Some founders’ stories begin with the MBA, but Miguel Fernández’s starts quite a bit earlier. With a background in mechanical engineering, Miguel earned his masters in nuclear renewables, and then went on to work in consulting.
He started two failed companies and then joined a SaaS company in Moscow, where he built sales teams there and in the UK. It was only then that he went to Harvard to earn his MBA.
Now he’s the founder and CEO of Capchase, a startup that helps SaaS companies gain early access to revenue streams. In this edition of UpTech Report, Miguel takes us through this journey, and offers some important lessons he learned developing pitches to venture capitalists.
More information: https://www.capchase.com
Miguel is cofounder and CEO of Capchase. Prior to launching Capchase, Miguel worked for 2 years in management consulting and then moved into SaaS. He headed sales and customer success at Geoblink, a Location Intelligence SaaSCo and scaled it from 0 to 2m+ ARR. After that, Miguel was pursuing his MBA at Harvard Business School researching working capital and cash conversion cycle optimization.
DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!
Miguel Fernández 0:00
The messaging is what matters most. You know, when people say like, oh, I pitch to 300 VCs and they all said no but once said yes. Is that the one that says yes, usually after you polish your your story and say the way you tell it
Alexander Ferguson 0:21
Miguel, I’m excited to continue our conversation now hearing more about your journey. Tell me, where did it begin for you? And how what’s where’s your story begin? How did you get to where you are now? Yeah.
Miguel Fernández 0:32
Okay, so I’m originally from Madrid from Spain. I have an engineering background, I did mechanical engineering in Madrid. And then I went to Munich to do a master’s in energy engineering in nuclear renewable. And then I decided that I worked in engineering for a couple of internships in r&d, I decided that I would, I was not going to work as an engineer. So I joined consulting, like a lot of people do, because I really didn’t know what to do. I wanted to learn how to work. And I was instantly not passionate about consulting. So I decided to start a couple of companies on the side, I did two marketplaces, none of them got too much. Like we got a few 1000 users. In the first one, we got a few 100 customers in the second one, we lost a bit of money. In the first one, we made a little bit of money in the second one, we learned a lot, but mostly by trial and error. So that decided that it was time to leave consulting. Actually, if I wanted to learn about tech, which I really wanted to, I had joined a team of people actually knew how to do things. So let’s consulting joined, do blink a really early stage sasco in Madrid, and I was the first person in sales, I joined pre revenue. And then I built the sales and customer success teams there. And then within geo blink, moved to the UK to the internationalization and build the local team, open the local market and so on. So yeah, that’s where I first encountered the problem. And then I went, I left yodeling to go and pursue my MBA at Harvard Business School. And with the goal of launching a company upon graduation, and things are accelerated, they are accelerated a lot. Actually, we ended up launching the company during our first year. And now we’ll we’re just 100% focused on kutis. And what the future brings, because we’re seeing great, great demand the market, and there’s of co founders, right, who could be their partner with. Very quickly, two of my very good friends from geoblocking, a previous company joined Katz’s as co founders as well. And they were running product until blink, they were running 30 engineers, and both of them having data and happen in platform. Another doing exactly the same. Louise is leading data and underwriting and ghoulies leading platform. And then another friend from HBS, that also was exposed to a problem from the investor point of view. szymek, he also joined the team and is leading operations. And he has a background in growth, equity investing, covering SAS and consumer at TCP technology crossover ventures. And the
Alexander Ferguson 3:09
best way to be able to build a team is from people that have already worked with and it sounds like that that worked naturally well for you. And speaking of funding, I mean, that’s what you’re around in a different way. But you already mentioned that any VC funding is a way you went to any lessons learned there of how you were able to to get it into the pitch and to make that happen that you can share for others to learn from too.
Miguel Fernández 3:30
Yeah, I have. I guess one fundamental piece of advice on is that the messaging is what matters most. You know, when people say like, oh, I pitched to 300 VCs, and they all said no, but once said yes, you that that one that says yes is usually after you polish your your story and say do what you tell it right? It’s not that the 300 didn’t see anything. And this guy was a visionary. He’s just like, there’s got to give us a visionary, you really need to work on the messaging. And for us, it was a little bit like that. And this is at the beginning. VCs really liked the idea, but there was something on them back. And then we worked in the messaging. We closed the circle, everybody everywhere was asking around, which was defensibility. And, you know, like barriers of entry and so on. And then it exploded overnight. And then everybody wanted in and he go crazy. I’m super oversubscribed. So he’s
Alexander Ferguson 4:24
thinking you could potentially save yourself 300 pitches by just practicing a lot more before you start pitching.
Miguel Fernández 4:29
Yeah, and understanding like doing the cues if a company if so if a VC is saying that I’m worried about this, don’t try to find a VC that’s not gonna be worried about that. Try to think about that specific problem incorporating the story and address it before anybody else. Because if you say like, we know that this is something that is going to come to your mind you’re probably thinking about barriers of entry, the testability we are thinking about a lot as well. And this is how we think about it. Boom. There’s this address the
Alexander Ferguson 4:59
problem upfront, as soon as you find them, you address it. So you knock it out of the park.
Miguel Fernández 5:04
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Because then then a VC will be much more comfortable knowing that what they’re thinking has been fought by you before I actually get a lot of your time to get about those problems.
Alexander Ferguson 5:15
Now you’re in the earlier stages of really start to scale up to 10s of clients, any marketing campaigns that or reach out outreach campaigns that you’ve found most impactful so far, or is a favorite of yours that you’d recommend?
Miguel Fernández 5:30
I think we’re, we’re gonna be wrapping that up in the next couple of weeks. So up until now, everything has been mostly inbound, you know, from from press that we have appeared in and some friendly VCs are introducing us to portfolio companies. So that’s been working really well, we are now going to build out our bond. And we are thinking of trying different channels. So we don’t know yet it’s too early. So we will try different channels. And then when we find some that really work, we’ll double down. We’re thinking about going to webinars, you know, like sponsoring webinars, exposure in podcast or sponsoring newsletters, participating in other events, you know, as panelists and so on. And then of course, finding, you know, what are the top 10 companies that we should be working with no matter what, and then moving the sky in Earth to to try and speak with the founders and show them why this is really a really good fit for growth.
Alexander Ferguson 6:28
Speaking of these, how you planned on marketing going forward, this interesting world we’re in at the moment, you can’t go to trade shows necessarily going out networking. So how do you see overcoming that challenge of communicating and where everyone’s digital and there’s tons of noise?
Miguel Fernández 6:44
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. So I don’t think that this having been in any conference that replicates like a real trade show extremely well, it’s just not the same as like going to a booth speaking with a founder, you know, the trends replicated with virtual room space, and it’s just not the same for now. I’m sure somebody will crack will crack the nut and it will be the same. What I’m doing now is showing you a couple of communities online, where other funders are just like funder, like funds report from the advice from the coaching and so on, and learn a lot from them. And like, you know, just like this, this connection, these referrals happen organically. I’m not going through this community, trying to find customers, I’m just trying to solve problems that we have. And in the process, somebody has problems that we can solve. And then it’s just it happens naturally. But But yeah, it is hard, and I’m not used to it at all yet.
Alexander Ferguson 7:39
Part of being able to make it happen, though, is the team which you’re building. How big is the team now? You
Miguel Fernández 7:44
said there’s 16 of us right now.
Alexander Ferguson 7:47
16? Any thoughts or anything lessons learned there a building a the 16 people so that they fit and work well together?
Miguel Fernández 7:54
Yeah, you bet. Most of this is married of the cofounders mostly take guys, recent goalie because they are they are large team is tech, right? And how we are how we’re looking for people and how they get to work with each other. I think that we are optimizing because I have a lot of initiative. Right? So people that you’re necessarily need to tell them what to do. They actually tell us what they should be doing, which is amazing, right? We’re trying to get people all the time, they’re much more smarter than us. Which is, is if challenging is super hard on these people. I mean, it’s also like, we don’t want to be we don’t know about this more than any of them. Right? Actually, when, for example, in the underwriting team. When they’ve done like three underwriters, they know more about underwriting than anybody else in the team. Right? So we want them to be actually feel onerous and and propose new things. So how does it interact with each other? We have a tech hub in Madrid, we have people also in London, we have people in Prague, we have people in Cambridge. So all this remote interaction is a little bit hard. So let me take a step back is very good for things like productivity, and things like asynchronous communication, but it’s not the same as being in the office and being able to stand up and go and ask if that’s right. So in that sense, where we are still figuring out how to do it, we don’t have the answers. We’re doing some team events, every couple of weeks, we’re doing all hands meetings to explain how the company is going and each team shares updates every other week as well. And in terms of how they’re working together, we are not seeing any progress so far. We’re seeing super tight communication and collaboration and that’s really good. And we’ll we’ll know more in the in the months that can we can we can touch base again.
Alexander Ferguson 9:50
Last question for you. What kind of technology innovations do you predict you’ll see we all will see in the next year. So pretty short term and then long term, 510 years with We think artists are within the FinTech space overall. And in technology, we can say fintech.
Miguel Fernández 10:06
Yeah. So I think that’s one one. part that has already been happening the last year in the last couple of years and will only get more and more interested in the future is all the economies around API’s, you know how? Yeah, we just like, we’re using so many API’s ourselves, we’re building so many API’s. And it just makes things so much easier than before. So the obvious API economy is just enabling things that were really hard before mostly around data extraction and data writing. So that is going to enable a lot of companies to build additional services on things that weren’t possible, narrow, all the underwriting that we do, all of the monitoring of payments that we do. All of that is done is built on API’s. And I just can’t even think how difficult it will be to do that in the past. And we still see a lot of processes that are done manually, you know, with phone calls, with emails, with Dropbox, and so on, that could be extremely simplified with API. So I think that that is going to read a lot of things move forward. And then and really know a lot about blockchain and really understand it beyond the most basic, basic concepts. But I think that’s all the while things like smart contracts and logic embedded in blockchain is going to enable a lot of processes to become much more efficient, and to require less overhead and be less prone for interpretation and mistakes. So I think we are planning to develop those capabilities in house, you know, mostly to work around smart contracts, execution of cash flows, and things like that, that right now require a lot of overhead and a lot of the legacy working with them big mistakes, but if it were better in blockchain, it could all be automatic, and basically no reboot to interpretation.
Alexander Ferguson 12:02
That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview, you can nominate them at UpTechreport.com. Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you subscribe to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.