European Entrepreneur Alexandru Florea Launches Online.IO as a Secret Weapon in the War for Privacy and Free Speech Online
13 years ago, a college dropout with crazy ideas, no money to his name, and lofty goals, a Romanian student named Alexandru Iulian Florea, was weeks away from getting kicked out of his mother’s house after making the decision to leave university. His mother gave him three choices; move out, get a job as a banquet waiter at a hotel, or figure out some way to miraculously make some money online in the next few weeks. He knew he was meant for more than serving tables, and put his last shred of hope into affiliate marketing.
Through a lot of persistence and a little bit of luck, he managed to generate $3,000 USD online. After receiving the payment, he withdraws the money in cash and slammed it onto the family’s dining room table. Since that day, he has generated millions of dollar online and has funded several of his own startups and tech projects. He is the founder of Microleaves, often cited as the largest residential peer to peer proxy network in the world. He is also the founder of Online.io, a project which has won several accolades and is highly regarded for its creativity and real-world application for a cryptocurrency platform.
After experiencing years of success, Florea no longer is concerned about where his next paycheck is going to come from, but there are several things that keep him up at night, and motivate him to continue innovating. The largest issues he is striving to create solutions for revolve around privacy and free speech and empowering global citizens to be able to decentralize their lives from government control.
There are many rags-to-riches stories out there. What makes yours unique?
Really depends on how you would like to interpret the concept of “riches” in this world. For me, being rich means accomplishing my achievements and innovations. Microleaves is my story of creating the biggest residential business proxy network in the world in just 6 years, with multiple Fortune 500 customers, all while being financially bootstrapped. I think that’s an achievement and it’s unique.
Online.Io is the next achievement and innovation on my continuing journey forward. Innovation is at the core of this project, and I’m looking to make it a truly unique story of rags-to-riches, not only for me but for all the people that join our project. At this point in my entrepreneurial career, I have transcended chasing monetary wealth, and all my incentives and motivations revolve around helping others achieve freedom. Freedom financially, freedom to express themselves, and freedom to have a platform to accomplish their dreams.
Tell us about the events leading up to the creation and launch of Online.io?
Online.io is a natural extension of Microleaves, a transition from a B2B business model to a B2C business model. Look at the problems faced by end users in today's online world: privacy, freedom of speech, blocked content. We began to realize that here we are, tackling some of the biggest concerns of the modern world.
These are things that are affecting everyone; people like yourself, me, your friends and everyone around us. Once I realized that it was within my power to make a change, I started projecting and planning how Online.io should look and feel, and how it can be the foundation to solve many of the world’s current and future issues in regards to freedom of information to the people.
When did you first realize that there was a need for a more private way to use the internet?
It all started with the freedom of speech issues that are facing the citizens of China. Then everyone started reading the headlines about data collection programs and schemes by social media networks. But the biggest driver of Online.io is that there has been an increased need for VPN services due to restricted content. Americans and Europeans take much of their freedom to access information for granted, as many countries around the world have very regulated access to information and content from around the world.
Internet censorship is growing around the world. In your opinion, which countries have the strictest laws? How do you feel that affects their citizens?
It’s really a global phenomenon these days, but some of the countries leading the fight to restrict information from their citizens are China and Russia.
My idea is that we live in a modern society where everyone should have the right to express their opinion freely. Imagine that these countries have some absolutely great minds inside their societies, but if you don’t let them express and share their thoughts, how is anyone progressing? This is the platform that Online.io will provide to citizens of the globe, the ability to interact and exchange ideas, information and even currency without borders, privately, and freely.
What are your future plans and goals for Online.io?
We are looking forward to launching our Mainnet and to onboard the first users in our new sharing economy model. We already have more than 60,000 users currently using our privacy browser extensions, and we can’t wait to bring our next round of special products to market.
One of the hardest things for a business is acquiring and managing talent. How do you handle talent management at Online.io?
I’m very passionate about the people that build our products, and we are building a people-centric company with strong values. We also have a global team spread all around the world, so if anyone feels aligned with our mission just send me an email through our website, I’m always happy to bring new innovative and brilliant minds on board.