ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH

Cesar Donofrio

Mar Del Plata, Argentina

The Argentine is the Co-founder and CEO of Making Sense, a company that offers end-to-end UX-focused software product development since 2006. With more than 250 engineers and designers and offices in the US, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina, Making Sense helps organizations thrive in this digital era by creating products from scratch or modernizing current applications.

 

Let’s rewind a little. Cesar was born in Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires, and grew up with 3 brothers and his parents in a working, middle-class household with entrepreneurship ingrained in it. His father would often take Cesar to his sweater factory. “Part of my interest to be an entrepreneur comes from watching my father working extensively… Seeing your father’s passion and dedication to his company is something that you unintentionally assimilate.” Cesar recalls.

 

As he was preparing for college, Cesar realized his passion was embedded in computers. He moved to Buenos Aires and studied Systems Engineering when he was 18 years old. The turning point of his professional departure came in 2002 when 25-year-old Cesar was hired by an American company to work in San Antonio, Texas. This gave him the opportunity to “compete against top talent, as this company was bringing engineers from everywhere around the world… It was like playing football (soccer) from a local level, all the way to compete internationally”.

 

During his time in Texas, Cesar realized most of the engineers were mainly focused on “software architecture and scalability”. Instead, Cesar focused more on the programming aesthetics. That’s where he found his differentiator. “Just by observing it, my mind was already thinking about how to improve it and make it friendlier. I realized that although my expertise was mainly in computing, I could improve it by mixing it with good design”. This skill comes from his past experience at his father’s factory, as he would spend time looking at fashion magazines in order to understand the latest trends in sweaters. This interest in blending both a powerful system with a warm, friendly design would become part of the first steps for co-founding Common Sense (Now Making Sense) in 2006.

 

 

Since the company’s launch, Making Sense has placed an emphasis on innovation by harnessing the power of the latest technologies and focusing on creating new products. These new projects were intended to either add value to the organization or to develop new brands. “As engineers, we enjoy creating things … Often, the time for ROI of Capital Invested in services is not always as positive as in products”. Cesar said. Among these new projects, in 2007, Doppler was born. Doppler is a sophisticated Email Marketing platform that strengthens customer engagement by providing tools, such as newsletter customization and email automation. “It started as a communications platform but ended as an Email Marketing platform… it is used by several of the top banks in Latin America.” Doppler started as a product offered by Making Sense, however, as the project gained traction, it was spinned-off from the parent organization.

 

Another interesting project was Fixture. It was a platform created for the 2010 WorldCup, where you could follow up on the different games and brackets. The application quickly gained traction. In fact, Fixture’s interface and efficiency harnessed such fast momentum that by the end of the first week, the application was sold to Fox Sports. “It was an app we created because we wanted to have the World Cup information for ourselves. The app development began in December and started to operate by May. The World Cup was in June and we sold it”.

 

In 2011 Making Sense developed Lander, a SaaS platform for landing page development. Lander started to operate by 2012 and quickly gained momentum. They achieved 1000 paid customers in a timelapse of 6 months. By 2014, they started looking to raise capital in Austin and Silicon Valley. However, they decided to sell the company. In Cesar’s words, “We were doing great, attracting customers and expanding. However, as we were looking to raise capital, we found a good opportunity to sell the product and decided to take an exit.”

 

The company’s latest project is Making Sense Ventures, a subdivision of the company focused on establishing joint venture relationships and investing in early-stage startups. Making Sense Ventures seeks out companies in the US with top-notch management teams and strong market potential.

 

Cesar has had multiple roll models in his professional career. Figures with absolute ideas such as Steve Jobs and Elon Musk come through his mind when the Argentine thinks about success. Additionally, he is grateful to his father, as he “set the pillars” in an entrepreneurial family, with the passion “embedded in the DNA”.

 

For Cesar, the next goals are to keep expanding, until Making Sense becomes recognized as the best company for software development domestically and internationally. He plans to promote the development of Making Sense Ventures, and of course, continue with the evolution of their internal innovation lab by creating new products!

 

For more information about Making Sense, please visit the webpage.