CEO at Comparamejor
FIRST OFF, CAN YOU GIVE US A BIT OF BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF?
I was born in Venezuela where I lived until I was 17. Finished high school in the US and completed bachelors (engineering) and masters (economics, finance & management) degrees in the UK. Worked in retail, manufacturing, banking and ecommerce in Venezuela, Germany and UK, before moving to Colombia to start ComparaMejor.com
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS.
ComparaMejor.com is the insurance supermarket of Colombia. We allow customers to compare and buy insurance online, via the phone, live chat or email. We have a brokerage business model where we receive commissions from insurance companies, including upon renewals. We’re planning to expand soon to credit & banking products.
HOW DID THE IDEA FOR YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS COME ABOUT?
At the EYES even in Munich we started discussing different ecommerce ideas for Latam, one of which was comparison sites. I then joined one of the UK’s leading comparison sites, Totallymoney.com, to understand the model better. At the EYES San Francisco event 6 months later we officially started working on it and signed a “shareholders’ agreement” on a piece of paper.
HAS EYES PLAYED ANY ROLE IN YOUR VENTURE?
Absolutely! My 3 co-founders, Erick Brimen, Omar Ynzenga and Alejandro Venegas are EYES members. We developed the idea at an EYES event after getting advice from other members who were experts in online & ecommerce. 2 additional members are investors.
HOW DO YOU GENERATE NEW IDEAS?
Usually they come up in conversation or at unexpected moments, e.g. in the shower. This happens when you’re constantly thinking about your business. At times we do brainstorming exercises, but they work best outside the office and with some time to think about the problem before the session.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
If you’re considering firing somebody but are not sure about it, ask yourself “would I hire this person enthusiastically again?"
WHAT HABITS CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR SUCCESS?
Constantly read books/ magazines on relevant topics.
Exercise at least twice a week, no matter how busy it gets - it will give you clarity.
Understand your body in terms of how to keep yourself energized and focused during most of the day, e.g. I need to eat every 3-4 hours.
Understand the power of breathing. When things are spinning, take 3 deep breaths. Before answering a tough question, take 2 seconds to breathe. It drives oxygen to your body and gives you time to think.
Communicate (verbal & written) in a succinct way using simple words. Don’t beat around the bushes! People will absorb more and remember more of what you say.