As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cristina Vila Vives.
Founded in 2018, Cledara makes it simple for any company to take control of their growing stack of software subscriptions in a simple, intuitive manner. Cledara acts as the system of record for company software and centralizes the payment and management of SaaS applications in one place. Cledara is designed specifically for the journey of software and is used across the business providing visibility into approved software for employees to discover, buy, manage and cancel.
Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I always knew that I wanted to run a business. Growing up, I was fascinated by the stories my Dad told about the business he ran. It was when I joined a tech company to run their operations that I came across a problem that impacted not only me, but would impact everyone that had a business and I felt the urgency to bring a solution to the world.
What do you specialize in, and why should someone choose you over your competitors in your field?
Cledara helps businesses in 30 countries Discover, Buy, Manage and Cancel the cloud software they use to run their business. We bring visibility, control and scalable processes to the end-to-end journey of software for everyone in an organization.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The biggest mistake early on was trying to scale marketing before we had figured out who we were selling to and how best to communicate with them.
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What we learned was that before scaling something, we have to test that it works. We then applied the MVP approach that we had used successfully on the product across all the other functions in the business.
For marketing, this meant my co-founder and I went back to running lots of small marketing experiments, iterating quickly. Once we learned what worked, we made our first marketing and sales hires and scaled quickly from there.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I believe in the power of beauty to inspire people and help them feel connected to the world. Whether it’s amazing nature, a beautiful building, a small detail or an interaction that makes you smile, if we all contributed to making our surroundings more beautiful, and took time to appreciate the beauty around us, that would give us all a more positive state of mind.
We live this at Cledara and embed it in our culture. It inspires the way we interact with each other and our customers, the way we design our product and how we position our brand.
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
Hiring a diverse team is essential. Aligning people with values is critical. And bringing together those talented individuals to work well as a team is the key. Women tend to have higher emotional intelligence and therefore often have an edge in doing all three.
This means founding a business is a great opportunity for women to build businesses that are diverse by default and inspire others to do the same.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
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Founders are often revered and believed to have all the answers. The truth is, we don’t and that’s why we focus so much time on bringing together a great team that can help us build our vision.
What’s your piece of advice for people who want to quit their 9-5 job and start a business?
Make sure that you are truly passionate about the business you’re thinking of starting because the road is long and hard.
If you make the jump and start your own business, find another founder that has done it before and can share their personal experience and help you as you go through it. I started Cledara 4 years ago and having other founders around me has really helped me advance faster as a leader.