By Alex Villafranca – On
Skipping school, doing semester-long projects the night before and sleeping through final exams sounds like a mess. How could this turn into something great? It can't, right? Wrong. It did.
Before I tell the story of Arbeit, I want to let you know that since we founded all those years ago, we've gone on to serve more than 250 agencies, develop a total of three powerful and leading contact solutions, and we're not stopping anytime soon! If you'd like to know more about our suite of products, click below!
Now, back to the story!
I wish now I did better and school, went to college etc etc. But I didn't, and it worked out fine, but only with a little help from a popular video game, World of Warcraft. Alonzo and I were friends before WoW, and I knew of Richard, but we were not good friends. Fast forward 3 years of playing WoW together, and Alonzo and I now own a call center, and Richard is working for us as a database administrator.
The conversation that started all of it went something like this:
Richard: Do you remember Akihara from Reported? (The name of a wow guild we were in)
Richard: Well he's a really good programmer and could develop the dialer you and Alonzo were talking about.
Me: But doesn't he live in Brazil?
Richard: Yea so? He's good at what he does, and I can trust him.
I was very hesitant at first. I was like, so we are going to hire someone whom I have never met in real life? Pay him a salary and have him develop something for us? To be 100% honest, at first I was like "no way." I am not doing it. I didn't have any money, we were jaded from the call center business, and I thought it was a terrible idea.
Somehow I changed my mind; I think it was because of Richard. I thought, well Richard is the most logical thinker I know, the smartest guy I know and most trustworthy person I've met, so Alonzo and I talked about it and said okay, let's do this.
Fast Forward another year.
The dialer is complete, Alonzo and I are done with the call center we are ready to leave that business and open Arbeit. We were ready to close a business we spent 4 years building to start a new business in a new industry that we had no clue about.
Before we did, Allan and Richard came to us and bluntly said: “We would like to be partners in Arbeit.” It didn't take many conversations at this point with myself and Alonzo to say sure, let's create Arbeit, the four of us, and all own it equally.
I'm not a programmer; I knew Allan and Richard were and are some of the smartest people I know, so it seemed like a no-brainer.
Now lets fast forward one last time, 3 or 4 years. We are here today. We won tech startup of the year in 2013. We have 2 offices, one in Amherst, NY one in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. We have 31 employees and have experienced over 100% growth year over year over year.
To me, looking back, I'm like how did we get here? How did this all even happen? It didn't seem that hard, and the accomplishment to me doesn't feel that great. Maybe this is because I have so much more in mind for Arbeit, and I know what and where I want it to be in the future. I believe we haven't even scratched the surface of that.
World of Warcraft. It played a role in how the partners of Arbeit meet, but also a role in how two of earliest employees came to Arbeit.
I think it was 2007, I'm typing in a chat channel in WoW. Asking for people to join our guild and raid with us. Get a message from this 14/15 year old kid named Killerwrath, he says something like, "Hey I will join! I have never played before, and I am bad, but I want to play!"....so naturally I said "SURE!!!!" And invited him to the guild.