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Tekpon Awards | The Gala for SaaS people

Ana Maria Stanciuc

An interesting fact that I’ve noticed in the SaaS and software industry is that someone, somehow, can find another missing piece of the puzzle and bring it to life. This is an industry of people who identify a need and come up with a solution. Yet, it is quite interesting to find that behind all these machines and technology, innovative solutions lay people with beats of hearts, stories to tell, and a future to change.

Coming back to those who can bring something new on this stage, I have the following story to tell – Tekpon Awards, the Oscars of SaaS, and the software community. If you are new to this or haven’t taken part in this turnaround point, let me put this in simple words. Even though I know a guy who can simplify the message better than I can, I will try. Tekpon Awards is the new concept of delivering good networking, bringing together people from all around the world, acknowledging the value of people who impact this industry, and celebrating the ongoing work we all put together.

Tekpon Awards 2024 | Complete winning ceremony

Tekpon Awards, the Gala for SaaS, is where people do not come onto a stage to talk for other people but only to thank their mothers, husbands, wives, and teams when they receive the prize. Where networking is at its most comfortable zone, with good food, greater wines, and amazing people to find. Of course, there is also the business element behind all of these sweet words I’m putting here. But, during this Gala, I discovered that people can introduce the business factor better in friendly, personal, intimate discussions. I’m hoping that until now, you ask yourself what kept you from being there.

Adrian Gheorghe - startup program manager @ Microsoft

Alexandru Stan & Cristian Dina, both super connectors, SaaS Founders and pay it forward humans. Also now event organisers, as they did an incredible job for this first time event. Congrats for all the hard work and the biggest award should go to you guys for taking this idea through to fruition and delivering above expectation.

Alexander Theuma, Founder @SaaStock

We all know, and by we, I mean us, people from Romania, that we are having amazing growth in this industry. In the last few years, Romania has become an important player in the market that delivers quality entrepreneurs and great ideas. Yet, somehow, we are still fighting to find our voice as a community. But with Tekpon Awards, we find the intro, and our voice is becoming louder and more powerful—we are in the industry, and we are not leaving anywhere.
Thus, Tekpon Awards’ main result was that we managed to put Romania on the SaaS ecosystem map. A US company chose the main city from Romania to make this Gala a real happening. People came from all over the world for this event, from each continent, right in Bucharest. Maybe they were curious about why this event didn’t have speakers on the stage, no other type of fluff content, just prizes and networking. Of course, if you stay until the end, you will find more surprises that happened.

Alex Theuma - Founder of SaaStock

Tekpon Awards – Grand Hotel Bucharest

18 June. The day. In leading roles, Alexandru Stan & Cristian Dina, this crazy duo that everyone from SaaS knows. The entire team is the supporting actors. If you think that is an easy job, what they do is not. Doing something different in any industry needs a lot of craziness. But they made it – 500 people in two days, in the middle of Bucharest, the ground zero for SaaS. Other than being an opportunity for people to meet outside LinkedIn, it was also the perfect context for people to dress in their best costumes and give some elegancy to this event.

500 people in two days coming from all over the world to meet other people, enjoy, get out of their comfort zone, and enjoy good networking. A lot of work for many dreamers like we are, with big aspirations to deliver only the best and help people. But, hey, don’t shoot the messenger or the storyteller in my case. If you expected a perfect event from the first edition, you are much more of a dreamer than us and less realistic. We are learning with every initiative and every honest thing we want to do – as honest as our reviews.

What a blast of an event! Exactly what the SaaS community needed. Aside all great winners, kudos to Alexnadru Stan and Cristian Dina for bringing all of us together in their home city Bucharest.

Stefan Smulders, co-founder & CSO @Expandi.io

Stefan Smulders - Expandi.io - Tekpon Awards 2024

If you don’t know already, we also have Tekpon Magazine, a print magazine for SaaS people about people from SaaS. A bold move but intelligent. The guys went even further with this idea by bringing a photo booth with the cover of our magazine where people could experiment with how it is to be on the cover of a magazine. Emelie Linheden and Stefan Smulders know it because they are on the actual cover. Oh, I forgot about the mime. As I said, there is less content at Tekpon Awards. A mime was greeting people, serving them with champagne from a fountain champagne, while a DJ was bringing some sounds to the Gala. Crazy, right? Yet, people were enjoying it. Of course, we had hosts – the one and only Cristian Dina and Razvan Suta from Startup Wise Guys

One word: Magic. Magic experience at Tekpon Awards. Hundreds of startups from all over the globe in the same room celebrating and sharing personal stories about what means to build great companies.

Alin Dobra, founder & CEO @Bunnyshell

Olga Andrienko - Semrush

To move on to serious matters, let’s present you with the night’s winners, even though after this event, we all are winners in one way or another.

BOOTSTRAPPERS OF THE YEAR

Stefan Smulders, Co-founder @ Expandi.io, Michael Kamleitner, founder @ Walls.io, Swat.io, Saravana Kumar, CEO @ Kovai.co, Bridget Harris, CEO @ YouCanBook.me, Andrei Stefan, founder @ Vitals, Adrian Balcan, founder @ Feedcheck.

SALESPERSON OF THE YEAR

Ignacio Villanueva, VP of Origination @ Boopos, Desiree – Jessica Pely, founder @ Loyee.ai, Dragos Gal, Global Head of BD @Twipla.

MARKETERS OF THE YEAR

Olga Andrienko, VP of Brands & Marketing @ Semrush, Emilia Korczynska, Head of Marketing @ Userpilot, Bianca Dragan, Head of Brand Marketing @ Paddle.

CEOs OF THE YEAR

Thomas Smale, CEO @ FE International, Zandra Moore, CEO @ Panintelligence, Mads Wedderkopp, CEO @ Dreaminfluence

FOUNDERS OF THE YEAR

Sergiu Negut, Co-founder @ Fintechos, Andrei Pitis, Founder @ Genezio, Daniel Melkersson, Co-Founder @ Pinmeto, Mateo Carmona-Arango, Managing Director @AF, Alin Dobra, Founder @Bunnyshell, Andrei Avadanei, CEO @ Sentinel.

ACCOUNTANT OF THE YEAR

Cenk Tukel, CEO @Tukel

DEVOPS SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR

Andrei Manea, Founder &CEO @Cloudhero

WOMAN OF THE YEAR

Emeli Lindehen, VP of Marketing @Younium

TEKPON INNOVATOR

Gerald Zankl, CEO @Kickscale, Jacqueline-Amadea Pely, Founder & CPO @Loyee.ai, Jonas Larsson, CEO @Graftus, Iulia Trandafir & Paula Avasiloaie, Co-Founders @Genezio, Mihai Darzan & Marian Voicu, Co-Founders @Procesio, Alex Circei, CEO @Waydev, Dragos Bulugean, Founder @Archbee, Cosmin Pirvu, Startup Program Manager @Veridion, Mira Anastasia Popa, Tail Product Manager @Digitail, Georgia Bucea, CEO @Brinos, Andrei Boruzescu, Co-Founder @Ex-Machina, Bogdan Alangiu, Head of Channels & Alliances @Flowx.ai, Alex Petre, CEE @Druid AI, Daniel Rogoz, CEO @Kinderpedia, Gabriel Paunescu, CEO @Naologic.com.

TEKPON STARS

Tudor Cosaceanu, Regional VP @UiPath, Adrian Gheorghe, Startup Program Manager @Microsoft, Hrvoje Magic, VP Revops @Younium, Bianca Dragan, Head of Brand Marketing @Paddle, Dipak Vadera, Director of Marketing @Dealfront, Jairo Teinturier, Account Executive @Deel, Octavian Brezoi, Head of Sales @2Checkout is now Verifone, Dor Barak, Affiliate Program Manager @Userway, Sorin Lungu, Founding Member & QA Lead @Chili Piper, Olga Andrienko, VP of Brand Marketing @Semrush.

TOP IMPACT OF THE YEAR

Alex Theuma, Founder @SaaStock, Cristobal Alonso, El Patron @Startup Wise Guys, Monica Zara, Partner & Head of Conference @How to Web, Elena Vrabie, Head of Sales @The Recursive, Vlad Andriescu, Editor in Chief @Start-up.ro.

Bianca Dragan - Paddle

Tekpon Awards, an empowering opportunity to celebrate the startup ecosystem, to enhance connections, to bring nice people together. Thank you and congrats, Alexandru Stan and Cristian Dina.

Sergiu Negut, co-founder @FintechOS

Big names but bigger achievements. I think that each of these people also needs to know that besides their nomination and win, they all greatly impact our industry. Each person is an important piece that moves this ecosystem correctly. Wait, the following moment that we had at Tekpon Awards, I’m sure, will make you ask yourself, “How are Alexandru and Cristina getting their ideas?”. Apart from champagne and all the people, the star of the night was the opera singer who dressed this Gala in the most elegant way she knew – with music. Personally, I’ve never heard of or been to a SaaS event where an opera singer was part of the program. I can’t remember a lot of things that we brought to the Tekpon Awards or any other event. As I said in the beginning, it doesn’t have to be a competition between the nicest and biggest event; the important thing is bringing something new that will add value to the industry – diversity.

Tekpon Awards side event by Paddle in The Vault

Our dream with the Tekpon Awards was precisely this—not to enter into a competition, not to be another conference because we are not, but an elegant event like the Oscars where people can meet the biggest names in the industry, win prizes as recognition for their entire work, network, and have good food. And I hope we checked at least two out of four if not all. Yet, the main goal with Tekpon is to help people and businesses, and we couldn’t do less for this event, so we had a charity auction where people could bid, and the money went to an association. The bidding piece was a painting made especially for this event. And we made it; we raised $1000 for a noble cause.

Tekpon Awards 2024 - Desiree-Jessica Pely - Loyee.ai

Tekpon awards was a blast! Thanks the Tekpon team for putting together such a cool event, with people from all over the world, basically putting Romania on the SaaS map! Kudos ✨

Dragos Paunoiu, SaaS Entrepreneur

I can’t say enough about how everything looked with all the people dressed exactly like they were attending the Oscars, yet I hope people felt exactly how I felt about this event from the side of the team that made it happen. I bet it feels nice to be part of the change and to see how things get even better for Romania’s ecosystem and its people. And we couldn’t end this Gala better than liberating ourselves on the dancefloor, ending such a good event in a positive state of mind, dreaming already on Tekpon Awards 1000, yes with 1000 people, for 2025.

Tekpon Awards Boats side event by Younium & FE International

Maybe I am subjective regarding the event, but I only tried to be the storyteller of a great beginning that took us to another level. Again, this event would not have been possible without Alexandru Stan and Cristian Dina, and every member of our team that built the ecosystem in the back for things to happen and Tekpon to grow enough to have something to say in this industry. 4 years ago, Tekpon was an idea in a garage; now, that idea is alive on a stage in Grand Hotel Bucharest and worldwide. 4 years ago, we were looking at the big SaaS brands wishing for just a “hello”; now, we are working with them. Sometimes, it takes a team of dreamers and big hearts to make things turn into reality.

But all of this would not have been possible without our main sponsors, who trusted us and gave us the force to dream even bigger. And is important to mention them, as alone we couldn’t done it, but together we are better.

What a night! Last evening, the Tekpon Awards brought together the coolest crowd of global tech visionaries. It was a melting pot of innovation, fresh ideas, and new faces, all aimed at one thing: redefining the future.

Mihai Darzan, Founder @PROCESIO

Bogdan Alangiu - Head of Channels & Alliances @ FLOWX.AI

Many thanks to Younium for sponsoring the Tekpon Awards and helping make the event a success. We really appreciate your support and contribution to celebrating excellence in technology. Younium is a leading subscription management platform designed to streamline complex billing processes and optimize revenue operations for B2B companies.

Dear FE International Team, thank you for your invaluable sponsorship of the Tekpon Awards. Your support has been a key factor in bringing our event to life and recognizing the achievements in the tech industry. We deeply appreciate your commitment and partnership. FE International is a premier mergers and acquisitions advisory firm specializing in SaaS, e-commerce, and content businesses. With a global presence, FE International provides end-to-end services for buying and selling businesses, ensuring seamless transactions and successful outcomes for their clients.

Paddle Team, we are immensely grateful for your generous sponsorship of the Tekpon Awards and for your commitment to our event and the tech community. Paddle is a revenue delivery platform for SaaS companies, offering solutions for payments, billing, and subscription management. By simplifying the complexities of global commerce, Paddle empowers software businesses to focus on growth and customer success.

Dear Boopos team, we want to express our gratitude for sponsoring the Tekpon Awards. Your support has been essential in making this event a resounding success. We value your partnership and commitment to acknowledging excellence in the tech industry. Boopos provides flexible financing solutions designed for acquiring online businesses. Through revenue-based funding, Boopos empowers entrepreneurs to acquire and expand e-commerce and SaaS businesses without the usual limitations of equity or debt financing.

2 Checkout is now Verifone, we thank you for all the help and sponsorship. Your support has played a significant role in the success of our event, and we appreciate your commitment to celebrating innovation and excellence in technology. 2Checkout is a global leader in payment technology and commerce solutions. Offering a robust suite of services for online payments, Verifone enables businesses to accept payments, manage subscriptions, and optimize revenue on a global scale.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the SaaStock Team for all their support since the beginning. Your support has been pivotal in making our event a grand success. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to the tech community. SaaStock is a global community and conference series for SaaS founders, executives, and investors. By bringing together leaders in the SaaS industry, SaaStock fosters networking, knowledge sharing, and growth opportunities for businesses at all stages.

TikTok for Business team, we’re thankful for your support at the Tekpon Awards. Thanks for teaming up with us and getting things done for our event. TikTok for Business offers awesome marketing solutions to help brands connect with the global TikTok community. Businesses can use the platform’s unique, creative, and engaging format to reach new audiences, boost engagement, and achieve their marketing goals.

Tekpon Awards Sergiu Negut

What a blast! Not just the hashtag#tekponawards crowd but the Romanian SaaS world and the energy in the room tonight!

Bridget Harris, Founder @YouCanBookMe

Last but not least, I thank everyone from the SaaS industry, not only those who came to the Tekpon Awards and were part of something extraordinary. To each of our team members for their dedication, and the main actors that made this event a reality – Alexandru Stan, CEO @Tekpon, and Cristian Dina, Managing Partner @Tekpon, see you all and more others next year for Tekpon Awards 1000. Yes, 1000 comes from 1000 people.

Authors

Ana Maria Stanciuc

Writer

Ana Maria Stanciuc

Head of Content & Editor-in-Chief @ Tekpon
Tekpon Favicon

Creative Content Chief

Ana Maria Stanciuc is a highly skilled writer and content strategist with 10+ years of experience. She has experience in technical and creative writing across a variety of industries. She also has a background in journalism.
Cristian Dina

Editor

Cristian Dina

Managing Partner & SaaS Podcast Host @ Tekpon
Tekpon Favicon

Managing Partner & SaaS Podcast Host @ Tekpon

As one of the founding members of Tekpon, Cristian has worn many hats within the company, but perhaps none shines brighter than his role as the charismatic host of the Tekpon SaaS Podcast. Cristian is a community builder at heart, being the Bucharest city leader for SaaStock Local and the author of the best-selling book King of Networking.

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