Creator of one of the first applications in Colombia to “wish for everything” on a cell phone and achieve it, as if by magic, with a blow of the bell“TIN”, if that wish came true, Daniel Correa Fernández is one of the youngest and most interesting innovators and creatives in Colombia in the field of applications and new information and communication technologies.
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In 2012, having finished his secondary education and eager to see the world and learn a new language (he already spoke English and Spanish), he went to Paris to learn French. as addicted to Pizzamade many orders via the internet in Paris, which shocked him, since in Colombia that possibility did not exist at that time.
In the City of Light he put on his entrepreneurial hat – inherited from his father, the renowned businessman Luis Fernando Correa – and was inspired to create a website that not only offered pizza, but also markets, taxis, medicines, cinema and shows, among many other things, which did not exist then in the country or in France.
That is how he dedicated himself, while still a teenager, to working on the then innovative undertaking of creating not several pages but a single page through which everything could be ordered at home, and, after thinking a lot, he created the domain www.pilotodo.com
He spent several months in Paris “pulling current” to make his undertaking a reality, but in the end, like many good projects in the world, this initiative was left without becoming a reality, waiting for favorable times and financial capacity.
That same year (2012), another venture to share photos began in Colombia, which went viral and reached more than 400,000 users, called Creafick. But he soon discovered that this project was financially unsustainable and then also created the one-second video sharing app Gloup, which was temporarily successful, but had no “retention” in users.
like in a chinese tale
Daniel, with an insatiable curiosity, discovered an application to automate actions on the cell phone, something really wonderful then because it was about generating automatic processes not on the network but on the mobile; for example, “if an email arrives from the boss, save it in the ‘to-do’ folder”, and things like that. That “remained in his head,” he recalls.
On April 19, 2014, Daniel had his moment of enlightenment. Resting in his bed, out of nowhere he visualized an application that had a search bar like that of Google or Altavista-style search engines, and if one were to write a wish for something there, instead of information about that something appearing, the idea it was for automatic actions to happen to make that something a reality in an agile way. For example, when one writes “I want a taxi”, the agile and necessary automatic processes will be generated so that the taxi arrives at the requested location.
The idea, explained a little better and in a simple way, was to create an application that would allow you to make a wish on your cell phone (any wish within the legality) and to do what was necessary to make it come true. It was like asking for something and…. “TIN”, it came, and it came “in one”. That gave this app its name.
searched on a page freelancers to Quan Xing Li, again, in China, and explained the idea in detail. Two applications were generated: one for users and another for supplier companies. He first thought that he had to have someone carry the things that people asked for. Therefore, there should always be people willing to carry them. In some of these supplier companies there was already a home delivery service. But at that time, Daniel himself was forced to carry the orders and was also able to rely on suppliers who offer addresses, especially in cigarette shops, quickly brokering the order himself.
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He noted that TIN was likely to make a difference. Once people used it, they tended to use it again. The application this time had the long-awaited “retention” and also began to go viral without advertising. It added value and naturally people used it going forward. He was delivering hundreds of orders and already had about thirty motorbike deliveries, but Daniel was the head of everything and played many roles.
‘I am history’
One day in June 2015, Daniel was driving his vehicle when a motorcycle pulled up next to him, the driver of which had a bag on the back with a drawing of a mustache and the legend that Rappi said on top. He did some research and wasn’t worried at first. Rappi’s offer was home markets, more restricted than his, which covered everything.
However, with each passing day he began to see more and more Rappi bikers on the streets. Also at his university he was surprised by people offering donuts in exchange for downloading the Rappi application. He saw that they were growing a lot and that they were beginning to be an important competition, although his offer was still broader.
“While still a teenager,
he dedicated himself to creating not several pages but a single one through which everything could be ordered at home, and, after thinking a lot, he created www.pidelotodo.com”.
One day, one of the co-founders of Rappi, Philip Villamarin, contacted him. She asked him to download the application to her cell phone. Daniel noticed that the Rappi people already knew his application and that they were inexorably advancing in the same direction as him, that is, covering more and more products and services, without this implying that they were copying it, but surely the inevitable growth of Rappi was managing in practice to offer everything, as Daniel had proposed from the beginning, and then he said to himself: “I am history”.
However, some people from Rappi contacted him until they arranged a meeting with Simón Borrero Posada, the CEO of Rappi.
Simon found the story of Quan Xing Li, the Chinese programmer, implausible and realized that TIN was basically Daniel, who worked in his university classrooms, in cafeterias and in his apartment, without having his own headquarters.
Simon was very impressed. He informed Daniel that at Rappi they currently had more than ten engineers hired all day, and gave him other figures from that company that left Daniel overwhelmed.
In a second meeting with Simón Borrero, in a rental building on Calle 93 with Carrera 19, where Rappi would be established in the future, they went up to the fourth floor, “movie-style”, where everything was in gray construction and there was no one else. . Only a Rimax table and two plastic chairs were visible. Daniel raised his interest in negotiating and Simón responded emphatically: “Today we negotiated.”
Simón proposed to buy TIN and assured Daniel that rappi was going to be worth more than a billion dollars and that sooner or later that company would be one of the big players in the business in Latin America, but more than that, Rappi’s ambition was to inspire all its stakeholders to work for the achievement of big dreams providing a service to society.
Simón also spoke to Daniel again about the investment round and maintained that Rappi will be the Amazon of Latin America. He invited Daniel to assume that dream together and explained that happiness reigned in Rappi due to the social impact it generated and that it was a venture with an outstanding future in the coming years. He finally offered him a package of shares that Daniel accepted and, in addition, they agreed on a salary for Daniel to work at Rappi. He was running in 2016.
After Daniel accepted, they went up the elevator to the top floor and there Simón began to introduce him to the Rappi people and named him Design and Innovation Manager. Today, Daniel is Rappi’s Vice President of Design and Innovation. He is in charge of several designers in his team. Daniel is in charge of everything related to the application’s contact with users.
He feels privileged to work in a multinational like Rappi, present in nine Latin American countries in constant growth, expanding the menu of its businesses more and more and with offices in Bogotá, São Paulo and Mexico City, among other cities, and whose value is over five billion dollars and consolidated as a corporate ‘unicorn’ also becoming a bank.
Of the seven versions of Rappi as of November 2021, Daniel has participated in six of them, from the second onwards. Everything the user sees is designed under his direction with his team. This is called usability, and it is analyzed and designed down to the smallest detail. The Design and Innovation area is considered one of the most important areas at Rappi. There are six thousand people linked to this company. The founders of Rappi are Simón Borrero, Sebastián Mejía and Felipe Villamarín.
Daniel is at the center of the design decisions. He is Simon’s right hand man in that area. According to Daniel, Rappi’s CEO is his mentor. Daniel considers himself his sidekick and humorously asserts that he is like Alfred from Batman in terms of design.
For its part, Quan Xing Li and Andres Duran, his initial fellow entrepreneurs when Daniel was starting out, work at Rappi today. She is one of the programmers of the Home (main screen) and he is the director of Design and Innovation and her main advisor.
For Simón Borrero, CEO of Rappi, the story of a person as young and capable as that of Daniel Correa Fernández is an example of persistence and faith in his entrepreneurial capacity and a show of resilience in the face of adversity until he achieves results and climbs the steps in their aspirations, so necessary in these challenging times.
The art of those who manage to function and understand the homogeneous way of thinking, but at the same time manage to transform it and improve it with different and better ways of thinking and doing things is what some call inspiration; others, genius; others, disruption, and that is precisely the characteristic of Daniel Correa and his cell phone to make dreams come true, as if it were Aladdin’s lamp.
GUSTAVO RIVEROS DIAZ
FOR THE TIME
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