Sramana Mitra, a technology entrepreneur, author, and strategy consultant, has profiled Pismo Co-Founder and CEO Ricardo Josua on her website.
In an interview titled “Building a global hardcore financial technology company from Brazil” (published in five parts), Mitra spoke with Ricardo and explored his journey towards founding Pismo.
He tells the story of the founding of Conductor, a business process outsourcing firm Ricardo led as CEO from 1999 to 2012. “For people who haven’t lived with an abundant flow of capital from VCs, it was a completely different environment,” he says
“We had a lot of demand from smaller businesses and banks that were impossible to build on mainframes. We started a business to build from scratch. It was a long journey. This unit was funded around $100,000, and that was it. The rest had to come from business revenues. We grew as far as we could generate cash from the business.”
Pismo is born
Later in the interview, Ricardo explains the very first ideas for the company that would become Pismo.
“In 2015, my former CTO was still at the first venture I’d started. She left in 2015 and went to Silicon Valley to visit some FinTech companies. She came back all excited. They were benchmarking themselves against the incumbents. There are many exciting companies with lower CAPEX and more modern microservices.”
Ricardo joined this new venture while working on his other projects and then, in December 2016, decided the prospects for this new company were becoming exciting. He decided to seek institutional support.
“We found this venture capital firm called Redpoint. They were funding a lot of startups here. We started conversations in November. After about three months, we got a seed round.”
Innovation in the back end
Asked about how important the desire to innovate the back end of financial services companies had become, Ricardo says that it has become more important than anyone ever imagined in 2016.
“Hindsight is 20/20. Just as we tell it to ourselves, going over the things that you got right and building back a narrative that makes sense based on current facts, I’m conscious that I check assumptions and make sure to be as humble as possible. There are a lot of adjustments and missed bets.
“What did turn out was that we thought we would start with more modern companies. As it turned out, larger institutions were already feeling the pressure from newer fintech firms. Although we were getting business from smaller and newer fintech firms, incumbents started talking to us. We ended up becoming a relevant player in the enterprise market.”
Sramana Mitra is the founder and CEO of One Million by One Million (1Mby1M), billed as the world’s first and only global virtual incubator. Sramana has been an entrepreneur and a strategy consultant in Silicon Valley since 1994.
As an entrepreneur CEO, Sramana founded three companies: Dais (off-shore software services), Intarka (sales lead generation and qualification software using AI algorithms) and Uuma (a personalised online store for selling clothes). She has authored multiple books on business and technology.
Sramana published the interview in five parts on her website: