Testing and scaling business ideas as Director at Blocko Innovation Lab

My role

Business Management

Innovation Strategy

Product discovery

Blocko Innovation Lab
I co-founded and was Director General at Blocko, an Innovation Lab with the mission of creating, launching, and investing in Blockchain-based products capable of shaping the future of industries such as Investment, Accounting, Law, and Supply Chain.

The challEnge

In 2017, eSapiens Ventures assigned me alongside two brilliant software engineers to lead a new venture: explore business opportunities emerging from the rise of Blockchain Technology. With seed capital just enough to run experiments for a few months, at day one we were both thrilled and frightened: "What exactly are we going to do?".


I immediatelly leveraged my strategic design experience to define our process and workflow, After dozens of hours of research and business model workshops we uncovered an important insight: forming partnerships with local startups and tech companies would be key to succeed in our task. We were surrounded by fantastic Brazilian Law firms, Accounting offices, IoT startups, and other companies from a wide range of industries that were as eager as us to dive into this unknown Blockchain universe.

I then became responsible for both scaling the team to deliver on the Lab's vision and manage a sustainable business. Over the following months, I hired new engineers and product designers to structure our operations. At the same time, I connected and partnered with startups, venture capital firms, and large companies to uncover new business opportunities.

I orchestrated joint ventures with diverse companies to ideate, test and validate 20+ business ideas. With strong focus on UX research and lean testing, each hypothesis was carefully crafted and validated through understanding peoples’ needs → prototyping → testing → learning → iterating → and deciding/repeating.
Among the business ideas tested with both local startups and some of the largest corporations in Brazil, we were able to touch industries and concepts such as Real Estate, Banking, legal contracts automation, royalty management, supply chain traceability, and many others.
After 18 months of incubation and validation, only a few of these business ideas met our risk x opportunity criteria for further investment. We picked just the right ones with the best chances to succeed in the longer-term.

Key learnings

What I’m proud of

  • Successfully avoided the trap of building meaningless blockchain projects just for the hype.
  • Built a strong brand among the local tech community after only a few months in the market.
  • I had a ton of resilience to lead our team despite all uncertainties.
  • I was recognized by my peers as a leader they are proud to work with.

Lessons learned

  • Took weeks instead of days to test and validate the first business hypotheses.
  • Spent too much time on partnerships that didn't lead to learnings or results.
  • Failed to say "no" sooner to stakeholders that were not positively contributing to our vision.
  • Hired the wrong person at the wrong time, which later led to a difficult lay off.

NExt steps

If kickstarting one single business is already challenging, building from scratch an innovation lab set to validate several business hypotheses proved to be an epic journey.

The Lab's innovation and product discovery activities are currently on standby. All the attention and funding are now going to the greenlighted hypotheses seeking Product Market Fit and long-term sustainability.

Right at the end of this journey in 2019, I left Blocko & eSapiens Ventures to join OLX Group, but I still cheer immensely for the people and businesses that I helped create back there.


eSapiens Ventures


I'm open to hearing about consulting inquiries or providing mentorship worldwide

Brazilian currently based in Lisbon - Portugal