Founders Q&A: Fernando Montera Filho
Fernando Montera Filho on Creativity and Innovation in Business
Fernando Montera Filho is a Brazilian entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Doji. He’s had great success in his previous start-ups, and we sat down with him to understand a little more about his background, Doji and creativity in business.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your background prior to founding Doji?
I created my first tech start-up while I was an Engineering student at University of Sao Paulo. It was a SaaS platform for e-commerce sellers and it grew to be the biggest of its category in Latin America, and was later acquired by Mercado Libre (NASDAQ:MELI) in 2017.
I then worked for Mercado Libre for almost 4 years, as part of my purchase agreement. While working for them, I created and led the Intelligence & Planning team for logistics. This helped the company to go from 0 to 1.5M+ packages delivered daily, with their end-to-end logistics network, which was a major breakthrough for the company.
In parallel to that, I was also the founder of another tech start-up in Latin America. It was a SaaS that integrated restaurants with multiple food delivery platforms. This start-up was created right when Latin American restaurants were flipping from the physical to the digital world and it was a blast. In under 2 years after its foundation, it was acquired by a major silicon valley player of this segment.
After successfully exiting my second start-up, I decided to give back a bit and share some of my knowledge with budding entrepreneurs. I got really involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, becoming a mentor and angel investor of some early stage start-ups. I also began to invest in Venture Capital Funds.
After making these individual angel investments for a while, I ended up joining one of the most prestigious angel investment networks in Brazil, which is called "Poli Angels”. I was elected Vice President and remain as such up until now.
Q: How was Doji formed and what were the main aims?
From 2018 to 2020, I did my masters program at University of Oxford, where I met my two Doji co-founders, Bilal and Satyen. The idea of Doji appeared and we decided to make it the object of study for one of the program's main subject: Entrepreneurial Project. After the subject was concluded, we had a deep discussion and decided to give it a shot and bring the project to life.
80% of the population don't sell their used tech products, resulting in $1Tn+ of unused devices cluttering drawers globally. By simultaneously solving convenience and price-efficiency, Doji aims to unlock and distribute the immense economic and environmental value trapped inside these products.
Q: How important do you think innovation is in business?
People’s behaviours and needs change over time and with new technologies becoming available, innovation is often the difference between going big or going bust. Innovation is incredibly important to me, and Doji as a business.
Doji is a UK-based marketplace that utilises the stock exchange model and combines with data intelligence to make e-commerce better. It means everyone can buy and sell pre-loved products in the most convenient, fair and sustainable way. Being able to provide tight spreads between bid and ask prices in its platform, Doji allows customers to trade their used products at fair market prices as easily as they sell their stocks on Nasdaq.
Q: The pandemic has been particularly hard for the creative industry, with around 10 million jobs lost in 2020. How has Doji faired throughout the pandemic and helped bridge this gap?
Doji was born and bred during the pandemic, and during these hard times, we managed to secure two funding rounds. So while many other businesses were closing their doors and dismissing their employees, Doji was starting its journey and hiring its team at full speed.
The pandemic forced many companies to increase their digital presence, either to allow their employees to work remotely, or to allow customers to acquire their products and services online. This movement increased the competition for tech-talent globally, which resulted in scarcity and salary inflation for these professionals.
We struggled a lot to find talent locally, so we were forced to search for talent globally. We built an incredible team, who work mostly remotely, made up of: UX designers, developers and marketing experts. Our team has grown really fast, and we’re excited to continue pushing forward.
Q: How important do you think equal opportunities employment is? And how much emphasis does Doji put on it as a business?
Super important. Having employees from different backgrounds, genders and races is incredibly valuable to businesses for a multitude of reasons. Since Doji’s inception we, as founders, have placed a huge emphasis on creating a diverse mix of employees throughout our company. We understand that the only sustainable way to drive this, is by providing equal employment opportunities. We want the best talent we can get, and we want to ensure they’re happy and proud to be working with us.
Q: What’s your favourite thing about Doji?
The team. They’re experts in their field and they work incredibly well collaboratively. I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve built to date. A group of people that trust each other and work incredibly hard towards our common goals.
Q: If somebody approached you on the street and asked for a reason to use Doji, what would you say?
Decluttering your drawers effortlessly and getting a fairer price for your used tech.
By giving your pre-loved products a second life you'll be helping to reduce the need for manufacturing, leading to a healthier planet and healthier population. You’re giving people, no matter their economic position, greater access to better products.
Q: Finally, sustainability in business is getting a lot more attention at the moment. Doji puts a lot of effort into remaining sustainable, but what’s your favourite creative way to live a more sustainable life?
Unsurprisingly, it’s finding creative ways to maximise the life span of products. This reduces the need to produce new tech, creating a circular economy where used products are as useful to you as the cash in your wallet. It saves everyone money, as well as supporting our planet.
Plus, if you buy or sell through Doji, you’ll be having an even greater environmental impact! We’re partnered with One Tribe meaning every time you make a purchase you’re also helping to protect 5 trees.