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From Le Wagon to a €1M start-up in 9 months

Rodrigo Ruas is the CEO and cofounder of Luvotels, the first platform to book motel rooms in Brazil. Rodrigo was an alumni from Le Wagon Rio de Janeiro Batch #50 in January 2017. Nine months after Luvotels was born during LeWagon, we were already evaluated in more than 1M€.
"Nine months after Luvotels was born during LeWagon, we were already evaluated in more than 1M€. Everything happened unbelievably fast."

Rodrigo Ruas is the CEO and cofounder of Luvotels, the first platform to book motel rooms in Brazil. Rodrigo was an alumni from Le Wagon Rio de Janeiro Batch #50 in January 2017. Originally from a engineering background, after finishing his batch he joined Le Wagon Brazil Lead Teacher Jean-Baptiste Feldis to create their own startup.

In this article Rodrigo will tell us the story on how he went from a Civil Engineer to a CEO of a €1M startup in less than one year.

What brought you to study at Le Wagon?

I worked as an Engineer for more than 4 years before Le Wagon. I was living that ordinary life that our parents always dreamed of with an apparently stable job from 9AM to 6PM.. In June 2016, I got fired. The company was on its way to bankruptcy and had to fire all its employees. It was a shock to me.

I had never experienced such a personal challenge before, but instead of looking for a similar job, I realized that was the right time to make a change. As any motivated-unemployed young guy, I had a bunch of ideas that could make me the new Zuckerberg and I had finally enough spare time to make it happen. Ideas on the paper. friends on the table and motivation. What else could I need? There was one tiny detail missing: we didn't know how to transform our ideas into a product. We didn't know how to write a single line of code. We were far from being Zuckerberg.

I decided that I should learn how to be a developer. If I did, I could make all my ideas come to life. With that in mind, I started to look for online courses and tried a couple ones. I didn't learn that much and I needed something more effective. I am not sure how I found Le Wagon to be honest, but it crossed my path somehow. I had a bunch of good reviews and there was a class about to start in my hometown.

And kids, this is how I met Le Wagon.

Did you have any concerns before joining the bootcamp?

As almost any student, I was afraid of not being capable enough to be a developer. Even though I had a tech background, being a developer was completely new to me. Before the bootcamp starts, every student is required to complete the ruby path from Code Academy, which was extremely helpful and handy!

To be honest, I was very anxious and excited. It was like the first day of school. I was about to learn something that could change my life forever. And It has changed!

How were you reassured?

The bootcamp is extremely well structured in a way students can grow line by line, exercise by exercise. You really feel that you getting better every day. The methodology really works and it's incredible how you overpass all your expectations.

What was the best part of your bootcamp experience?

On the 6th week of the bootcamp, it's when the magic happens as we start to work with Rails for the first time. Every piece of code we wrote started to make sense. That's when you realize you can actually develop a real app!

I also loved the buddy system. Every class you have to sit down with a different colleague and work with him/her for the whole day. That is extremely important. When you don't know something, you have always someone to ask for help before calling a teacher. Teaching someone is the best way to learn.

What was the transition out of Le Wagon like?

During my batch, a friend called Diogo had an unusual idea to build a online booking systems for Motels in Brazil (aka Love Hotels - hourly accommodation for couples). I liked the idea so much that I started to work on the first day after the bootcamp Our lead teacher, Jean-Baptiste Feldis, also loved it and joined us alongside his friend Helio Ribeiro. We called the project "Luvotels".

I have been working on Luvotels since the bootcamp. Now, we are the first motel booking platform in Brazil. Check it out! Luvotels.com

Could you please tell us how was your journey one year after Le Wagon?

After the bootcamp ended, I worked on the Luvotels.com platform with my former teacher Jean-Baptiste for the following months. In July 2017, we applied for the biggest startup acceleration program in Portugal (4th in Europe) called Lisbon Challenge. More than 200 startups applied and only 8 were selected - including us! After 3 months of intense work during the acceleration, we won the Lisbon Challenge and received investment from 4 different Investors.

Nine months after Luvotels was born during LeWagon, we were already evaluated in more than €1M. Everything happened unbelievably fast.

Besides Luvotels, I also work regularly as a Teacher Assistant for Le Wagon. No matter how busy I am, I always have time to help students and the community!

What was the most valuable takeaway from Le Wagon for you?

Le Wagon mission is to bring technical skills to creative people and it really does. Le Wagon shows that everyone (I really mean everyone) can learn how to be a developer and can shift their careers. You just need to be motivated!

How did attending at Le Wagon help you with luvotels.com?

Well, one of my co-founders was the lead teacher of Le Wagon, the first time I heard about Lisbon Challenge was on Le Wagon slack, I met one of our investors through Le Wagon. I can say that Le Wagon is somehow the reason Luvotels exists. The community that you have access to is priceless.

Who would you recommend a coding bootcamp to? Why?

To everyone. I met students from 18 to almost 80. If you want to work as a developer or if you want to take your ideas out of the paper, Le Wagon is the place for you.

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