Mapping the Moldovan IT environment

We just couldn’t get enough of night trains to interesting places, so after having spent one night back in Kiev we hit the rails again for an 18 hours train ride to Moldova. It happened to be the guest workers train taking Moldovan workers from Moscow back to their families. We found the train to be pretty empty, got our own coupe and got a good catch up of sleep before we reached the border. The Moldovan border guards were by far the nicest we ever met, and the pleasant experience of Moldova continued throughout the week. One reason why we went to Chisinau was an invitation from a friend at the Swedish embassy in Moldova, who I met a couple of weeks earlier in Moscow. He thought that it might be a good idea to research our opportunities Chisinau  he was right. He connected us with some key persons from the IT industry and we did our homework well, after a week packed with meetings, the feeling was that we had met pretty much a majority of the interesting collaboration partners within IT in Moldova (we started to feel sure of this when they started cross referring to each other). We found the potential for us here to be great, from a short term perspective maybe even slightly better than in Ukraine and to make long story short, Beetroot now has operations in both Ukraine and Moldova, and plan to continue on that route. Being active in two countries has both drawbacks and benefits, but for now, with the different set of opportunities that each country gives, as well as the risk limitation effects, the benefits are more.

Chisinau would surprise most first time visitors arriving with a package of the most common western prejudices about Eastern Europe, I was surprised myself even though I consider my package of Eastern European prejudices to be smaller than most westerners. The general language knowledge is impressively high with the younger generation typically knowing at least 3 languages, Moldovan, Russian and English/Italian/French/German. A strong proof of the Moldovan talent for languages is the Swedish company Samres. They have set up a call centre in Chisinau where 80 Moldovans are employed to speak Swedish on the phone with Swedish elders ordering transportation  We were already informed about this phenomenon by Gustav’s grandmother who uses their services, but where happy to be invited to take a look. We were stunned by the slightly surrealistic experience to hear young educated Moldovans speak our native language, knowing that many of them have yet to visit Sweden. Another interesting clash of impressions came on the train back to Kiev, passing by small villages that didn’t look to add too much to the overall GDP, we enjoyed super fast data traffic on our mobiles. Moldova has one of the fastest internet speeds in Europe, partly thanks to Telia Sonera owned Moldcell. While writing this I am in a small French village, and longing back to Moldovan mobile internet speeds.

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