Ronald Hernandez is one of those founders with entrepreneurial blood and passion. Ronald is a computer scientist by profession but an entrepreneur by heart; he co-founded Pardux, the e-commerce motor for Latam entrepreneurs. Pardux is one of Pygma's portfolio companies. Get to know this awesome story that we are sharing with you.
How it all starts, the co-founder's story
Before Pardux, I've been an entrepreneur exploring new ideas and working on different projects. I've had an advertising agency and a company that connected talents that have previously failed. I've also had an electronic invoicing company that I managed to sell to a business group in Ecuador.
Some of these endeavours have gone well, while some others failed, as with any other entrepreneur. That has been my life for more than 10 years, working on different ventures.
I studied computer science, and as a programmer that learned how to understand the business world, I've been looking for ways to solve burning problems for people. In that process, I've had to learn other skills beyond programming, like selling, hiring & managing people, getting partners, connecting with people, and raising capital. In this entrepreneurial path, you have to have different sets of skills to succeed.
Tell us more about Pardux; why are you the e-commerce motor for Latam?
Pardux found a specific gap to fill: customizable options for e-commerce sites that WordPress couldn't fulfil because the platform belongs to anyone and customer support is not the best. Pardux developed an interconnected e-commerce software, giving options of features for companies to choose from, such as sales channels, how to charge for services, and how to invoice. "We launched the e-commerce recipe builder in which our clients choose which ingredients for their business suit them and help them to be more profitable," says Ronald.
"Another problem we saw was that the commissions in different areas were very high for the clients, and there were clients who did not like certain solutions, so today, we are giving them the option of choosing how to put together their own recipe."
Pardux sees challenges like these with companies trying to become more efficient. They see it in Ecuador and different countries in Latin America, which has made them expand and serve clients in other places.
Why did Pardux decide to apply to Pygma?
"One is quite lonely on this entrepreneurial road," he confesses. "You deal with many challenges quite difficult to solve: capital raising, expanding a company internationally in an accelerated way." Ronald came across Pygma on social media, checked the program, and decided to apply because of the program and the deal.
Pygma is an alternative for those who don't want to compromise their cap table.
According to Ronald, "it was the right one for that moment that the industry was going through. If you don't get on 500, YC, or other big programs, many founders run out of options, and that was the truth at that time. So Pygma was occupying that space, and it seemed interesting to me. And also, obviously, one takes care of the deal behind". Another benefit that caught his attention was the transparency of the deal. "With Pygma, it was quite transparent. They had a very favorable negotiation and a commitment to help you in many areas".
"So, well, I made the decision to join Pygma, and I don't regret it because they helped us a lot to put the house in order and to have that vision of rapid expansion in a way that would allow us to expand our business quickly, numerical, orderly, and metrics-focused, which normally does not happen in the early stages," says Ronald.
The three most significant learnings from the Pygma acceleration program
- The value of community
I have a philosophy of giving first. I'm always helping people by nature, and I've always done it, not just now. It's been something that I've identified with and something that I've found.
In Pygma, the power of community collaboration is quite strong. In fact, one of the things I liked about the program was the collaboration that was going on between the founders of the program. I learned a lot from some of the people who were there.
- Data-driven mindset
The second part with Pygma is the focus on numbers from day zero. Measure everything; measure your metrics to have a canvas to measure the business and its growth. Because the problem is that even though you already know that you have to measure things, in the beginning, with the chaos, you need to remember certain structures and keep in mind that you are building long-term companies. If the foundations of your business are not in place, you cannot measure your business's growth.
- Real connections
It is very worthwhile the real connections in Pygma. Not being so transactional. Deep connections with people who will be your partner and your ally in the future. In that process, we realized that those deep connections you generate with people totally change your company's reality. Because sometimes it's not necessarily an investor. It's about connecting with people, but without any interest, opportunities will surely come after those deep connections.
The road after Pygma
After going through the Pygma program, Pardux participated in Platzi startups, a great program as well. Passing through these programs also brought a lot of growth and implied a sequel of referrals of clients. Pardux finished the year with a 3.5x growth and several angel investors. They have clients in Panama, Colombia, Mexico, and Ecuador and continue expanding. Their goal is to reach one thousand customers from the SME sector.
Being a SaaS company allows Pardux to explore countries without having to do a hard landing, opening a physical space to get clients. It is also necessary because each country has different e-commerce challenges: Latin America is not a single block trying to solve the same issues.
Connections and referrals have worked well for them in terms of expansion. "Our first client in Mexico came from a happy client from Ecuador who had connections in Mexico and told us to look," says Ronald.
Ronald has insightful advice for early-stage founders: "humility to understand that there are stages in which you have to learn, and there are others where you have to unlearn, and I think you have to have that humility to be able to just ask like a child, with things like, I don't know how to raise capital or how to hire my first staff."
"It is also important to understand that creating a startup is a business experiment. You will try to do things that will not work out at first; it is more like being in a laboratory. So that's what startups are; we are an experiment of a company that wants to test a hypothesis and become a real company". "Also, the most important thing is to understand that a startup's principles differ from other companies. You have to create a company that generates value, that the customer is satisfied with and is willing to pay for the value that you are delivering and that the money that they paid you has to have an orientation or a way to be".
"You need to look for profitability because if you don't look for it, it's a company that will never be able to grow and will never be able to become a success, and at the end of the day, no matter how much money you raise, you have to grow your metrics of success. The business is going to be measured at the end of the day by the basic rules of finance and business", Ronald explains.
Why join Pygma after all?
"There are companies that have the idea, especially outside Colombia, of expanding to Colombia, to get to Colombia, to take those first steps in Colombia", explains Ronald. "And I think Pygma is a very good place to start because Pygma gives you some connections in Colombia that are very valuable and that helps you to make landings in that country very, let's say, with less friction than if you were going by yourself for your own," he concludes.
The deal, the community, the practical stuff, and the people you get to know some things make the Pygma program valuable for tech founders to expand their business and to become the next big thing.
Join our PY acceleration program
Apply to our PY program; this is a 12-week program where you're going to improve your product, connect with other valuable players in the Latam's ecosystem and build a solid fundraising strategy.