The beginning of a great 2020

Today was a good day. Full of dreams and expectations. The first official step towards the future. A future that has been in the making for almost 10 years.

Today is January 7th, 2020. BRIDGE IN is officially born.

NewCo Hopes and Dreams

A company is a social construct. It doesn’t exist in objective reality. It exists because humans agree that it exists. A company is also an association of people that share a common purpose and steer, hopefully, to the same goal. Companies are therefore inherently human. Made of people. And they should be for the people. Even if for-profit, as BRIDGE IN is, they should create value and monetize that value. Anything less than that has no interest to me. I haven’t become a business owner to exploit people or natural resources. I become an entrepreneur because I want and believe I can make a positive difference in the world, even if so slightly.

10 years ago, right when my career was taking off, Portugal got hit by the sovereign debt crisis, we got a bailout from the troika and our prime minister at the time told people to leave the country (great leadership, huh. Don’t worry, he lost re-election). I resisted the urge to move abroad, probably because I was being somewhat successful at home despite the crisis, but I got myself stuck progressing in the technical career track. There were little to no opportunities for CTOs or VP of Engineering at the time in Lisbon, so the world lost a tech lead and 10 years later gained a tech founder.

But an idea stayed with me, there was a tremendous amount of underused talent in my home country. Over the last years, I’ve learned that it is not only in Portugal. I saw the life-changing impacts of remote work.

BRIDGE IN’s vision is to support decentralized/distributed companies and enable people from all over the world to have access to global careers without being forced to become expats. There are talented people all over the world, but opportunities are not equally available across the globe.

Remote work is the first stepping stone towards equity of access, but it is not the ideal state of organizational excellence. Humans want to belong. Having your coworkers far away in another country or continent is a poor cultural plan. We need to change the paradigm, instead of employees coming to companies, companies need to come to employees. Not supporting them remotely. Supporting them locally.

At BRIDGE IN, we will work with companies not by creating offshore centers, outsource work, or find remote contributors. We will help them expand their operations and become more global but also local, facilitating the creation of regional subsidiaries and supporting the initial ramp-up of the local team.

Tech + Startups, what else?

I have a master’s degree in Computer Science, have assembled and managed software development teams all my professional life so… spoiler alert, we will focus on tech.
And within tech, businesses that value their people (as in, don’t want to outsource their work to the lowest bidder) and have a fast-growing pace. Tech startups it is. As per geography, I have been working for a PE firm from Texas for the last 4 years, ergo, we will be targeting mostly the US market. The UK is also an important bet with Brexit looming. Both have plenty of startups and tech talent scarcity.

The goal for 2020 is to work with companies that want to expand to Portugal. I’m Portuguese so I’m naturally biased, but Lisbon has been growing as a tech startup hub, we have great cases like Salsify, Pipedrive, or Cloudflare that have been investing in the country. Above all, I believe that Portugal has solid professionals, still globally undervalued, with good English and communication skills, that can have a great cultural fit with US and UK startups.
After 2020, the goal is to expand the concept and replicate it abroad. A company with offices in the US / UK and Portugal is hardly decentralized. Nor are we providing opportunities for global talent. Hence, we need to support other locations as well. Our plan, since inception, is to grow the business beyond our borders.

The Long Road to Entrepreneurship

I’m a proud father of 3. I have watched firsthand that you need to crawl before you walk. I’ve been slowly but steadily building my entrepreneurial muscle by adding skills and expertise under my belt (a few pounds as well). Becoming an entrepreneur is a long due personal goal. Taking the plunge of starting a business is hard. Not because I lack confidence but because I’ve been quite successful working for someone else.

Arguably I should have risked it earlier, taken a few stumbles, picked myself up, learned along the way. Failure however was not an option. Not when you have 3 young beautiful kids that need to be nurtured. First, I needed to build a safety net.

2020 is the year. Enough getting paid to delay my dreams. I’ve been slowly preparing for this for almost a decade. But, as people say, there is no better time than the present!

Today was a good day! It was also boring, spending the afternoon in the lawyers’ office going through the paperwork, reviewing the memorandum and articles of association, last-minute changes, more bureaucracy. But mission accomplished, BRIDGE IN is incorporated.

The future is now.


Everything that is easy has no value.
Pedro

Further reading:

This story is part of the FOUNDER RETROSPECTIVE BLOG, the entrepreneur journal that is one year behind.

Originally published at https://www.pedrohenriques.eu on January 7, 2021.

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Pedro Henriques

A flawed perfectionist and deep thinker in training. Father of 3. CEO @BridgeInPt 🚀