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Startup Spotlight: We Are Simplex!

Cristián Ojeda, Founder of Simplex, shares his journey into the world of tech entrepreneurship.

May 16, 2024 · 6 Minute Read

Born in La Serena, Chile, Cristián Ojeda has always been driven by curiosity, constantly deconstructing and reconstructing things to understand how they worked. Today, Cristián works alongside his brother, Mario Ojeda, and together they build their tech empire. Simplex provides much more than just an AI-tailored solution for your business; they infuse their work with care and dedication to provide genuine connections and become the ultimate partner you can count on.

The Simplex team participated in the inaugural edition of the Microsoft AI Latino Immersion Program and recently returned for the second edition to share valuable insights with entrepreneurs about their journey and progress since their initial visit to Miami.

Discover the tech-inspired story of this remarkable innovator and learn how he built his startup from the ground up, powered by values.

Q: Can you tell me about your background? Where are you from? What was your academic journey like?

A: I was born and raised in Chile, where I pursued an academic career in industrial civil engineering. Following in my family’s footsteps, engineering felt like a natural fit… Throughout my academic journey, I maintained a great interest in technology, often exploring electronics and software development. During my college years, I started selling websites to businesses, gradually transitioning to software development to meet clients’ needs… Learning the ins and outs of the technology firsthand, I sold software initially, later discovering the benefits of offering it as a service. This decision to rent rather than sell created longer-term client relationships and a deeper understanding of their needs. After graduating, instead of immediately diving into entrepreneurship, I opted to gain corporate experience, working in business intelligence roles at major retail companies in Chile. It was during this time that the idea for Simplex emerged. Seven years ago, I partnered with someone who shared my vision, and we launched the company.

Q: What was the initial spark or idea that led to the creation of your startup? What did that process look like?

A: The initial spark for Simplex came from two key principles: Firstly, the desire to build a business based on intangibles, avoiding the complexities of raw materials and logistics. Secondly, the pursuit of passive income, driven by a recognition of the high barriers to entry in specialized industries like software development.

Identifying a significant knowledge gap in the industry, I set out to simplify the software development process. This led to the creation of Codelex (by Simplex), a low-code technology solution that streamlines development by offering a more intuitive interface. With Codelex, we aimed to democratize software development, enabling faster production with fewer skilled resources. By leveraging Codelex, we’ve been able to rapidly produce software solutions. This approach has proven competitive in terms of time to market, allowing us to allocate resources efficiently and drive innovation within Simplex.

Q: Could you describe some of the biggest challenges you faced as a founder of Simplex?

A: The journey of building the company was filled with challenges beyond just developing a business model. Working with people meant shaping an organizational culture, a constant challenge, as startups must innovate continuously. Innovation demands flexibility, as what worked a year ago might be obsolete today… Also, leading a diverse team is complex. Individuals have different interpretations, paces, and knowledge levels. So, keeping everyone aligned is key, and declaring values guides decision-making amid constant change.

Q: Why did you decide to expand your business into the US? Why not stay in Chile? 

A: The decision to expand to the US was driven by the limitations of the Chilean market, which is demanding but offers less depth compared to larger markets like the US. In Chile, businesses often need to diversify or rely heavily on a few large companies. On the other hand, the US market provides opportunities for specialization and deeper industry engagement… While other Latin American markets have potential, they may lack necessary formalities or present cultural challenges. Targeting a first-world market like the US or Europe offers attractive opportunities for growth and expansion.

Q: What sets Simplex apart from others in the space? What unique value proposition do you offer?

A: Our unique value proposition lies in our focus on rapid time-to-market. Unlike traditional software companies that prolong the process to maximize rental revenue, we prioritize swiftly solving customer problems. By minimizing deployment time and effort, we quickly deliver value, ensuring a seamless transition for the customer. We absorb cybersecurity costs, offering hassle-free infrastructure tailored to their needs without additional user-based fees. This approach makes us the fastest in our category, prioritizing customer success and efficiency.

Q: What has been the most rewarding moment for you since starting Simplex?

A: One of the most rewarding moments as an entrepreneur was reaching our first million in sales, signifying our ability to deliver value and better service to our customers. Another significant moment has been realizing that our company’s value extends beyond serving customers to making a positive impact in our ecosystem through social initiatives. Being part of projects that benefit people without a direct economic interest has been immensely gratifying. Another grand milestone for us would be partnering with major global companies such as Ikea, allowing us to set the pace in our industry and validate our path and commitment to generative solutions.

Q: What role do you see Simplex playing in the broader tech ecosystem in the next five years? 

A: In the next five years, we aim to implement cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and generative solutions in specific segments such as retail and banking. We anticipate making significant impacts in Latin America and expanding into first-world markets, particularly in the US. Our focus is on collaborating with market leaders to innovate and address key challenges, with a priority on providing solutions for larger enterprises.

Featured Startup Founders Posing for the pictureMario and Cristián Ojeda with their company mantra

Q: Can you share a personal mantra or philosophy that guides your approach to leadership and decision-making within your company?

A: Absolutely! This year we solidified our belief that knowledge (conocimiento) and talent (talento) are essential factors that add to your work. However, it’s attitude (actitud) that multiplies and value is the exponential in growth. Embracing a value-driven management approach is challenging. It’s about managing based on principles rather than solely technical abilities, which can be more complex and perhaps more costly, but it’s ultimately more meaningful. Our teams consist of individuals who not only share but also live by these values.

Q: Tell us about your journey with Mana Tech and Microsoft. What was your experience being part of the accelerator program? 

A: Last year, Microsoft invited us to participate in Mana Tech’s accelerator program. It offered us a transformative experience beyond just the program. We benefited from invaluable support, mentorship, and networking opportunities, validating our ideas and strategies. It’s a space where like-minded founders interchange ideas and experiences and are able to nurture innovation. It also taught us the importance of emphasizing specialization in a competitive market such as the US, and highlighted the value of community for growth and collaboration… The Microsoft and Mana Tech community provided a supportive ecosystem, facilitating connections, knowledge-sharing, and business opportunities. It enriched our understanding of the global tech community and its diverse perspectives and initiatives. 

Apply to our next Miami Immersion Program and join the ever-growing community of international tech entrepreneurs.

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