In today's episode, I chat with Rodrigo Teijeiro, founder of RecargaPay, a leading mobile payments fintech in Brazil that has reached more than 3,5 million monthly active users.
RecargaPay was founded in 2010 and has more than 300 employees in offices in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Miami. It is currently EBITDA positive, with a revenue run rate of over $50M. They recently raised a $70M Series C round, adding up to a total of $100M in funding. Their investors include Miami-based Fuel Venture Capital, Madrid-based IDC Ventures, ATW Partners, Venture City, FundersClub, and many others.
During the episode, we discussed Rodrigo's trajectory until the creation of RecargaPay, his lessons since the early days of being an internet entrepreneur, and the ethos of Miami in the latest months.
Here are some of the questions I asked him:
- When you were in school you earned money by buying and selling stuff. Then, you used the funds to open your first E-Trade account in 1997. From there, you started day trading and, in one year and a half, your net worth went from $5,000 to $100,000. How was starting your entrepreneurial journey at such an early age?
- You came from a family of academics. Your father has a Ph.D. in Economics. Yet, you quit college to become an entrepreneur. Wasn't there ever a family pressure for you to follow their path?
- At the age of 20, you raised $300,000 and launched a website for Latin American indie bands to promote themselves online. The company grew to the point where you had 25 employees. In 2001, due to NASDAQ's collapse and the impossibility to raise more capital, you had to close the company. How was that experience?
- When you were four years old, you moved with your parents there and lived there for five years. In 2001, you decided to continue your education in the U.S. by enrolling at the University of Southern California to pursue a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. How was the experience of being an Argentinian in the U.S.?
- In 2002, you achieved US$10MM in yearly revenue from TarjetasTelefonicas.com (known as Cloncom.com in the US market), a telecommunications company that offered a wide range of products such as prepaid calling cards, pinless and rechargeable cards, PC to phone services, and prepaid wireless cards. How was your experience being a second-time founder while you were still young?
- Between 2003 and 2007, you launched Cumplealerta.com (a birthdate alert service), Tarjetasbubba.com and TuPostal.com (two E-card services), and Flodeo.com (an image hosting service). How has running multiple businesses in different industries shaped you as an entrepreneur?
- In 2007, you launched Sonico.com, a free-access social networking website oriented toward Latin American audiences. As an early mover in the Latin American social space, Sonico registered 4.4 million users in its first year. At one point, 110,000 new users were signing up every day, adding to 20 million registered users in total. You had 88 employees and raised $4.3 million in financing from venture capital and angel investors. Was Sonico the first time you explored Brazil as a consumer market in Latin America?
- In 2014, after reaching 55 million registered users, Sonico was sold to Match.com. How was this exit?
- You've been on both sides of the table. You sold companies like Sonico, and you also bought Cupónica.com, a coupon site that offered daily deals to its customers. How did the experience of buying a company influence your experience selling one?
- 4 years after founding RecargaPay, you decided to unbundle Fnbox, your venture builder, and focus solely on it. Was there a turning point in which you realized you should do so?
- One of your co-founders, Alvaro, is your cousin. How is the experience of building a business with someone you know for so long?
- RecargaPay, as any payments business, deals with fraud issues. In 2011, for instance, because of fraud you had $400k in chargebacks and almost ran out of money. Can you share the story of what happened that Christmas?
- Throughout your whole journey, multiple people and entrepreneurs mentored and inspired you. Who would you say were the main ones?
- What's the difference between building a business in Argentina, Brazil, and Miami?
- One of your most rewarding accomplishments in life has been to build a family during this crazy roller-coaster ride that is being an entrepreneur. How did you manage to do so?
- RecargaPay isn't your first and it isn't going to be your last business. What do you picture yourself doing decades from now?