The Founder Stories brings us closer to entrepreneurs and their journey creating a startup in Demium. This time, we sat down with Raquel Calles, Founder and COO at Kaltu. She joined Demium Valencia after leaving her job to kick off her promising female-led project, bound to make the startup ecosystem even stronger.
Q: Tell us about yourself and your entrepreneurial background
Kaltu is the first company I started as I’ve always had an entrepreneurial soul. So any time was good for me to think of new ways to do stuff, my motto is “There is always a solution for everything”. I know, a bit intense, but I think intense is a synonym for entrepreneur. So, as I was saying, I’ve had a lot of ideas for projects. As an intrapreneur in a corporation, I loved to motivate my colleagues to start projects that I knew fitted their skillset. I was based in Stockholm when I entered into the Startup world. There, I enrolled in a two-month course called “Entrepreneurship 101”. The course was about finding a problem, convincing others to join our team to solve it, looking for potential solutions by doing some research and putting together a pitch to sell the idea in the end. It was a very good experience that taught me new concepts such as startups, elevator pitch, incubator…
Q: What has creating Kaltu taught you about the sector?
Thousand of things! During the ideation process Carla, my co-founder and CEO, and I were talking to a lot of people: fintech experts, technical profiles, business experts, C-levels of marketplaces, ecommerces, SMBs and corporates, and listening to their experience was enlightening. I learned about directives and regulations in the payments system, teams in payments, technical solutions, competitors and also about how to sell a software product, complexities of incorporating a fintech and how fintechs or banks work.
I had previous experience related to payments as a stakeholder and within the process I’ve seen how difficult it is operationally for accountants, so now I am very happy to have been able to learn about technical needs that fintechs have to take into account to build a specific software to solve those issues and make it easier for the companies they need to pay.
Q: What have you learned on a more personal level from creating Kaltu?
One of the most important things I’ve learned from creating Kaltu is that firm commitment is totally mandatory to finding the perfect co-founder for your company. And even when you find your perfect match, it is very important to work on communication, transparency, values and goals aligned in the same direction.
Q: How has your experience been with Demium?
It has been a very intense and enriching experience. They introduced me to my co-founders, Carla and Rory, for which I am extremely grateful for. The work environment and office space are ideal for kicking off ideation, validating problems, and exchanging opinions with people who are in similar situations or also further along their path to launching a startup. I do not know whether I’d have been able to start my own company without Demium but I am 100% sure that I would not have created Kaltu together with Carla and Rory because we would not have met.
So it was one of the best decisions I could make, to give it a try and go to the first Demium group session. And I totally recommend it to any person who is thinking about becoming an entrepreneur even though you have no initial idea or team.
Q: What would be your advice for other entrepreneurs?
I would tell them that being an entrepreneur is not easy, but it is completely worthwhile; it’s life-long learning, both in terms of business and self-awareness. Also, I would recommend that they work on their mental health because they will be dealing with a lot of emotions and situations that will require them to be prepared. In doing so, the professional assistance from Demium is vital. And for instance, at Kaltu we created a journal to help us balance good and bad things as well as our progress so we would not lose track of how many things we got done and how hard we were working. And to all those women entrepreneurs out there: if you thought about it do it now! Gender is no barrier to passion.