Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Alex Torrenegra > www.voice123.com, www.bookingmarkets.com, www.inbed.me (and more!)

Alexander Torrenegra, Co-founder, voice123.com, bookingmarkets.com, inbed.me, voicebunny.com, localo.com, torrenegralabs.com, bogodev.org, etc.

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Passion for something. That passion is going to allow you to constantly think about it and work hard a it. You can be an entrepreneur, as long as you follow your passion. 

What did inspire you to start your business?
I've co-founded 12 companies. Each one has a unique story. My first venture was on the education industry. I was nine years old. I decided to make some extra money by doing the homework of my classmates. I decided to auction off three assignments per day. Since then, I've been passionate about auctions and marketplaces. 

How did you finance it?
Most of my startups have been bootstrapped. That means that we have most our successful companies to profitability by investing our own savings. inBedme is my first startup receiving venture capital.

Being Hispanic… Does it have any influence on your business?
It had, but not any longer. One of our most successful startups, Voice123.com, pissed many people off. We had recently migrated to the US. We thought that we were doing something wrong. We later realized that we were not wrong. We were simply disrupting a marketplace. Innovation equals disruption. Disruption equals pissing people off, while making others very happy.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I spread my bets. I've been always involved in at least two startups at any given time.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Some of our previous startups have failed. Realizing when it's time to shut down a venture is a very difficult decision. Delaying the decision, only makes it worst.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I'd like to have some more time to travel.

What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to work from home, doing something related to computers, and own a nice convertible. I was very lucky, as I accomplished my dream by the time I was 22. I realized that my childhood ambitions were not as ambitious as they could have been!

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
Jeff Bezos, for his long term bets and perspectives.
Leonardo da Vinci, for being a successful polymath.
Jimmy Wales, for changing the world with Wikipedia. 

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Definitely dinner.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
None. It's never felt as if I had to sacrifice something.

What is your favorite quote?
"If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking [enough] risks" John W. Holt

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
No. It's difficult to be conventional! Sometimes I feel that I behave as a kid, when people expect me to be more adult-like.

Biggest mistake made?
Casting123.com, a startup that allowed actors to submit casting videos online. It was founded in 2005. That was too early for the market. Back then computers didn't even have webcams by default! We had to shut down the service six months after it was launched.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Albert Einstein once said "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." As a consequence, I consider myself quite creative!

About the companies
The most important startups I've co-founded are:
Voice123.com - Find Voice Talents. Quick. Affordable. Professional.
BookingMarkets.com - Launch your marketplace of hotels hostels, b&bs, or vacation rentals.
inBed.me - The First Social Booking site for Hostels, Beds and Couches.
VoiceBunny.com - The API to get professional voices in minutes.
TorrenegraLabs.com - We disrupt industriesby experimentingwith online marketplaces

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