“It’s always great to come back to Técnico.” This is how Cristina Fonseca, a Técnico alumna, started her speech during the session “Founders@DEI”, organised by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, held this Wednesday, April 4, at Salão Nobre.
“I don’t want you to think that this is a monologue, so please interrupt me and feel free to ask any questions, let’s share our ideas”, she said. “I always loved mathematics, physics and chemistry, so I knew that I would choose an engineering course. I could get into any school I wanted but I had already chosen the best one: Técnico”. Cristina Fonseca always liked taking risks and to be part of the future, so she got a MSc in Network and Telecommunications. According to the alumna, “the academic journey is made of challenges and the shortcuts to solve them”, she shares.
“I was hospitalised for five days due to a health problem and it was then that I realised I wanted to do something that had a positive impact on people’s lives”. She decided to create something new with her classmate Tiago Paiva, but the success was not immediate. Many ideas failed, but “what we learnt from this experience has proved necessary later on”, says Cristina Fonseca. “The first version of Talkdesk was created during a competition promoted by a US company, in which we worked for ten days, non-stop day and night, and we ended up winning”, said the co-founder of the startup.
According to the alumna “get funding was very easy because the investors realised the market potential of our product”, points out Cristina Fonseca. Talkdesk employs more than 300 people. It has three offices and more than half of the team is based in Portugal. “It’s great to see the success of this Portuguese startup that I helped create”, she added.
During the session, Cristina Fonseca answered students’ questions in a direct way: “We, Portuguese people, lack the ability to communicate who we are and what we are good at”.
The willingness to do new things and to learn more has led the Técnico alumna to left Talkdesk, and although she remains the majority shareholder she does not interfere in daily decisions. Cristina Fonseca has recently joined Indico Capital Partners, where she helps tech startups launching technology-based products. “Being an entrepreneur is something very recent in Portugal, so seize the opportunity that Técnico gives you and attend the curricular unit “entrepreneurship” that will allow you to contact with the real world”, she suggested. “Young people must be able to stand out and to market themselves successfully”, she recommended.