Leading Product and Design transformation at eSapiens Ventures

My role

Product leadership

UX STRATEGY & Leadership

OLX Group Design Management
As Head of Product & Design, I took eSapiens through a journey of infusing Design into the strategic approach, definition, launch, and management of its portfolio of B2C products, increasing customer value to over 13 million people in Brazil and abroad.

The challEnge

Esapiens is a Brazilian Venture Builder that serves millions of customers with its digital consumer products portfolio, owning some of the most extensive subscription-based products in Brazil. When I joined the team in 2014, Esapiens was a smaller company facing unpleasant challenges. After good years of exponential growth, its main product, Sexlog, was facing flattening/drops in revenue, user engagement, and retention.

It wasn't hard to find one of the causes: product design was in the hands of just one brave front-end developer. Besides, the tech team used to prescribe design work to freelancers (myself included, before joining the company), who created interfaces by the instruction "Don't reinvent the wheel, just copy Facebook." This practice led the team to build a very messy product that had started to present its flaws.

After mapping gaps and issues, it became evident that it wasn't about product design itself, but the team's mindset towards building products. From introducing new methods to making major business decisions guided by UX, it took five years to mature design at eSapiens. These are the six main initiatives I led to accomplish this change:


Introduce UX research & Design Thinking
Although the team was committed to delivering value to customers, it lacked a proper product discovery practice. By advocating for and sharing methods such as user interviews & observations, I helped our teams develop fluency in framing real people's problems, crafting journey maps, defining clear value propositions, prototyping solutions, and running user tests.


Bring design and data science together
Neither quantitative dashboards nor qualitative research alone can deliver the insights needed to understand behaviors from millions of users. After years of partnership with Glauber Oliveira, eSapiens' Lead Data Scientist, converging qualitative and quantitative studies became a vital step to uncover problems, propose data-informed solutions, and make product decisions.


Make design work participative
In my view, Product Designers are facilitators that gather different points of view, create alignment with the team, and collectively unfold approaches to solve a problem. Through workshops, collaborative prototypes, and frequent reviews, today's design team at eSapiens brings people together in all decisions and spreads co-creation as a powerful tool across the organization.


Measure and share design impact
Design impact can be very tangible, such as raising D+1 user engagement in 76% with a new onboarding flow we implemented in 2016. To ensure visibility to design work, we measured every single activity. Did we positively impact metrics? If yes, what can we repeat? If no, what can we do differently next time? Over the years, design work at eSapiens went from outputs (screens) to outcomes (impact on customer lives).


Scale the team and its confidence
We went from one designer in 2014 to a multidisciplinary team of designers in 2019. Understanding gaps, missing skills, and bringing in the right talent was just the beginning. Mentoring and management were essential to build our designers' confidence and elevate their contribution, helping them develop new hard and soft skills through 1:1s, a thoughtful delegation of assignments, design reviews, and knowing when to get out of their way.


Uncover purpose and strategic vision
Esapiens' portfolio grew from one to four products in my final year. With structured design practices in place, I focused on new questions: how do these pieces connect? What's the strategy that will guide our work, products, and decision-making? To find these answers, I led several strategic planning sessions with our teams, uncovering purpose, principles, and goals for existing and new ventures.


Steady 20% yearly revenue increase from 2015-2019 – an outcome achieved with a great group of peers.
As a Design team, we introduced onboarding flows, checkout optimizations, and several UX tests that significantly improved engagement rates, MRR, NPS, and decreased Churn numbers.
Significant mindset and culture change from "Just copy that Facebook's feature" to understanding customers and solving real problems.


It's freaking hard to change a culture, but extremely rewarding. This journey was a collaborative effort in partnership with a great group of directors who trusted me to lead crucial initiatives in the company, apply new methods, and test new product building approaches. I'm proud of the results we've achieved together, and I'm sure eSapiens will keep pushing high standards for design work.


OLX Group


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

Brazilian currently based in Lisbon - Portugal