Set up your own business during the MBA program

Ofertia was born in IESE's classrooms backed by FINAVES

17/09/2013 Barcelona


It’s hard to find an online system capable of finding any product in a matter of minutes, but that’s what Ofertia can offer. It has placed over 500 current catalogs, from major companies including Eroski, Hipercor and Vodafone online, and makes their products searchable. It can locate the shop closest to the user and provides opening hours and any special offers available.

Thomas Roggendorf, Oriol Carreras and Jaume Betrian created Ofertia in August 2011 during the first year of the MBA program at IESE, and in a short period of time have managed to sign agreements with more than 40 major retailers. The Ofertia mobile app has become one of the most downloaded in Spain. All this with a team of 20 people.

"We started talking to Betrian about Ofertia during the first few weeks of the MBA," says Roggendorf. "I knew some people who had created a similar platform in Germany where I was studying. We drew up a business plan and got in touch with them." The next step was to find an investor. "You get to a point where you have to make a decision and commit yourself to what you believe in. We ‘signed’ Carreras, who was also on the program, and he took responsibility for the technical side of the project. We decided to start Ofertia with an initial funding of €40,000 out of our personal savings."

At almost the same time the Bonial International Group, a company operating in Germany with the same business model as Ofertia, signalled its interest in expanding internationally, and signalled that it was open to investment in Ofertia. In 2012 an investment agreement was signed. A year later, Ofertia closed an additional investment round, in which FINAVES, now a member of Ofertia’s board, became involved, as did an investor in IESE’s investment network, Inderhab Investments, the family office of the Botet family, who are former owners of the Caprabo supermarket chain. "These investments allowed us to enter the market more aggressively," said Roggendorf.

Ofertia launched its platform in April 2012, a few weeks before its founders completed their MBAs. One year on, the platform offers digital catalogs covering 12 sectors, from food to DIY, real estate and electronics, with the aim of facilitating its subscribers’ day-to-day shopping while guaranteeing to retailers that their offers will be updated and available via any mobile device, which is much more effective than a printed catalogue.

Plans for the future

FINAVES participation in the development of Ofertia "has been essential," says Roggendorf, "because it gives us constant support. Their suggestions and recommendations add value and, furthermore, they bring us contacts within the industry, which is fundamental when you’re setting up a business." The goal is "to further grow the user base in Spain and expand the business internationally, maybe to Latin America, towards the end of this year," Roggendorf says. That will be the moment to initiate a new investment round. So far Ofertia’s website has 1.5 million users a month, and there have been more than half a million downloads of its mobile apps.