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Crossing Borders with Nathan Lustig


Hello and welcome to Crossing Borders with Nathan Lustig, where I interview entrepreneurs doing startups across borders and the investors who support them, with a focus on companies that have some relationship to Latin America.

Jun 1, 2021

Alexander Torrenegra, Torre: Reinventing job-matching and recruitment services, Ep 143

 

Alexander Torrenegra believes that most talent is going to waste because it’s not being exposed to the right opportunities. That’s why he founded Torre, a platform that streamlines the application, recruitment, and selection process for remote work. This new professional network matches the best talent in Latin America with companies around the world.

 

Before Torre, Alexander co-founded and bootstrapped Voice123 and BunnyStudio, forever transforming the voice acting industry. He’s also been an angel investor with his wife for over two decades, won many entrepreneurship awards, and written several practical guides. 

 

I sat down with Alexander to talk about his entrepreneurial trajectory from getting a loan from a bank at 14 years old with his first business, to moving from his native Colombia to the US and eventually founding Torre. We also discuss Voice 123’s business model and the benefits of bootstrapping a company.

Getting a loan as a 14-year-old

Alexander explains that becoming an entrepreneur has always been a decision he’s made out of necessity, rather than passion. For him, it’s a means to an end–that at 14 years old, was buying a computer. He’d fallen in love with computers at a very young age, sneaking into classrooms in the after hours at the university where his mom was a secretary. He soon figured out that with a loan from the bank he would be able to buy a computer. However, he hadn’t factored in that his age might be an issue.

 

Learn more about the incredible story behind Alexander’s first bank loan at 14 years old and how he paid it off in this episode of Crossing Borders.

The early days of Voice123

When Alexander met his wife in the US, he was introduced to a whole new world. Through his wife, a voice actress herself, he learned about the inner workings of the voice acting industry and how unmeritocratic it could be. By then, Alexander was working as a webmaster and decided to create a solution to a problem that nobody had tackled until that moment.

 

Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about what the voice acting industry looked like before Voice123.

The first step for a moonshot

According to Alexander, there are two basic components to kicking off a moonshot-based business. One of the biggest factors is a person’s capacity to have financial freedom. These types of businesses are characterized by being extremely ambitious and exploratory, meaning that there may not be any near-term profitability or benefit. Therefore, having something to fall back on or resources to maintain yourself is key.

 

Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about moonshot-thinking and how Alexander brainstorms new business ideas.

 

A year after COVID-19, the job market has been completely transformed. The reality is that remote work is here to stay, and solutions like Alexander’s Torre are making it easier for companies to hire and for people to find work in this new normal.

 

Outline of this episode:

  • [1:30] - About Torre
  • [3:47] - An entrepreneur out of necessity
  • [5:40] - Starting a business at 14
  • [10:38] - Upgrading the business
  • [13:36] - Building Voice123
  • [16:44] - Choosing a business model out of ignorance
  • [19:40] - On going viral with Fred Wilson
  • [23:30] - Decision to bootstrap
  • [26:30] - Advice to founders on getting started
  • [29:50] - Is this a LinkedIn killer?
  • [31:40] - Kicking off a moonshot
  • [34:09] - Questions Alexander asks himself when brainstorming
  • [36:25] - Advice to Alexander’s younger self
  • [37:40] - Books, blogs, & podcast recommendations
  • [40:15] - What’s next for Torre?

 

Resources & people mentioned: