Hendrik Roosna is an entrepreneur from Hiiumaa. He founded a company named Upgraded Technologies which started its operating activities in Silicon Valley.
We interviewed him to find out how his journey as an entrepreneur started, how it felt to cooperate with world class professionals, where he is heading next and what he is doing at EBS.
- Your success started from Silicon Valley. Tell us the story of getting there, being there and also how it has been after it.
My journey as an entrepreneur started already 8 years before the Silicon Valley adventure, actually. I have been developing a leasing company since the year of 2004 which at the time was named Fusion. At the end of 2015, I had an idea to develop a brand new product and in 2016 I found business partners with whom I applied and got into the Y Combinator. For that purpose, to develop a new product, we founded a company named Upgraded that is mainly active in Scandinavia at the moment. For the past year I have primarily been in Estonia, working on the development of the team, the financial product and the technology.
- How did it feel like to work with the world’s best companies (Pixar, Twolio, Google, Twitter, Facebook etc.)?
At the Y Combinator, we had evening seminars on every Tuesday where for example Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Ron Conway (one of the most famous investors in Silicon Valley), Edwin Catmull (Pixar) etc. performed. At those seminars, nobody was allowed to film because we could ask anything and the relaxed atmosphere was really important. It was really exciting to listen how complicated their journeys to the top had been, what kind of mistakes and opportunities they had experienced.
- What did you learn from them and what kind of suggestions they gave?
There were lots of suggestions but what I remember the most is that concentration and persistence are the key to success.
- What is Upgraded and what does it deal with?
Upgraded is a tech-company that created a solution for electronic device sellers to keep their customers’ smartphones and other devices always fresh, new and up to date for a small monthly payment.
- ”Upgraded is the first Estonian fintech company in Y Combinator” – what does this mean to you?
We were the first but, luckily enough, not the last. I hope that many Estonian startup companies understand how important it is to reach further than Estonia. For example, Kaarel Kotkas with Veriff has made an incredible process by choosing the same path as us.
- Where are you heading next? What are your plans for the future?
Fintech development has been my calling so far and I work to enable customers more comfortable and useful financing options. Solutions where financing and services create a complete value proposition.
- What kind of advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Curiosity and finding interesting problems is the base for everything. From there on it should be easy.
- How to keep yourself focused?
This is a million dollar question right here. To stay focused I keep reminding myself to plan my time. I evaluate my calendar once a week and validate if the planned activities take me closer to my goals and think if I should remove or add something.
- What are the motivational factors helping you work towards your goals?
Sincere interest towards the upcoming changes. The world around us is changing so fast and the interest towards the upcoming changes in my field helps to keep my attention at the right place.
- From where did you get inspiration most recently?
Yuval Noah Harari’s book “Homo Deus: A brief History of Tomorrow”.
- And lastly, why did you come to EBS?
Just for a little change and for self development.
Editor Kärt Mättikas
Translator Marlen Kuusk