Adela WienerFrom college graduate with no tech background whatsoever to CEO of leading low-code software development platform, Adela Wiener, CEO of Aurachain, has a habit of defying all odds.

Growing up in communist Romania surrounded by fear and constraints, she believes no one should underestimate their constant desire to learn and push for better. It’s this determination that has enabled Adela to carve out her own role within the tech industry, committing over 12 years to the development and global growth of a tech company and leading the charge to empower companies with the tools to build and launch their own innovative business applications.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost my entire career. Just eight months out of college, I made the decision to leave my marketing role in a tech company for a new venture – supporting a colleague at the time with a new start-up, the legacy company which became Aurachain. I learnt everything I know from the ground up through different technology roles – from analyst to project manager to solutions architect – before moving into operations and business development, embarking on international expansion.

With a strong pedigree in the process automation space, we saw that the future was increasingly going to be about empowering organisations to build their own digital process applications rather than having to rely on others to do it for them. We essentially reinvented ourselves as a platform business and moved into the low-code application platform market to help organisations create enterprise grade digital applications with very little to no coding skills.

I have since taken the company on a full transformation from a service provider to a platform business, securing series A funding and growing Aurachain into a low-code software development platform and a challenger in the market, changing the way business and IT teams collaborate to deliver better apps.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I sort of fell into the tech industry. I had no tech experience and I’d always hated computer science at school! Once I graduated from college, I worked in the marketing department for a tech company, despite having no tech background whatsoever. A colleague there was creating his own start-up and together, with three other colleagues, we created the legacy company of Aurachain. I made a promise to him that, regardless of whether I liked or hated it, I would not leave in the first six months. Fast forward 15 years later and I’m the CEO.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

When I first embarked on international expansion, we didn’t have a product or a sales culture and knew nothing about marketing. I had little understanding of international markets, but I continued to push myself and learn on the job. So, to say we faced challenges would be an understatement! Everything was learning by doing and it was incredibly hard.

I also found we struggled in some markets much more than others. I felt more comfortable in the Northern American market than some European markets culturally. I’d always worked with US technologies and vendors and within that culture so that was my comfort zone.

However, I’m a firm believer that nothing teaches you better than the school of life and learning through experiences outside of your comfort zone. Almost four years later, after a difficult journey, we won our first clients in Western Europe and Australia.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I took several risks to make Aurachain the company it is today and (thankfully!) it paid off. Despite being a successful IT services business carrying out multi-million-dollar contracts and winning bids against the ‘big four’ consulting firms, we realised the company wasn’t where it wanted to be. I made the bold decision to embark on a full-scale company transformation to turn Aurachain into a low-code platform business, and we entered the market at a truly pivotal time for the technology. The pandemic gave us an opportunity to show the true value of low-code as businesses had to evolve their technology stacks and critical business applications quickly.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I have courage and a risk DNA – I truly believe there’s nothing I can’t achieve for the business. But I’m also nothing without my team. I’ve built an incredible team that I love. Aurachain is anything but a pyramid where decisions are centralised. Everyone has a voice and has made a great contribution to where we are today.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you invest in yourself and your knowledge, you can do anything. That was the whole philosophy that guided me through my career.

The tech world today is an infinite world, so you cannot operate with a finite mind. Those who believe that the tech space remains a largely unchanging landscape with the same players, or where the same rules apply for long periods, are probably not prepared to undertake a career in tech. This is a space where disruption is common and change is the norm, regardless of whether we’re speaking about career goals, outcomes, and metrics. So, the only rule is to be ready – always embrace surprises and see opportunities in them.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Yes, I do. There’s still a lot of bias around female founders in tech, but the situation is improving.

I have always been the kind to follow my own intuition and beliefs and not to ask for permission, and this is exactly how I approached my career in tech. Once I decided I was passionate about it, my gut feeling told me this was my mission, even though nothing was in my favour to succeed. So, if a fearful young female born in a communist country with absolutely no tech background can become a relentless tech entrepreneur, any other woman with a passion for tech can do it too!

Marisa Peer once said, “Make your belief of where you want to get, then link the journey with pleasure, not pain, and finally, make the unfamiliar, familiar”. I think this expresses very well the mindset I would recommend not just for a tech career, but also for life in general.

There are currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I feel every tech company should have a well-balanced team with an equal ratio of women to men, and when it comes to investing in female founders, venture capital funds should operate in the same way.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I am a big reader and I am all about personal growth, self-discipline and living in harmony. From this perspective, some of my favourite authors include Menis Yousrsi, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra. I also love Simon Sinek and Brene Brown.

I’m currently very focused on understanding all the aspects of SaaS scaling for the Aurachain growth journey, so I am a member of the On Deck community and an avid reader of any material around what the venture capital world calls ‘blitzscaling’.

I also love podcasts. One of my favourites at the moment is Village Global Venture Stories, which covers all things venture capital and tech through interviews with leading tech entrepreneurs and investors.