Teresa Fernandes

Teresa Fernandes

Profile

Time in tech 24 years
Current role Mentor & Advisor to the Board @ AICEP
Place of origin Lisbon

Tell us more about you:

Early years and where you came from?

I was born in Lisbon and when I was 18 I moved to Braga to study Computer Science at Minho university. It was fantastic times. We lived very closed to each other, studying together and enjoying all the campus atmosphere. Although it was amazing times, I knew I would like return to Lisbon, to the big city and work here.

How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?

From my early days I enjoyed solving problems, designing algorithms and programing. I am from the times of the zx spectrum and its Basic programming language. I had the privilege of having the opportunity to study programming languages in the high school (Escola Secundária D. Pedro V) so I was sure I wanted computer science. At the University, it was the early days of Internet and I was fascinated of connecting things, access information remotely.

Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.

For the last 4 years I was a venture capitalist, so I used to invest in startups. I started in 2012 when Lisbon and Portugal tech scene started to emerge and be in the world radar. It was exciting times and I fell in love with startups and making things happens. I quit one year ago, but I knew I want to stay connected to this world, so I started mentoring startups and helping them to achieve theirs dreams and goals.

What part of what you do, you love the most?

Be a mentor it’s about sharing with commitment. I love to share my experiences and be challenged by issues that entrepreneurs face in their day-to-day life. It could be in obtaining product market fit, in go to market strategies, in growing in an efficient and sustainable way. It’s so grateful to see others achieving their objectives and build their confidence and participating in that process while keeping up with technology trends.

How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?

In my previous work as a Venture Capitalist, I had the opportunity to visit Silicon Valley several times. What impressed me the most there were two things that are always present in my mind and in the way I approach others: the power of interaction and the sense of urgency. So, the way I work and the way I try to encourage others to be is always promoting  connection with others, learn from others and whatever you may find appropriate, go for it, don’t be afraid of falling, try, investigate deeply and quickly, and then change if needed.

What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?

Get actively involved with the community. Go to events, participate in acceleration programs, interact with others.

Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese woman in tech.

As I have my regular job as advisor to the board at AICEP, while mentoring and also attending Chinese lessons, I have to be very organized during the day and the week. So I normally work early, read the emails and prepare the answers, meaning splitting the emails and the activities between urgent and important. The most urgent ones, I will answers immediately and then I moved to the important ones that takes more time. I keep a log of my pending issues and I keep tracking it during the day and week

Another important part of my life is learning – either searching, reading blogs or doing an online course, which I try to reserve for Fridays afternoon and weekends.

Normally, after having dinner, it’s time for Facebook and Twitter to keep up with what’s happening and updating the list of must read for the weekend.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

It’s all about people. Although all the technology that are available, it’s how you engage with people, how we share our ambition, values and commitment that makes all the difference.

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What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Google, social media, email.