The Entrepreneur File - Voicu Oprean, the first part
The entrepreneur built AROBS Transilvania Software from scratch. Today the company is more than the usual software development company.
With over 20 years of experience, AROBS Transilvania Software lead by Voicu Oprean is more than the usual software development company. Highly skilled professionals are mixed with extensive business knowledge, specialized in automotive engineering, Healthcare software development, Cloud applications development, and IoT. None of these would exist today if it weren’t for Voicu Oprean, Founder and CEO, serial entrepreneur.
Read below an interview by Ovidiu Mâțan, the founder of Today Software Magazine about the very beginnings of this industry in the birthplace of AROBS.
Voicu Oprean, you are known as the CEO and founder of AROBS, a Romanian company founded in 1998. Let’s go back in time a little. What was is it like to create a company back then, and what was your idea in the very beginning?
I founded AROBS in 1998, 21 years ago, when I simply became unemployed. I had recently returned from the States and I was working for an Italian company, and the owner — an Italian — thought that my wish to complete my Master’s degree studies was not compatible with the job I had at the time.
I created AROBS because I wanted to do what I liked, programming, but under conditions very different from those that I used to have in the Italian company.
I started by myself in my parents’ flat, then I moved with ten other colleagues in a 3-room flat (the Romanian version of the American garage). We made an extraordinary team, we would work together, eat together, visit each other’s family. We had a very strong bond.
Presently, some of them are still by my side, in the large AROBS family that now accounts for 800 people in Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Serbia, and Indonesia.
One of the successful products developed by you is TrackGPS, a solution for car fleet monitoring. What are its strengths? Has it succeeded in being seen as an important solution on and outside the Romanian market?
We built a product that, when it was launched back in 2008, arrived on a relatively competitor-free market. Our intention for the TrackGPS product and our goal for the future development phases is to offer complete telematics services, reduce fuel costs by up to 25%, and reduce the costs related to fleet maintenance by up to 15%, and also improve the employees’ productivity by up to 40% within 6 months after installation.
Our desire for improvement brought us to first place in the Romanian market and made TrackGPS a strong competitor on the external markets where we operate, Central and Eastern Europe, respectively, and it also assures us a remarkable presence in Asia.
At the same time, we are preparing for the very near future, when all the new vehicles will have, in one way or another, much more sophisticated embedded telematics and monitoring solutions.
Meanwhile, we develop analytical solutions using the current data. It’s not only about GPS monitoring, we use our expertise in big data and cloud programming also for our products for the Romanian market and the Central Eastern European market.
Many investors are primarily interested in obtaining quick benefits by providing IT services. How do you see this approach of creating your own product in terms of resources needed for development, but also in terms of benefits?
As I said before, AROBS has been on the market for 21 years, and one of the main segments of the company is for software services. Also, two-thirds of our turnover comes from software services, for industries such as Automotive, Travel & Hospitality, IoT, Life Sciences and Enterprise Solutions.
Approximately one-third of our turnover comes from the development of our own solutions: Optimall Suite, TrackGPS, Most, TraficOK, and others.
Our first product, Optimall, was launched in 2003, after three subsequent failed attempts with other products, which taught us some valuable lessons. We never gave up, we launched Optimall, and today it is a reference product for business optimization along with the suite of SFA, WMS, BI, etc.
Then, we started again with TrackGPS that we launched in 2005, and today it is at the top of the telematics industry in Central and Eastern Europe.
Because we like products, we didn’t stop there. We continuously created and tested products. We encourage our colleagues to come up with new ideas, that we want to support financially and/or with other resources.
Recently, we purchased important companies in Romania and Hungary: SAS Grup and Skyshield specialized in telematics products, UCMS in HR solutions, Softmanager CRM+ in business optimization.
We are always open to investing in the initiatives of other entrepreneurs that come to us asking for help.
Read the second part of the interview – Entrepreneur file p- Voicu Oprean.