Today I have the pleasure of publishing a long and quite interesting conversation I’ve had with Gabriel Engel, CEO and co-founder of Rocket.Chat, the leading open-source team communication platform that allows users to chat securely on the web, desktop, or mobile. Previously, he founded four other businesses, including Konecty, a CRM focused on facilitating the management of any business process, and Intelimen, an agency. You can watch it on YouTube or listen on Spotify, PocketCasts, and other apps.
Gabriel is a very special person to me and I’ve had the honor of partnering with him a few times. We talked about Gabriel as a founder, a leader, and a CEO who raised a $19MM Series A. Also, we went deep on his personal story and how his father mentored him to become who he is. Besides, we talked about technical topics such as open-source as a go-to-market strategy and all the typical struggles that an early-stage entrepreneur would go through as he built his empire.
In the episode, I asked him questions such as:
During your 6 years in London, you build a life there, worked as a freelancer and at companies such as Vodafone. Eventually, you got fed up and quit your job to build another company. Why?
When you were young, you wanted to grow up to become an “inventor”. Back then, you learned that creating a company was the best way to get your inventions out into the world, so you have been inventing things and starting businesses to turn them into products ever since. When the idea for Rocket.chat came along and you started it as a side-project from Konecty, was it clear to you that it could be your greatest invention and your Ikigai, or was it just an "invention" idea like any other?
Besides Sid Sijbrandij, co-founder of GitLab, throughout your journey, you met high-profile people such as Eliot Horowitz, an early investor in Duolingo and Groupon, and Harry Weller, founder of MongoDB. Which are some of the lessons you learned from them?
I had a wonderful time talking to him and I hope you enjoy the episode as well.
Our first guest is Rafael Sanches. I've known him for about 7 years. We've met while he was running Allthecooks, which he bootstrapped, grew it to become the number #1 recipe app in the U.S., and sold it to Cookpad, the biggest recipe website in the world.
Today, he’s the founder of Anycart, an online grocery service that makes it easy and affordable for consumers in more than 3,400 cities in the U.S. to shop for groceries and cook the meals they love. Their investors include Menlo, Pear and Greycroft.
Rafael is a relentless inevitable founder, a phenomenal contrarian, and a brilliant product genius. And it's rare for me to use these adjectives to describe people. I hope you enjoy the incredible conversation we've had for this episode and learn from his beautiful and inspiring story.
In the episode, I asked him questions such as:
How was the transition from being a developer who was concerned with reducing server costs to becoming an entrepreneur who was enthusiastic about scaling a company?
2 years after starting, Allthecooks had millions of users and was the most popular recipes app in the US. It was wildly successful, but I'm sure you're a much different entrepreneur today. What would you do differently if you were back then with the knowledge you have now?
How was the decision to sell Allthecooks to the biggest cooking recipes website in the world?
In your second company, you operated differently. You raised US$600k at the start and hired employees, for instance. How different was your mindset as a founder this second time?
How did you manage to sleep at night, raise your son and build a family in California amid this whole trajectory of building, selling, and pivoting companies?
I hope you like it!
Also, if you like watching clips from podcasts, subscribe to Inevitable Clips. I'll publish clips from the first episode over the next few days.
I'm pleased to announce the launch of the Inevitable Podcast.
Through long-form candid conversations, I hope to uncover secrets from world class founders, investors and people -- while having a lot of fun. This isn't just another podcast about business, venture or startups. I decided to go long and deep.
If you want to learn from world-class founders and investors, check our teaser here:
I recorded it at Mount Tamalpais, one of my favorite places on earth.
Also, don't forget to subscribe to the YouTube Channel or the podcast on other platforms.
The first episode will be published April 26th. I won't spoil who'll be the first guest, but what I can tell you is that he's Brazilian who lives in Mountain View and has founded multiple tech companies (one of which was acquired). You don't want to miss it. See you again next Monday!