Lessons From the Immigrant Hustle: Alex Robbio

Belatrix Software is made up of 3 partners who are connected by a very familiar bond: they are father and sons. Each has their individual stories, but those stories come together in creating the foundations of one of the fastest growing companies in the Latin American software industry.

What’s your name, company name, and title?

Which country did you emigrate from?

Why did you or your family decide to immigrate?

What was the most difficult thing you faced when you arrived?

I also had to learn to look at my profile from the cultural point of view of potential employers. One of the things that I started to do was to use the name Alex instead Alejandro. Just that small change in my e-mail address and resume increased the number of interviews I was able to line up by a significant factor.

The other challenge was dealing with the U.S. immigration system. It’s very complex and is a hefty investment compared to most other places I am familiar with. For example, friends of mind that emigrated to Europe or Canada with similar backgrounds to mine had become fully-fledged citizens by the time I was still dealing with H1B visas, green card applications, etc.

What was your very first job?

Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur?

In addition, it was a mixture of fortunes that actually led to the creation of Belatrix Software. I spotted an opportunity with the company I was working for at the time in the US; they were looking for some technically-minded individuals. Using my connections back home, and together with my brother and father who were still in Argentina, we were able to help the company — this became the start of Belatrix. So, my employer actually became our first client, which is an unusual situation!

How did you raise the money necessary to launch your business? (e.g. did you find an investor? Did you borrow from the bank? Did you save money by working a 9 to 5? Please tell us your story).

The company founders, including myself, were not paid a yearly salary from the company for a long time. We had other lines of business as well as other jobs that subsidized the business as we started.

We also had to get creative. As I mentioned we asked our first engineers to bring their own computers, which would have been a huge expense for us, after a few months we were able to start buying our own equipment.

What was the most difficult thing you faced when you first started your business?

Why do you think you have been successful?

In the beginning, we had some good years and then some bad years — there was no structure to ensure continued growth. What helped us get past this was when we joined Endeavor, an entrepreneurial organization that selects and then supports “high impact entrepreneurs.” Various experts at Endeavor helped us identify the weaknesses in our business — whether in sales, services, accounting — and ultimately helped us create a stronger, fitter company. One of their key recommendations was building a sustainable company where the founders would not be the bottleneck. This is quite common in companies with no outside funding, and thus we had to build out a strong management team and a superb board of advisors who are able to help us identify our limitations and blind spots.

What advice do you have for newly arrived immigrants that want to pursue the path of entrepreneurship?

Tech Entrepreneur and Contributor on several publications, Amine is best known as the CEO of IronMonk Solutions, a New York based digital marketing agency.

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