By: Stephanie Scott
“Entrepreneurship is how you monetize or make a business around your interest and dreams.” – Luis Ferrer-Labarca
Recent Georgia State graduate, Luis Ferrer-Labarca is one of the co-founders and the Chief Commercial Officer of an already thriving and growing company called BitCraft. Luis talks about how along with his degree in Computer Science, his minor inEntrepreneurship & Innovation gave him the tools he needed to turn his passion into a successful business.
What is BitCraft?
BitCraft is an agency that does work for-hire on behalf of cryptocurrency and blockchain companies. We consider ourselves “infrastructure experts” that work with blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. We create apps, web design, and other infrastructure that interact with blockchain and cryptocurrencies to make it more accessible to consumers.
How did you and the other co-founders come up with the idea for BitCraft?
It started with BitCraft CEO, Harsha Goli’s, (B.S. ‘18) idea for starting a technology called Hail. He wanted CTO, Zach Bloomquist, (B.S. ‘16); Principal Developer, Caleb Lewis (B.S. ‘18); COO, Sri Rajasekaran (B.S. ‘18), and I to help him with Hail. We all met in GSU’s PantherHackers student organization. We scrapped all the coding for Hail and began to rebuild the technology together. Our idea was to do tech work for-hire for companies in order to make money while still working on our own product, Hail. From there, BitCraft became an agency and we all became co-founders.
What are your responsibilities as Chief Commercial Officer?
As Chief Commercial Officer, I manage the Public Relations because I communicate with potential clients and I’m responsible for the branding of the company. I also oversee Human Resources since I do all the hiring for the company and I’m in charge of everything that has to do with the business and revenue of BitCraft. In a startup, you have to wear multiple hats!
Tell us about some projects you all have done and are working on that has made BitCraft revenue positive?
BlockExplorer was the first company that hired us to do web development for them. BlockExplorer’s website shows all the transactions that happen in different cryptocurrencies. The parent company to BlockExplorer hired us to do more developing work for them. Currently, we’re getting so many request to do work for companies that we need to hire more developers!
What have you learned from other tech jobs, internships, and your work in PantherHackers that has helped you with BitCraft?
We started PantherHackers at Georgia State, so that experience taught us how to be founders. We learned leadership skills and how to build an organization from the ground up. I was the Chief Technical Officer and I ran my own committee. We each gave ourselves roles and committees, just like we have with BitCraft. I did an internship with Rigor and another with MailChimp. While interning at Rigor, I improved my skills in writing and perfected my skills in coding. That’s where I became an “infrastructure expert”. After my internship ended with MailChimp, I was not asked to come back – that was my “firetrigger”! It gave me the motivation I needed to put all my energy into starting BitCraft.
What have you learned from taking ENI courses that has helped you with BitCraft?
I’d say my ENI classes were better than my computer classes. I learned the most from those classes. I learned how to think outside the box and problem solve. It made what I was learning in my computer classes practical to solve real world problems in innovative ways. In ENI 3101 I learned how to write and give a pitch. Our pitch went through so many changes that even when we thought it was done, there were still improvements to be made. When you’re creating a pitch, you learn a lot about your own business. You have to figure out a way to communicate your idea in a way that somebody else will fully understand it as much as you do and…find it compelling. While doing that, you find out all these missing aspects of the business, and then you work on them. I recommend people to write a pitch even if they’re not delivering it to anyone. It helps you. It’s even useful to pitch to your employees so they have the same vision. It’s important for companies to have everyone share the same vision. If you can deliver a pitch not just to investors, but to co-founders or to employees, it helps you hone your business model.
What is Entrepreneurship to you?
People think that they can’t follow their dreams with the current market. They think they won’t be able to get a job. That’s where entrepreneurship comes in. There are possibilities outside getting a job. You can be your own boss. You can be self-employed. You can create your own company. Entrepreneurship is how you monetize or make a business around your interests and dreams.