It’s not every day I come into contact with a modern-day Renaissance man. Someone who has a wide interest and is good at many different things. So how does Romanian entrepreneur Alin Rosca do it?
Alin Rosca (@LinkedIn) has been a child actor appearing in commercials and movies, a gymnast, football player, an online trader who lost all of his money in a single day, and startup founder for multiple companies. After moving to the UK and starting an office cleaning and candle business, Alin moved back to Bucharest to launch RepsMate an AI & Data Analytics Start-up that analyzes Customers’ needs and behavior in order to transform call center and sales agent representatives into top performers.
Throughout his life, Alin has chosen the road less traveled by and purposely has placed himself in interesting situations that have allowed him to elevate his social skills and improve his sales tactics. Like the time he worked as a coffee artist and told customers - “from today on, I’m going to make you the best cartoons that you have ever seen in your coffee”. Or the time he moved to Holland and took on a commission-only gig where he helped increased a restaurant’s foot traffic and revenue significantly.
Romanian Renaissance man indeed, please enjoy!
Let's jump right in as Elena and I talk about his acting career when he was a kid to kick things off.
And after that, I was trading on the light platforms around 10,000 euros. And I stick with my strategy for one week and I lost all the money in one day.
most of my life, I would say my child life. I was I wanted to become an actor and I spend a lot of time. I was acting in commercials and in movies.
So if you Google Alin actor, you will find some stuff, something about me. All right. What kind of movies? Adventure, horror, movies, comedy movies, any, anything like that? To be honest, all sorts of movies. I wasn't the cherry picker. I was just enjoying it to being there. And I played also in Romanian movies American movies.
One of them is a madhouse is a horror movie. Okay. I was children back then. I think I was like, 10 years old or something like that. Very comfortable in front of the camera. This was something that you just naturally, I can do this. I can memorize lines.
I think it was a skill that has developed over time, probably. Okay. Did your mom push you into that? Into the acting? Chilly, my mom was not pushing me to do nothing. Everything, what I wanted to do, she was just saying, okay, let's do it.
As example, after two years of gymnastics, The sport, the gymnastic. Yeah. I said, I don't want any more, this, I want football. So I went doing four years football. And after that I was saying, I don't want put anymore. I want to play tennis and things like that. And she was saying okay. Everything. I think this was really good for myself to develop myself.
And most of the parents are saying you are not allowed to do that. You cannot do that. We don't have enough money to do that, but my parents always tried to do everything that me and my sister wanted. And that was really nice. Actually, his gym is gymnastic as demanding as it looks on TV.
And I know, especially here in Romania it's very, it's a, in the culture, you have a history of the Olympics. Nadia Comaneci. I know I just said her last name wrong, but is it very demanding when you start the sport, when you're doing the sport? All the sports argumenting. If you refer at the pressure that the coach is putting on it, check each children's.
Yeah, the coaches one, at least when I was young, now they are not that demanding anymore. They don't really care to be honest, because I have a cousin he's playing football for 10 years or so he's still in the high school, but from syncing things, he was. Seven years old or something like that. He's playing football and his coat is not really a coach, they don't try anymore to motivate them, to push them as much as possible in order to make performance and things like that.
Yeah. Yeah. But it's one thing to if you're playing football to run around the cones to practice your pap PRA you know, you're passing. But when I think of gymnastics, I think. There's a lot of just strength that's required to be able to spin on the bars, do a couple of different flips and then have the mental focus to have your hands in the right place to catch the bar again.
So that way you don't land on your face. I'm just wondering from a mental focus point of view, is it a lot more demanding than some of the other sports that you played? I think he's the same, honestly, because you have to do it that until you doing it, like in entrepreneurship as well, you have to practice a lot until you succeed.
Okay. Okay. So also read that back in 2012, and you're working as a barista for Gloria Jean's gourmet coffee. And while there you're a team leader in some sort of barista competition, What kind of competitions were baristas participating in while you were there during this time, basically, as a barista, you have also the job to make people laughing or smiling is not just about the coffee.
Okay. And the competition are about how you can make the best coffee, how you can make them to look the best. How you can impress your customers, how it can make them feel good. And you can choose to make regular coffee or to be nice and polite and to enjoy your job. And th that's why I went to the barista in high school after the high school, because it's called art latte.
So you can make art also from the coffee. Like everything else. Actually, if you enjoy, you can do nice things and you can you can make people happy, but I can't imagine. I Of course everybody's happy to get the coffee that they've been craving for. I'm a coffee addict. I've got to have my coffee in the morning.
And then after lunch, But I imagine that when I'm in a Starbucks or somewhere else that I'm not really laughing or too excited because I got my coffee. A lot of it, like you said, comes down to the person that's serving it to me. Was there anything that from a human interaction point that you really practice, are you honed in like to improve your skill in interacting with people while you were there?
I think it come naturally to me after I was acting after I went to all those sports after I went in that in Gulu and I was speaking with people. So it's something that I enjoy, I'm really empathetic. And if you would come in Gloria jeans and I would say, Hey, what's your name? And you said, airy Kerry from today on are gonna make you the best.
Cartoons in the, in your coffee that you ever seen before you would come the second time to see what is the next one? So you were making like cartoons in the coffee. Yeah, I was not the best at the beginning, but after a while, I started to develop this skill as well. And I would just randomly ask, what do you want to see in your coffee?
And some of them would say, I don't know. I like to see the sun. Okay. I can make the sun. I can not make your face, but some regular stuff I can make by hand, not by having some cartoons over there and put some chocolate and sprinkles and things like that, and make them by hand and people.
We're really, if you probably in a us, this was something more developed than in Romania, because I was doing this 10 years ago. Yes. Yes. For the making the different cartoons I'm not really sure about that, but from going the extra effort for customer service and trying to please the customers.
I think definitely. So if you were doing that obviously stood out, it was memorable and people would go back because they appreciated the service. I do the same thing. If there's two bakeries that are very close to each other, I'm going to go to the one, not necessarily where.
The croissants are better, but what I feel like I'm getting better service. They, they remember me, they say hi, they say, good morning. And dad, if you can just do that from a retail perspective you definitely have an edge here. I think here in Romania okay. So you're at Gloria Jean's coffee, and then 2014 comes around you just to launch your first startup.
I think it's called top world traders. What was that business like? How did you discover there was an opportunity there and can you tell us a little bit more about that experience? Yeah, actually at some point I was thinking what I want to do, because at the beginning I want to be an actor and I quit that.
And I was thinking what I really want from life, and I was. Finding out that I want to become the richest man in the world. And I was thinking, how can I do that? Okay. Most of the richest persons in the world are a hedge fund managers. I want to become a hedge fund manager. And I was trying to reach that goal by developing a trading platform.
Okay. Firstly, I was thinking how can I improve traders? And I had to trade by myself and lose money to understand why people lose money trading. Okay. How much money did you lose to figure out this lesson? Fourth, personally, I was trading on demo accounts. After that I want to casinos too, to get.
Usual with the emotions. And after that, I was trading on the light platforms around 10,000 euros. And I stick with my strategy for one week and I lost all the money in one day.
Okay. How is that possible? Because even if you invest your money in a stock that, it rarely will go down, below 50% in value. And that's even when earnings cost calls come out and the company didn't meet expectations and analysts, don't like the stock and people, begin dumping it.
It's very rare. For start to go that much down in value. So I don't think you put all your money in one stock. What was your strategy? I had a diversified strategy. I was trading multiple stocks and currencies. And at some point because I made my strategy for one week.
So during that week I was making money, but at the end in the following day, I had an intuition, and when you feel something you don't think any more about if it's right or not, and you take that decision. And from that point before I take a decision based on my intuition, I'm always.
Considering all the other factors as well. All right. So what was the intuition to put all your money in one specific stock or currency? My intuition was to trade gold and gold had the big volatility back then. And that especially day I think, and I lost all the money because I was very certain that my intuition was right.
Okay. And most of the money went in few hours actually. And because I didn't respect my money management strategy, I lost all of them. So I learned that you have to respect your strategy and you should consider all other factors, not just your inpatients. How did this impact you? You're pretty young and this is a lot amount of money that you probably had been saving over time.
Were you very depressed? Did you look at this as a big failure in your life? What was your reaction? Honestly it had affected me because I was more joyful before that. Now I'm like I'm not enjoying as much as I was enjoying the light before that day, but
I don't know who would. Yeah, it was actually, it was the savings that I had worked for a few years. So seeing, yeah, it has, it had an impact on me and Now I'm more cautious when I'm taking decisions. Yeah. So I am always trying to see the full part of the glass, right now, not the empty one.
The good parking things, not the bad ones. Yeah. And I think I can empathize with you. There was a time where, my investments were doing really well. I began to get a little bit cocky thinking, Oh wow. They're up X percent and you start playing numbers in your head.
Maybe in six months, there'll be even more percent higher. And instead of paying off some debt now, I think I'll just keep investing and look for more riskier opportunities because you can't lose everything is making money. And then all of a sudden. 30% of your portfolio is down and it does linger with you.
I've been in in that same position, but I think. Because you're young, it's a really good time in your life to learn that lesson. At least it didn't happen, much later in life. So I would have jumped to the UK because a little bit after that you're in the UK.
What prompts you to move to? Is it London or were you another city in the UK? Was near London, was Horsham. I wanted to make a change. And my Godfather's were living over there. So I moved with my wife over there. We knew that it didn't represent a much risk because we had a place to live. We didn't have to pay rent. We had also money for some times. Also my godfather find the job for my wife. So was okay.
And I had time to, to think about what I want to open, like a business, out of a few different things. There was a company called hobbyist. Now another company you create a car, clean Sussex and then another one called warm fragrances. So it seemed like you had a lot of different ideas and you saw many different opportunities.
What. How did you let's start with the cleaning business? Like where did you see this opportunity? How did you come about of discovering a wait a minute? I think there's an opportunity here. What prompted that? To be honest, my godfather had a friend who had the cleaning company and He provides me all the knowledge that I needed in order to open this business.
Gotcha. And in the meanwhile, I was also speaking with with the owner that had Airbnb places, and they told me that is a need for this type of service because most of their, the companies that were providing the service or not. Providing the full expectations. Okay. And as I told you earlier, I'm really empathetic.
I like to do things right. And to be perfect in everything that I'm doing they gave me this chance to work with them. And so how were you managing all three of these ventures? You also had the one fragrances, which you're making candles. You're trying to come up with new recipes and different scents.
So what did the average day look like? When you're trying to juggle all these three businesses work, I had based when I was working 16 hours per day the only thing that I felt like with the fake is my relationship with my wife and that's why we came back in Romania. But beside, beside that, I really enjoy to work that much, to be honest I don't really like to stay and relax, which of the three did did you enjoy working on more of those three startups?
I think the warm fragrances because I was working with my wife. Yeah. And also we was trying to sell the candles in in the markets and I had this advantage to speak with people. Okay. So you're making these candles. Is this all this done being done at your place at your apartment or your room?
Yeah, actually we'll think them in our kitchen, because you have to boil the wax, you have to put the right amount of always and things like that was, the smell is quite strong over there, but that was nice. What was nice to work with my wife. So you were like a walking round, walking around piece of lavender.
It sounds like. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And how, who were you selling these to? Just friends and family, or were you also selling them to different niche retail stores? Like how were you getting these out to the market? Actually I didn't sold them to the stores. We're selling them in the market and online.
There were, every two to three weeks there, you can find a market where we can go and sell things. And I, for friends and family, I just provide them for free to enjoy them. I was not selling to them. Okay. Okay. So let's go back. You're in the UK for a few years and you moved back to bluegrass.
And I understand you're a big believer that companies who are not actively coaching their sales and customer care agents, that these companies have high attrition and they experienced low job satisfaction. At least the workers do. Now, this has ultimately led to you creating your latest adventure, which is reps mate, how is reps mate, helping companies transform their reps and to top performers.
Our vision is to build a platform that uses a mix of technologies and meet some functional functionalities that will enhance all the representatives. And by that, we want to actively coach the reps during the conversation that the conversations and also past conversations as well, because this is what they miss the most.
The managers don't really have time for everyone. They don't really build a relationship with each employees because most of them are leaving. So it's useless to try to make a new friend if you know that there are four 40% chances that employee will live in a few months. So during the conversation to coach him does that mean, when they're on the call with a customer they're also receiving some feedback based on their conversation through AI, like, how is this, how does this work?
Yeah, exactly. So more than the feedback, they were going to receive also suggestions, but also they're going to receive what is the best possible answer that they could give to a certain. Questions or objection, because you don't know what would be the best answer to give to customers at a certain point.
Even the managers don't know they could, they have their intuition, but they don't know for sure that this is the best one. And this is what AI could do. Yeah. What's been the response from companies who have implemented a rep's mate. Into into their organizations.
So basically we are still piloting the product with our partners and they are. Amazed about what the technology can do, actually, because most of things, the things are like, find the fix, maybe it's possible. Maybe it's not, we will see. But when they are, when they see what is really happening, They are amazed because they don't at the beginning.
They don't really believe that is possible what we are, what we want to do, but after they are tasting it they are shocked. Actually. I lean that's great to hear. That's really cool technology having built a few different startups. Were there any failures or lessons that you learned that you think , has set you up for success?
Yeah, I first one, I would say that you have to marry your co-founder because if you want to have success. You have to be transparent, you have to trust him and he has to trust you as in a marriage. You don't have another way. This is the most important thing. The second thing is that you always have to do a smoke test because it's the cheapest way to find out if your product is gonna have an impact on your customers.
Otherwise you just spent money and you will not know for sure if you will succeed or not. Okay. Eileen, what books or podcasts have greatly influenced your career? So I think the first book that I read and I loved it the most was the richest man in Babylon. I love that book. I've de gifted that book to a few different people.
What did you like about that book? So I think after I read that book, I started to save money and I understood that you have to find the right advisors. No just any advisor or you have to find the right investors to help you along the way. Yup. Okay. Eileen, thanks so much for being on innovators can laugh.
Where can people learn more about you and reps mate? We are pretty easily to be found. Everyone can search for and the reps mate. And they could go on LinkedIn, Facebook on our website or wherever they they search for us. They'll find us. Okay. Okay. Wonderful. And for everyone listening until next week, this is Eric, saying goodbye.