The story about how a Mexican and a Czech built an international company starting in communist times

In itnig’s Podcast #23 Arturo Quintero, partner at itnig, shares the story of Moravia with us: How he set up the translation company together with his partner in the 90s, how they internationalized and created a global structure and what he has learned in the process.

Moravia is the story of a project that starts in a local market, is proven and reaches success and then takes the next step to internationalise.

At itnig every Friday we sit down to talk with interesting people whom we meet throughout the week and we make a podcast (in Spanish) out of our conversations. You can listen to it on iTunes, subscribe to our channel on Youtube or enjoy it through iVoox.

For this Podcast #23 Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig and Jordi Romero, CEO at Factorial meet with Arturo Quintero, one of our partners at itnig and founder of Moravia to talk about his experiences.

https://upscri.be/5c88ff/

Arturo grew up in Ciudad de México and with luck found his way to study in Poland. During the communist regime, without any political interest he found himself studying in Krakow. “I spent some years there until arriving in Budapest where I met a student whose parents were translators. At that time there were only governmental translation agencies but as you know in this time there were a lot of changes in Europe. Dynamic times when all services like transport and restaurants were liberated. So if you had an idea there was a good chance to build something.”

This is when Moravia, named after the region in Czech Republic, was created. Today it is one of the biggest companies in its sector with a yearly revenue of 50 million $, a strong client base and presence in 9 countries.

It was a great adventure of 22 years leading this company!

You tell your story so easy, but a lot of times this internationalization is hard. How did you take your first steps out of the Czech Republic?

We had big ambitions as we kept seeing that what we were doing was satisfying our clients. They were happy with us. Our business idea in itself is multicultural — localization means adapting the product as if it was created locally — so going global was a natural step for us.

To a certain degree you have to follow your intuition, to just go for it, but you also need a bit of structure, a plan. It’s a mix of both.

Who were your first clients?

Tech companies like Minolta and Hewlett Packard. We were doing translation from English and Czech. And they were looking for local companies to translate manuals and later on displays of photocopy machines. We also started working with Oracle, who already had a team for European languages in Holland, and they gave us their first big contract for Czech. Oracle really liked what we did and asked us to translate to Polish as well. So we set out to create an office in Poland and started working. Next up Hungary and soon we were known for localization to ‘exotic languages’ like Bulgarian, Hungarian…You have to remember the times! There was no internet and all technology, like translation memory, was new.

These first assignments allowed us to see the potential we had. Our goal was to work for Microsoft.

And we finally reached this goal of working for Microsoft in 1995. We added more and more languages and employed technology to help us in our processes. Translation memory is such a technology that allows you to recycle translated pieces as they are saved with their source. The software analyzes the text so that when a similar phrase appears, the translation can be reused. This makes the process quicker, consistent and efficient as we can use content created by other translators in our network as well.


Business model — What is it and how has it evolved?

We follow an Enterprise model lets’ say with few clients but high volume.

When we started out I was the first sales person. Before there was Internet getting access to people who know a certain language or people who know a certain technology was really hard. I am not saying it’s easy today either but there are certain advantages. I was the one who brought the first clients, at that time I did not even consider myself a sales man but if I look back at it, yes I was doing sales, growing our company.

Later on you need a process, a sales methodology and a lot of discipline. As we were working with big companies, they already had processes in place and a clear budget and visibility of the market. However, when the buyer has a lot of knowledge, it makes it also hard to defend your prices and keep your margins.

What is most impressive for me is how you opened up new offices in different countries. What does it mean to open an office in Japan or China?

Every experience was different and we were learning continuously. In general there were two reasons to open an office:

  • be closer to our clients
  • have a cost advantage in production.

China, Czech Republic and Argentina were places with highly qualified people, high talent to develop software at competitive costs. Japan, USA and Ireland were close to our clients, here our sales was strong working on product acceptance, budget etc. Translation is always done by an agency with translators — we do the compilation and quality control.

How big was your sales team by country?

We did not structure our teams by country. Our customers, take for example a company developing software for architecture with Asia, Europe and the Americas decide whom to work with. We had to convince all three of these points and we realized they were very well connected. I could not offer a discount to the office in Singapore as there was direct communication with California office. We replicated this structure in Moravia as well. Connecting our offices and making sure we had the same communication.

Operative point of view : Did you move the HQ of your company from Czech Republic to another place?

No, it remained in Czech Republic and from there creating subsidiaries. When I left the company, of course, I don’t know what changes have been made.

There were enough consultants who came and offered a move to Ireland. But it was never our goal to maximize for tax purposes.

Venture Capital — Have you ever raised outside capital?

No, every year was of growth and profit so we were able to reinvest our profit into growth. When I left private equity entered the company but not before. We did not need it. Now looking back I can see that it could have been an advantage but it had never crossed our minds before. I think venture capital allows you to be faster. You are able to

  • grow more quickly,
  • implement technology &
  • do strategic acquisitions.

It’s not just the money but also the people behind it with their experience who can guide you in the growth in the company.

Why did you decide to leave Moravia and how was this process?

There is not one reason. With the birth of my daughter my perspective on life changed a bit and there were different dynamics with my partner as I was looking for a more aggressive growth as we were entering a more competitive market.

It’s a pleasure being part of the beginning of such a successful company.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Arturo Quintero and Moravia’s story. Learn more in this Podcast in Spanish on our Youtube channel, listen to it on iTunes or enjoy it through iVoox and subscribe to our newsletter to stay always up to date.

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T.

The story of Nitya’s vocation and dedication for Sales

A Sales profile detected in the Administration department

 

Nitya, Sales Manager in Quipu, has more than 20 years of experience in Sales. She started working very young, as she wanted to be independent as soon as possible. Thanks to her parents, both entrepreneurs, she started doing some administration and accounting very young, helping them in their daily tasks.

But her vocation for Sales was actually born a few years later, while she was working in a real estate agency. Although she was in charge of the administration, she succeeded in selling flats to the clients. This is the reason why she was offered a position in the Sales area in order to benefit from this potential. And here started her career in Sales.

Nitya’s passion for Sales

Today, Nitya has a passion for Sales. She likes being in contact with the clients since the beginning in order to create trust, listening to them and empathizing with them. For Nitya, it is important to understand the clients’ needs to know how to help them using the product she sells. Because if a client does not have the specific needs to be fulfilled by the service offered, they won’t buy it. A seller has to know what he is selling to know who and how he can help, because this is the final satisfaction: closing a deal by helping a client in his business.

A lonely but experienced start in Quipu which led to a team management

Nitya had the opportunity to develop her career in Sales in different firms. This is how Nitya arrived in Quipu with more than 20 years of her professional life dedicated to Sales in SMEs, more precisely in the area of technology and B2B software.

When Nitya started in Quipu, two years ago, she was alone in the Sales department. She was in charge of all the SDR part (Sales Development Representative), she was finding and generating leads, obtaining visits, doing demos of the product, as well as all the follow-up part until closing the sale. Later, people started joining the team as the startup was growing. Today, Nitya is our Sales Manager and she is in charge of the team capturing new firms as potential clients.

Nitya’s definition of the perfect Sales profile

To be able to sell a product to the clients, it is important to have a particular profile. Nitya explained to us what are the most important characteristics according to her to be a perfect salesperson.  

The Sales profile is extroverted and curious. Someone cheeky and shameless who is not embarrassed to ask lots of questions and able to entertain the relationship with the clients through a follow-up. A good salesperson also needs to be able to control their frustration so that if you don’t sell you are not discouraged.

Then, it is important to be flexible and to be able to adapt yourself. However, being able to express yourself and to share your opinion is also important. It is crucial to be able to learn and unlearn, and these are two things totally different according to Nitya. Every person can learn from anyone : juniors, seniors, interns and colleagues from any department.

“There are some things that look good to me, but maybe they aren’t. Sometimes there are new things better than the old ones, and we need to be able to change.”

 

Her daily life in Quipu

Once the acquisition team found people with the needs we cover or people who are looking for our services, these potential clients go to the Sales Team, and a Sales Development Representative listens to them and tries to get to know their business and needs. The aim is to teach them how the software works.

 

Nitya has lots of memories in Quipu. One of her best memories, although, is her first sale. Every time they close a sale, they celebrate it and communicate it to the others by ringing the bell. This is such a satisfaction for her because the whole firm learns of the good news and applause fills the room. She also remembers the first time she called the clients to talk with them about the product, her first demo, etc. Although it was a lot of pressure, it is now a good memory for her.

“In a startup, you have plenty of memories, and they are really good.

This is not a monotonous job, you are in contact with all the teams of the startups.

Things happen every day, this is nothing boring.”

 

As a Sales Manager, Nitya has to make sure the whole Sales Team has all the tools needed to develop the business. Everything needs to be 100% clear so the Sales Team can work. They need to know the pitch to tell to the clients, theirs needs, etc. Individually, they try to achieve common goals.

When Nitya was asked to describe Quipu in three words, she answered that, above all, “eQuipu” is the most important for her.

 

“I could say words like technology, simplifying, etc. But these words you can also find them in many other firms. For me the most important in eQuipu is the energy, vitality, movement, connection, etc.”

 

If you are eager to develop your career in the Sales department of a growing startup and to join this Sales Team which is facing new challenges every day, apply here!