Startup Interview with Alex Cojocaru, CEO of Licenseware by@licenseware

Startup Interview with Alex Cojocaru, CEO of Licenseware

Licenseware is the first open app ecosystem for software license management. It helps companies save or reduce their software cost as well as manage the risk associated with licensing. The founders say they are a team of people who have a passion for business automation. Licenseware was founded by Ciprian, Cirpian, and Chris, and operates as a remote and distributed organization based in Romania, the UK, Tunisia, Kenya, Turkey, the Netherlands, India, and Spain.
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The License Management App Ecosystem

HackerNoon Reporter: Please tell us briefly about your background.

Speaking for myself, Cirpian, and Chris, we’ve been working in the software industry for over a decade now, having played a variety of roles related to IT asset management.

I’ve had various roles with a focus on software asset management, data analytics, and software development. Walked in the shoes of an analyst, auditor, advisor, and software engineer, and was involved in building Software Asset Management (SAM) tools amongst other data-focused projects.

Ciprian has been dealing with all things technical in software asset management. He’s been involved in the design and creation of several SAM tools. He has a passion for business automation and is always tinkering with technology trying to find better ways to make software work for companies.

Chris has been working in SAM and software sales for over 7 years. Along with selling solutions, he spent time delivering them, specifically focused on Microsoft optimization and remediation, and assisted in audit defenses.

What's your startup called? And in a sentence or two, what does it do?

We’re Licenseware, the first open app ecosystem for software license management. We build technology that helps companies save or reduce their software cost as well as manage the risk associated with licensing.

What is the origin story?

Ciprian, our CTO, is the original founder. Having built several SAM tools in the past for other companies, he thought it was time to build one of his own. He wanted to channel his passion for software engineering into something useful, and also learn a thing or two in the process.

He noticed that all SAM and ITAM tools in the market follow a similar monolith-type approach. And they are all closed. He thought that this is an outdated way of building software and a rigid business model. He built a prototype and showed it to a few people in his network.

When he showed me the tool and explained the idea, it instantly clicked. It was the tool that I always wanted to use when I was a consultant or analyst in my previous jobs. It was also the change I wanted to see in the industry. After some back and forth and a few coding sessions, we eventually became more serious about it and it became more than a hobby project.

We ended up pitching for the first time at a startup event, where the product was very well received, with a “Best Innovation” award. Shortly after, we got sucked into the startup scene and we ended up closing a pre-seed round. In 2020, we launched the first version of the product and started building a team.

While Ciprian and I mostly focused on building the product and a development team, we felt we needed someone in the founding team with sales and marketing experience. The first person that came to mind was Chris, who’s been connected with us on LinkedIn a few years back.

His posts and unique approach to marketing and sales caught our attention. Chris is a different kind of sales guy, and we’ve built a different kind of tool.

We managed to convince him to join eventually, the idea also clicked with him instantly, and shortly after, we raised a seed round and started scaling.

What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?

We’re a fully remote and distributed team. I really love this clash of cultures, and how we can leverage talent and ideas from all over the world (we’re now in the UK, Spain, Romania, India, Tunisia, Kenya, Turkey, Netherlands, Denmark, etc.) to build a great product.

What brought us together was our passion for data and software engineering, but what made us stick together was our values. There’s a very strong cultural alignment in the team, even though we come from very distinct backgrounds.

Aside from the obvious qualifications, I think what makes us the right crew for the job, is that we as a founding team, have been directly dealing with the problems we’re now solving with our technology.

If you weren’t building your startup, what would you be doing?

If I wouldn’t be building Licenseware right now, I would be building some other kind of software, probably. I was a software engineer prior to co-founding Licenseware. It was always on my bucket list to start a company, so I might have gone down the startup road anyway.

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