The Meet The Aptoiders series rolls on, as we continue to feature members of the international Aptoide team who are leading change in their respective fields, and helping shape the future of Android and mobile technology.
Today we introduce you to Carolina Marçalo, our own lady of the board, as we like to call her, due to being one of the very first women who joined Aptoide back in 2013. Nominated as Vice President of the Luso-Descendents Observatory, Carolina has without doubt her finger on the pulse when it comes to all things business, strategy and innovation.
So we thought we’d pick her brain about some of the key features of her job, and her contribution to the growth and success of Aptoide. Read on to learn all about the ins and outs of Aptoide and what makes it one of the world’s largest mobile player in the Android industry.
1. Hi Carolina! Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your background?
Hi there! I’m a Portuguese-American, born in Coimbra, and raised in Massachusetts, USA. My background is pretty multi-cultural and I like to think of myself as a citizen of the world. I have a major in Economics and a minor in Political Science. I returned to Lisbon, Portugal back in 2004 to pursue a Masters degree in Economics and International Relations, and ended joining SIBS as a business analyst and corporate strategist. After 5 years I shifted direction and focused in the mobile and IT market segments, where I have been for the last 3 years.
2. Aptoide has been in business since 2013, and you joined soon after the official launch. Tell us a little bit about your early days here as a true start up. What were the challenges back in the day?
I remember when I came to the first interview with Paulo Trezentos, Aptoide didn’t even have an office, then the second interview with Álvaro Pinto, we did, but only one desk. You can imagine my surprise...so I thought, ok, if I make this move, people will think I am nuts! I accepted the challenge because I liked the idea of being part of the decision-making and growth of a company, and the project itself looked very challenging. When you are one in 500, it is harder to make an impact, but when you take part on a project from the start, you get to make a difference, and that is one of the most rewarding aspects of working at Aptoide for me.
At the beginning, Aptoide was made up of about 11 people, including interns, so I was the first business oriented employee. I started out working on bringing clients (Android manufacturers and telcos) who would benefit from a white-label app store, and worked on certifying android developers and publishers to upload their apps to our platform. So what are now two distinct areas in the company, where actually managed by me at the time.
I’d say the main challenge for me was coming from a totally different market and the fact that I had to learn new technical terms and learn how to speak “techy” so I could communicate. My motivation relies on understanding and absorbing the most I can from our products and services, so I can explain our value proposition to our clients.
3. In your opinion, what are the most distinguished features of Aptoide that set us apart from other companies in our industry?
What distinguishes Aptoide the most is the flexibility of our App Store platform. More and more, we find that the Android ecosystem is eager for more flexibility, and since other platforms are very monolithic, we find that having a more adaptable platform, where the client’s store can be customized by the store owner, brings more value to our product and retain our user-base.
4. Aptoide allows partners to build their own App Store on the Aptoide platform. What is the process and what are your biggest challenges?
Because Aptoide is a multistore platform just like Youtube, but instead of videos we have apps, each user can create their own store within our platform and drag or upload content. And because we have what we call three “main” stores with top and curated Android content, we can easily link a partner’s store to one of our main stores (depending on their market or vertical) and they can have a customized store with their own brand and logo, with access to top Android content. Our users and clients also get to access a back-office where they can see statistics and manage their content (create their own categories, upload apps, define their editor's choice, for example). Overall, being flexible is key in order to create more partnerships, and this is why we now have more than 70 closed partnerships worldwide - and counting!
5. You're the VP of the Luso-Descendents Observatory and you grew up in the States. How do you do it all?
I still feel very connected to research and the reason that brought me back to Portugal. Being part of several organizations, and having multiple tasks has always been a part of who I am, and I think growing up in the US helped to shape who I am today. Having a connection to other areas, such as immigration, economics and politics strengthens me and helps me achieve more at Aptoide and in my personal life. Another reason why I still do it all, is that I have a very strong "support system", as my family and friends are always there for me, and the Aptoide family is no different. Aptoiders and the atmosphere here at work is very comforting and I feel right at home at Aptoide.