MCI Logo

Go abroad or open a business in your home country? The success story of two young entrepreneurs, Microinvest clients.

There comes a moment in the life of every young person in Moldova when he has to decide how to build his future: to go abroad, find a good job in his home country, or to start his own business. Maistru Roman and his colleague, co-founders of the Yolo online store and Microinvest customers, decided not only to try their luck in business at homeland but also to stop the outflow of young people abroad in search of a better future.

Four years ago, they started an online sales business from scratch in a 15 m2 office, borrowing money to rent it. Today, Yolo employs more than 130 people, has a well-developed online platform and ambitious goals. Find out what it’s like to launch an online sales startup in Moldova and prove that you can succeed even in such a small country from an interview with Roman Maistru, a Microinvest client.

How did the idea for the Yolo business come about, and what does this abbreviation mean?

Yolo means You Live Only Once, and we, the Yolo team, make people’s lives more comfortable every day. The business idea came about when my colleague and I had to decide how to arrange our future: to go abroad, like many others, or to create something here. We chose the more complicated option. Moreover, we decided to motivate other young people to stay in the homeland and grow with us. We launched quickly — we analyzed the market and started working in a modest office with small investments but with great enthusiasm. We work directly with distributors from China and large local suppliers; we have an established logistics system that allows us to quickly deliver products to any part of the country, and young but professional staff.

How difficult is it to launch a startup in Moldova and how do you cope with difficulties?

I think it’s the same as in any other country. All endeavors are difficult, uncertain, with ups and downs. The main thing is to stay on your feet and not give up after the first challenge. We’ve all had a lot of challenges in recent years, especially entrepreneurs but with each problem you learn to be more flexible in finding solutions. Many companies in our field went bankrupt for various reasons, while we managed to grow by more than 200% and launch a completely new line of business — direct sales through a call center, which helps us fulfill our annual plan by more than 160%. Our results are the best proof that it is possible to start a successful business even in such a small country. The problem that still remains relevant is the shortage of staff. Some young people are still afraid of responsibility or do not believe that it is possible to succeed in Moldova.

How do you differ from other online stores in Moldova?

Customers choose Yolo because they have no other choice. I’m kidding of course! In fact, everything is simple — we do not sell products, but the visualization of a beautiful lifestyle, which can become a reality with the help of Yolo home products. We have competitors who have a wider range of products of better quality, more expensive, and more efficient models. However, we adapt very quickly to the change of a season, we sell must-have products at bargain prices, and we are not ashamed of them. Of course, we have a development strategy, specialized advertising campaigns but for our clients we are simple and fast, and that makes us differ from others.

The first loan from Microinvest. How did you start cooperation and why did you choose our company?

One of our employees told us about her lending experience. I used to take a loan from Microinvest, too. In both cases, the experience was positive and we decided to contact it but as a legal entity. We received a favorable offer and signed a loan agreement. Quickly and without bureaucracy. Later, we concluded a partnership agreement. The first loan was taken for working capital, which is so necessary for our business model. Microinvest also opened a credit line for us. We have never had any problems or misperceptions. The partner program is also being implemented successfully. Many of our customers prefer to buy goods in installments through Microinvest. It’s great, their pleasant lending experience has a positive effect on our image as well.

What is really necessary for success in business, especially for young entrepreneurs?

Work and work again, accompanied by enthusiasm and self-confidence. And of course, the right people nearby. To be successful in any field, including business, is possible by continuing to learn every day, together with people striving for a common goal. These are the principles upon which we are developing at Yolo — we learn, adapt to new situations, experiment, and we are not afraid of innovation. And, of course, we have the best partners. We are very grateful to Microinvest for its support in the development and cooperation in providing financial services to our clients.

*Microinvest is the only non–bank credit institution in Moldova with international Client Protection Certificate. This certificate confirms a responsible and transparent lending process based on the principles of respectful customer service, fair and equitable treatment.


Abonează-te la newsletter pentru a fi la curent

Alte noutăți