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Alexey Imamov launched a successful fintech service in Portugal
Alexey Imamov is a resident of CLUB 500, an investor and owner of several businesses. Now, for example, he sells cars in Portugal, and also owns a fleet of 29 cars for rent in Dubai.

Alexey actively uses advanced technologies in his business. This allowed him to successfully enter the international market and a turnover of 2.5 million euros without attracting a marketing budget. The details are in our interview with the resident.
— Alexey, tell me, how did you become an entrepreneur? Have you had some kind of example since childhood, or did you come to this through work experience in hiring?
I worked for hire just a little bit. And in childhood, yes, there was an example — my uncle, my mother's older brother. I took an example from him and realized that I wanted to do the same. I was engaged in various small entrepreneurial stories of the "buy-sell" kind, which helped us earn money. Freedom has always been important to me, and only through independent transactions could I feel it.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— What was your first business? Let's just say it's real and legally existing.
15 years ago, I started investing in ready—made projects - online home appliance stores. Back then, everyone in Russia was just starting to find out what it was. No one looked at such projects as assets, but I found them using the "Business Sales" section on RBC. For example, we sold coffee machines from a wholesale warehouse through an online store. Of course, I had a legal entity, and I sold goods with final delivery.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— And how did you start investing?
Historically, I have been an investor in all projects since high school. From the very beginning, it was clear that my strong point was to find potentially successful topics and invest in them. I studied the experience of colleagues, large venture funds and looked up to them, because I also wanted my own investment fund: investing in different startups that will reach unicorns, you earn faster than doing only one business.

Back when I was a student, I came across the book "Reframing the Organization" by Terrence Deal and Lee Bolman. It said that it was much more interesting to acquire shares of companies, then build them up on their own and sell them more expensive. I got into this idea and am still investing.

I also own businesses in different countries and the DigitalDrive11 fintech service, which helps legally buy a car abroad for those who, for example, do not have the opportunity to open an account there or have some other problems due to sanctions. In a nutshell, we carry a car
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— Is your fintech car sales service the only one of its kind, or are there already competitors?
We are the first company on the market to provide such a service. There was no such thing before us. All companies work the same way.

The expertise helped us to launch successfully even without marketing and a website. However, in my plans for the future, I still intend to make YouTube know about us. This is one of the reasons why I came to you for an interview — to tell as many people as possible about us.

As a resident of the club, I know few who have managed to build a business abroad. I think the teammates will be interested!
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— Yes, not all entrepreneurs who tried to open a business abroad coped with this task. As a rule, at the preliminary stage of research, everything rests on the fact that they do not know local legislation, do not understand Central Asia. How did you manage to overcome this barrier?
Initially, it turned out that the Portuguese closed the strongest legal and financial sides (accounting). Portugal is one of the few European countries that has passed a law that companies can work with cryptocurrency. When we were looking for an accountant, 9 out of 10 applicants said it was impossible. Only one candidate has arranged everything. This leads to another nuance — we employ experts who are indigenous.

To summarize, our company managed to successfully enter the foreign market because it had knowledge of laws and technologies.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
Are you being approached by a local audience? Or only "non-Portuguese"?
Mostly Russian-speaking guys come to us because we can sell a car to a person who does not have an open foreign account. And such cases with banks are a very long story.

The British, Americans and Portuguese are also coming. We have found a special approach to each community. For example, the British buy models that Russian speakers will never buy. All this is important to take into account.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— If it's very simple, schematically show how your service works. A man comes to you and says he wants to buy a car. You ask which one. Is that how it's going? Do you have a choice of what to offer?
First there is a briefing: we will find out the budget, preferences, and the desired model. Next, we select the right car — as a rule, we use marketplaces or dealer offers for selection, we transport cars from Germany, we clear them. We help with insurance and numbers. We hand over the car with a bow, champagne and all the documents!

We have a Customer Care department and a customer manager who creates a commercial offer. We take care of everything, we have turnkey services.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— And how long does it take on average from the first contact to the customer receiving a car with a bow?
About three to five weeks, because logistics from Germany is long. Of course, we are trying to speed up this process as much as we can.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— Let's say a person got confused and decided to buy a car in Germany on his own. What difficulties will he face?
I always say that every person has time that they would effectively spend on work, business and family. Also, we should not forget why we transport cars from Germany to Portugal, because they are usually 10-30% cheaper there. Another important point is that Portugal often does not have the necessary equipment. In Germany, you can choose something better.

The specificity of Portugal is that it is an automobile nation. There are many small towns and villages, but they do not have developed public transport at all, so everyone drives a car.

If a similar car costs 35,000 euros in Portugal, then a turnkey one from Germany will cost 31,000 euros. The savings are already 15%.

In addition, everyone is now trying to order hybrid brands (Porsche, Mercedes). The essence of such models is that there is almost no tax on them. And the gasoline tax is five times higher.

Plus, you need to understand that Portugal is a country that is comfortable for relocation. Non-poor people come here who want a more interesting car
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— And how did our relocators and other foreigners cover the need before you appeared on the market?
You know, everyone worked the same way. They offered the client to bother and solve the problem on his own — how to pay for the car without an invoice. They did not provide the service, they did not take into account the nuances of situations. And I give it because I like it when everything is convenient.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— Don't you think that people in Russia are more spoiled by the service? I can hardly imagine how a wealthy person would be forced to run in circles and spend time to give their money.
I agree, there is such a thing. That's why we have the lion's share of those who buy expensive cars and move comfortably.

If we talk about Portugal, then companies that provide services using technology are growing. There is a need for this. But somewhere Europe is lagging behind. For example, everything in our banks "flies" fast, but there is absolutely no. There's still some left. I would say this: not everything is perfect, but there are glimpses.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— How are you going to develop your business in Portugal?
We want to become big, we have already made castdevs for market professionals. And we understand that there is also room to grow multi-fold. So we're going there. In parallel, we are preparing a large platform for working with us in the b2b format.

We want to attract those who have car stands, sell cars out of stock. Those who do not understand how to work with the crypt. And also those who can use our platform and receive cashback due to the fact that we optimize everything correctly and provide the service.

We know how to bargain with dealers, and now we have our own logistics. Therefore, we try to optimize each stage where it is liquid. For example, when we bought car carriers, logistics became 50% more profitable for us.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— Do you have a similar service in Dubai or a different story with cars?
We have a car rental and rental service there. This is a car rental park for different segments of Central Asia. Realtors, designers, and brokers need them. An everyday inexpensive car that can take you from point A to point B, has air conditioning, hatches and so on.

We also have jeeps, for example, Infinity QX80, BMW M3 sedans and other popular models. In fact, we have closed three segments: we do not have luxury, but we have platinum, gold and silver status.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— Tell us, what do you do besides business?
I do triathlons, perform at international, European and Russian competitions. But in Russia I only run marathons or half marathons.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— How do you manage to combine such a serious sport and business projects?
I do various activities where all parts of the body are involved. It's very good for brain function and gives me an advantage.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— How much does business management take you as a percentage: investment projects and operational ones?
Investment venture projects are now exposed to the market situation. They are not on a growing, but on an oscillatory level. Therefore, we understand that the investment cycle is not two to three years, but three to five years.

Many companies do not go to IPOs anymore, because the high rate and the effect of monetary policy does not allow them to raise money for a public offering. So I started looking at more real assets where the product can be "bitten with teeth". I am currently operating in Portugal and Dubai. It takes me 70% of the time.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— Your businesses have always been at the interface with technology, why? Does it have anything to do with your education? Or is it a life position?
Innovation is my principled view of life. I've always wanted to use innovation. Do you remember that recently there was no ZOOM? I used Skype and video conversations. Back in 2010, I got my first manager who worked remotely from Belarus. He paid off his work for six months in advance in the first month.

Now there is a cryptocurrency, the use of bitcoins. Everyone can safely buy promotional paper.

The investments that we have in our fund are technology companies related to space, online education, blockchain or fintech.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— Please name a few interesting projects where you have invested.
The SpaceX project — rockets, satellite Internet, space tourism. We are one of the significant investors there. There is a MetaMask wallet, the Consensus company. In general, there are big players who are well-known to everyone.

We are waiting for the market and the rate rollback. As soon as it goes down, companies will go on an IPO wave again, just the cycle will change. Cheaper financing will follow. Do not forget that the market is growing as fast as it is falling.

I would also like to say separately about investments in education. I've been to various training sessions in America, and it gave me a leap.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— And how did you become such a competent investor? Is it possible to learn this?
I've been studying this question since high school. Then I lived in San Francisco, the Valley. I was on all the business tours that were organized to America, and from there I started networking, partnership.

I grew up very much as an entrepreneur in America and began to apply the insights I received during training and while visiting market giants like Google, Airbnb, Facebook.

I came to the States for five years, lived there from three to eight months. And I can say that when you look at the world from different points of view, study the worldview of people from other countries, you better understand what's what, how life and business work in general.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— How long have you joined the CLUB 500?
I have been at the club since the very beginning of its existence, for a total of about five years. And when I joined, 15-20 of my friends were already here.

I felt that it was my environmental norm to be in the space of entrepreneurs.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
— Some entrepreneurs admit that before joining the club it was difficult for them to find an environment. And how was it with you?
I didn't have any such problems, because my activity is related to communication. Investments are always connected with communication. I would probably say more that you are in a place where everyone goes their own way and has connections.

There are entrepreneurs of various ranks in the club, whom you can reach faster, much faster than if you were outside the community.

In general, I would compare a club to an adult camp, where there are rules. If you understand how to use it, then you get more than you give away — in terms of finances. You can acquire partners, clients, and friends.

The problem for some newcomers is that they immediately try to extract material benefits — for example, to sell their services. But I realized that the most interesting thing begins after two years: when you don't expect anything. During this time, you get to know people, go deep with them.
Alexey Imamov
Founder and investor of BitMotors
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