Romanian Chat Group

Romanian Chat Group

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I just learned there’s a WhatsApp group chat for Romanian startup founders living in New York. 

“How big can that group be?” I thought.

It turns out that almost three dozen people qualify.

It’s a great illustration of how New York’s emerging tech scene and abundant capital are drawing startups from everywhere.

It’s also a reminder that more and more people who network on large social platforms are turning to narrow online communities to share insights. 

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman belongs to a chat group of tech CEOs. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has said he relies on similar groups as a key source of information.

The Romanian founder chat has about 32 members, according to Raul Popa, the CEO of TypingDNA, who helped set it up.

He said successful chat groups need to be small enough to be intimate but large enough to be helpful. 

I met Raul at one of Morgan Barrett’s New York Tech Breakfasts. We talked about everything from the chat groups to security risks posed by AI.

Raul runs a startup called TypingDNA, which is a case study of the fascinating and unexpected ways AI can be combined with big data.

The company’s software can authenticate people based on their keystrokes on a computer. 

It turns out that all of us have typing styles that are distinctive. 

The key factor for typing authentication is the cadence: We all hit the keyboard with a different speed and rhythm and varying degrees of force. 

The business model for TypingDNA is to use the software to help companies implement double-factor authentication to combat fraud. The company is backed by Google’s AI venture fund, Gradient Ventures. 

It’s not a huge surprise that our keystrokes are captured as data. 

It is surprising that that data can be leveraged and used as a form of authentication, a use case that few would have imagined. This is going to be a theme in coming years: data being leveraged for uses that were hard to predict. 

Talking to Raul I realized that I already knew two of the other members of the Romanian founder chat: Ionut Patrascoiu, the CEO of FameUp and Matei Psatta, the co-founder of Blindspot. 

All three moved to the U.S. to help drive business. This is where they can meet VCs and connect with the global media and find more customers.

But all three told me Romania is a much nicer place to live. 

Someday they will probably move back. 

In the meantime, the digital chat will have to suffice. 

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