a full economic downturn. This is good news for the innovation economy as we may see a rebound of the IPO market which eventually will reopen the appetite of investors for startups.


Despite the potential for economic headwinds and the challenges of funding and those of market fluctuations, there’s still an undercurrent of resilience and opportunity. This collective outlook serves as a reminder of the unconditional commitment to do better and to stay focused on the problem solving attitude that precedes the startup ecosystem. On top of it all, actively looking for opportunities and making room for optimism regardless of the economic context is what innovating is all about.