An Interview with Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz, Forbes (Europe 2019) Manufacturing & Industry

Bruno (HE) Mirchevski
Oct 4 · 10 min read

(#00047) — Whatever you choose to do in life, do it with passion and with all of your effort.

  1. Who is Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz?
  2. Forbes 30 Under 30
  3. What Is bound4blue?
  4. Finding The Right Business Idea
  5. The Secret of a Perfect Work-Life Balance?
  6. Smar Work vs. Hard Work
  7. Five Things For a Better Work Environment
  8. What Matters in Life?
  9. Future Plans
  10. Final Piece of Advice

We live in a time when the environment needs eco-friendly solutions now more than ever. Knowing just how damaging our actions can on the environment, we all need to start making better decisions if we want to leave a better world for future generations.

Today you are going to meet a young woman and entrepreneur who contributed to the idea of developing a rigid wingsail system for boats that drastically reduces carbon emissions in the air, while also lowering fuel-related costs.

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz is the co-founder of bound4blue, the company that developed this windsail system, and is working on revolutionizing the marine industry and making an impact by creating a more sustainable and decarbonized global shipping industry.

Cristina, together with her two co-founders, is making a difference in the world, and the idea behind their product is amazing. Her dedication to the cause earned her a spot on Forbes’s “30 Under 30 Europe 2019: Manufacturing & Industry” list and is just the starting point of her success story.

If you want to know more about Cristina, bound4blue, as well as the positive impact they are making on the environment, I warmly recommend reading the interview I made with her recently.

Enjoy.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

Hi Cristina, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! Can you now tell us more about yourself? Who is Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz? What was the reason for choosing the career that you have already chosen?

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz:

When I was very young, I wanted to be a teacher. As a teenager, I changed my mind and wanted to be a doctor, and just the day I had to choose the career and make the application to the university where I wanted to study, I selected aerospace engineering.

I saw that studying medicine was not the only way of generating a positive impact in the world and that what I really enjoyed was challenging myself by solving mathematical problems.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

I would also like to congratulate you on being among Forbes 30 under 30! Was this a dream come true? What is the single thing you believe contributed the most to be where you are today?

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz:

Of course, it was an absolute dream and I had to punch myself several times to realize it was true! I think that everything must have had its importance for the judge evaluation. However, I think that what contributed the most is my active participation in bound4blue.

I, together with my two co-founders José Miguel Bermúdez (CEO) and David Ferrer (CTO), have founded a company which is giving a solution to decarbonize the shipping industry and make it more sustainable.

The three of us are aerospace engineers and, with no previous experience in the naval sector, we have already signed four contracts for a real-scale implementation of bound4blue’s technology onto four vessels.

This is incredible as maritime transport is one of the most conservative and traditional sectors, with a huge lack of technology transfer and innovation acceptance in its value chain.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

What exactly is bound4blue? What is the mission of your company? Why is it important? Can you describe it in three words?

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz:

Maritime transport is a key industry in our society, transporting more than 90% of the worldwide cargo, but its pollutant emissions represent a great environmental concern.

Ship-related sulfur emissions lead to 60.000 deaths a year. Thankfully, tighter regulations are forcing the use of less polluting fuels. However, these fuels are twice more expensive, and it becomes an enormous challenge for the industry.

That’s where we come in. At bound4blue we have developed a rigid wingsail system that folds and orients itself autonomously (so no extra crew is required), helping vessels save up to 40% of fuel with a payback below 5 years.

Our mission is, therefore, to deliver automated wind-assisted propulsion systems as a turn-key solution to all shipowners and operators looking to decrease their fuel-related costs and pollutant emissions. And to sum up, our global vision is to power the maritime industry with the wind.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

How long were you looking for a business idea, if at all? How did you know this is the right business idea for you?

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz:

This is an idea that José had together with his father while he was studying at university.

David and I helped him with the first technical and economic feasibility studies. In 2014 we saw it was the right moment to launch the project and found bound4blue.

bound4blue is a turning point for its great potential to make this world a better place by acting positively and at a global scale on climate change.

Every company has a sense of purpose and I was inspired by bound4blue’s mission and vision.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

As a young founder and COO, it must get pretty hectic at times, am I right? How do you manage your time? What is the secret of a perfect work-life balance?

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz:

This is one of the things that I had to learn during the first years. I suppose that there are infinite ways and that everyone will manage it differently.

What I do is list all the things I must do during the month by priority; decide how much time I want to dedicate to certain tasks and see if what is scheduled on the agenda is in line with it, and overall delegate and be surrounded by extraordinary colleagues that can help you.

However, I still have to learn sometimes how to leave the office and go home.

I hope someone can give me more advice on that. I suppose that when you are so motivated about what you are doing, time flies very fast!


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

What is your opinion on education being absolutely necessary for success? What is your opinion on hard vs. smart work? Please explain.

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz:

There are a lot of people that have shown that education is not key to professional success, such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

However, I think that this is not the general rule for everyone. In fact, they are the exception that confirms the rule. Education does not guarantee that you will be successful by just having spent a lot of hours in educational institutions.

However, education together with hard work can boost every individual’s capacity and talent in the most effective manner and be the key to a successful career.

And about the second question, I think that probably today we should change our mind about the meaning of hard and smart work. And mainly because the first one is usually linked to physical work and smart work is seen as non-physical work, and in my opinion, it’s not true anymore.

I think that to be successful in today’s world, we must deliver excellence to our customers, and this is strongly related to smart work. But at the same time, this can also be considered as hard work!

To be continuously delivering great work every day is hard work, but we must do this with a full commitment with excellence, so actually, there is no difference between hard and smart work for me in my daily job.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

How would you describe a healthy working environment and why? When working in a team, what are the five utmost important things that everyone should have in mind?

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz:

For me, a healthy environment at work is the one that can ensure a positive outcome even when we are stressed.

Probably the motivation of our team, which is directly linked to how efficient they are, is strongly related to the idea of having a healthy environment at work.

And this environment, in my opinion, must be healthy in terms of corporate culture, in terms of having a good physical environment and in terms of having a supportive environment, thinking even about the personal emotions of our team.

Things like promoting wellness, having a fair employee policy, doing team-building activities or having a clean and comfortable office, are key points to be successful.

When working in a team I think that the most important thing is communication, and that does not mean to just be able to express your ideas and thoughts, but also to be able to listen and be respectful with everyone’s opinion.

The team must also follow the same goal, and be aligned with the company’s mission and vision. If everyone is working on something for the same reason, this is something that clearly unites all the members.

Last but not least, the team must be able to be flexible and to pivot and change directions quickly with the project.

This definitely also means that the team members must be eager to learn, so being in a company that is multidisciplinary will promote sharing knowledge and skills amongst the team members.


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

According to you, what matters in life? What makes you get up in the morning? Besides work, what else do you enjoy doing?

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz:

The most important thing in life is family and friendship, as well as living a life true to yourself and not what others expect from you.

In the beginning, I remember a friend of mine, telling me that I was crazy for starting bound4blue and not joining a big corporation.

After all these years, bound4blue has closed the first integrations and starting to have so much impact. The fact of actually be doing something that can have an impact in the world is what really keeps me waking up every day and be so excited for what I’m doing.

Besides work, I enjoy spending time with my two dogs, go hiking and baking sweets (something that nearly nobody knows is that, before founding bound4blue, I spend several months with the best pastry chef of the world learning patisserie).


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

In the next 10 years, where do you see yourself and bound4blue? Do you have a set milestone you want to hit by then?

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz:

Nobody knows but the only thing I wish is that my future work impacts positively. If that means I have to be a teacher, a pastry chef or even an astronaut, I will be happy with it!

Regarding bound4blue, I wish to start seeing merchant vessels soon with our system in the port of Barcelona, my hometown, and I wish that in 10 years’ time it can not only revolutionize the maritime industry but many more sectors!


Bruno (HE) Mirchevski (The Logician):

Last but definitely not least, what is the best advice you can give to anyone who fears they will not be successful?

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz:

What does it mean to be successful? I mean, for some it will be to be rich and for others, it will mean to form a happy and big family, etc. And all of the approaches are correct.

I think that we are the most harmful persons for ourselves and the ones that destroy our own dreams. There is no magic crystal ball that can tell the future so why shouldn’t we follow our own path to success? You never know what’s going to happen.

My father once told me: “Whatever you choose to do in life, do it with passion and with all of your effort”.

I always try to follow my dreams and live a life true to myself. I hope that when the moment comes, I can tell you if I feel I have been successful in my life.

The change starts with you.

Cristina and her company are already making a difference, and I hope we see more excellent solutions such as this one in the near future. It’s the only way to save our planet, and leave a better world for the next generations.

Let this story be a reminder of the importance of dedication and persistence, and remember that you need to start from yourself.

Whether it’s an idea that can improve the environment and make an impact on the world or something as simple as recycling, it can truly make a difference in the long term. You can make a difference.


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Bruno (HE) Mirchevski

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The Logician (Dreamer) 👁️ Don’t follow me. I am lost too!😎 Founder of HE Group - www.hegroup.info (Investor) 📈

The Logician

The Official Publication of The Logician

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