Founder Interview: Emanuel Ciciu, VenturusAI, LA29

Daniel Leung
February 9, 2024

VenturusAI is a tool that provides immediate insights and action items for new business concepts. We had the chance to interview founder & CEO, Emanuel Ciciu, to learn about how he created the platform, acquired customers, and his experience as a founder.

Learn about VenturusAI and why we invested here.

What is the problem you are solving?

VenturusAI is a tool for entrepreneurs, business analysts, and consultants seeking quick and thorough business insights. It reduces research time by delivering detailed analyses for new and existing ventures. Users can access an AI business assistant for guidance and a streamlined process for pitch deck creation. We aim to offer an all-in-one solution for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and investors.

Why do you want to solve this problem? How did you come up with the idea?

We understand that many entrepreneurs have passion and ideas but lack the knowledge to execute them. While passionate about their specialties, they often need a clearer understanding of the necessary next steps. We encountered this gap and realized the importance of guiding these individuals in building their dreams. Our idea was born from a desire to prepare aspiring entrepreneurs for the road ahead, providing a comprehensive understanding of their business and industry.

How did you validate your idea?

We started by validating a simple concept - free, MBA-grade business feedback for business ideas. When we launched our MVP last Spring, the response was overwhelmingly positive. We attracted over 12K users in two months and generated 20K reports, signaling a strong demand for quick and efficient business planning tools. The platform continued to evolve, and today, as we reach the milestone of 100K reports, the consistent positive feedback confirms the value of our concept. We continuously listen to our users, ensuring their input shapes our tool to meet their requirements.

Where did you meet your cofounder(s)?

We’ve known each other for over a decade, a bond that has grown stronger through our shared experiences in tech startups. Our complementary skills and strengths, covering business management, software development, and marketing drive our ambition to create something impactful. Our united efforts led to the creation of a venture that empowers entrepreneurs and investors across the globe.

How did you acquire your first users/customers?

Online forums and communities of entrepreneurs plus word-of-mouth. People found interest and usefulness in our initial MVP once we started discussing it with them, and it wasn’t a tough process converting them because of it. The most important lessons at this stage are two-fold:

  1. You need to make it as simple as possible for users to understand the value you bring. I.e., we’ve started with free feedback for business ideas and a simple sign-up process.
  2. Negative feedback is still feedback - there will be harsh critiques for every single aspect, which helps refine the product and understand flaws that might’ve been missed, or simply generate questions that might not be obvious to the founders.

As a founder, what is a lesson you wish you learned sooner?

It is more important to build something people want and need than something you think is important.

Tell us about your experience fundraising so far.

Our fundraising journey has been a mix of successes, surprises, and learning experiences. The highlight has been engaging with investors, whose advice and perspectives have shaped our strategy. What surprised me was the intensity of the accelerator process. Participating in the LAUNCH accelerator was a key learning experience. It gave us a deeper understanding of what investors look for and how to effectively communicate our vision and value. This prepared us for future investor interactions and meetings, enhancing our readiness and confidence in presenting our business case. We were also able to access a community of entrepreneurs where everyone helps each other.

What has been the most difficult part of your founder journey?

Striking the right balance between taking calculated risks and solving problems on the fly. Every decision I make has to weigh potential gains against the risks, and often, there’s no playbook to guide these choices. It’s a constant exercise in judgment and adaptability, requiring a deep understanding of our market and the agility to pivot when necessary.

What has been the most rewarding part of your founder journey?

Witnessing our vision come to life and the positive impact it creates. Each milestone we achieve, whether a successful feature launch, a new partnership, or positive customer feedback, is incredibly fulfilling. I also enjoy discussing new VenturusAI features and hearing how we help entrepreneurs improve their business ideas.

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