In itnig’s Podcast #39 you’ll hear from Jesús Monleón and his story of entrepreneurship: Cofounder of eMagister, Seedrocket, Offerum, Glamourum, early team member of Trovit and active investor with invested entreprises like Captio, Tiendeo, Redbooth and Mailtrack.

Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig, Jordi Romero, CEO at Factorial and Juan Rodríguez, CEO at Camaloon speak with Jesús Monleón about his experiences and learnings and his advice for fellow entrepreneurs. Listen to our podcast on Youtube, iTunes or iVoox.


Jesús Monleón, how did you start?

I studied Business Administration and when I was at university I was curious about starting my own business. At that time, around 1996, at university we got an Internet connection and as I had started to think about creating a job portal I found out about Infojobs. I saw they were close by so I went and met Iván Martínez and Nacho González-Barros at the university campus in Cerdanyola.

Later I started working in the financial sector, but I quickly realized that this was not for me so I left and decided to create a business with my cousins.

This is when emagister.com — a search site for classes — was born in 1999.

Why emagister?

I thought to myself “If Infojobs went well, what I can do that is related?” At that time there were a lot of educational offers in the newspaper and everybody was already talking about how Internet was going to change education.

The first thing I thought was that to start out we need a team and so I gathered my cousins: I was the oldest with 22 years and then there were my cousin Juán Ramón, who was an engineer, another cousin Jordi Castellò had studied economics and Monica joined us in administration / finance.

We already knew each other, we even had created an ice cream kiosk at High School together.

We found our first investor and now really had to think about how to get this started. That’s when I remembered Grupo Intercom and called them up. And we set out to work. Our expectations were far from reality: In the first year we made 600 Euro in revenue, our prevision was of 6 Million Euro.

We had traffic, we knew that people were confirming classes through emagister but we hadn’t yet figured out how to monetize it.

Thousand of tests later, we still had no business model and we had given ourselves a year to get this working. Through an outside input to change our contact forms and ways to connect schools & students, we switched to a model based on leads. That’s when emagister takes off. We had traffic, a working business model and very few competitors. This was the beginning in 2001.

What did you do after emagister?

From my experience at emagister I saw that being part of a startup was tough and my impression at that time was that Internet was a bluff, entrepreneurship was shit, and only investors are winning.

So I went into the financial sector to make some money. I moved on to La Caixa’s Venture Capital department. With a team of four people we were searching for Catalan operations for the bank. I got tired after a while and needed some more action. I was part of the start of the bank’s Venture Capital department for entrepreneurs — a very interesting experience with very good investments — and decided to start again. That’s when I met the Trovit team and joined them.

At Trovit everybody was very techy, we were making money with adsense, my role lay in business development. First we sold Banners and then set up a pay per click system. I built up our commercial team.

Trovit went very well. It’s a good business. A company generating EBITDA.

*laughing*

As an entrepreneur but also from the other side as investor I have learned that investors are not my friends. As an entrepreneur I want to drive the company, drive the bus and want the investor to join the journey, to hop on the bus but not to interfere with me driving.

I don’t like to depend on investors. Investors are not your friends.

Years later I founded Seedrocket, as something I would have like to have when I started out with emagister. Seedrocket is an association without profit focus, we are a group of friends who have known each other for a long time and work together.

I was looking for people who could help me with their experience and place . a minority investment.

In 2007 I met Vicente Arias from Softonic, Grupo Intercom, and we talked about creating an incubator or investment fund. We were looking at YCombinator and Seedcamp models, just when YCombinator was starting out in the US. So we invested small amounts of money, 20.000 Euro, in three projects, offered offices and mentorship. I was looking for people who have had experiences creating companies, sharing what they have learned not in technical terms but more about relationships with cofunders, investors…somebody who has gone through the same as the entrepreneur.

The accelerator business model is really hard and I saw it would lead me to do things i was not fond of like selling to big corporates. So we are just a club of friends.

Follow the rest of his story and reflections in the podcast:

And today, what is your day to day life like?

I am spending my day on the phone. Basically spending my time on Seedrocket for founders fund, talking to entrepreneurs all day and to my own small investments. Spending my time talking to the different business.

Today I live off my own investments. It started out as ahobby and evolved into investments who have brought high returns.

As an entrepreneur, what do you recommend? How to start a technological project?

First thing, find a team. And then, launch.

Find the best team. This does not have to be a guru, nor the most experienced person but good people.

How do you define good people?

There are people with a certain talent and attitude.

I don’t mean technological capacities — Especially if the founding team are able to gather smart people around them and give less experienced people the chance to learn. This was amazing at Offerum, the team was growing with the company. When you are 23 years old, you don’t have any experience, everything you do is for the first time, but some people have a certain talent, a capacity that can be build out.

The hardest is finding good people. And there is no manual. And what is ‘good’ is hard to define.

Even talking to professional investors, the topic of good people has no answer. I think it boils down to ‘perception’, the perception you have of the person.

What is the last investment that you are crazy about?

Tuvalum — a bike marketplace.I like it because it combines SEO and a marketplace, of demand and offer, which gives room to arbitrage. It’s a very interesting project now and I believe it’s replicable internationally. In 3 years I have no idea how I will see it, this is pretty random but at the moment I really like it.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Jesús Monleón and emagister’s journey. 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!