Diego Zambrano is incredibly magnetic. He’s the only founder in TechStars who came into the program working completely alone, and as his beard would suggest, has an interesting background. Originally from Brazil, Diego spent nearly a decade in the advertising world, leading award winning campaigns for companies like IKEA as a creative director at Ogilvy and other top agencies. He is building a company called Bondsy. While it’s not public yet, Diego calls it a “social network of things.” In our interview, he explains things like why he left advertising and the companies he admires.
What is Bondsy?
Bondsy is the social network of things. We’ll be giving some more specifics about it soon.
Where did the idea for Bondsy come from?
When I was moving from Brazil to NY I had to give and sell my stuff, but I didn’t want to do it with people I didn’t know. So I offered my things to my friends and friends of friends and it was pretty successful. That’s when I started thinking about the problem I’m solving with Bondsy.
What were you doing before you set out to build a company?
I was doing advertising for almost 8 years in Brazil at some big agencies. Then I moved to NY to work with Ogilvy, then headed to RGA, and finally back to Ogilvy as a Creative Director for IKEA.
What made you leave the Advertising world to pursue entrepreneurship?
I started noticing a lot of my creative ideas being killed by clients. The fear of failing is one of the main problems in advertising, I saw that clients were looking for ideas that had been proven to work before. I think disruption and innovation is about having a leap of faith. So I decided to make the move to have the chance to truly innovate. After getting my green card it was a no brainer for me, as I had been thinking about this idea since 2007.
What is the startup scene in Brazil like, is it growing?
I’ve been here for 5 years now, so I’m not totally dialed in to the current state, however I do have a few friends with successful startups in Brazil. I was actually working at a startup in Brazil as my first job, but I left because there weren’t too many opportunities in the startup world then. Now I think it’s going better – the Brazilian economy seems to be doing well and the World Cup and Olympic Games might drive a lot of new business and innovation. I’ve actually heard a lot of people talk about investing in Brazilian startups. Brazil is one of the most social countries in the world, so when you see the way people in Brazil are picking up stuff like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and many other products it’s a no-brainer. Continue reading