Before you launch a company, speak to your potential customers first

Avvinue is an expat moving platform based in France and Nicole Caba the founder is also a moderator of the podcast The Moving Roadmap

Please introduce yourself and your startup Avvinue to our readers!

Nicole Caba was born to Dominican and Puerto Rican parents and raised in the US. As a child of an immigrant, Nicole was always eager to experience life abroad. In 2019, she sold her personal belongings and moved to France with her partner and launched Avvinue, an expat moving platform. Over the previous 10 years, Nicole provided her expertise in logistics, planning and technical project management for Fortune 500 global companies and launched a mobile app to market. Now, Nicole is determined to make it easier for people to move and get settled abroad with the Avvinue platform and as host of The Moving Roadmap podcast.

How did you get the idea of Avvinue?

From my personal experience in moving abroad, I realized that many other expats experienced the same challenges. We aren’t given clear guidance on what to do, when to do it, and the step-by-step process. And because there was a language barrier, it was even more challenging. By understanding the underlying challenges many self-sponsored expats experience, like us, I started looking into solving that problem.

That’s how the idea for Avvinue was born.

Why did you decide to start with Avvinue

We all deserve to live the life we dream of; and sometimes it’s not in your home country. Some of us are seeking something more, something beyond… and that’s why I am passionate about helping others find a way to make their dream of life abroad a reality.

What is the vision behind Avvinue

Our vision is to become the most reliable global expat moving platform, where expats from all over the world can easily coordinate their move abroad, before moving. We believe in a world without borders, where we are all citizens of the world. As our business philosophy, we are creating an environment that values culture, perspective, innovation and community.

How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?

Launching a tech startup in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language has presented unique challenges. In the same way that I started working on Avvinue to help expats on their move abroad, I found that I needed some hand-holding to learn how businesses are setup and managed in France. So that was a huge learning curve for me.

I would attend workshops, listen to webinars (in French) and slowly began picking up many words and was able to navigate my way to register the company and manage the legal and taxes side of business with the help of very supportive people in the community. Honestly, establishing a community has really helped me get Avvinue setup and online within 2 months of arriving in France – and that was impressive!

Avvinue

And since I knew there would be challenges as a foreigner, I had to keep an open mind. Having an open mind and building on my confidence that I was maybe even more capable than locals to make a business succeed, that’s what helped me overcome those challenging times. So while I’m still not fluent in French, my work ethic, drive and determination pulls through and I’ve had the privilege of helping hundreds of expats around the world venture off to their next journey – and that has been rewarding.

Who is your target audience?

While more than 5.5 million people move per year; we specifically target self-sponsored expats between the ages of 18-35 and 55+, including international students, entrepreneurs, families and retirees. But really, anyone planning their move abroad, including corporate relocations can use our self-service expat moving platform to coordinate their move abroad, because we cover various stages of moving, including local support.  

What is the USP of your startup?

The unique selling point for our platform, and really what helps us stand out from traditional relocation agencies is the fact that our platform is 100% online, free to use and centralizes all the resources for moving abroad in one place. Oh, and the fact that it’s an English!

When people are coordinating their move abroad, they don’t have much assistance or guidance – and many government websites add more confusion than clarity; so our platform is a place where someone can easily learn what the recommended steps are for moving – 6 months before, 3 months before, upon arrival and after moving. They can access the platform, coordinate their logistics on their own or with the assistance of an on-demand relocation specialist and organize everything in one place.

Can you describe your typical workday?

My day usually starts at 7am, where I wake up and do a light workout to get the body moving and brain alert for the day ahead. As I’m getting dressed, I listen to a business-related podcast to get the creative juices flowing; and by 8am, I’m in front of the computer in my office.

The first part of the day, I spend responding to emails, holding calls and pumping up my team on our Slack channel. After a home-cooked lunch, I try to sneak in a siesta if I’m lucky, otherwise I have a Cafecito and continue through the day.

By 6pm, I turn off “work mode” and join my partner in the kitchen to cook a delicious and healthy meal together. This is our special bonding time, and allows me to recap my workday, creative ideas and transition from work to personal time.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Avvinue in five years?

Five years from now, I see a few little ones playing around my feet as I work… you can tell I don’t have children yet (HA!). But I definitely plan to start a family here in France and continue our mission with Avvinue. In the coming years, I hope to have a diverse team on board that is also passionate about helping others on their journey abroad, building out the platform to truly deliver the best expat moving platform on the market. 

What 3 tips would you give to founders?

1.       Before you launch a company, speak to your potential customers first – their input, feedback and suggestions will be invaluable information for the success of your startup

2.       If you’re interested in living abroad, then consider launching a company in another country (if it suits the market); because honestly, I’ve received more support and encouragement in another country than in my home country

3.       Believe in yourself and have someone outside your network to help hold you accountable to your business goals

More information you will find here

Thank you Nicole Caba for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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