Amazing stories from tech professionals that decided to work from unique cities in Romania

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Timisoara. The European Cultural Capital of 2021

Amazing stories published by tech professionals that decided to work from unique cities in Romania

According to the Urban Barometer created by the World Bank (in 2020), 92% of Timișoara’s inhabitants are happy to live in the city, compared to 80% in Bucharest. 77% of Timișoara’s population is content with the city’s public infrastructure and public meeting places, such as parks, markets, car-free areas.

Timișoara is the most Western city in Romania, both in location and mentality. It is where Romanian democracy first took shape and is one of the main targets for foreign direct investment. It houses the biggest public innovation center in IT&C in the country, a vibrant young student community and one of the best cultural scenes in Europe, given that in 2021 it was named European Cultural Capital. Timișoara’s growth has been based on 3 pillars:

  1. High connectivity with Western Europe;
  2. An openness to foreigners, both culturally as well as a spill-over effect from foreign investments;
  3. Public investment in infrastructure, innovation and education.

Download the complete Tech Lifestyle In Romania Whitepaper or see tech jobs in Timisoara

Overview: city dynamics

Timișoara has always played an important role in Romania’s destiny, given that it is the link between Romania and the West. Timișoara was the place where Romania’s democratic journey started, as the place where the 1989 Revolution began. Timișoara has stood as the biggest city in Western Romania for the past ten years, continuously increasing its population and economic output by attracting Foreign Direct Investment and entrepreneurs. It has a population of around 320,000, among which 40,000 students - Romania’s fourth-largest university town. According to the Urban Barometer, Timișoara is the third most attractive city in Romania, following Cluj-Napoca and Brașov.

Timișoara is the European Cultural Capital in 2021, a title that celebrates the city’s growing cultural scene (with many theatres, cinemas, and festivals), as well as the City Hall’s commitment to renovate the Old City center and develop the city into a tourist hotspot.

Quality of life

According to the Urban Barometer created by the World Bank (in 2020), 92% of Timișoara’s inhabitants are happy to live in the city, compared to 80% in Bucharest. 77% of Timișoara’s population is content with the city’s public infrastructure and public meeting places, such as parks, markets, car-free areas.

Transportation infrastructure

Timișoara is very well connected to Western Europe and to Serbia. It takes 3 hours and 30 minutes to reach Budapest by car (or 5 hours by train) and 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach Belgrade and Novi Sad, in Serbia.

Timișoara is served by the Traian Vuia International Airport, with direct flights to Bucharest (less than one hour), Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Spain, United Kingdom, run by low-cost companies, as well as by Tarom and Lufthansa. Timișoara is well connected to other Western Romanian cities: Alba Iulia, Arad, Cluj-Napoca, and Oradea can be reached in less than 4 hours by car. 

The public transportation system is managed by the City Hall, through a bus-tram-trolley system. The transportation system covers the entire city, as well as nearby suburbs. The public transportation system is quite digitized: every station has a digital board and the City Hall created an app for travellers. In addition, there is also maritime transportation on the river Bega.

The City Hall launched in 2018 a city bike sharing program. Bikes can be loaned from and returned to any of the 25 bike stations across the city. A bike ride costs 2.5 RON. Timișoara already has 106 kms of bike lanes throughout the city, being one of the friendliest cities for bikers in Romania, and is currently building 86 kilometers more.

Timișoara is #246 in the traffic index rating done by Numbeo, ahead of Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, and Iasi. In addition to public transportation, you can easily find taxis all through the day and at night, as well as international ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Bolt, together with micromobility options such as Lime and Bolt.

Shopping

There are 3 major shopping centers present in Timișoara: Iulius Town Timișoara, Shopping City Timișoara, and Bega Shopping Center. All of them can be reached easily by public transportation, personal car or bike. Shoppers can find most international brands în Timișoara, such as H&M, Bershka, Levi’s. For those fashion aficionados, there are also higher end shops such as Bigotti, Ana Cori, Fanylux, Guess, Massimo Dutti, or Pandora. 

Timișoara is also served by smaller boutiques, found in the central, historical area of Victoriei Square. The city has easy access to national electronics stores, online or offline (Altex, Flanco, Emag), as well as to an iStyle Apple Premium Reseller.

Sports

In terms of sports, Timișoara provides many options. It houses two football teams (SS Politehnica Timișoara and ACS Poli Timișoara), both with a strong group of supporters. There are three football stadiums hosting matches in the National League. In the next 5 years, Timișoara will also build a Polyvalent Hall meeting international standards, able to host 16,000 attendees.

Timișoara provides many other options for athletic endeavours:

  • Gyms: SmartFit, Gym One, Iguana Fitness Club, Banu Sport, Diesel Fitness, Continental Fitness, WorldClass;
  • Tennis: Baza Sportiva Politehnica, Banu Sport, Baza Sportiva Textila;
  • Squash: Squash Sports Arena, Helios Sport Club;
  • Football fields: Baza Sportiva Politehnica, Baza Sportiva Textila;
  • Other sports are available, such as: swimming, basketball, handball, golf

Healthcare

There are three big public hospitals in Timișoara, covering all areas of medicine. Among the most sought after are: Timis County Emergency Clinical Hospital, Timișoara Municipal emergency Clinical Hospital, Emergency Hospital for Children Louis Turcanu. Timișoara is the regional hub for public healthcare.

There is also a Regina Maria private hospital, together with many public or private clinics all around the city (3 belong to Regina Maria alone). Sanador also has 3 clinics in the city.

Cost of living

Quality of life, by comparison

  • You would need around 1,674.20€ (8,235.93lei) in Timișoara to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 5,000.00€ in Paris, 4,767.97£ in London, 9,798.84lei in Bucharest. (assuming you rent in both cities)

Monthly expenses:

  • Rent in Timișoara is, on average, 85.07% lower than in London, 78.36% lower than in Paris, 34.13% lower than in Bucharest
  • Internet in Timișoara is 82.17% cheaper than in London, 75.51% cheaper than in Paris, 23.89% cheaper than in Bucharest.
  • Preschool in Timișoara is 87.25% cheaper than in London, 73.3% cheaper than in Paris, 54.17% cheaper than in Bucharest.

Purchases and going out

  • Consumer Prices Including Rent in Timișoara are 69.83% lower than in London, 66.52% lower than in Paris, 19.5% lower than in Bucharest.
  • Restaurant Prices in Timișoara are 66.66% lower than in London, 64.82% lower than in Paris, 34.44% lower than in Bucharest.
  • Groceries Prices in Timișoara are 49.66% lower than in London, 64.08% lower than in Paris, 6.66% lower than in Bucharest.
  • A beer in a bar in Timișoara is 78.95% cheaper than in London, 82.58% cheaper than in Paris, 33.33% cheaper than in Bucharest.
  • Taxis in Timișoara are around 85% cheaper than in London, around 89.5% cheaper than in Paris.

Family and kids

Timișoara caters to families, with or without kids, as there are many options for family activities, from sports to camping trips in the Apuseni Mountains.

Timișoara is crossed by the Bega river, which offers plenty of leisure activities. People can sail on the Bega using the public transportation system, row, or just enjoy a sunny day by its sides, either in Central Park Anton von Scudier, Roses Park or Regina Park. All of these parks have a playground for children, and spaces for a jog or outdoor workout.

Looking at schooling, tens of public and private kindergartens can be found (including Montessori), as well as more than 25 public secondary schools: “Take Ionescu” is the highest rank in the city, and one of the highest ranking in the country. Timișoara has 56 highschools, some with national recognition: “Grigore Moisil”, “Banatean”, “C.D. Loga” National College. 

For those interested in international education, The British International School of Timișoara, provides primary and secondary education. The annual school fees vary between 7,200 and 9,500 Euros.

Networking opportunities

Timișoara’s IT community has developed massively in the past 10 years, supported by local innovation and foreign direct investments. Timișoara is one of the main targets of Foreign Direct Investments in Romania, given its close proximity to Western Europe. The local IT community is very well connected and organizes monthly networking events.

Top tech communities in Timișoara:

  • Timișoara StartupHub: the biggest hub in the city, it offers a vibrant community organizing monthly coding meet-ups, Coder Dojo events and Founders Nights.
  • HACKTM: HackTM is the Timișoara super-sized software & hardware development hackathon.
  • Banat IT: Banat IT is an initiative aiming to support the development of IT field in the region of Banat, Romania
  • CoderDojo Timișoara: A Timișoara implementation of a concept developed by an Irish-led global movement of coding clubs for kids. Bring your kids to learn to code, hack, develop.
  • Cowork Timișoara: The perfect co-working place for startups and freelancers in Timișoara. Opening November 2015.
  • Plan 0 Makerspace: Collaborative space for hackers and makers.

There are of course other network opportunities, at some of the large-scale tech events that take place in the city.

  • Startup Coffee Meetup – A monthly meeting aiming to bring together local tech entrepreneurs and other startup related people, regardless of experience, background or status, to network and learn from each other. The meetup started in March 2015.
  • Startup Founders Club – A private group of startup founders that meets periodically to discuss and help each other with problems and ideas related to their business.
  • Fuckup Nights Timișoara – Fuckup Nights is a global movement where stories of failed businesses and projects are told, questioned and celebrated. Each speaker has 7 minutes to present their story and 10 images to describe the experience and 1 failure to include. After each presentation, Q&A and networking sessions happen.
  • Timișoara Startup Kids – This project is run by the Timișoara Startup Hub aiming at educating & motivating youngsters to start their own businesses by establishing contact with successful entrepreneurs & experts. The first Timișoara Startup Kids event took place in 2013, reached its fifth edition, in April 2015 and included a series of 5 conferences and one workshop.
  • Timișoara Startups Demo Day – An event aiming to showcase the tech startups of Timișoara. Timișoara Startups Demo Day was created as an opportunity for the most innovative startups within the region to present their businesses to prospective investors and to the entire community. Furthermore, the event wants to connect local and regional entrepreneurs, help them get access to a network of people interested in their work and offer them insights on how to further develop their products or businesses. The first edition took place in April 2017.
  • Mega Dojo – An annual event jointly organized by all the 15 CoderDojos active in Timișoara’s Metropolitan Area, with the support of the Banat IT Association. The event united about 100 mentors and 400 children who coded on different technologies like Scratch, Html + CSS, JavaScript, C++, C#, Java, Python, Ruby, Photoshop, Game Development, Robotics. This is the biggest event in the field of programming education for children and teenagers with ages between 7 and 17 guided by current and future CoderDojo mentors.
  • Timișoara Business Days – Business Days is an annual networking event dedicated to entrepreneurs and managers, whose aim is to create a healthy and sustainable entrepreneurial culture.
  • Banat IT Summer Barbecue – An event organized by IT people, where you will try barbecue recipes and listen to music, selected by IT people  (fun moments are also included).
  • Upgrade My City – A program aimed to identify, promote and implement ideas that can improve the quality of life in the city by involving the civil society, companies, universities and the public administration on a large scale. Upgrade My City has an important component of dialogue, debate, and interaction.

Investment

Funding

There are a few investment structures available in Timișoara, some with big funding and lots of reach. We are looking at accelerators, incubators and VCs (sourced from eu-startups.com):

  • GapMinder – “VC fund targeting IT software and services startups in Romania and Central & Eastern Europe, offering up to €1.5 million in seed funding and an additional €4.5 million in follow-on rounds.”
  • Techcelerator – “A 10-week long acceleration program for tech startups, to help them reach market fit through dedicated pre-seed and seed investment rounds. Techcelerator is the only accelerator in Romania backed by an investment fund.”
  • Growceanu - A platform created by five entrepreneurs from Timișoara bringing together angel investors and entrepreneurs that need funding and mentoring.
  • Incuboxx - The biggest IT&C innovation hub in Romania, supported by Timișoara City Hall. Startups receive free consultancy and business development services, as well as office space.

Real estate

Investing in Timișoara real estate is a safe bet. In the past 7 years, real estate value grew by 50%. Currently, the square meter price is 1,304 Euros. There is a range of real estate available in Timișoara, from small lofts in the old town city centers, to big houses with gardens in the suburbs. A lot of European real investment firms are currently developing housing units in the business districts of the city.

Leisure

Going out: restaurants

The central area, in and around the Old City, there are plenty of shops, as well as restaurants and cafes. Among the most famous restaurants, we have:

  • Romanian Traditional & New Romanian: La Calu Alb, Tinecz, Casa Bunicii, Valahia;
  • Fine Dining: Sabres, Grill to Chill, Merlot, Argentinian Steakhouse;
  • Asian: Little Hanoi;
  • Mediterranean: Vinto, Jolie Bistro, La Pizza Napoletana;

There are also vegetarian and vegan restaurants, such as Biofresh Restaurant.

For those that want to enjoy their meals at home, there are three food delivery services available: Takeaway, tazz by emag and Food Panda.

Going out: cafes

Timișoara has a strong coffee culture, where organic or single origin coffees and teas that can be sampled in places such as:

  • Ovride Specialty Coffee
  • Garage Cafe
  • Statia de Cafea
  • Moara cu Cafea
  • Molecula Cafe
  • Typica Specialty Coffee

Going out: pubs & clubs

Almost 20% of Timișoara’s population is represented by students, thus, there are many places to enjoy some evening fun with friends. Most clubs are in the city center:

  • Clubs: Hugo, Coco, D’arc Timișoara, Escape Venue
  • High-end clubs: Epic Society, Epic Vara, Fratelli Lounge & Club
  • Bars: Cabinet 3, Symphony Cafe, Aethernativ, Taproom, Storia, The 80’s Pub.

Festivals

There are many festivals organized each year in Timișoara:

  • Jazz TM - an international Jazz festival taking place each summer in the Old City Center
  • Revolution Festival - an indie and rock music festival
  • Simultan.org Festival - exhibits annually sound/audiovisual performances, experimental music concerts, video-art screenings, exhibitions, conferences, and workshops
  • Plai Festival - an unconventional, eco-conscious music festival taking place in the local Village Museum
  • Street Delivery - an eco festival giving back the streets to the citizens of Timișoara. It includes concerts, children activities, and fairs.
  • Ceau Cinema - European Film Festival - Through their screenings – outdoor and indoor, in unconventional locations – they promote European and Romanian films and they prove that they are as catchy and attractive as Hollywood cinema, but much closer to our hearts.
  • Timishort Film Festival - a short films festival for European filmmakers.

From Timișoara, it is easy to reach Gărâna Jazz Festival, Untold Music Festival and Electric Castle Music Festival in Cluj, and Sziget Festival in Budapest.

Visiting

Timișoara offers a lot of tourist attractions, that bring in every year tens of thousands of visitors:

  • Victoriei Square and its old city center
  • Castle of Huniade: oldest monument building in Timisoara, from the 15th century
  • Museums: Timișoara Art Museum, Museum of Banat, Banat Village Museum
  • Botanical Garden
  • Zoo Garden
  • Theaters: German Theater, Hungarian Theatre
  • Maria Theresia Bastion for a great view of the city
  • Three Synagogues (Timișoara has the largest Jewish community in Romania)

The area of Timis and surrounding counties also has a lot of tourist attractions:

  • Picturesque villages in Apuseni Mountains
  • Charlottenburg - an ancient village built by 32 Italian families
  • Romanesti Cave
  • Bazos Natural Reservation

Download the complete Tech Lifestyle In Romania Whitepaper or see tech jobs in Timisoara.. 

Sources: https://Timișoarastartups.com/#/home, https://magazine.startus.cc/complete-Timișoara-startup-city-guide/ 

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