The improvising entrepreneur

E-Residency allows Mike Rubini time to focus on growing his SaaS business and doing what he loves — playing jazz

Hannah Brown
E-Residency Blog, E-residentsuse blogi


E-resident entrepreneur and professional jazz musician Mike Rubini (front, saxophone) and his band the “Mike Rubini Extensive Quartet” with Marino Cordasco (piano), Pasquale Gadaleta (bass), and Gianlivio Liberti (drums) © Gianni Cataldi

“Life is a lot like jazz. It’s best when you improvise.” (George Gershwin)

The improvising entrepreneur

Italian e-resident entrepreneur Michele “Mike” Rubini is founder of Rubini Solutions, through which he builds, markets, and supports multiple profitable SaaS products, including Facebook group monitoring tool Groouply, trends tracking tool Treendly, and many more.

In the true spirit of a freestyle jazz player, Mike admits that he runs his business “with no investments, no team, and no formal CS degree”. Instead, he prefers to work alone and bootstrap his digital offerings.

Mike’s true passion is jazz. He’s a professionally educated jazz musician, saxophone player, and performer. After completing his early music education at a local conservatory in Italy, Mike travelled to New York City to study at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City.

But upon graduating, Mike quickly realised that there was not much money in jazz. He saw that he would need to improvise another outlet to make a living and decided to put the coding skills he learned as a kid who was into computers to work. Initially, he formed a marketing agency for jazz bands and musicians; helping them promote their shows and music online.

After returning to Italy and completing a course on affiliate marketing, he saw an opportunity in software and decided to expand his business activities. But, despite finding some funding to support his expansion plans, the project did not do as well as he expected. From this experience, Mike learned a lot about the ups and downs of business, in particular that he preferred to work alone and rely on his own money and investment.

A solo leap made easier with e-Residency

This realisation led to the creation of Rubini Solutions, when Mike decided to go out on his own. Initially, he worked as a self-employed entrepreneur in Italy, which he says was very cumbersome in terms of bureaucracy, “believe it or not, I was actually writing a lot of invoices by hand, dealing with a lot of paper and complicated taxes to calculate.”

Mike also faced an additional challenge that self-employed entrepreneurs are limited in Italy as to how much they can earn if they want to take advantage of lower tax schemes. As business picked up and revenues grew, he started looking at solutions to restructure. He soon realised that it would be expensive to take the next step of opening a company in Italy.

In January 2020, he decided to set up his business in Estonia with e-Residency — “I’d been looking at possible solutions to move my company abroad for years. I’d heard about e-Residency as soon as it launched, and made the leap in January 2020.”

Of his decision to move his business to Estonia, Mike says:

“I applied because of how serviced and easy the program is, especially in terms of bureaucracy. All those handwritten invoices in Italian have gone now!”

The automated nature of running a company in Estonia suits his business style too, “I’m big on processes — I don’t delegate to people so much. I delegate to machines!”

Learn more about starting a company in Estonia with e-Residency:

In the year since opening his Estonian company, it’s clear to Mike that e-Residency has enabled him to focus more on growing his business, saying that “COVID is a strange time to run a business, but I choose to look at it as an opportunity.” And this attitude seems to have worked as, despite the pandemic, his business has grown.

When Mike’s not focusing on growing his business, you’ll most likely find him playing his saxophone. He has been able to play a few festivals in Italy recently, but is looking forward to performing abroad again soon, perhaps even in Estonia — once COVID allows.

“Music is my first love — it’s just what I do. SaaS is what I do to make a living.”

The pandemic has also made it difficult for Mike to realise a personal dream of being truly location-independent. Before COVID hit Europe, he was in the process of moving from Italy to Portugal — his first step towards a nomadic lifestyle. He had to delay but is confident he will move as soon as circumstances allow.

Mike’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs looking at e-Residency as an option for their own business plans is to “always be organised with your finances, always plan ahead, and always keep an eye on cashflow.” But Mike encourages those thinking about it to take the plunge, noting:

“If you were organised before joining e-Residency, then things are going to be even easier for you when you join!”

Connect with Mike on Twitter or Linkedin and learn more about Rubini Solutions at the e-Residency Company List.

Mike working remotely from the pool deck in Sevilla, Spain