Quipu is a Catalan startup that offers invoice management software for freelancers and businesses. Founded by Albert Bellonch and Roger Dobaño in 2013 under the umbrella of the accelerator itnig, Quipu has become one of the principal business management SaaSs (Softwares as a Service) on the market thanks to its interface and ease of use.
To learn more about the company, its operations and its objectives we interviewed its CEO, Roger Dobaño.
For those don’t know you, who is Roger Dobaño and what is Quipu?
I’m Roger Dobaño, CEO and co-founder of Quipu, a company founded in June of 2013 within itnig.
Quipu is a cloud-based invoicing software for freelancers, businesses and accounting offices. We take care of the daily operations of a business – the administrative tasks – and provide relevant business metrics to support better decision-making in all of these sectors.
How did the idea for Quipu come about?
There were two main drivers:
The first was my personal experience facing the world of freelancers for the first time, with all of the misinformation and isolation that characterizes it. For that reason, we decided to create a tool that was simple and easy for anyone to use.
The second motive was that itnig had a small back office which was a good starting point to develop the application. In other words, the application was born out of the needs of this environment itself.
There is already a lot of competition in the invoice management software sector. What are the key differences between Quipu and the other products on the market?
We started with the idea of creating a platform that was simple, user-friendly and intuitive, both for experts (such as accountants) and for the inexperienced (most of us). We wanted to give freelancers and business owners all of the tools necessary to fulfill their obligations to the tax authority.
We also saw the need to connect accountants with companies or freelancers in order to optimize the workflow and communication between them. Thus was born Quipu for accountants(QuipuPro), which has the functionality to meet their specific needs, allowing them to save time and to develop new business models.
What role does mobile technology – and your app – play in Quipu’s overall strategy?
In the beginning, we made a mobile application with one concrete need in mind: the capture of receipts and bills. Our client can take a photo each time they have an expense to avoid the hassle of saving receipts which could later fade or be lost.
In a second phase, we want to develop a more complete native application that allows the full use of Quipo. This implies, for example, the creation and sending of an invoice along with an integrated payment platform so the sending and receiving payment on an invoice is almost immediate and can be done from anywhere. There is no doubt that Quipo must go mobile, or it will cease to exist.
What are the main challenges you have faced so far?
Everything happens very rapidly and managing the speed of events is not simple. As we say, the years of a startup are like dog years: one year in a startup equals seven years in a normal business and management is hectic but exciting.
Also, it’s necessary to constantly look for talent. Because this has such a big impact on Quipu it is one of the most important and time consuming tasks.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give other entrepreneurs who are starting their first businesses?
They have to know this is a long race and managing morale in the company is important. In order to do that, it’s key to surround yourself with talented people and look for guidance through all of the different phases of the project so it can remain viable.
It’s especially important they tell everyone about their project and validate it as soon as possible in the market, so other entrepreneurs can contribute solutions for existing problems before they develop their own.