This year we celebrate Ten years of Inveniam, which was founded in 2013. May marks the month when the two founders, Eric Suñol and Elena Canetti first met. In this blog, we summarise the reflections that Elena and Eric shared during the 10th Anniversary party that was held during the “Four Years From Now” conference.
Eric: Often we get asked about our experience in founding Inveniam – people ask “what has gone wrong?”, “What would you have done differently?”, “What are you most proud of?” and so we decided we had to talk about it.
Elena: Well Eric let’s do this style Q&A. An interview. Tell me, how did you and I create Inveniam?
Eric: I think it’s something that people ask us and I think it’s worth saying, we were put in touch by a mutual contact and we went on a blind date.
Elena: Exactly, that’s right.
Eric: Actually, to dinner at a restaurant and that restaurant the truth is that it was very good. What did we talk about? I remember! We talked about music, cinema of the 70s, Claudia Cardinale.
Elena: Let’s tell this story, because I was sitting there hallucinating and said: But this man is crazy, we barely know each other and the first thing he does is show me a video of Claudia Cardinale and he says: But look! Isn’t she great?! I say well, if you like Claudia Cardinale do you like movies from the 70s? And so we started a process that we have to call chemistry. We discovered that we have chemistry between us. Incredible! We are the most different people in the world and we have chemistry. Do you remember Claudia Cardinale?
Eric: I remember, if I remember.
Elena: But what else? Don’t tell me that we created Inveniam because we both like Claudia Cardinale!
Eric: No, we were going for dessert and then there came a vague idea to help innovation come to market, right? It was such a sentence.
Elena: Yes, Open innovation. Something about Open Innovation.
Eric: Open Innovation was a hot topic at that time. I think that towards the end we said, well for the moment, we do that and we will find the way.
Eric: Which in fact, is what the name Inveniam means, but that’s another story…
So we agreed we had to help innovators find a way, or make a way, to reach the market. But tell me – how did we build Inveniam?
Elena: Well, I just want to tell you a little anecdote. I am a person with some oddities. One of my oddities is that with my 60 years I have 2 children: one of 5 years and another of 8 years. This is a bit extraordinary. The other oddity is that, when I’m not working, I like to read philosophy and history of religions. And I’m a lover of Carl Gustav Jung and reading Jung the other day I was thinking. This Jungian classification of functions, of the human psyche is so Inveniam! And why Inveniam? Because you asked me how we have done it and it occurred to me precisely how Jung characterizes us according to the predominant function. Feeling, sensation, intuition and thinking. I would say that when we built Inveniam, I was pure feeling and you were pure intuition. But what we lacked in the company was thinking. In this we had a very big problem, we lacked thinking. Thank goodness Albert Cot and John Crockett joined the company as Partners; they are the only two who really think! I believe that was how we did it.
Elena: Now it’s my turn to ask you. Why are you here at Inveniam after 10 years, of which some of those years have been very hard?
Eric: You know what I’m going to answer, right? For the people. And this is not just as a thing to say to look good, it is because really when I get up in the morning, I feel stimulated because I will work with the people who we interact with every day. Our clients who are very talented creative people; and surely because we have clients like that, we also can also attract employees who are also very talented and bright. If it were not for them, I would have become tired many years ago, but it is very difficult to get tired in Inveniam.
Elena: Yes, what we say at Inveniam: “The party never ends”.
Eric: The next question is an important one, especially when you are so many years in the same organization. In the end, life passes by very quickly. So, I would like to ask you, “what are you proud of?
Elena: First, I’m proud of all of you, that you’re here. I’m super excited, it’s wonderful for me. I am very proud of the employees of Inveniam. I believe in every single person we have hired over the years, those who are no longer with us, those who are with us, those who will surely be tomorrow. Because I believe that, if there is one thing that Eric and I do well, is to choose our team. And we surround ourselves with fabulous people that has grown with us and continues to grow. Many of them start as fresh university graduates who fall directly into our hands and choose to develop their career within Inveniam. It’s a great pride. And what are you proud of?
Eric: I’m proud of the same thing and you all know it. I don’t miss an opportunity to tell you, but I’m also proud that we haven’t done so badly. A constant during all these years has been that we have listened a lot to the client and that we have listened to their needs and that we have understood, and we have always tried to make a job as custom fit as possible. Within the culture of the company there has always been the ambition to adapt to the needs of the client, and not simply give a standard service but rather give the service that meets each client’s needs. Bespoke services is what we like.
Elena: I am very proud to accompany our clients for years and support them in all their battles. Here I want to ask you Eric. We have gone through a few crises. Can you tell me, how have we been able to overcome all these crises? A pandemic, war, some economic crisis, not to mention personal crises… how did we do it?
Eric: There’s been everything. I believe that we have achieved this together with a lot of effort and a lot of audacity. It is that really on the way, of course the last 5 years have been easier, but the first years were very difficult and if we had not had perseverance, and madness really, we wouldn’t have got through. There have been some very lonely moments, but we have supported each other, and, in my case, it has been a very very important thing the support of my family. And my wife of course.
Elena: Well, you’re lucky, I got divorced! But I think it is very important to comment on what you said: Audacity in Hebrew is chutzpah. Chutzpah is a word that many people know, Jews, non-Jews and that is an Israeli characteristic. Chutzpah has a good side which is being audacious and has a bad side which is being arrogant, aggressive, ungrateful. I think we’ve managed to keep on the good side of the Israeli chutzpah.
To finish, is there anything that has stayed constant in these past ten years? Because the company has changed enormously from the company we created in 2013, when we were just a handful of crazy cats to what the company is today…
Eric: Yes, there is one thing that has not changed. That, in each of these years, we have always loved to celebrate.
Elena: Oh yes! That is true!
Eric: So, I’d like to make a toast, to all of you. A toast to everyone and thank you very much for being here with us for all these years.