INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
How a Brazilian Startup is Transforming Small Retail Businesses around the World
We talked to Guilherme Galesi Hernandez, CEO at Kyte about Point of Sale App for in-Person and Online Orders and he had the following to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Guilherme Galesi Hernandez: My family and I are doing well, thanks for asking. We’re focused on doing the best we can to keep things running smoothly while trying to learn as much as we can about ourselves and each other during the process.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Kyte.
Guilherme Galesi Hernandez: I’m the founder and CEO of Kyte, a startup focused on empowering small business owners with tools designed to solve their most pressing retail challenges.
I was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. I started my professional career in marketing, working for Playboy and other major publications. I then went on to work in the business development area of Yahoo. My job was to bring more audience to their website, and one of the projects I spearheaded connected Yahoo to Internet Cafés in the country. There were over 100,000 of them in Brazil at that time, and partnering with management software would bring Yahoo to these businesses.
One of the software companies Yahoo had partnered with would later invite me to join them as their CMO. While their software was aimed at Internet Cafés, they did have some basic management features that other businesses, such as convenience stores, could quickly adopt. So in 2013, we had the idea to adapt and pivot the software to become a Point of Sale System focused on small retail businesses.
The idea was a success, and the software company would grow exponentially over the years, going from half-a-dozen employees to ninety in a short period.
So, in 2016, I became their CEO. Around this time, we noticed an increasing demand to bring small business tools to mobile devices. So, we decided to create one from scratch. And that’s when Kyte was born.
At first, Kyte was a very basic Point of Sale app where users would ring up their sales and generate receipts. Over time, however, we began to incorporate more features such as inventory management, customer directory, analytics, ordering system, and an online catalog.
I fell in love with the product and the team culture we built around Kyte. So, in 2020, understanding the product’s challenges and potential, I decided to focus solely on building and growing Kyte.
How does Kyte innovate?
Guilherme Galesi Hernandez: Kyte innovates by solving the most immediate pain point of small business owners from all around the world. We help entrepreneurs digitize their business so they can understand while giving them full control of their operation. On top of that, we also help them incorporate social media as sales channels to expand their business and begin to sell online, without leaving the offline world behind.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Guilherme Galesi Hernandez: We saw the first decline in user base in years when COVID first hit us back in March. So we got the team together and began orchestrating a new growth strategy. We noticed right away that things wouldn’t be the same for small businesses. We decided it was time to change our value proposition and incorporate new tactics to accommodate their unique needs.
Two weeks later, Kyte’s numbers were back up, and we went on to have our best year yet, breaking record after record.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Guilherme Galesi Hernandez: Thankfully, we didn’t have to lay off any of our staff, but many difficult decisions had to be made. Most challenges were related to trying to understand our fit in this new reality. Startup owners are always looking for a Product Market Fit, and while we had ours for some time, we were forced to revalidate it during the pandemic.
The main lessons learned are not being afraid of change, trying new things, and learning from the mistakes you make along the way. Most importantly, create a team that you know would stick together and embrace the shared-goal even in the most challenging times.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Kyte in the future?
Guilherme Galesi Hernandez: During the pandemic, I reconnected with some of my old hobbies, like dusting off the old guitar I had from my teenage years.
Kyte grew over 300% this year with users in 143 countries, so we are on to a great 2021. Our focus now is on further building our teams to take the product to new heights. Many people were laid off from their jobs because of the pandemic forcing people to become entrepreneurs to make ends meet. With the advances of the vaccine and easing of restrictions, many small businesses are bound to open back up and restart their practices. So I see a significant level of opportunities and growth for Kyte for years to come.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Guilherme Galesi Hernandez: Here at Kyte, we like to say that every company that shares a keyword with us is a potential competitor, which means we compete with players in the Point of Sale and the E-commerce industry.
We stay in the game by focusing on solving small business owners’ most acute pains and adding a constant value to their operations.
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