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Peruvian Entrepreneur, Bootstrapping to $200 Million: Belisario Rosas, CEO of WEI (Part 3)

Posted on Sunday, Dec 13th 2015

Sramana Mitra: Let me actually probe each of those points a bit. Did you, at this point, become an e-commerce site? Were people ordering online?

Belisario Rosas: No. We barely, to this date, do any type of e-commerce. All of it is solution-based and face-to-face selling.

Sramana Mitra: Talk to me about solution service infrastructure that you put in place that allowed you to do that level of business in the 1998 time frame.

Belisario Rosas: It was more of adding value to the products we were selling. At that time, we were one of the only few that could power-convert products. We specialize in foreign voltage computer parts. We set up a testing facility so that we were able to test and convert certain products to run under 220 V, which was European power. We specialized in that. There were only three or four capable facilities in the US that were able to perform that type of a job. Probably around 2000, we started to leave that business. We weren’t doing that much of brokering. In the past 15 years, we dedicated our efforts more into local selling and getting involved more with local companies providing them full solutions.

Sramana Mitra: What was the footprint of the customers? What segment were you going after?

Belisario Rosas: We were going after large customers.

Sramana Mitra: So your business is an enterprise business?

Belisario Rosas: Correct.

Sramana Mitra: What is the next inflection point after 1998?

Belisario Rosas: I know that we started doing business with State Street in 1995 and a couple of other large customers. It was a change from brokering computer parts to full solutions.

Sramana Mitra: What did that do to revenues?

Belisario Rosas: In 1995, we were about $3.8 million. In 1995, we did $8.3 million. In 1997, we did $9.7 million, and  roughly $11 million in 1998. In 1999, $12.2 million.

Sramana Mitra: What I’m looking for is the next major strategic move.

Belisario Rosas: We saw a decline in 2006 and revenue scaled back in 2007 to $28 million. In 2010, we jumped to $50 million. 2009 was a major change with respect to the fact that I attended a mini-strategy course in Dartmouth. That gave me a lot of insight.

Sramana Mitra: What did you learn? What was the nugget that you came back with that drove your next level of growth?

Belisario Rosas: Pretty much, strategy.

Sramana Mitra: What element of strategy?

Belisario Rosas: The first one was letting go and getting the right team of people. That was probably our biggest take. It was bringing in specialized people.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Peruvian Entrepreneur, Bootstrapping to $200 Million: Belisario Rosas, CEO of WEI
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