Alexandre Trevisan

8 min read
22 Nov 2023

lexandre Trevisan has been an entrepreneur since he was eighteen years old, founding Trevisan Tecnologia back in 1995. Passionate about innovation and the transforming power of technology, his efforts culminated with, which in 2011 was the first no-code platform for creating national B2B apps. Today, the company has over 240,000 users and 30,000 apps. In 2018, he launched Arena, a social innovation network designed for the knowledge era to articulate the construction of relevant connections and the sharing of genuine content.

You’ve been interested in entrepreneurship since you were eighteen.

Entrepreneurship, for me, was a natural path. I would say it was the only alternative that I considered. 

What was your journey towards founding your first company, Trevisan Tecnologia?

From the age of fourteen, I started working with programming at a data processing center, part of my father’s company, a chain of supermarkets. In practice, I took care of the printers and the reports, and gained experience with accounting, tax and financial issues. Then I ended up working with programming languages that no longer exist today. I was interested in the subject and came to Porto Alegre to study computer science. Because I had worked at my father’s company, my first customers were product distributors: I built their platforms and trained them. At that time, there were no cell phones – I had an answering machine that I called occasionally to see if I had a message from a client. From these consultancies, the company was born, focused on serving distributors and wholesalers. 

And this consultancy evolved to become

We started to solve problems for distributors and wholesalers, basically the management system. This sector has a significant percentage of people who work outside the company: the delivery person, the salesperson, the store promoter. In 1996, we created our first mobile solution, an application that aimed to automate these sales teams. It was fun because the technology was very restricted and these projects gained more space within our company’s portfolio. We evolved into a process where the company focused on the applications and not the management system. This side of our business kept growing over time.

Alexandre Trevisan — Photo by Guilherme Gargioni

What have been the memorable challenges of this journey so far?

The most interesting thing about our story is that we understood we needed a technology compatible with several devices. We researched and identified a programming language called Java ME, which promised to run on multiple devices. We built the solution and, when the solution was ready, we discovered that in practice it didn’t run well on any equipment at the time. In practice, we had a technology that didn’t run on anything, but it made sense. 

In search of a platform that would run the solution smoothly, I went to Las Vegas, at an event in the early 2000s. And I saw a presentation – I must have watched it about ten times in a row – of a device that sent emails. Today it is absolutely obvious, but at the time, it was disruptive. And then I understood, looking at that, that we were living a revolution: the convergence revolution. We returned to Brazil and discovered that, incredibly, these devices ran Java ME. And then we went to Claro, a mobile service network in Brazil, to test and put our solutions out there. No one had ever installed anything on any Claro mobile device until then, because the biggest file that could be installed at the time was a 5K file. That’s a ringtone.

They unlocked the network and we managed to do the installation. Then came GSM devices, which were compatible with Java… We discovered something new in mobility, ten years before the iPhone. We were running the technology we had written to solve a specific problem, and we were lucky to fit into this mobile revolution.

You were ahead of your time.

We saw things going that way, but we were ahead of the hardware then. We pursued values: I need platform-independent software. I need software that builds quickly. In some situations, we anticipated and paid the price for being ahead. When we launched in 2011, a platform without programming for creating applications in the cloud, we were ahead of time again, but that’s where the market was going. So much so that we’ve had the platform for twelve years, and it’s still very innovative. 

Three years after launching, Gartner named this type of solution “no-code.” We saw the report and thought now the market is here, Gartner has named it a business. But we realized that, in fact, Gartner names things that will happen a few years later [laughs]. And several years later, it did become a standard, which meant we had a no-code app running for twelve years already. 

Today, our platform allows you to create applications in a few minutes. Maybe the fact that we pursue values and not technology allows us to have a more perennial line of reasoning, delivering innovation.

The transformation that matters is the mental model transformation. The transformation that makes people understand that they win by helping and not competing.

How are value creation and innovation connected for you?

Two books inspired me to build what we have. The main one is Blue Ocean Strategy, based on value innovation and on achieving model disruption to achieve a new market standard. The other is Freakonomics, about the value of free, and understanding how we create technology that tends to have a marginal cost and generate innovation and disruption. I think these were two axes that positively guided us. These, for me, were important points in building the business model and the concept of value innovation. 

In recent years, we have been working a lot from a concept point of view. How can I not only evolve the product, evolve the offer, evolve positioning, evolve from a technological point of view, but also evolve from a cultural point of view?

Did you have moments of doubt while waiting for the market to catch up with what you had envisioned?

I learned to manage this feeling by working with probabilities. Nothing is certain. This makes you more likely to pursue something – you understand that there is a probability and a reward, and you can better understand the risks. It gives you less pressure. 

At first, I prefer to imagine that it might be a mirage. Then I seek more information to consolidate that it is not a mirage but something real that can be achieved. You start looking for support and external views to increase confidence. For that, collaborative work –  both internally and collaboratively with the ecosystem – is fundamental.

The more exchanges you have, the more references you have. The more context you have, the higher the level of judgment you are making concerning the company’s strategy, business model and objective. You have to have a counseling structure: be it with other entrepreneurs, a structure of local partners, or an internal network within the company itself. Be in learning mode all the time and look for constructive criticism. I have to look for people who will possibly bring criticism, and that will improve or validate your model.

Alexandre Trevisan — Photo by Guilherme Gargioni

And what was the influence of the Rio Grande do Sul ecosystem on your journey and how did this ecosystem change over the years?

I deeply believe that we live in an age of abundance – that we don’t compete but move forward and collaborate. The ecosystem establishes itself the more people know and trust each other. If we can form talents together, if we can share knowledge, if we can build short-, medium- and long-term strategies together, we are really working a mental model of an era of abundance. We are helping our society to understand that we are, in fact, in a new economy, in the age of knowledge. I understand that we are in the age of intelligence. And this is a win for everyone. 

I changed and that reflects on my view of the ecosystem. Because I believe that transformation starts with us, it starts with the leader. If you want to change a company, you must start changing yourself. If you want to change the ecosystem, you must start transforming yourself. I am confident that both for and for our ecosystem, the best is yet to come.

What did you learn in terms of hiring?

We are looking for people focused on developing skills and not accumulating knowledge. That’s key. We’re not generating a lead, but we’re identifying people with problems we can help solve. We are not opening a ticket, but we’re helping people who are having problems I can help solve. We are not building software, but we are creating tools that can make people more productive and increase their ability to generate value for themselves, for companies and for society. We are selling software to a company, but we are making it a value-generating entity for the ecosystem.

We look for people we see a challenge as an opportunity for growth and who understand that stepping out of their comfort zone means growing. We have people who have been with us for many years and who continue to have an impressive thirst for learning. That really impresses me, people who have been working with us for ten, fifteen or twenty years and still have a thirst for growth, development and challenge. As a company, we have the mission of having dreams so big that they fit the dreams of everyone who is here.

I’m grateful for working with incredible people daily; people who inspire, teach and encourage me. It’s a privilege to have the fundamental support of so many friends and partners in our ecosystem and on’s journey.

How do you see the future of entrepreneurship and innovation?

Entrepreneurs, or people who are involved with innovation in general, have a mission to somehow help other people seek the best way to capture this value. For me, entrepreneurs can offer a view of the opportunities, the challenges, the collaborations. I understand that the future we have today demands this, it demands that we manage to be more collaborative and understand that what is coming are great opportunities. If we manage this, we can capture much of this value for society.

What are your top work essentials?

Communication and time-management tools.

At what age did you found your company?


What are your most-used apps?

Google Calendar and WhatsApp.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given?

Happiness is a matter of choice.

What’s your greatest skill?

Identifying patterns.

What do you do every morning to prepare for the day ahead?

I take a few minutes to meditate. 

What book has most influenced your career?

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. 

What favorite positive habit have you cultivated?

Constantly keeping myself in learning mode.