Fabiola from Signa shares her Seed Brazil Experience

Vinay: Hello and Welcome to YourFirstInvestor.com interviews. I’m Vinay and today’s guest is Fabiola, Co-Founder & CEO of Signa. Fabiola is from Brazil and Signa was part of Seed Brazil batch 3. Hello again Fabiola, Welcome to the show and thank you for coming on to share your Seed Brazil experience.

Fabiola: Really really thank you for the invitation. It is a pleasure for me to be here and talk about Signa a little bit and about my experience in the accelerator in Brazil

Vinay: We are very glad to have you. Welcome again! So, tell me a little bit about what Signa EDU does ? What is your company about?

Fabiola: Yeah! Sure! So, Signa is a platform for deaf people to have opportunity to study and to get more prepared to do their activities, to get more prepared to get a good job in the market. So, what we do is we provide for them online course, everything created is straight and direct in sign language with subtitle and the culture that they need the methodology

Vinay: So, What you do is you prep up people who have hard of hearing and who have trouble there to actually perform well in their professional life by providing them courses online.

Fabiola: Exactly! There is something that people usually don't know, it is really important to mention here. Deaf people unfortunately don't know how to read fluently because their first language is sign language. People think that everything that we have online like articles or other types of text, it is enough for them but actually it is not. So, that’s why we created Signa.

Vinay: That is very noble, I mean I am getting goosebumps when I hear you speak! I think you guys are doing a great job. I really wish you all the best for your venture. So, tell me a little bit about your team. How many of you are there ? A little bit about yourself to our listeners

Fabiola: We started it with 6 people because we came from a Startup Weekend in Education. In that time, in that weekend, we came up with this idea but of course we couldn't keep up with the same team. Everyone had their own goals and dreams so from 6 people, we came down to 3 and now we have 5 people. We are growing and we are looking for someone else to join our team.

Vinay: We are always looking for someone else to join our teams right!

Fabiola: Yeah! But not always actually, just when you have money to pay them right!

Vinay: That's so true!

Fabiola: So, now we kind of have, kind of, so we are looking for someone yeah! But, I am a graduate in business management so I have experience in this area. I also have worked in some entrepreneurial programs in Brazil. So, I was on the other side of the ecosystem before, I was working for helping entrepreneurs to get their business bigger and grow it. Now, I changed to the other side as an entrepreneur. So, we are four people apart from me. Icaru is incharge of technology and Leandro is in charge of marketing. He’s is one of the few people in the world specializing in sales and marketing for deaf people. Manolo is our interpreter and he is totally fluent in sign language. Some people don't even recognize as a hearing person as they say, they think he’s deaf. Thuanny is in charge of the subtitles and she edits all our videos. So, that is our amazing team

Vinay: Thats great! That is an amazing team. So, I don't have to ask then, how did you come to know about this accelerator? Is that how you came to know about the accelerator that you were on the other side of the ecosystem?

Fabiola: If you want to be aware and to know about everything that is going on in your ecosystem, you have to participate in some events and meet people. So, there was one time when I saw this program and I was not sure about all the details. So, I talked to some people who has participated before so that was the way that actually I got to know more about this program.

Vinay: So, where were you from in Brazil?

Fabiola: I am from south of Brazil. It is an island called Florianópolis

Vinay: Did you have to relocate the team and yourself to the city?

Fabiola: Exactly, it is mandatory. You can't do it remotely. You have to be there.

Vinay: So, how was the new city experience then for you and your team?

Fabiola: We were not there like all of us. Fortunately, we were just two. Leandro and I. It was really great because it was the first time that we had more than eight hours in the same place working on a lot of activities and course

Vinay: Yeah! That's the gut feel you look for right when you gel with your team and you know your bads and goods. So, let's back up a little bit. So, how did your application process go?

Fabiola: You have to fill a form. It is a long form I can say.

Vinay: OK

Fabiola: But, you can do it really fast or you can take a long time to do it. It depends on how much attention you are giving to it. In our case, we really wanted to go. Not going to Bella Horizonte was not an option for us. I really had this strong feeling so I started to do it really before like some weeks before I did it. I sent it to some people so that I want to make sure that the application was OK. So, you have to fill up the questionnaire. They asked for a video as well, if i am not wrong, it is a 2 minute video if it didn't change. And you can do it by yourself, but it counts a lot if you use your team, if you ask your team to make the video, it is really important for them. And you also have to have some letters of recommendation and so, it really good if you have some good contacts to ask for these letters. So, the questions are basically about your problem or something really important about the problem. So, don't put a lot of effort in just answering what you do but put much more effort in answering why you do it, what is the problem because your product can change and if they see that you are working on some really strong problem, they will believe in you because if you have a good team and good problem, you can figure something out to do to solve it. So, they ask about your team, and how many hours are you going to put on this project - it is really important. And you have to make sure that everyone that is applying, they are able to go to Bella Horizonte. The team leader has to go there and be there but the team as well. And you get some salary kind of scholarship for each one, so if you don't go there, you are not going to get your scholarship. So, you have to pay this person anyways right, so make sure that they are going to go there

Vinay: That is a lot of good tips for somebody else applying. So, I like what you said about, you know, illustrating the problem much more than the solution. So, it is like what they say fall in love with the problem, don't fall in love with your solution because that will change over time.
So, what do you say would be this program's impact on your company's growth from the time you got in till the time you got out

Fabiola: From what I saw there, the program was really good for us to test a lot of things and to understand what doesn't work so that you can go through the new steps, right?! So, we understood everything that don't work and we had the time and money of course to spend on this. So, we did a lot of tests, research and a lot of things like and we also well in the end of the program, we had our MVP. We were selling it to few clients

Vinay: If I have to ask you one thing that you want to pick out for somebody else applying to Seed Brazil and they are in your position, your situation where you were. What would that be?

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Fabiola: I think the recommendation letters, they are really important because lets say they want to grow the Brazilian Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. So, there are a lot of people outside Brazil, they want to go there. Of course, they give more spots for the Brazilians because it is part of the politic but they don't know about you, they don't have any reference, they just have your application so they feel more comfortable if you have good people recommending you. You know, it is a kind of step in your business so besides the application process, like put a lot of effort on these and try to make sure that everything is really good but also put some effort on the recommendation letters. That is important!

Vinay: Got it! I think that is important too! In any program, that is the truth. Like people do not know who you are and what you do and then somebody recommending you will just be like you said a stamp of approval for taking you further in the process. Yeah! that makes a lot of sense. Let's say, if there is a feedback that you want to give for the accelerator team through this medium, what would that be?

Fabiola: They were really really great in all the processes like they really make you feel at home. We are entrepreneurs so we should do it but at the end of the day, we are humans so, of course you do more if there is someone pushing you and asking for your progress. So, they are really really good with these. So, I am really glad because of it and they can give you a lot of contacts if you are open for this

Vinay: More than pushing, it is more like support system or a system that I can fall back on when I know that I am not on my best days. It is more like that so that's an awesome thing. That was great Fabiola! Thank you so much for coming on to the show and sharing your Seed Brazil experience. So, tell me where can the listeners go to find out more about your company and connect with you?

Fabiola: So, really thank you. It was a pleasure for me to share a little bit of my experience because I know how it was important for me when I was on the other side looking for some programs and if someone wants to share something or if you guys need some tips, you can contact me by my email. It is [email protected] and our website is www.signaedu.com. So, feel free to contact me.

Vinay: There you go folks, That was Fabiola, the awesome Co-founder and CEO of Signa.
You can go to signaedu.com that is S I G N A E D U . C O M or follow them on facebook, their facebook fan page can be found @Signaedu. Please don’t forget to share this with other startup founders. Subscribe or follow us on twitter @Your1stInvestor that is @ Y O U R 1 S T I N V E S T O R to be the first to hear when we upload new interviews with startup founders.
Thank you for tuning in and see you next time

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