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Behind the Iron Curtain

#sxsw #hacklife

For almost 50 years a sizable part of the world, the eastern half of the European continent, was sealed away behind the Iron Curtain. Spies, nukes, torture and secrecy were staples of the Hollywood Cold War movies, but what exactly went on there?

When the communism was banished in 1989, everyone was happy to forget these dark times and embrace freedom. Now, 20 years later, former eastern countries are making a name for themselves as purveyors of some of the best coding talent around world and some of the freshest startup ideas.

This is the 'transition generation', people rooted in the communist past that grew into an open world and future.
For the western world the past two decades, including the internet revolution, were radical enough; for Eastern Europeans, whom experienced life without freedom of speech, travel or religion and in some places without things as basic as food or electricity, the past 23 years feel like eons.


Alec Andronikov Limited Partner Eniac Ventures

Alec is a serial entrepreneur helping realize the future of scalable digital technologies. Previously, Alec was the CEO and founder of MoVoxx, a leading mobile advertising company. MoVoxx was acquired by Adenyo, resulting in an acquisition by Motricity (NASDAQ: MOTR) for $150mm.

Prior to MoVoxx, Alec founded inFreeDA – a free 411 advertiser-sponsored directory assistance service that was acquired by AT&T (NYSE: T). Prior to inFreeDA, Alec worked as an investment banker at JPMorgan’s media and telecommunications leveraged finance group.

Alec is a limited partner/advisor at Eniac Ventures and Naya Ventures. He is also an advisor to Hearst Corporation on mobile investments. Alec graduated with a double Honors degree in Economics and Business Administration at the Haas School of Business from the University of California, Berkeley.

Bogdan Iordache CEO How to Web

Tech entrepreneur, geek, Star Trek fan. Co-founder and organizer of the How to Web Conference, one of the biggest tech conferences in Eastern Europe. Founder of Conectoo (email marketing service), co-founder of Stagii pe Bune (IT&C student internship program). Going for the long run.

Maria Constantinescu Co-founder CEO Curious Quests Ltd aka SlickFlick

Born and raised in Romania, Maria moved to the New York to attend law school at Columbia University where she specialized in intellectual property. Her career in the US and UK has focused on media, film and technology (Pennie Edmonds, Shazam and Freesat).

Since 2011 Maria has been developing SlickFlick, a storyboards app that allows creatives and consumers alike to make and view storyboards with animated photos, graphics and text. SlickFlick simplifies and improves content creation by placing the focus on narrative.

Mike Butcher European Editor TechCrunch

Mike Butcher is the European Editor of TechCrunch, co-founder of the TechHub network and advisor to the Mayor of London on digital. A former grunge rock drummer, Mike has since written for newspapers and magazines including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The New Statesman. He was named one of Britain’s Top 100 “digital power-brokers” by Wired UK in 2012 and a World Economic Forum Media Leader. He Twitters at @mikebutcher.