WeXchange podcast

Cecilia Retegui, Zolvers: Transforming the Domestic Work Industry in Latin America, Ep 1

**WeXchange podcast features both Spanish and English- speaking guests. Please be aware that this episode has been recorded in Spanish.

Cecilia Retegui has always been an entrepreneur. As the co founder and CEO of Zolvers, an online platform that outsources domestic work, Cecilia learned to be an entrepreneur from her father at an early age, and hasn’t stopped since. Coming from a systems engineering background, Cecilia had her own software startup for 16 years before launching Zolvers in 2013.

In Latin America, domestic work represents 28% of women’s salaries. Yet this industry has high levels of informality, creating insecurity for both the employee and employer. Zolvers is helping 180,000 domestic workers with employment, financial education, and labor formalization through its platform. What Cecilia started in Argentina, now operates in Mexico, Chile, and Colombia.

In this episode, we talk to Cecilia about her entrepreneurial spirit, how she went from interning at Ford to providing her software services to the company, and how she expanded Zolvers throughout the region. On another note, we also cover what it’s like being both a mother and an entrepreneur, in addition to giving advice to those who are starting their own company and looking for investors for the first time.

 

Being an entrepreneur runs in the family

Cecilia explains that her dad, who is blind, and his company inspired her to follow in his footsteps. At 19 years old, she started her first project, organizing hockey tours in Argentina for foreign teams. After that first experience as an entrepreneur, Cecilia briefly interned at Ford before turning the multinational into her client. That transition marked the beginning of a 16-year adventure that provided Cecilia with the many lessons that led to starting Zolvers.

Learn more about Cecilia’s fascinating entrepreneurial journey in this episode of the WeXchange podcast. **This podcast episode has been recorded in Spanish.

 

Optimizing the domestic work industry

After 16 years at her software company, Cecilia was looking for a new project with a more social impact side. She noticed that in her WhatsApp groups, mothers are always looking for reliable domestic workers to take care of their kids, elderly people, or for household chores. At the same time, many domestic workers don’t have access to a formal job or a bank account. Zolvers was created to solve these issues in the domestic work industry.

Listen to this episode of the WeXchange podcast to learn more about how Zolvers helps both employers and domestic workers in Latin America. **This podcast episode has been recorded in Spanish.

 

Zolvers: a Latin American company

From its beginnings, Zolvers was built with the intention to scale at a regional level. Everything was thought to serve one million people in the region. The string of economic problems in Argentina meant that Cecilia was always thinking about a

future outside of her own country. If Zolvers was to grow, it had to expand, and Mexico was the first destination. In Mexico, Cecilia rapidly realized that she had a lot to learn about raising capital and had to reevaluate her strategy before continuing.

To learn more about her search for foreign investors and the expansion process, including the regional differences and similarities, listen to this episode of the WeXchange podcast. **This podcast episode has been recorded in Spanish.

Cecilia Retegui aims to make Zolvers a regional reference for domestic workers in Latin America. Through her work, she is formalizing a job sector that, for a long time, was characterized by insecurity. By helping women gain financial independence, Zolvers is transforming the reality of these women across the region.

 

Show Notes:

  • [1:10] – About Cecilia
  • [2:40] – Cecilia’s path to entrepreneurship
  • [4:04] – Starting Zolvers
  • [6:50] – Family support
  • [9:27] – Key moment as an entrepreneur
  • [11:40] – How to prepare for a potential investor
  • [13:30] – Scaling Zolvers
  • [16:35] – Landing in Chile and Colombia
  • [17:46] – Zolvers in five years
  • [20:48] – Women starting their own companies
  • [23:08] – Advice to Cecilia’s younger self
  • [24:02] – Zolvers’ impact
  • [26:44] – How to work with Zolvers
  • [30:46] – Entrepreneurs that inspire Cecilia

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • Zolvers
  • WeXchange
  • BID Lab
  • 500 Startups
  • NXTP Labs
  • Asignación universal por hijo
  • Juana Manso
  • Kathrine Switzer