Roberta Antunes, from founding father of Resort Urbano to companion at Hashdex
Moving between different universes has never been a problem for Roberta Antunespartner and director of Brazilian cryptocurrency manager Hashdex🇧🇷 In 2007, still in marketing college, the businesswoman got her first job at the online retail company B2W and began to fall in love with technology and innovation.
“We were experiencing a technology boom at the time and the B2W was way ahead of that. There were already companies in the same sector as Mercado Livre, but everything was very new”, says Antunes. “It was there that I fell in love with the ease that the internet brings and this has remained throughout my professional career.”
However, as professional and personal life go hand in hand, it was necessary to recalculate the route. Destiny’s GPS took her to the United States, where she decided to start a business with her husband. The two opened one gym, then another. It wasn’t necessary to open the third one for her to realize that her path wasn’t that one.
The businesswoman decided to focus on education and specialize in an American university. Even before finalizing its application, Antunes received an invitation from the brothers José Eduardo and João Ricardo Mendes to create a company focused on the hospitality sector.
“At the time, travel was very expensive. So we decided to create the urban hotel, who had the idea of offering accommodation at a fair price,” says Antunes. “We took advantage of the ‘Urbano’ wave that had become synonymous with cheap stuff with companies like Peixe Urbano, Clube Urbano and we managed to surf on that opportunity.”
She says that the partners researched the Brazilian market and realized that more than 80% of the country’s hotels did not belong to large chains and did not have visibility. “So we brought these hotels online and worked really hard to create demand and increase their occupancy rate,” she says. In 2015, when Antunes decided to follow new directions, the number of employees already reached around 700.
Back in the United States, she met Marcelo Sampaio, the businessman who founded Hashdex. At the time, he was working at an operating system company called Endless, partnered with the son of investment guru Ray Dalio.
Excited about the proposal to bring connectivity to hard-to-reach places, Antunes accepted the challenge. “The project had nothing to do with what I had done before, but it was very connected with taking education everywhere and that touched me a lot”, she says. Initially hired for the growth area, she rose to the position of CEO in a short time and led projects focused on education and connectivity.
Despite feeling satisfied with her position at Endless, the businesswoman still wanted to undertake and create jobs in Brazil. Back in her homeland, she was approached by the founder of Hashdex, who offered her a partnership in the newly created company focused on the world of cryptocurrencies. The first reaction was fright, since Antunes had never worked in the sector. However, as a good lover of challenges, she accepted the offer. Currently, as a partner and director of the company, her goal is to take Hashdex out of Brazil.
“I am very motivated to join a project that is a great personal challenge. It is also very important for me to know that I have the right people on my side to make the idea work,” she says. “I am sure that blockchain is the future and I have great confidence in the work we are doing.”
Antunes says that some time ago he began to realize that his experience could help other entrepreneurs who are going through similar situations and he started to act as an angel investor, seeking to bring different views on how to do business.
“I didn’t think about investing in companies. I had the idea that I would never know more about the company than the founder. But I’ve lived many stories, I’ve seen many businesses go bankrupt or very successful, so I can help lighten the path of the entrepreneur.”