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From Sales Business Development Manager at Flixbus to Founder.

"I want to make the leap from PowerPoint presentations to real working products by using the coding skills I have learned at Le Wagon. The skills acquired are a good asset to become a better business owner within the tech startup scene." - Discover the story of Munich alumni - Riccardo as he transitioned from Sales Business Development Manager to Founder.

 From Sales Business Development Manager at Flixbus to Founder.
Featuring graduate Riccardo Ongaro Founder in sparknews More about Riccardo
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I am Riccardo originally from a city close to Venice (Italy), and currently living in Munich. During my studies I have completed a double master degree in International Management and Economics, between Venice and Stuttgart. I have always been working within the start-up ecosystem, and had several working experiences in it. 

My last strong professional experience has been at FlixBus, the Munich unicorn for long distance transportation – mostly known for their green busses. I joined FlixBus when the company was still relatively small, and I literally saw the company grow to the current market leader. 

Within FlixBus, I covered two main roles: Firstly, I worked as business development manager for the launch of FlixCar, a carpooling platform. Secondly, I launched from scratch the charter service of FlixBus in the Italian market, the best service to rent directly online a whole bus for individual groups. It has been an incredible rewarding experience, which allowed me to get in touch with many different parts of the business, work with many smart colleagues, and create a team to expand the Italian market.

My interest in learning to code started already during high school. We had some classes that taught us some basic concepts of programming. It was however nothing that would allow me to program anything by myself. At university, I decided to go to study Business but I’ve always kept the structured way of thinking like a programmer in mind. The basic knowledge that I accumulated during the years in high school still helped me in the beginning of the bootcamp to understand some concepts better.

Le Wagon’s entrepreneurial approach focused on learning to create a quick MVP and launch on the market - was what  excited me about joining Le Wagon.

I decided to join Le Wagon because I have always been passionate about tech and programming. In particular, I am passionate about the connection between tech and business. Within the tech world, firstly the business knowledge allows you to structure a good plan and create a clear PowerPoint presentation, and secondly, being able to code gives you the ability to create a real working product. As a result, learning to code was the thing I was looking for to further develop my professional experience in the tech scene. Le Wagon’s entrepreneurial approach focused on learning to create a quick MVP and launch on the market - was what  excited me about joining Le Wagon. I am sure that the Le Wagon community and what I have learned in the 9 weeks campus will be tremendously helpful for my future career.

Due to COVID-19, my coding bootcamp experience was completely remote. Nonetheless, I really liked the fast learning path, which was part of the structure of the course. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, a zone which allows you to learn more and faster. 

Furthermore, I liked the learning atmosphere and the nice vibes which definitely made the learning much easier. All teachers are very competent, are very friendly and are happy to answer any question we might have. If you are stuck with a coding challenge, TAs help you reasoning with the problem and guide you to come to a solution by yourself. I personally found it to be a very good learning method.

One of the best moments at the bootcamp was when I pitched my project idea and it was selected for the project weeks. In the last two weeks, I loved working through the challenges of building SparkNews together with my team.

One of the best moments at the bootcamp was when I pitched my project idea and it was selected for the project weeks. In the last two weeks, I loved working through the challenges of building SparkNews together with my team. It was really rewarding seeing the product improve day by, and seeing the product finalized and working as planned. Last but not least, it has been an honour for me to pitch during the final demo on behalf of the entire team.

What helped me the most to stay motivated throughout the bootcamp was definitely the buddy system. Everyday during the 6 first weeks of the bootcamp, you work together in pairs with another bootcamp attendee. It is helpful having a buddy system where you can exchange with some peers to solve the difficult tasks. Another factor that helped me to stay motivated is the possibility to open a ticket and have a chat with a Teaching Assistant in case I was blocked on some challenges. Overall, being able to see immediate results of the new topics we learned in the morning helped to keep on pushing also during some tough coding sessions. 

My piece of advice for anyone who is looking to get the most out of the bootcamp would firstly be to take the bootcamp seriously. Don’t have other parallel work next to it as the learning path is very fast and you need to be focused for all the 9 weeks. In the end, it is just 2 months where you change your life! Secondly, I would advise you to take advantage of the teaching assistants of Le Wagon, and ask them as many questions as you can during the bootcamp. This will allow you to get a strong base of concepts.

Now that I finished Le Wagon, I want to dive deeper within the startup ecosystem, with the focus being in Munich.

Now that I finished Le Wagon, I want to dive deeper within the startup ecosystem, with the focus being in Munich. For now, I planned to apply the knowledge I gained by creating an MVP of two personal projects - one of which I developed at Le Wagon and I pitched during the final project demo. 

Firstly, the product we created at Le Wagon is called SparkNews - a platform which allows you to feel the pulse of the stock market. If you invest in the stock market occasionally, this is the right platform for you. With an easy to understand interface, it shows you the movements of the stock market and combines it with tweets of the most important investors. We want to help people to make educated investment choices, and stop losing money due to the lack of information.

Secondly, I am working on the launch of ÒCIO eyewear - an innovative eco-digital sunglass brand for people just like Le Wagonians. It will be soon launched through a crowdfunding campaign, and just for a short time it will be possible to pre-order a pair of glasses at exceptional prices. One of ÒCIO eyewear features is the signature magnetic clip-on lens, which allows you to quickly change your frame from sunglasses to computer glasses. With just one frame, you are going to be protected from the sun UVA/UVB rays and the harmful blue-light emitted from digital devices. If you enjoy wearing sunglasses and work many hours in front of screens, ÒCIO is the right brand for you - help me to make ÒCIO eyewear become a reality!

The biggest lesson I have learned at Le Wagon is that if you focus and have a structure, you can achieve and learn a lot of things even in a short amount of time. 

The biggest lesson I have learned at Le Wagon is that if you focus and have a structure, you can achieve and learn a lot of things even in a short amount of time. Learning to code is not impossible, and that Ruby on Rails is one of the best web-applications for all of those who wants to quickly test the potential of an idea in the market. Personally, it was definitely the right choice to join Le Wagon given my interest in being able to test new products in the market and get quick feedback.

With my newly acquired skills I am planning on integrating the tech skills with my business knowledge. I want to make the leap from .ppt to real working products by using the skills I have learned at Le Wagon. I see the skills acquired at Le Wagon as a good asset for my future, this to be a tech startup founder or become a better business owner within the tech startup scene.
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