Cristian Ureche, Product Manager in Cluj-Napoca, Cluj County, Romania
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Cristian Ureche

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Location
Cluj-Napoca, Cluj County, Romania
Toptal Member Since
May 22, 2019

Cristian is a technical product manager with experience shipping tech products in more than 30 countries. He later became an entrepreneur and built an award-winning IoT startup pioneering PropTech and smart access technologies. He was invited out of 2,000 entrepreneurs to join the French Tech Ticket program in Paris for one year. Besides possessing expertise in AI, Cristian is well versed in the end-to-end product development cycle with an active and influential leadership style.

Project Highlights

NEOM Smart City
Worked with the tech and digital sector of NEOM, a Saudi city being built in Tabuk Province in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is planned to incorporate smart city technologies and function as a tourist destination.
Parking Plus
Led the product roadmap strategy and development of a B2B software platform for the parking industry launched in seven countries.
Capterra Software Review Platform
Led product development from zero to one by coordinating product initiatives in collaboration with product design, tech, content operations, analytics, and branding teams.

Expertise

Work Experience

Product Management Consultant

2019 - PRESENT
STRIML
  • Helped business executives and startup founders transform their visions into pragmatic product initiatives.
  • Determined product requirements and solution architectures for minimum viable product (MVP) experiments and growth stages.
  • Contributed to building teams aligned with the company's objectives and supervised delivery.
  • Defined customer discovery and validation strategies, prioritizing four types of customer interviews: exploratory, validation, satisfaction-oriented, and efficiency.
  • Set competition analysis procedures focusing on the product team, customer base, design, brand, and speed of execution.
  • Established growth, retention, engagement, user happiness, and revenue metrics.
  • Conceived feedback loops to control the strategic direction of product development.

Practice Lead, Applied AI and Advanced Analytics Solutions

2023 - 2023
Algomarketing Ltd
  • Guided founder, assessing AI product feasibility and ensuring strategic decision-making success.
  • Assessed the suitability of several AI models for predicting the next-best action to drive sales conversions.
  • Worked with senior executives on the feasibility of new product initiatives.

Senior Product Manager

2021 - 2022
Gartner
  • Started zero-to-one product development processes for the digital markets division's new initiatives.
  • Led product enhancement initiatives by driving cross-department projects.
  • Defined and prioritized product roadmaps in line with business objectives.
  • Advised on recommendation engines using artificial intelligence.
  • Proposed the A/B testing hypothesis for conversion rate optimization.
  • Aligned stakeholders from different departments and divisions to meet business objectives and project timelines.

Senior Product Manager

2020 - 2022
LeadsPedia
  • Led B2B product development initiatives for next-generation performance marketing platforms.
  • Advised on product suite enhancements based on industry trends and customer feedback.
  • Helped the team migrate internal workflows from Kanban to Scrum.

Founder | Chief Product Officer

2014 - 2019
Parking+plus
  • Defined and built a complete software suite, including mobile apps, a website, and a back office, sold in seven countries on four continents.
  • Built a team of 15 talents and an ecosystem of more than 20 suppliers, including third-party software systems and hardware providers.
  • Raised funds from investors and opened and managed business accounts in Latin America, the US, Europe, and the Middle East.
  • Spearheaded three acceleration/incubation programs in Poland, Romania, and France.
  • Won the Best IoT Startup for Business award in Romania in 2015.
  • Received an invitation—out of 2,000 worldwide startups—to join the French Tech Ticket program in Paris for one year.

Member of the Innovation Group

2012 - 2019
Cluj IT Cluster
  • Developed smart specialization strategies for cities in Romania and evangelized and framed open-data methodologies.
  • Strengthened the positioning of Cluj-Napoca as a leading tech hub in Europe by involving in international conferences and events, delivering keynotes or acting as a panelist on topics related to smart cities and the automotive industry.
  • Conceived educational curricula for ITC undergraduate students in Romania aligned with the market needs and technological trends.

Country Ambassador

2017 - 2018
Revolut
  • Helped the company with its go-to-market strategy implementation in Romania, evangelizing the amazing product that made Revolut a unicorn.
  • Collected market feedback and curated it in line with the company protocols.
  • Attended company events and strengthened collaboration with other ecosystem stakeholders.

Presales Engineering Manager | Client Executive | Delivery Manager

2010 - 2014
PitechPlus
  • Improved the bid-to-win ratio of the company by 20% and helped the sales team close a total of $15 million in contracts in three years.
  • Managed a selective portfolio of strategic customers—including Publicis Groupe, Renault, Adecco, World Customs Organization, and TF1—on fixed-price and Agile contractual frameworks.
  • Led a delivery unit of 35 technical talents, coaching talents on Agile methodologies.
  • Drove handover procedures for projects of different sizes and stages, successfully ramping up new engineering teams.
  • Supervised the successful transition of several projects from Waterfall to Scrum.

Assistant Professor

2012 - 2013
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
  • Taught software engineering fundamentals and object-oriented programming principles using Java.
  • Combined insights from the tech industry with the best theoretical practices to give students meaningful examples and project ideas.
  • Mentored and coached graduate students concerning their software engineering career paths.

Software Developer

2008 - 2010
Business Logic Systems
  • Built enterprise software platforms for mobile telecommunication operators such as Vodafone and Telstra.
  • Participated in the conception of highly-scalable platform architecture design. The team was in charge of the largest Microsoft SQL database in the world at that time.
  • Developed an enterprise product based on workflow engines.

NEOM Smart City

https://www.neom.com/

Worked with the tech and digital sector of NEOM, a Saudi city being built in Tabuk Province in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is planned to incorporate smart city technologies and function as a tourist destination.

I worked with NEOM's tech and digital sector to invent the future of urban living. I created roadmaps, product visions, and OKRs for product initiatives to support the development of the cognitive city. I also coordinated with the highest-level stakeholders to synchronize product initiatives with strategic objectives.

Parking Plus

Led the product roadmap strategy and development of a B2B software platform for the parking industry launched in seven countries.

I conceived the vision, mission, and product values, setting the north star for the entire product line. I developed MVP experiments and associated KPIs and owned the roadmap for all digital initiatives related to the product line. I also led the UX optimization initiatives and product interface revamp, identified market opportunities, and opened business accounts in seven countries. I then developed a network of partners—identifying additional revenue streams—and managed the annual budgets for product development, business development, and platform operations. Finally, the business received the following notable industry recognitions:

• French Tech Ticket Laureate, Paris 2017 – Selected out of 2,000+ worldwide startups
• Smart City Industry Awards, Bucharest 2016 – Best Mobility Solution
• Silicon Valley Open Doors, Dublin 2016 – Invited European Startup
• Best IoT Startup for Business, Bucharest 2015
• Panelist and Moderator for Smart City conferences, workshops, and exhibitions

Capterra Software Review Platform

https://www.capterra.com/

Led product development from zero to one by coordinating product initiatives in collaboration with product design, tech, content operations, analytics, and branding teams.

Capterra is the world's leading software reviews and selection platform. In 2022, Capterra launched a new product initiative under my product leadership. The product had a 3x increase in traffic month over month until the end of my engagement.

Cristalco

http://cristalco.com/en/

Led a business consultation for a CRM or ERP system recommendation.

I led a business analysis for the three business lines of the group concerning the strategy of adopting a digital transformation approach for the sales organization. I conducted sales process design workshops with key stakeholders, improving actions and adapting them to digital operations. I also performed a business suitability assessment for off-the-shelf CRM solutions—such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Sugar CRM—and delivered a set of digitized sales workflows, including a CRM implementation strategy.

Mntrni

Led product-market fit initiatives and the migration to a new software team, managing the product development and the lifecycle retention framework.

Mntrni is a two-sided marketplace for mentoring through video sessions and talent economy acceleration. It connects experts in business, research, and personal growth fields with users seeking professional advice. Mntrni provides mobile-friendly capabilities for a tailored and personalized experience.

I handled product road mapping and planning and managed the transition between different engineering teams, addressing technical depth. I also proposed a retention lifecycle framework optimization and customer journey enhancement.

Filae (formerly Genealogie)

http://www.filae.com/

Led the database redesign and data migration toward a modern normalized SQL structure.

I led the database redesign according to best practices and project needs in terms of performance and scale. I successfully migrated significant database content with minimum impact on service availability: with less than 12 hours of downtime for more than 500 million records in migration. I also coordinated a product revamp for the digital archive online viewer.

Cluj-Napoca Brained City

https://www.clujit.ro/

Led the mobility vertical of the first Romanian smart city project developed and implemented in Cluj-Napoca.

Cluj-Napoca Brained City was developed under the umbrella of CLUJ IT, a cluster-based organization formed by active organizations in the information technology field. The project had a budget of $2 million and is a reference for good practices in Eastern Europe.

Smart Access Box

Led the product design and development of Smart Access Box devices and the software platform.

I drove the product design and development of Smart Access Box hardware and software: the devices and the software platform, including embedded software and iOS and Android mobile applications. I also coordinated an international team spread across Switzerland, Romania, Moldavia, and China.
2009 - 2012

PhD in Image Processing Using Optimization Algorithms (AI-style)

Technical University of Cluj-Napoca - Cluj-Napoca, Romania

2004 - 2009

Bachelor's Degree in Telecommunications and Digital Networks

Technical University of Cluj-Napoca - Cluj-Napoca, Romania

JANUARY 2019 - PRESENT

Inbound Sales

HubSpot Academy

Tools

InVision, Balsamiq Mockups, Jira, Confluence, Slack, Zoom, Figma, Google Analytics, JavaScript Testing, JavaScript Debugging

Platforms

Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Mixpanel, Coda

Paradigms

Scrum, Kanban, Agile Product Management, Waterfall Development, Agile Project Management, Agile Software Development, Marketplace Platforms, HIPAA Compliance, Agile, Data Science

Industry Expertise

Connected Cars, Telecommunications, Healthcare, Public Transportation, Health & Wellness, Specialty Healthcare, Intermodal Transport

Other

Mobile Apps, Feature Planning, User Stories, Enterprise SaaS, Enterprise, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Android, iOS, Smart Cities, Artificial Intelligence (AI), IT Business Analysis, Requirements, Adobe Experience Design (XD), Product Planning, B2B, Waterfall Delivery, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Deep Neural Networks, Machine Learning, Presales, Wireframing, Resource Sharing, Project Delivery, Business Analysis, Leadership, Product Strategy, Product Roadmaps, Go-to-market Plans, User Research, Business Models, Product Design, Product Marketing, Product Frameworks, Innovation, Product Ownership, Product Discovery, Product Delivery, Product Owner, Strategy, Startup Consulting, Early-stage Startups, Product Launch, Aha!, Fundraising, Ideation, Startup Funding, Product Growth, Solution Architecture, Product Requirements Documentation (PRD), Startup Growth Strategy Development, Lean Startups, Two-sided Marketplaces, Information & Communications Technology (ICT), Technical Product Management, Production, Distributed Team Management, Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Parking, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Product-market Fit, Microsoft Azure, Video Streaming, International Growth, Proptech, PNC SmartAccess, Product Management, Software Requirements Specifications (SRS), Parking, Web & Mobile Applications, Validation, HTML, Node.js, MySQL, B2B Product Management, Waterfall Methodology, Product Leadership, Roadmaps, Scope Management, Technical Documentation, SaaS, TensorFlow, Keras, React, Microsoft SQL Server, Cloud Architecture, ARKit, Investor Relations, eCommerce, Python, Video Processing, Feature Prioritization, App Growth, Product Analytics, React Native, Laravel, Sales, Software, Miro, Account Management, Websites, Marketing, Windows, Java, GraphQL, Create React App, Hardware, .NET, JavaScript, MongoDB, WordPress, Web, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Onboarding, IoT Protocols, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), Web UX, Web UI, Feature Backlog Prioritization, Backlog Grooming, Backlog Management, Estimations, Project Estimation, Remote Team Leadership, JavaScript 6, Digital Product Management, User Experience (UX), Stakeholder Management, Stakeholder Interviews, Image Processing, Research, Digital Networks, Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT), Solution Design, Client Delivery Management, Team Building, Development, Training & Training Content Development, Negotiation, Analytics

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