In an interview, Helio Mata Machado, Insper Alumnus, talks about his experience and professional history
The Insper Alumni community Insper is rich in talent and diversity. Formed by more than 24,000 members, it has countless stories of social impact and professional evolution. Helio Mata Machado, a Business Administration alumnus (2005), has a career marked by the entrepreneurial spirit. He had already started his own company even before starting college. At the time, it focused on website development.
Throughout his career, the alumnus has worked for leading companies such as Endeavor. He joined it as a volunteer, started its Rio de Janeiro office’s operations, and carried out an international assignment setting forth its South Africa branch. He was also part of the Osklen fashion brand’s team. There, he started as an analyst and ended his cycle as a member of the Board. He held that position for some years after the company was sold and the selling family’s selling office was constituted. Mr. Machado remained as its CIO for five years.
In 2018, he joined Network Brasil’s (NWB) team. The company produces sports content and owns YouTube channel’s Desimpedidos (meaning, in Portuguese, something like “The Un-Offsided,” in reference to soccer’s offside rule) and Acelerados (or “The Sped-Ups,” in a free translation for Portuguese, denoting the channel’s automotive focus). Founded in 2013, NWB has more than 70 affiliate channels. They total over 80 million followers on Instagram and 60 million subscribers on YouTube. In late 2020, Grupo SBF, owner of major Brazilian sports apparel players Centauro and Nike Brasil, announced the purchase of NWB.
Helio says that his experience in companies in different segments, fulfilling different functions, made him a generalist professional but with an executive-management bias. “My trajectory in different segments made me develop my entrepreneurial skills, mainly in management, from HR to finance, but investing a lot in strategy. Also, I have always had “the purpose” as a drive,” the alumnus says.
In the following interview, Helio tells us more about his career and how Insper contributed to its development. Check it out:
1) What were the main lessons learned in your career?
I would say that the most relevant thing is that resilience is continuous learning. Then, it is worth saying that the gratitude you have for others does not guarantee their gratitude to you. It’s also key to be patient and allow the necessary time for things to happen: The greatest achievements come from opportunities that we have not yet seen – so, be ready for recurring “leaps of faith.”
2) What was your biggest professional challenge to date?
It was to take on the responsibility of preparing, negotiating, and closing a deal of over R$ 500 million without the proper structure, having to rebuild a company while negotiating the transaction (Osklen x Alpargatas – 2011 to 2013).
3) How do you see your experience at Insper? How has it contributed to your professional life?
The seriousness applied to Insper’s daily life; its Code of Ethics; my classmates, contemporaries, and college friends’ values; the level of quality required to complete the course… at the end of the day, it’s countless factors together. Today, in addition to my college-time experience, the history that Insper has built and the reputation related to it open many doors.
4) What tips and teachings would you give to Insper’s undergraduate students who want to become entrepreneurs?
First of all: Start right away. The opportunity cost of making a mistake and starting over at the beginning of your career is meager and too worth it. The learning inherent to entrepreneurship helps you in several ways. I don’t know of any professionals who have tried to become entrepreneurs and have had problems with placement in the job market, even if they have failed.
Next, I would reinforce that adulthood and the burden of work experience bring with them a number of biases that make it hard to be a late entrepreneur — they don’t prevent it in any way but do make it hard!
For everyday life: Too much planning usually takes the “doing” away. The “leap of faith,” the repeated iterations, and resilience make much more sense than an excellent business plan.
Last, as I see it, we live in the era of “free money.” Good ideas, coupled with the ability to execute them, will get quality funding and support.