The testimonial of Tibor Moes: “EADA’s International Master in Marketing gave me the basis to understand the business world”
Tibor Moes is 28 years old and from the Netherlands. His testimonial is very interesting. He came to EADA three years ago in search of an inspirational environment and the basic knowledge needed to run his own business. His educational background was in mechanical engineering and he didn’t know where to start; his goal was to find a winning idea that would offer people something different, something useful. For all these reasons he decided to do the International Master in Marketing. After graduating, EADA Careers put Tibor in touch with Nova Founders Capital, a venture capital firm building global financial comparison websites. Here he learned a great deal about the online environment and how to scale companies, while at the same time building relationships with the financial sector in the Philippines. After that, he launched a website with a Danish partner, but it was not successful. Then, in June 2014, ValorTop was born. It is a comparison platform for costumer technology in Spanish and Portuguese. Through the testimonial of Tibor in the next interview, we will know a bit more about his experience after graduating from EADA.
Let’s begin by talking about dreams. What was your dream when you started the International Master in Marketing at EADA?
I dreamed of being an entrepreneur, of building something that would make a difference. I enrolled in the International Master in Marketing at EADA in 2012 as a first step towards reaching this dream. Coming from an engineering background, I had no idea where to start. I didn’t feel confident about my business knowledge, and saw my educational background as immature and too focused on a slow-moving industry. I hadn’t found “my idea” yet. My hope was that EADA would change all this by surrounding me with like-minded individuals eager to make a change in the world. I also hoped to learn the business skills required to build my dream. And, most of all, I wanted EADA to inspire me to find the winning idea.
I hoped to learn the business skills required to build my dream: being an entrepreneur and building something that would make a difference
What doors did EADA open to you?
EADA Careers put me in touch with Nova Founders Capital, a venture capital firm that functioned as an incubator of financial comparison websites. After graduating from EADA on July 2013, I moved to their headquarters in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). Then, three weeks into the job, I was sent to the Philippines to build a – now leading – financial comparison website in the country: MoneyMax. My goal was primarily to establish relationships within the financial ecosystem of the Philippines while the developers were building the platform. Through a combination of cold-calls and a boatload of perseverance, I managed to get on a first-name basis with most of the CMOs of banks, telcos and insurers in Manila.
What challenges did you face in the Philippines?
The main challenge was scaling the team of business developers and operation managers. The latter were in charge of collecting and scrapping the local data on credit cards, loan plans, mobile phone tariffs and insurance products. The team in the Philippines grew from 5 to 50 people over the course of the seven months I was there.
In the Philippines, the main challenge was scaling the team of business developers and operation managers
Despite this great experience, why you were there just seven months?
It really was a great experience, but I felt that I would soon have learned everything I could from the position. To keep my dream alive, I had to keep learning and surrounding myself with smarter people. Fortunately, in this moment, I found my first business partner, a Dane with expert knowledge of SEO. On January 2014, we started building our first affiliate website: a highly SEO-optimised website targeting software customers in the U.S. Fuelled by naive enthusiasm, we contracted an Indian development company to build our website and writers from the Philippines and the U.K. to write our content. The site went live in early March and many 70-hour-weeks later in May, we realised the eventual fate of the website. The market we chose was too competitive, and ranking organically for a wide range of keywords to test our business idea required time and resources.
But you didn’t give up, did you?
Exactly. In search of security, my Danish business partner went into consulting. But I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream yet. During one very long week, I investigated every major language in the world from German, Hindi, Mandarin and Portuguese to Spanish. Using indicators such as the potential customer base, organic competition in Google, and the possibility to offer true value to users, I found the perfect market: Spain with Latin America on the horizon. On June 1, ValorTop was born.
What is ValorTop?
It is a comparison platform for customer technology in Spanish and Portuguese. Specifically, ValorTop helps our users to find and buy great tech products. We do this by offering the best five products in a wide range of categories, such as “mejor antivirus” or “móviles baratos”. A great example is if you type in “major antivirus 2015”, you will find us in the #1 spot. It allows us to attract customers from Spain and Portugal to Mexico and Argentina by the thousands. We want to offer them everything they need to make a great purchasing decision. And we want to capture them when they search for this information on Google.
Where did the idea for ValorTop come from? How did you find partners and plan for international expansion?
To me, ValorTop was a very logical next step. I had learned about comparison websites, SEO and building companies. And by now, I had also inherited a fully-built and optimised MVP platform from the previous venture. So, I had all the lego to get started. But I am not a native Spanish speaker, so I started searching for native speakers in Copenhagen. Fortunately, I met cofounders Fran and Pablo within a month of launching. Fran and Pablo are two very dedicated journalists from Asturias and Murcia, with a talent for translating complex ideas into easy-to-understand advice.
ValorTop was a very logical next step: I had learned about comparison websites, SEO and building companies
What have been the main challenges? How has what you learned at EADA helped you overcome these challenges?
There are many challenges. For one, I am building a Spanish comparison website from Denmark, although I am not a native Spanish speaker and do not have a computer science background. This may seem completely illogical. But, as with everything in life, where there is a will there is a way. I had to learn everything from building websites, online marketing and international outsourcing funding as well as how to hire, incorporate and motivate employees. The advantage is that I had seen most of those concepts during the master at EADA.
How did EADA’s International Master in Marketing contribute to the development of your competencies and skills?
The environment at EADA is, without a doubt, very inspirational. I still remember the first semester: classes in the morning and early afternoon, head home to study until midnight, to bed and do it all over again the next day. It was exhausting at times, but I loved it. The case studies were based on the real world and they were intriguing; my classmates were ambitious with an international profile; the faculty was both challenging and demanding; and the workload so overwhelming that it forced us to manage our time wisely. I felt like I was learning in big steps, growing each and every day. In conclusion, EADA’s International Master in Marketing gave me the basis to understand the business world, the diving board from which I could jump.
The environment at EADA is very inspirational due to the case studies based on real world, the international profile of classmates and the workload so overwhelming
What are the pros and cons of being an entrepreneur?
In my opinion, the main pros are passion – nothing will fuel you more than your own company–, building your own vision – it’s extremely rewarding to see your own ideas succeed –, and long-term rewards – it’s no secret that working for equity is far more rewarding than working for a salary. The main cons are the long hours: entrepreneurship takes much more time than you think it will. If something breaks or needs attention, whether Tuesday afternoon or Sunday night, you are the one that will get out of bed to fix it. Another con is the insecurity: there is no guaranteed path to success. I think it makes a lot of entrepreneurs give up too early; they end up succumbing to the insecurity and giving up.
What advice would you give to those thinking about becoming entrepreneurs?
There are three crucial things to remember. First, think about your idea…But think about it very, very well. If you decide to act on it, it will become your life. Secondly, challenge your idea: think about the core problem that you are solving and how you are doing it. Is the problem real? And is the solution good enough? Speak to as many users as you possibly can before building anything. Finally, test your idea. These days, most new business ideas are online, and the beauty of the online space is that investment costs can be extremely minimal. Think about what the absolute minimum viable product is you can offer to users to solve the problem. Then build only that, drive traffic to it, see if it works and repeat. The last thing you want is to have spent six months building something that no one cares about.
The beauty of the online space is that investment costs can be extremely minimal
Have you made your dreams come true? What are your main goals for the future?
My dreams are far from complete. ValorTop is barely out of its infancy, like a child that has just learned to walk. Now it’s time to learn to run, talk and grow fast. The next steps are to find investors with the right fit, scale the company and expand both vertically and horizontally. And for the upcoming years? I hope to travelled the world finding inspiration for a new problem to solve, start to raise a family and be in the midst of building the next venture.