Francesco Fumagalli is the co-founder and CFO at Unbits, the post-crowdfunding marketplace for consumer IOT and wearable hardware. Francesco started his career working at Candy Hoovers where he was responsible for marketing functions at the company. Later on, Francesco obtained a position at UBS O’Connor where he worked in the so-called "alternative and quantitative" business of the global asset management department.
In today's interview for Magazine MN Francesco Fumagalli shares insights into his entrepreneurial journey and mindset. He also tells us more about Unbits and gives valuable pieces of advice for entrepreneurs.
Magazine MN: Why did you choose an entrepreneurial journey?
Francesco: My entrepreneurial push comes from a historical record of entrepreneurs in my family. Basically, i grew up with the entrepreneurial mindset. This allowed me to acquire a ‘risk taker’ mentality and social skills that one needs to possess to drive people towards a common vision.
Magazine MN: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Francesco: I believe that the best aspect of being an entrepreneur is being able to create something that you feel other people need, something that can enrich someone else’s experience around a specific problem.
I love the fact that I’m able to work closely with other people, and that we can collaborate and inspire each other to achieve a common goal.
Since perfection can never be achieved, there is always a space for self-improvement.
Magazine MN: How do you keep yourself motivated?
Francesco: I believe that the basic rule for staying motivated during the difficult times that you have to go through while founding a new company is to transform your passions into business, create something that you truly love and care about.
Rather than just thinking only about the long-term goals, it’s important to deconstruct the goal in many small milestones. This allows us to accomplish smaller achievements, and thus to keep ourselves motivated and on track.
Having great co-founders is also immensely important for supporting each other in the moment of weaknesses. And I really have to thank Alessandro and Francesco for that (we are two Italian Francescos in the founding team).
Practicing sports every morning also helps me a lot to keep myself motivated, positive and energetic.
Magazine MN: What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Francesco: Use all your efforts and passion throughout your entire life to make the world a better place for living, better than it was before. Don’t wait, just do it.
Magazine MN: What is your attitude towards risks?
Francesco: Risk monitoring and assessment is really important, but you get to a point where you need to trust yourself and your perceptions. No risk-taking won’t bring any entrepreneur towards a big success. Instead of trying to avoid taking risks, it is important to be able to assess and estimate exactly what are the risks that you are facing and try to minimize them through the perception of the best possible outcome, in the meantime being always aware of the maximum downside.
Magazine MN: Tell us more about Unbits. What is the mission of Unbits?
Francesco: We like to call ourselves ‘The digital age boutique’. We live in amazing time, where technology and design add something special to the human experience, something magical that we want to support and celebrate. This is why Unbits exists - to provide a curated space to discover and shop lifestyle tech products, beautifully designed by the most innovative brands in the world. Millions of innovators from all over the world are extremely excited about creating technologies that enrich people's lives. It doesn't matter whether they are a small group of friends in a garage or a team of experts in a well established brand, they have the same love in common - to design amazing products to improve even the smallest aspects of our daily lives.
Magazine MN: How did you come up with an idea of creating Unbits?
Francesco: About three years ago we started to follow Kickstarter, and we were truly shocked by its dynamics. We immediately understood how powerful crowdfunding was and that it would have changed the standard product-development process. This has been proved right. Since that time crowdfunding has been growing exponentially, and the maker movement has literally exploded. Many people call it the ‘third industrial revolution’.
Our love for tech products and crowdfunding led us getting inside the hardware world and we got deeply involved in this revolution.
We have been to San Francisco, where the best hardware innovators are, and in China, where most of these new emerging consumer electronics brands produce their product, and where more and more manufacturers designed specifically for makers are coming out.
From all these experiences and knowledge we came up with Unbits, since we believed that all these great products that are currently coming to market haven’t been brought to people in the right way yet, and we aim to spread the knowledge around it.
Magazine MN: What are the benefits of getting the product listed on Unbits?
Francesco: Unbits’ aim is to create an ecosystem where knowledge is at the center of it. The main benefits for an emerging brand that has just crowdfunded its product are to gain traffic, visibility and the right audience for their product, while for bigger brands that have created a very innovative product it is important to list the product in a place where there are many smaller innovative brands in order to keep the innovative touch.
Both dynamics merged together with the high level of curation that Unbits team does on the platform allows user to discover innovative products that they cannot find anywhere else. Our main focus is on wearable technology and Internet of Things products that both are booming.
Magazine MN: What is your best advice for the first-time entrepreneur ?
Francesco: Be aware that what you are about to face in reality will be probably psychologically much harder to endure than what you thought it would be, but keep your goal in mind and strive for small daily improvements. Try to be as flexible as possible with your mentality, since your final product will be probably completely different from the one you had in your mind when you started. And it is normal. The important thing is not to create the perfect product for the market at the first try, but to set-up an operational structure that allows you to iterate the model in the quickest time possible until you find the perfect market fit for it. A book that inspired me to learn more about ‘lean method’ topic is The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company. I wish i have read it before starting!
Get in touch with Francesco Fumagalli on:
The interview is published by Natalie Myhalnytska