Trovit: the story of an international search engine for classified ads

I had the opportunity to learn a little more about the person who founded and grew, along with his team, Trovit. He appeared at the event with a T-shirt, a black sweatshirt, jeans and Nike sneakers, transmitting great closeness and humility at all times.

That discreet boy that went unnoticed among the attendees was Inaki Ecenarrothen CEO and co-founder of Trovit, one of the main search engines for classified ads in Europe and Latin America. Despite having managed to create a company that has revolutionized the Spanish market, he admitted that he did not see himself capable of giving advice to anyone and that part of his success, like many businesses, he attributed to the luck of being with a powerful project at the right time and place.

The foundation of Trovit

he is Basque, Gipuzkoan exactly. The study Business Sciences at the Commercial University of Deusto. At the end of the degree, he went to work as Auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a position he held for 3 years. After this period in consultancy, he realized that this work did not quite convince him and he proposed a change. He wanted to continue in the business world but promoting, at the same time, his passion for technology and computing.

This union led him to take a MBA (Master of Business Administration) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that allowed him to work both areas. The first year he was on American soil he dreamed of staying in the United States once he finished his studies and being able to start an adventure there with which he could put his knowledge into practice. He lived what we know as the dotcom bubble: A period of astonishing growth for Internet-related businesses that lasted from 1997 to 2001.

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The second year that the founder of Trovit was there, it was just when the bubble burst and many of these companies that had experienced some extraordinary years went bankrupt or directly ceased operations. With this scenario, Iñaki did not think twice and returned to Spain, to Madrid.

when he comes back, works at McKinsey & Company for 2 years until he quits and starts another project: Weblogs SL.. He participated in its foundation and was working as CTO of the company. Later he leaves the project and, through getting in touch with one of those responsible for the INTERCOM Group Through LinkedIn (a network with few users around 2004), he started working as Business Development. He was in this position for 2 years and 4 months while, in turn, his entrepreneurial spirit and his desire to innovate did not let him sleep peacefully. He began to undertake with some colleagues carrying out several projects in different sectors.

The success only began in 2006 when, together with Raúl Puente and Daniel Giménez, they decided to create Trovit (originally “I’m looking for work”).

What is Trovit?

Trovit is a classified ads search engine with a strong presence in Europe, Latin America and Asia. Below you can see on the attached map the countries where Trovit is currently present:

When accessing the Trovit page you will see that the categories that work are highlighted: houses, cars, jobs, products and vacations. In this way, Trovit includes the most interesting ads that have been published on the chosen topic and, thus, allows you to have all the offer available on a single page and save time. It also allows you to configure custom alerts allowing them to send you emails notifying you every time there are new announcements that may interest you. When the user clicks on an offer, he is redirected to the original source to complete the transaction if he is interested.

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Sale of Trovit: 80 million euros

Until 2015, Trovit had achieved very positive results. In that year, with more than 47 million unique visitors per month and offering its service internationally, managed to capture the attention of the Japanese company Nextowner of the real estate portal homes from Japan.

«Our decision to acquire Trovit is based on our conclusion that having Trovit as a subsidiary will enable Next to create a massive real estate and lifestyle information platform worldwide.» indicated the Japanese company in a statement after the purchase.

Iñaki, as a recommendation, stressed that it was important that the companies that were willing to receive investment or to be bought, examine very well what type of investor or purchase they wanted and what objectives they had with the company. The most important thing is not if your company fits what the interested parties are looking for, but if the company really wants and has the same expectations that they have. Really is the company that has to set the course of the project and this reflection is important to take into account.

When selling Trovit, Iñaki confessed that he did receive many congratulations and also 3 new interested parties tried to contact him frequently: press, banks and startups wanting to receive investment. Iñaki Ecenarro continued as CEO of Trovit until July 2015, when he completely abandoned the project.

How Trovit has evolved since the purchase of Next

The truth is that the operation has not gone very well for the Japanese company. Mauricio Silver, in the company since 2009, took the reins as CEO, but the results have been adverse. In fact, in 2016 compared to the previous year, with the consequent loss of benefits for the first time in recent years. On the other hand, the growing competition in the sector has caused traffic to stagnate, a big problem when this is the main asset. A collateral consequence has been the reduction of the workforce in recent months.

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In short, we can say that Next’s investment It hasn’t been very profitable.. Trovit’s continuity is in question and it is currently undergoing a restructuring.

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