Ioana Hasan
Co-Founder and Product Manager of Smart Bill, Romania

Q: What do you like the most about yourself?

A: I believe it is the way an innocent animal opens my heart.

Be open to new perspectives and reap the rewards

We began our startup by physically going from door-to-door to ask people if they would be interested in our website concept. We created Smart Bill because of a change in invoicing legislation – so it was a product for us to use, too. This was a very busy and exciting time, as my partner and fiancé, Radu, and I were programming all day, doing support and planning our wedding. I was also still in school.

I had actually never considered starting a company; the decision was made on the spot. I enjoyed being creative whenever I built something and always put in extra effort, but I believed I would be a programmer. Switching to product management was quite hard, although I found a new passion in creating products that help people and that people enjoy using. It’s a different way of building stuff compared to programming.

Starting and growing a company is not easy, but it is an exciting ride with plenty of ups and downs. There were moments when we were ready to give up – sales were not great and all our time was dedicated to the company. Even after moments when we questioned whether or not it was worth it, we pulled ourselves together and moved forward. Eventually I think the effort paid off!

Ioana Hasan, 31, lives in Sibiu, Romania and has a degree in Computer Science. In 2006, while still a student, she co-founded Intelligent IT together with her fiancé, Radu, and a good friend, Mircea. In 2007, they developed an invoicing software, Smart Bill, for the Romanian market. With 35 employees and over 33,000 customers, the company received an investment of €1 million from two VC funds in 2016.

This article was published in ‘the Hundert Vol. 8 – Female Startup Founders Europe’, May 2016.