Armand Sullot, a German investor who worked at Microsoft and met the richest man in the world – Bill Gates, came to open a business in Braşov. After 19 years of working with Microsoft on various important positions, Armand Sullot decided to open his own business. In Romania, in Brasov, a city he wants to turn into “the number one city of innovation”.
He first arrived in Brasov last summer and fell in lovewith the city. After doing his own analysis and weighing the business potentialof the city, he decided to open a company here, which he called }exghts. The promise that Braşov would have an airport was a big deal in his decision as well.
“Everyone asks me why I came here and I have one answer: I love this city, I love its historical part and I fell in love with it at first sight. I quickly took the decision to create a business here, rather than in Germany. What I want to do in Brasov: I’m looking for the smartest people because I want to create something based on latest technology, everything related to artificial intelligence, neural networks, robotics, automation – not only in the technical part, also the in marketing and sales areas…. these things we want to combine in software services and put a very strong footprint here in Romania. I worked for 19 years at Microsoft and I have a great experience about how big companies work, how technology works and how technology will impact our future. I want to bring this to Brasov”
the investor said.
He says it´s not easy to start a business in Brasov, as he lost 5 months because of the bureaucracy. So, his first experiences from a business perspective were not ideal.
“It’s not easy generating a business in Brasov. I lost 5 months, because of the bureaucracy. But, together with ClaudiuPrunaru, a well-known lawyer from Brasov, I will build a platform which will help attract other companies coming here. Implementing process automation, using AI, we connect the right sources, companies, to a consortium of strong partners, delivering western Europe standards.
This platform automates most of the needed processes with the officials – for sure the law or accountant service is done by the lawyer or accountant, but all the handover processes are automated and workflow driven (registration, tax number, work contracts, real estate, accountant services, telecommunication and so on – so that the rights partners work together, without losing time). That´s just one of the steps bringing Brasov to startup and innovation city nr. 1 in Romania”
He also thinks he would be a good ambassador for Brasov and Romania and he will partner up with the “Transilvania” University and start research-development projects together.
A digital home rather than an office
He also wants to be different from a cultural perspective when it comes about his employees and he invested a lot so that they can feel as good as possible. He says a boss has just a title, but a leader has people.
”It´s simple, if you have smart people, you need to keep care of them, stand behind them and be respectful and create more a digital home rather than an office.
Work close together, work on ideas, make sure all voices of the people are heard. Enable the people with the latest devices. The people can choose the device they want Mac Pro, or Surface book, combined with 2 monitors. All get a phone Iphone x max, or whatever they want. Even the tables are electronical adjustable to work while you stand. I enable the people, so my investment is high, but also my expectations are, regarding how we collaborate, how we work for each other and how fast we move.
It’s not a top down principle. A boss has a title, a leader has people”
A fully stuffed kitchen with the best devices is ready for all to use, even an icemaker is there and all people get free drinks. Also they can have a shower or wash the clothes.
Another facility for the employees is that they can extend their knowledge by attending important international events. One of the employees was 4 days in Amsterdam, the next one will go to America to another big event to learn more about technology.
Another innovative project is called “exghts garage”. The developers can even put their own ideas in a system and request for resources.
If that will be approved, he supports with, money, resources or constancy. If that is a project interesting enough to make a product out of it, the employee would earn a share of the merging.
Romania seen from outside: a country “far behind”
He admits that before he came to Romania he did not have such a good image about our country. He saw it as a “far behind” country, with a high level of criminality, a picture outlined by Romanian emigrants in Germany.
„The mass majority of people leaving Romania are not always the best. Those who leave think they do not have a future here, and many of them are out of the law. That’s the image you have from outside. That Romania is far behind. But last summer I came to Brasov because my girlfriend is Romanian. And I was amazed. Romania is beautiful and fast developing, and I cannot imagine why people still want to leave and why they think that if they go to another country it will be better for them. I believe that Romanians should believe more in Romania, because the opportunities are great here. It is certainly not wrong to go and learn something in another country, but you should go back and use your knowledge here. The future is here”
Bill Gates permanently changed his perception of business
He was born in Germany, from a Dutch father and a German mother, and he made his studies in Munich. He earned his first money form IT at the age of 18, and he understood ever since that technology is the future. He was hired at Microsoft Germany when he was 27 years old and grew up rapidly in the company where he held several leading positions. He met Bill Gates after he was awarded a prize in the company and was then invited to America. He says the meeting with him has permanently changed his perception of business and influenced him in everything he did later.
“The meeting with Bill was great. He was very calm and … he just had some kind of aura. I asked him, And he said that twice a year he takes three free weeks without a phone, completely disconnected, and builts himself a strategy. Then I asked him what motivates him to do so since he is the richest man in the world. And he told me that what motivates him is to create something that has an impact on the world, something new and useful to the world. Because for him the money no longer has any value.
He is also the greatest philanthropist in the world. That inspired me a lot and changed my way of thinking. Because I looked differently on technology and everything it involves”
His last job at Microsoft was as Head of the Transformation Department and had the role to think in the future. “My role was to think about future technologies. Not what is today on the market, but what may be tomorrow or in 5 years”, added the businessman.
After 19 years as an employee, Armand decided to go on his own journey with Microsoft as a business partner.
“I am not interested in a company with hundreds of employees, for me the innovation is the key. I decided it was time to do something for myself because I like the start-up mentality, where you can take fast decisions. You have to love changing and learning something new every day. To ask yourself every day what you can do better. It’s not the time that helps you grow in your career, but your knowledge, your attitude, your behavior”
Armand Sullot said.