Ten years. Over 24,000 users from 114 countries, spanning 4,525 projects, startups, and ventures. A decade-long journey with Babele, an endeavor birthed from a vision of Emanuele and Ruxandra, two individuals brought together by serendipity, passion, and a shared dream.
Our story began on an unassuming evening in January 2011 when Ruxandra, upon learning about Babele from Alberto, tried to sign up as a mentor. Only to discover it was merely a prototype website. Intrigued and passionate about the idea, she met with Emanuele to discuss the platform. That very night marked two beginnings – our personal journey as a couple and our professional journey with Babele.
While living in Paris, we balanced our corporate jobs with sleepless nights and weekends dedicated to Babele. We endlessly shared our vision with friends and family, fueled by the belief that this platform had the potential to change the world.
In 2012, our idea validation came in the form of a successful crowdfunding campaign. By January 2013, we bid goodbye to our corporate careers and moved to Bucharest to breathe life into Babele, bootstrapping every step of the way. By August, our “first child” – the Babele platform – was born.
Challenges, Dreams, and Persistence
We aspired to revolutionize the world of social entrepreneurship. The dream? To cultivate a collaborative ecosystem where social entrepreneurs could refine their business models, receive feedback, and transform their concepts into powerful ventures addressing pressing global issues.
Our journey wasn’t without its hardships. The first six years tested our resilience. We extended our initial 1-2 year plan in Romania to 8 years, influenced by financial constraints and our growing affinity for the makers community at Nod Makerspace.
Growing, Evolving, and Learning
Over the years, our perspectives evolved. We observed converging ideas across various terms – social entrepreneur, b-corp, stewardship owned venture, teal organization, zebra startup, and more. These all challenge the traditional corporate ethos, advocating a shift towards acknowledging all stakeholders and recognizing a company’s holistic impact.
Our own understanding matured, and with it came personal growth. We embraced meditation, therapy, and personal development journeys. During this time, we also became parents, which in itself was a transformative experience, teaching us patience, reshaping our priorities, and providing profound insights into nurturing Babele.
At times, the weight of our ambitions compared to our perceived impact was overwhelming. The journey made us more grounded, emphasizing the importance of patience, consistency, integrity, critical thinking, and always striving to make decisions aligned with our initial vision.
Today, Babele thrives with the dedication of a team that includes remarkable individuals like Noemi Salantiu and Chris Coles, who resonate deeply with our vision. We owe immense gratitude to Diego and InnoCV, who have stood by us since 2015.
To the Future
As we reflect on the past decade, we remain humbly aware of our journey’s ups and downs. While we may not claim to have ‘changed the world’, we take pride in trying to set a good example every day and genuinely enjoying the ride. To our clients and users: Thank you, we would have never made it without you. Here’s to many more years of growth, learning, and evolution!
Emanuele and Ruxandra, Co-founders of Babele