Founded two companies with 22yo. Here’s my personal story so far

My name is André Oliveira. I’m 25, based in Portugal and originally UX/UI Designer.I never went to high school. I’m a 100% self-taught guy. I started my professional life in the middle of a big crisis (2008/09), so I had a really hard time. I’ve been unemployed for a while. In 2011, I was even working as a carpenter.

Yeah, a carpenter! Despite the difficulties finding a place to do what I really wanted to do (Design, ofc), I never gave up.
In 2012, I finally did it. I was about to leave to London when I finally found the job that I was looking for! I enjoyed it. It gave me lots of knowledge about how a company works, and the contact with other Designers, with more experience than me, was amazing. Besides the valuable experience, one year and a half later, I felt I already have made my part. So, I quitted.
My goal was just one: pursue my dream of building my own thing. A challenge unlike any other.

How it all started

I had two main ideas: try to create my own product — Finta, a mobile App for Football/Soccer fans — or — Pixelmatters, a digital product design company. Initially my preference went to the first option.

Coding is not something that I like and know how to do, so when it all started Finta was “just” an idea, a concept, a vision and lots of mockups that I have designed. No more than that.

So, my first challenge was to get a technical Co-Founder. I tried it many, many times, but I failed.

The alternative was: raise some money from an Angel Investor, willing to make a leap of faith on me. After lots of miles done (Lisbon, London, Berlin…) and more than 1000+ e-mails sent (96% of them without reply, of course), I clearly failed on that too.

Pitching Finta in Berlin. November 2013

So basically I was unemployed, with just a not-working prototype and a lot of dreams on my plate. It’s a shame, but dreams don’t pay the bills. 😪

Finta had to wait a while, and the next move was obvious. I started looking for work as a Freelance UX/UI Designer. With the help of Dribbble, I made it to land on some cool gigs. I was working together with a friend, that was also UX/UI Designer. Eventually, we joined forces and things started to grow, grow…and grow. They grew so hard that we were almost forced to create Pixelmatters.

From December 2013 to date, it’s been a hell of a journey. So exciting! Things grew from being two guys working from home to a team of 17 (and growing), based in a beautiful office right in the center of our amazing city, Porto!

With 2 years and 5 months of existence, our team has grown by 850%, our revenue has tripled every year.

We are now one of the fastest growing startups in Portugal. And hiring!

This is our office in May 2016. We’ll be moving soon. No more room to grow! :)

We are working with amazing clients in all corners of the world, and nowadays we’re not only able to provide Design services, but also Development ones.

We’ve been lucky enough to work with amazing companies, some of them being backed by well-known firms like YCombinator, 500Startups, Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures and Greylock Partners.

More importantly than anything else, we have a superstar team, full of talented and passionate people. That’s what I’m most proud of!

Despite Pixelmatters’ success, I never let go the idea of turning Finta into a reality. So, part of our world-class team has been focused on building…guess what! ⚽️

After coming through all this journey of years of hard work, I finally created conditions to make Finta dream a reality.

Pixelmatters’ will continue to grow (we are expecting to be at least a team of 25 by the end of the year), having more and better clients/projects. Also, we aim to diversify our business streams, creating products in different areas. So, on the long-run, Finta might not be the first product we’ll be making…

In any case, for now, I couldn’t be more excited with what we’re about to launch! We are finally ready to show the world how we’re changing the way people engage and interact with sports on the digital world!

Continue to read about this, on the post →→→ Introducing Finta. The beautifully designed App where football meets social⚽️

Follow Pixelmatters on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 🚀

Follow Finta on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. ⚽️

Ah, and if you want, follow me on Twitter for…stuff. 😄

André Oliveira
Founder & CEO