Startup of the Day – AnswerJoy

AnswerJoy is the place where you compete against your friends for fun or for money, by answering questions from various domains.


Interview with Paul V. Borza of AnswerJoy

Tell us who you are and your role in the company.

My name is Paul Borza and I am in charge with designing the user interface of AnswerJoy. I have worked closely with my sister, Manuela Borza, to bring a cartoonish-like look that our users would enjoy; after all, we’re in the entertainment field.

What did you do before creating your company?

I recruited Daniel Ghiță, Mihai Nadăș, and Ovidiu Sabou in order to participate as a team in the software design invitational of Imagine Cup in 2006. Back then, we won the first prize and represented Romania to the Central and Eastern Europe regional finals in Maribor, Slovenia. In 2007, we competed again and this time we reached the worldwide finals in Seoul, Korea. We were very proud of our successes so far and we decided to keep working together as we and others noticed our potential. The obvious next step was to create AnswerJoy where each of us had 25% shares. The challenge is much more real now.

How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?

We feel confident, but in the same time we understand that we have a long journey ahead of us. We look forward to making a difference in the way people play massively multiplayer online games.

What is your company’s mission?

Keep entertaining people with knowledge until this runs out…

In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:

AnswerJoy is the place where you compete against your friends for fun or for money, by answering questions from various domains.

How did you get the idea for your company?

Our main focus in choosing the idea behind AnswerJoy was the business model. We believe that ads on web pages are perfect as long as you’re highly popular. As a start-up, we wanted our users to pay us a small fee right from the start for our service of conducting this trivia-like game. When we were researching possible ideas, we used to meet regularly every week and each of us would come up with an idea which was then criticized by the others. After careful consideration, we chose Ovidiu’s idea of building the largest multiplayer online knowledge game the world has yet to see. We believe we did the right thing of setting such a big goal!

Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?

I can’t say that we’re actively searching for funding, but if someone would come up with an offer we would carefully consider it. With we’re targeting the international market. However, we have sold the exclusive rights to use AnswerJoy in Romania to Iluminatus, under a new brand Till the end of the year we’ll be helping Iluminatus have a good launch and be sure that the public will enjoy this localized version. On the same line, we wish them best of luck!

How many employees do you have? How many developers?

The company was founded by Daniel Ghiță, Mihai Nadăș, Ovidiu Sabou, and me. So far, we are the only people that are driving AnswerJoy’s vision of becoming the largest online knowledge game in the world. Regarding your question, we are all developers working in an agile fashion in order for the company to succeed locally and internationally. Plus, we are all pursuing our master’s degree in computer science at the largest university in Romania, Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca.

Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring and where?

As we have not launched internationally yet, we consider that no extra help is needed. However, once we start having enough traffic and we think that we need to introduce new features requested by users, we’ll surely start hiring competent people from various fields (i.e. after a serious interview with each of them).

Which platform are you building on? Why?

We are using a mix of technologies that enable our massively multiplayer online game to function as expected. One layer of the server-side service is written in C# and the other one in an unconventional programming language called Erlang. You’ll also notice that the client-side is running high-performance JavaScript code.

Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet area?

If you co-founded a start-up in a non-US country then you know it’s hard to target an international market. That’s why we saw opportunities in the online world.

What do you think about the BizSpark Program?

To sum our thoughts up about the BizSpark program, I would say: every software product you need in order to succeed, for basically nothing. We appreciate Microsoft’s will to help us and other start-ups around the world.

Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, and Small minds discuss people”. When one starts a new business, one begins from an idea, thus making every software entrepreneur a great mind. I would say that one should start a new company when one is in university as one does not have many responsibilities. So if you’re in university and you have an idea, go for it! By bringing ideas to life you prove yourself that you’re a great person.

Who’s your role model?

I always liked how Arnold Schwarzenegger pursued his goals no matter what those were even since he was 10 years old. He believed in himself and became a great man. I would like to think that I have his mental strength in order to pursue my dreams and become a successful entrepreneur.

What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview

Think of an idea and bring it to life.

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