uliano Murlick, in many ways, has fulfilled the entrepreneurial dream: in 2015, along with three other cofounders, he started Triider, a platform that digitalized the hiring of handyman services while delivering a great customer experience. Initially bootstrapped, the company soon completed three successful investment rounds and attracted an angel investor. After five years, it received a buying proposal from Tigre, Gerdau and Votorantim Cimentos, and accepted it.
Your entrepreneurship journey started with Triider. Can you share more about it?
I became an entrepreneur at the age of thirty-six. Before that, I had a traditional career, working mostly for Sicredi, the largest cooperative financial institution in Brazil. I joined in my twenties, as a junior analyst, then was promoted to senior analyst, coordinator, manager.… When I left Sicredi, I was a corporate architecture executive. Every two or three years, I went through new challenges, adding up to leading a team of four hundred people.
With Sicredi, I traveled to the US a few times and started using Uber pretty early on, in 2012. It was a bit of an aha moment for me, and Uber’s business model stuck in my mind because it could be perfectly replicated in other markets.
Then my third daughter was born, and we had to renovate our house. I had to hire a painter, an electrician, a plumber, all those things. This was 2013, 2014. We already had Uber and other apps like iFood boosting the user experience. Nubank, for example, had digital onboarding. But when it came to services, there was nobody. Some sites replicated a phone book on the internet, but no one brought the same level as the Uber experience. I was very focused on user experience at that point and decided I wanted a career change. I left Sicredi at the end of 2015 and went to Amazon.
It must have been the ultimate user-experience learning curve.
Amazon is a place where you are very obsessed with user experience. It’s not the most beautiful site, aesthetically speaking, but in functional terms, it’s excellent. It’s easy and intuitive; it even has a series of patents related to One Click to Buy, for example. While at Amazon, I incorporated this user experience issue a lot.
There was a series of lightbulb moments. I had the business model I had seen back in 2012. There was the personal need to deliver a digital service platform with a great user experience. In 2016, with my wife and cofounder Aline, I started Triider from home. It started with her, really. We met other people, Thiago Murlick and Paulo Gil, who became the other cofounders, and we started our first market validations.
When was Triider’s official launch?
April 2016. It was completely focused on the experience – it wasn’t about finding a random phone number for an electrician online. We wanted to validate these professionals, to introduce a shopping experience, a service, a credit-card payment option, etc. We checked the professionals’ criminal records in the Federal and Civil Police and checked if they were involved in any cases related to violence against women and children in Brazil.
In January 2017, I resigned from Amazon and the other cofounders resigned from their jobs too. The four of us went to a small room in Canoas. We borrowed money from our family to take the first steps. We suffered a lot.
When was the first funding round?
In November of the same year. It was a fund that brought in money but also a lot of knowledge. With that, we hired our first team members. We had two more funding rounds, one angel investor. We grew to a team of thirty people. And in 2020, we received a complete purchase proposal.
It was a difficult decision because we were on that entrepreneur path where you either get more funding rounds or you sell. We decided to sell the company, and it was the right decision. We stayed on for two more years, but we understood that our cycle at Triider had ended. In total, that journey lasted seven years.
What was the difference between working at Triider as an owner and as an employee?
There were many differences. Before, we had greater agility in decision-making. As a smaller group of people, we made decisions around a table. Now, when we became part of this larger group, we had a board, and we had managers, and I was there as CEO, but I had someone to report to. If I wanted to be an executive, I would have returned to Amazon.
I’m a bit of a restless entrepreneur. I realized this term, intrapreneur, existed: a person who brings entrepreneurial spirit within companies. And I’ve always been that. All the projects I’ve been doing since the beginning of my career were intrapreneurial. I identified the need, spoke with my managers, got it approved and started doing it.
Whether you like it or not, when you sell your company to a large corporation, you lose autonomy. The company is no longer yours, you no longer decide how things will happen. This was perhaps one of the fundamental factors in my decision to not stay at Triider as a CEO.
What do you think was your best decision as an entrepreneur?
When we won the investment round, we had to decide between expanding to the rest of Brazil or staying in Porto Alegre. And we decided to stay in Porto Alegre, without being too sure about it. But today I can see it was the right thing to do.
We were very incipient, very immature, with many problems. By staying in Porto Alegre for eighteen months, twenty-four months, we adjusted to a series of issues. Once they were sorted, we could expand nationally. If we had done this too early, we would have spread problems across Brazil. We stayed in Porto Alegre, used it as a laboratory, and managed to expand nationally in a more organized way.
As someone who has experienced the Rio Grande do Sul innovation ecosystem since 2015, the evolution is palpable. In the last eight years, our ecosystem has become more united, more evolved, and more aware.
Would you have done anything differently?
No, I don’t think so. We managed to build a product and a company where not only the product evolved but the people evolved too. People we hired started their careers at Triider. Today they’re at Sicredi and other big companies. More than just creating a digital product, we built a company where people grew. For me, a good leader is someone who also forms other leaders. And I think we fulfilled this role within the ecosystem.
What professional advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
First, choose well when it comes to the people who will be around you, whatever the project. The people who will be with you are the secret of your success, because you will hardly be able to do things alone. They’re either the secret of your success or your failure.
Second, before starting to do it or thinking about a solution or building an application or a website, spend more time on the problem. What is the problem you want to solve? Because I see that especially in Brazil, we tend to do things without discussing the problem thoroughly. And then, because you haven’t discussed the problem enough, you often end up not designing the best solution.
And what was the most valuable piece of advice you received?
There’s been a few. But the most important one was about people, about being able to put together a multidisciplinary team that has complementary skills. It’s important to identify people with a twinkle in their eyes. We got a lot right in our hires, but we made some mistakes, too. But I’m very happy that we got more right than wrong.
What are you up to now?
Aline and I have been living here in California since 2022. It’s not exactly a sabbatical; it’s more taking the time to find another project, to see what’s happening here and maybe launch another product in Brazil.
People say “Ah, Silicon Valley is ending,” but I’ve been here for a little over a year and nothing is ending. It’s a vibrant, pulsating ecosystem with big companies, great diversity. I’m here integrating myself into this ecosystem, living it and trying to network and find people so that I can finally find a new project. I miss the chaos a little bit. The rush, the meetings.
I left in August of last year. I’m in a moment that I’ve never had, which is a moment without much commitment. I’m doing mentorships with some startups, and talking, but looking for a new project. I’m an entrepreneur, and I want to build something new. I’m studying Web3, but I’m not very focused on finding solutions; I’m focused on finding problems. What problems exist in this world so I can think of future solutions? I’m in this exploratory moment, and it’s still April. I want to end the year running some projects, or at least thinking about one.
What are your top work essentials?
People, networking, mentorship and technical knowledge.
At what age did you found your company?
I was thirty-six years old.
What are your most-used apps?
Gmail, Google Meets, Google Calendar, Google Notes: the complete Google package.
What book has most influenced your career?
The Leadership Pipeline by Ram Charan and The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
What favorite positive habits have you cultivated?
Discipline, organization and active communication.