First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Adolfo Blasco Ribeiro: My wife and I stayed at home since the beginning of the pandemic, but we were already working in the home office, so there was no big deal.
The only effect on our business was that no personal meetings were held, and sometimes it affects s closure.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Obrafit.
Adolfo Blasco Ribeiro: I am a system analyst and worked for multinational firms for several years, always working with engineering graphical systems, CAD, and, more recently, BIM.
As a BIM manager, I worked for construction firms, but my last professional position was Channel Sales Manager, and I had contact with various AEC companies. I realized that most of the companies that manage constructions majorly use spreadsheets, even on big projects.
But they face a dilemma, the construction management systems available are ERPs, with their complexities and costs, and they also need to allow owners to accomplish the jobs.
So, I designed Obrafit, a construction management system with simple usability, focusing on sharing information with owners without the complexity of an ERP.
After 2 years of development, our selling started in March 2018, and we achieved more than 100 subscribers. To our surprise, companies like AMBEV, a huge beverage enterprise, contracted customization of the system to manage their works, creating users for the contractors to provide the appropriate infos.
How does Obrafit innovate?
Adolfo Blasco Ribeiro: We provide a simple usability construction management system, with all benefits of an ERP like the dashboard, third party users, reports, support for shared files and images, without complexity, implementations, and training. Everybody knows how to use internet banking.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Adolfo Blasco Ribeiro: As a SaaS that helps professionals manage constructions from wherever and communicate with owners and investors, we grew 66% in subscriptions since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. But this growth could have been higher, because of some cancelations from small businesses that could not keep its activities.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Adolfo Blasco Ribeiro: Not at all. We are still a bootstrap startup only with partners working with no employees.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Adolfo Blasco Ribeiro: I play tennis or walk, and whenever an issue comes to me, I sleep on it, instead of trying to solve it right away, when it’s not a support issue.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Adolfo Blasco Ribeiro: There are some competitors, but the way we planned to stay in the game is doing the same as we are doing, keep simple, with efficiency and passion. Our goal is to be the option over spreadsheets and not to be complex as an ERP.
Your final thoughts?
Adolfo Blasco Ribeiro: Nowadays, with huge access to all information about everything, some players propose complicated solutions for our pains, there’s a tendency of ‘gilding the pill,’ and with the lack of time that we all face, we trust our decision and sense.
If my competitors are going this way, I’ll follow them. But can the same pill be effective for every bodies pain? Or my pain is not that complex as I am told.
That is our flip of the table in this market. Why can’t small businesses benefit from IT solutions that not only empower them but simply and easily?