Entrepreneur Interview: Sebastian Henao, Gyffu

Entrepreneur Interview

 

Entrepreneur Interview

Business Name: Gyffu
Website URL: http://www.gyffu.com

Social Media Links:

  • https://twitter.com/Gyffu_co
  • https://www.facebook.com/gyffucolombia
  • https://www.linkedin.com/company/gyffu-s-a-s

Year Founded: 2014

Business Partners:

  • Darwin Tusarma.
  • Oscar Arango

Number of Employees: 6

What does your company do?

Gyffu is the unique search engine built in Latin America, we want to be better than the big three (Google, Bing and Yahoo) and to do that we offer:

  1. Privacy Protection: We don’t spy on our users by default since we don’t capture any data (location, IP address, etc) that could be tied to any particular user. Other search engines will not only know your location, keywords searched, gender, age, pages visited, which languages you speak, and many other, so called “attributes”, but they can also tie them to a particular person by name and last name. If you are ready to know what Google knows about you, go to google.com/settings/ads – many people are not ready for what they’ll find. Since Gyffu doesn’t capture any of this information by default, we have no way of using it or the ability to sell it to third parties as many other companies do.
  2. Non-Invasive Advertising: New way of advertising that combines the old with the new. This means we will mix how traditionally web pages used to advertise which consisted in banners and the way search engines do nowadays by key word search. By using banners/images as our only way of advertising, no ad will ever be disguised as a search result. Also, since we only allow a maximum of one ad per page, you will never have to scroll down or go to the 2nd or 3rd page of the search results to find truly and solely organic results. Don’t believe us? Try searching for ‘cheap flights’ on the big three and count how many ads you see and locate where the first non-paid organic result is.
  3. Not Putting You in an Information Bubble : Since the big three have drawn a lot of conclusions as to who you are, they only present you with the information that some engineer in a dark room thought was appropriate for you. And in the meantime they are only showing you the same ad that follows you around (even if you already bought the product!) while they claim to know you so well that they will pre-filter the information for you. At your next dinner party or lunch gathering, have 3-5 people open Google and search for “guns”, “abortion”, or “lgbt” on your phone – you’ll be surprised how different the results will be. What information are they blocking from you? Are you ok with that?

Was there a specific turning point when you realized your business was moving to the next level?

When we made our first agreement with our angel investor, because in that moment we had the support and knowledge from that company, and the resources to make our dreams come true. It also gave us a lot experience from managing businesses and optimizing the money for improve our company production.

What processes or procedures have you implemented that have helped you grow your company?

We began with the Lean StartUp method, which helped us a lot and gave us a map to explore and validate our hypotheses. We made a lot of changes from our original idea and learned that it is necessary to fail fast and fail cheaply.

What are some of the best marketing strategies that have worked for your business?

We created a social media strategy, giving to the users the possibilities to win a brand new GoPro, if they shared and used Gyffu as search engine; we reached more than 80.000 touch points and 5.000 users in only a few hours.

How have you leveraged the internet to grow your business?

We use a lot of public relations to make Gyffu become known and it´s very effective. Our first publication in United States had more than 250 re-prints; also we use email marketing, social media, and growth-hacking strategies to increase the numbers of users.

What is most rewarding about running your business?

Before I started with Gyffu, I was working for a large software company in Latin America. I worked from 7 am to 2 am every day including weekends and holidays. I didn’t have a social life, wasn’t in the best spirits and my health was getting affected. Before my health worsened, I decided to work for my dreams and not for the others’ dreams, so I took a leap of faith to become an entrepreneur and worked in some ideas that others considered “crazy” or even “impossible”. Now we have built a company from one of those “crazy ideas” because I never stopped working hard to make these ideas become a reality and we created a privacy protecting search engine called Gyffu that is ready to take on the big three.

Nowadays I feel like we can challenge common paradigms, break the laws of the system and use the company knowledge to create a solution for an existing problem or need. When you start your own business you feel that it doesn’t matter if you don’t have money, stable work, or a fancy office. What really matters is what you do and the effort you put in the idea. What really matters is going to bed at night knowing that you are a few steps closer to achieving your dream than you were the night before. What really matters is your attitude when problems arise, there are two options, to surrender or take them head-on and solve them. I love that many people call me crazy due to my ambitious idea, because that´s a sign I am on the right track. I love to run my own business because you feel there are no limits, and, if you have not limits, you will make possible the impossible.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

When my partner, Darwin Tusarma, and I started Gyffu, many doors were shut in our faces. However, I think successful entrepreneurs have persisting spirits, and we continued working alone in one basement with one computer, one desk, and no money. But we had a huge desire to change the world and we studied a lot and learned a lot more and have been able to find more and more open doors to us and our ideas. This includes our first round of Angel financing that has helped us achieve exponential growth.

If you were starting over today what would you do differently?

We lost a lot of time, working in things that may have been perfect at a technical level but useless from a customer’s perspective. Therefore, if we were to start over again, I would do customer validation much earlier in the project. That would have allowed for less changes in programming while enabling more changes with our different hypotheses.

What advice do you have for other business owners?

In the first stages of our business, everyone called us crazy for trying to create a search engine to compete head-on against the big three. They told us that “this was an impossible idea”. Nowadays, Gyffu is a reality and we learned that “If they say you´re crazy, that’s a good sign”

You don´t need a large amount of money to begin a business, there are a lot of success cases of people that start in a garage and turn an idea into a multi-million dollar business. We started in a basement but are now in more than 100 countries around the world.

Please list any favorite books, tools, or resources you would recommend for others:

Some books that helped us:

  • The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
  • Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
  • Steve Jobs – Biography

Online Resources:

What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

I´m a risk taker. I think every entrepreneur must be a risk taker to a certain level. When I´m not working on Gyffu or other big ideas, I practice extreme sports like downhill, bungee jumping, and indoor/outdoor climbing. I have been in dangerous situations and thanks to that, I have no fear to face big challenges like building a search engine that’s better than the big three.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Besides online privacy protection we engage in other practices for the benefit of society. Every month, we have an event or campaign to help underprivileged groups or people in need. For example: One month we celebrated the birthdays for 86 low-income children that have been diagnosed with cancer and another month we celebrated Women’s day with girls diagnosed with Down syndrome. Therefore, with Gyffu not only is your personal information protected, but you are also supporting all of these campaigns that we do. We would like to change the world not only in technology but in other ways as well.

– See more at: http://businessinfoguide.com/entrepreneur-interview-sebastian-henao-gyffu/#sthash.ymePekpo.dpuf

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