Over the years Francisco Santolo discovered that his passion was to help entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams. Francisco explains why his model of building businesses generates disruption in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, by compiling, simplifying and reworking from his own experience the latest literature on the subject, designing models without investment and minimizing their risks, generating a common language and encouraging network members to care for each other, collaborate and generate synergy with the talents that each has.
By Ayelén Ruiz
He created his first business when he was a teenager, then discovered that his passion was to help entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams.
Francisco Santolo was only thirteen years old when he unwittingly ventured into what was his first project. One weekend he started testing codes based on an instant messaging program and created a chat that allowed him to send drawings, jokes and simulations that quickly caught the users' attention. Making some arrangements on the road, Francisco had to create a page to make the chat downloadable due to the high demand from users. At a time when Skype and accessible cell phones did not exist, it reached fifty thousand visitors per day and three hundred thousand registered users in the first months. His website started connecting companies from all over the world without knowing that the person behind it was a teenager eager to explore new horizons.
His first experience helping entrepreneurs began when he was working at the faculty's entrepreneurship center coordinating a business plan competition. Life took him to the corporate world where he spent more than ten years, however, he describes his return to the entrepreneurial world as magical: "In a postgraduate course in the United States, they gave us a networking class that changed my mind a lot. I realized that simply through people you achieve all the things that one achieves, that everyone has a desire, that this desire is a desire that we generally don't tell others about, that we believe that things are worth it more when we achieve them alone, and that we can all help each other much more easily and more powerfully than one imagines and believes”.
With that experience he returned to Argentina and dedicated his time to explore this new world. First he started with friends, then with friends of friends, and the wheel kept turning. Most people asked him to help them start up, value their companies or create a new product. As time went by, some of those entrepreneurs he had helped decided to offer him part of their companies as a reward for his achievements.
While working in Dubai, he had the crazy idea of helping entrepreneurs with the use of technologies like Skype and to apply everything he had learned in the entrepreneurship and innovation course he had taken at Stanford. He landed in Buenos Aires again and spent two months developing the methodology he now applies at Scalabl, a company builder and startup accelerator that combines the corporate model with the disruptive models created in the last few years. Using the Business Model Generation by Steve Blank and other authors such as Eric Ries or Jeofrey Moore who had made great contributions to the world of entrepreneurship, Scalabl managed to create one hundred and twenty companies since March 2016 and incubate more than forty. Francisco points out that they have managed to break all the paradigms of the current ecosystem, one of which is that you don't need money to start a business. The companies they develop are companies without economic risks, without investments, but with high potential for scalability and profitability.
"I think our virtue is to have linked values and networking as a common language for this diverse network of entrepreneurs, and this common language comes out of a simple literature. To all this we add a bit of spice of our own in the sense that, in a difficult country like Argentina, we aim at low-risk models. Models with few resources of their own at the beginning to models that do not need investment until they have proven that they can grow in a predictable way"- Francisco Santolo CEO of Scalabl
Today Francisco looks back and does not forget all the people who followed him on the path that he lived as an entrepreneur. When Scalabl was concentrated in one room at his mother's house, when his friends called him to ask him how they could help, the support of his wife throughout the process and hundreds of people who managed to fulfill his dream and the dreams of many entrepreneurs.