Italy / Redi Vyshka, Successful Albanian In Startup And Project For Albania
The dream across the Adriatic was Italy in 1998 for Redi Vyshka, where his father was waiting for him and together with his mother and brother he went to the neighboring country. For him, at the age of 7 it was the most beautiful day where they could finally make a normal life together as a family.
Redi did not think that his future would belong to the world of business and management, but the desire for financial independence from the family made him at the age of 15 to do various jobs and who has seen them as added experiences for its current success. He graduated from the University of Economics and Management with excellent grades, believing that you can achieve anything you want. Redi today, along with his two friends is a successful start-up with their “creature” Switcho, a start-up that aims to optimize the fixed costs of Italian households, such as electricity and gas, internet, insurance contracts and other financial products. The company is already spread in Albania and 30-year-old Redi tells “Albanian Diaspora” his intentions in the future.
Today you are one of the successful founders of the Switcho startup, but first tell us a little about your arrival in Italy. How difficult it has been for you, given that you only ran away 7 years old.
I came to Italy when I was 7 years old. My mother and brother and I left on March 24, 1998, shortly after the end of the 1997 riots. We were welcomed by the father who had emigrated to Italy four years before us. I still remember that day, it was one of the most beautiful days of my life, I finally reunited with my father and our family could start a normal life.
Childhood has its dreams, and at your age it has not been easy to change environment, language and culture.
What are your studies and did they fulfill Red’s dream?
I did high school in a Technical Institute, where I specialized as a mechanic. Like other foreign boys living in Italy, I chose this path of study as it was an efficient way to get a job after graduation, in one of the many factories in the area. But I soon discovered that my ambition was to do something else in life.
I was attracted to business, and wanted to get rich and decided to go to university and study Economics and Management. I completed my bachelor studies at Ca ‘Foscari, University of Venice, and then transferred to Milan for a master’s in Bocconi. Milan is a fantastic city, Bocconi a center of expertise and unrivaled networking in Italy. It has been two years of intense growth, sometimes even difficult, in a super competitive context, where I wanted to go out and be the best. I wanted to graduate with maximum grade, I had no money to pay the university fees and the only way to continue my dream was to get the highest grades to guarantee me scholarships. I graduated with 110 stars and won 3 scholarships… it was at that moment that I realized that in life I could achieve any goal I could come to myself.
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Before you achieved this success of yours, how hard was it for you to work and study?
At the age of 15 I found my first job as a picajol and assistant cook, I liked to be financially autonomous and since then I have not asked my parents for 1 euro. For about 8 years I have been picajol in the evening and a student during the day. I have done many other seasonal jobs as a farmer, barn worker, laborer, perfume seller, insurance policy and supplement, and for three summer seasons in a row as a promoter for several clubs in Barcelona. I have always enjoyed all the work I have done, I knew they were temporary and I took advantage of them to absorb as much as possible from each experience. When I moved to Milan at the age of 23, I no longer worked as a picajol or other job and devoted myself entirely to my professional growth. I did 3 months internship in Singapore, a unique experience,
How did you end up in the business world?
After graduation I did an internship at a large international bank, I did not like the way I worked, I saw it not very dynamic. Before I finished my internship, I was hired by a large consulting firm (PricewaterhouseCoopers). I really enjoyed this job, it was a challenge for myself. The projects I was pursuing were interesting, I traveled a lot in Italy and abroad and the salary was also very high. After 4 years of counseling, however, I felt the need to raise the bar, I wanted to get involved myself, I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I wanted to create a successful company.
Let’s say your ambition was crowned with the Switcho project, tell us a little more about it?
In March 2019, together with Marco Tricarico and Francesco Laffi we founded Switcho ( www.switcho.it), which is a digital startup operating in Italy and aims to optimize the fixed costs of Italian households, such as electricity and gas, internet, insurance contracts and other financial products. Our company is innovative because it allows the definition of these contracts in a completely digital way, thus clearly distancing itself from the traditional world that is populated by call centers and physical agents for promoting these types of contracts. We have very ambitious plans for Switcho development, we want to become a benchmark for Italian families to manage and monitor recurring expenses. Furthermore, we are making some preliminary assessments to copy our model in Europe, as some foreign investors have contacted us because they are interested in developing Switcho in their target market. To date, we have about 30,000 clients, we have started billing since the first day the platform was online and we have raised more than 1 million euros in investments (between capital and bank finance). As a workforce, we are 14 people, including 3 associates located in the Tirana office, who are part of our operational team.
How involved is your hometown in this ambitious project of yours?
About five months ago we decided to invest in Albania by creating an operational team of three people led by Brikena Kapaj, which has experience in analogous sectors especially in the set up of new operational teams. For the next three years we have an ambitious development plan in Tirana that envisages a significant increase in the number of resources that will be employed with increasingly technical skills and in various business functions.
Why did you decide to invest in Albania?
I am often asked this question and let us say that the reasons are mainly two: The first is a business motivation, since Albania is an excellent destination to look for young talents, graduates and who speak Italian very well. The cost of the company is really very affordable, with the same skills you can easily find young and adult resources at significantly lower costs than in Italy. While the second is a purely personal motive, as I have always dreamed of being able to help and bring value to Albania. I left Albania when I was very young and although Italy has actually become my new home, I have always had a strong connection to my country of origin. And I tell you when we hired the first resources in Tirana at the end of August 2020,
What would be your advice to young people in the start up world?
In recent years, an interesting startup ecosystem has been created in Italy, with a strong annual increase in both the number of startups and investments, although it lags behind other European countries. In Albania, on the other hand, I saw that the startup ecosystem is in its infancy, with tremendous growth potential and opportunities for many young talents, and you just have to be good at transferring important investments, private and public, this way. I would like to advise young Albanians to look very carefully at the world of digital startups, which allows them to be able to do business without the need (at least in the initial stage) of large investments, but by make their business skills and ideas available./ Albanian Diaspora