Innovator Insights: Andreea Wade, CEO of Dublin-based Startup, Opening.io @openingdublin
Name: Andreea Wade
Twitter: @brandalisms @openingdublin
A few things Andreea Wade has accomplished (in chronological order) in addition to being the CEO of an artificial intelligence startup automating the recruitment funnel:
- Started coding at age 15
- Started working as a journalist at age 16
- President of the Student Council (Secondary School)
- Board Member of the Student Council (College)
- Joined College debate team
- Founded a national music magazine
- Organised concerts and outdoor festivals and created the largest festival of its genre in Eastern and Central Europe in 2013 (180 artists from 27 countries).
- Creative Mornings Organiser (Dublin 2013–2014)
- AskATon.com Founder (female friendly events focused on entrepreneurship)
- Lecturer on Digital Product Management in the Digital Skills Academy.
- StartupWeekend Dub Co-Organizer (2014)
- Startup Hiking Co-Founder
Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?
Andreea: …because that’s a name for doing your own thing. For doing things, in general, for building things. I have always done things and I am not sure how to do or be something else. I tend to act on ideas and many of the things I have done have started with ‘’wouldn’t it be great if someone did XYZ…’’. I have always been fascinated by makers and doers and it took me a while to understand that one can do anything they put their mind to. Coming to Ireland from post-communist Romania, things didn’t always seem possible. But that’s just because building something doesn’t come easy. 15 years ago I saw ‘difficult’ as ‘impossible’. Today, I see ‘’difficult’ as a cool problem to solve.
Me: What problem would you like solved?
Andreea: I feel strongly about finding mechanisms that bring good people together. With Opening.io we often say that bringing good people together, at company, city, country and indeed continent level is the core of what we aim for. Today we are building and training algorithms to do just that. Tomorrow… I’d probably like to go into some sort of task force that would focus on mass movement of people. This is something I’ve been thinking about since the refugee crisis has started. We don’t know how to handle displacement, permanent or temporary and I’d like to do something about that.
Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?
Andreea: Someone once told me that I could do anything that I wanted. They also told me that I am not the kind of person who would want to work for others. But I didn’t recognize this about myself back then. I listed all the things I couldn’t do and why. I should have listened more. But one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was ‘’stop saying I know’’. ‘’I know’’ stops the conversation. It dismisses what it could be. It stops the other person from sharing and in turn it stops learning from happening.
Me: What does success look like for you?
Andreea: This is a very good question. I think it links to impact, to what you leave behind you. With the risk of sounding pretentious, I don’t see success being about me, not directly anyway, but more related to the impact of my actions. Both personally and professionally. When it comes to Opening.io, I’d like us to build the leading recruitment intelligence company. And facilitate good people finding each other by learning, understanding and in return forming what ‘’good’’ means. This would mean linking in with academia, with educational entities, with governmental organisations and so on. Forming bridges and developing mechanisms to recognise that fit you are seeking.
Me: Who are your heroes?
Andreea: People that have informed some of my choices and impacted my life are people I came across while living life. I fall in love with people and their stories all the time. I was chatting to a cab driver the other day and he ended up telling me that he is flying off to the Manchester opera to star in his first lead role. He told me how one day a professor that was a vocal coach primarily associated with opera singing jumped into his car and ordered him to get him to the airport as fast as possible. He was going to miss his flight to Manchester! Long story short he bartered airport rides for private lessons and he is now doing a Master the professor is teaching. That cab ride energised me for a month. I was so excited for this person and what he has achieved. Oh and we are keeping in touch. His next Irish show, I’m there. And I’m dragging my friends to it too.
Me: What is your best discovery?
Andreea: I guess my best discovery is that kindness trumps most things. My most recent personal discovery is that I now like blue cheese. Go figure!
Me: What would the title of your biography be?
Andreea: ‘’She laughed’’. This came to me without thinking so I’ll just leave it like that.
Me: What makes the Dublin entrepreneurial ecosystem unique?
Andreea: This island belongs to doers. And that pretty much sums it all up. From tech startups to farmers to musicians and poets and writers and street vendors. It is the people. And it is Ireland. It’s casual, relaxed yet focused and driven at the same time. In the past the Irish left and helped build the new world. Now we are helping it become better connected. There’s nowhere else I’d like to be while in building mode. Not in Europe anyway. It’s either Dublin or Ireland or another continent altogether.
Me: If a Shark Tank investor asked “why should I invest in Dublin?, what’s your answer?
Andreea: Want to come to Europe? This is your country! Ireland was named the best country to invest in Western Europe, first in the world for inward investment, first in the world for availability of skilled labour, flexibility and adaptability of workforce and first in the world for productivity and efficiency of companies and large corporations. The Republic’s overall contribution to humanity and the planet has seen it take the top spot in the very first Good Country Index. You really want to be part of that!
Me: From meetups to co-working to networking events, what are your top recommendations for someone just stepping into the Dublin startup ecosystem?
Andreea: I organised a few Startup Weekends, Creative Mornings and started a couple of groups, one for female entrepreneurs and one for hiking. So I will endorse these first! Look out for the Product Tank events, Coding Grace are doing great things and Intercom organises or hosts top notch events. Same with Nitro. Niamh’s office (Dublin’s Commissioner for Startups) has a monthly breakfast event. Never miss it, probably the best starting point if you have just landed into Dublin. Oh and if you don’t have an office yet, go sit in the Workbench in Grand Canal.
Me: Anything else we should know about?
Andreea: Opening.io is going to market this summer. If you are recruiting (agency or HR department) or represent a job platform, say hi. We have matching technology that automates the recruitment funnel. We do matching, predicting and recommending. Our niche, for now, is the ICT sector and so the algorithms work best on tech jobs and resumes. We have developed a Playground where you can test our technology without using the actual product. You can upload your resume or run a demo using our CTO’s CV. If you are curious to check your market worth in Ireland, get our salary predictions and see how you match against a job description, go play.