Milton Rodríguez tells us how MiFinanzas offers financial services online.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded MiFinanzas.
Milton Rodríguez: I have worked in many different companies, starting in IT in 2006 at TCS. Later I played very different roles in that company, like Team Lead and Teacher, among others.
After that first IT experience, I moved to UruIT, a company in which I learned a lot about agile-oriented soft skills and entrepreneurship, reading about Lean Startup.
I have always been interested in startups and entrepreneurial journeys.
I had the opportunity to join a team of amazing people who had a great idea about solving a big problem.
That small team of 4 part-time persons turned into a highlighted startup that has funded USD 140M in a 3 million person market. Actually, MiFinanzas hires 22 talented and proactive persons.
A pretty amazing achievement for a startup in a small country that didn’t move yet to other markets.
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
Milton Rodríguez: I’d love to have more, but I have a few.
At business, I organize the week on Mondays, scheduling what I want to accomplish during the week and leaving blank spaces for emerging situations. Usually, I don’t get all the tasks done but focus most of the time.
Personally, I often went out for a run to keep a healthy habit. Also, I cook most of the food I eat during the week, which contributes to healthy habits.
Also, I used to listen to podcasts during the day in order to keep up to date on topics I like.
How does MiFinanzas market its product/services online?
Milton Rodríguez: MiFinanzas offers its financial services thru a digital platform (mifinanzas.com), which allows customers to get funding for their businesses without moving from their respective locations.
All the collaboration and interaction among the company and its customers is held through a CRM and messaging platforms with a very smooth and close process that makes every customer feel great about our service.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Milton Rodríguez: MiFinanzas bases all the processes on its own developed and third-party digital tools. Hubspot CRM is the most used to follow up, track, and deliver the best customer experience among the integrations with platforms.
Additionally, the marketing area is led by Florencia Saz, a young and experienced professional who is in charge of the startup’s growth.
Her management skills allow her to deal with external agencies, design assets, and event participation and provide the commercial team with tools for better results.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
Milton Rodríguez: We give a huge value to attitude over skills. Attitude is the most important skill the candidate should offer to the company.
If candidates accomplish the required skills partially, they can learn whatever they want, but it doesn’t work the other way.
Additionally, we don’t believe in “retention” practices. We do our best to make every person in the company choose to work with us every day, and also we celebrate when someone goes for a better opportunity. We all have a very healthy relationship among us.
How are you funding your growth?
Milton Rodríguez: So far, we have made two seed rounds to support the local market’s growth.
We are currently running a Series A round with a mix of debt and equity to support the portfolio budget while funding the internationalization project in the region.
CAF selected us as one of the best startups in Financial Inclusion, and Seedstars is accelerating us to get better results in the region. This has led us to talk to multilateral organizations in order to support our growth while attending SDG defined by the United Nations.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Milton Rodríguez: SMEs are financed by private lenders, which are risky and also inconvenient manner to get funding. We offer better results, as well as 100% digital services, which is a wide advantage for the sector we attend.
On the other hand, we evolve every day in technology to scale operations, as well as stay close to the SMEs in order to help them become sustainable and succeed.
Tell us a customer success story of yours.
Milton Rodríguez: more than 32.000 operations, there are a lot of customer success stories.
Maybe one of the most important moments in the short history of MiFinanzas was during the pandemic emergency, turning into one of the main actors that kept providing funding to the companies in Uruguay, as well as assisting with solutions and negotiations to overcome the economic emergency.
The scenario was an ideal situation to test our values and mission, being able to support the economic growth even during the worst scenarios.
Your final thoughts?
Milton Rodríguez: As a founder, I’d love to share 2 fundamental aspects with others that might be interested in starting their own path.
1. The problem!
Falling in love with problems and not with solutions.
It is useless to develop an idea that solves a problem that nobody has. An entrepreneur might succeed only when they solve a real problem, creating a solution for it, not vice versa.
2. The team!
The team must be the right one because it is a very complex and long journey. Everyone must be aligned.
It is worth starting the journey over and over and will be joyful only if you start with it in the right way.