From corporate world to GenAI pioneer
From our blog / Article
In the world of technology and entrepreneurship, success stories often begin with humble beginnings and curiosity. Daniel, the CTO and co-founder of Nieve, a cutting-edge GenAI consulting company with international reach, is no exception. His journey from the corporate world to becoming a GenAI expert and founder of Nieve is a story of passion and drive for new emerging opportunities.
Daniel’s entrepreneurial curiosity was evident already during his college days in Spain when he embarked on his first entrepreneurial adventure – a software development company that catered to local businesses. This first touch to entrepreneurship ended up being brief, as Daniel found himself drawn into the corporate world, where he spent the next 11 years of his career. In 2000, Daniel made a life-changing decision by accepting a job offer at Nokia and relocating to Finland.
For the next four years, he worked in Espoo contributing to one of the world’s leading technology companies. In 2004, Daniel’s career led him and his wife to move to California, where he continued on his Nokia career. However, the corporate environment, with its inherent limitations, began to gnaw at Daniel’s entrepreneurial mind.
“I started to feel the itch to do something on my own because in a corporation you are responsible for a very small part of the whole.”
Back to the entrepreneurial path
It was not an easy decision to abandon steady pay and a familiar job. With courage, Daniel took the leap of entrepreneurship again, and quit his comfortable job at Nokia in the summer of 2011.
Becoming an entrepreneur, for Daniel, was not just about the desire to run a company again; it was about breaking free from the corporate life. He knew that this journey would be challenging, requiring significant sacrifices, including his hard-earned savings.
“The passion was to get out of the corporate world, not the product or the business itself. Naturally that led to a failure. An entrepreneur has to be very passionate about the product to succeed. Just wanting to run a company is not enough.”
Daniel’s company lasted for one year. The business Daniel had started never turned a profit, and he ended up eating up his savings to fund the startup. It was a hard blow, but Daniel’s resilience pushed him forward.
“The whole idea was to try something and then maybe try something else later on. So I kept trying and looking for entrepreneurial opportunities.”
Undeterred by this learning experience, Daniel embarked on a new journey. This time, his path was different. He wanted to find a company with adequate funding and not start from scratch. He joined a company with fewer than 10 employees, not as a founder but as a partner. The company initially focused on creating a kick-starter for documentary movie production but ended up doing several pivots, which finally led to creation of a messaging platform.
Determination paid off when the company was eventually acquired by Tinder, and the messaging platform became the foundation for Tinder’s chatting functionality. This experience taught Daniel the importance of adaptability and ability to pivot.
“We were lucky because the VC fund pushed us to keep trying instead of just giving back their money. “
In 2014, Daniel’s entrepreneurial journey led him to explore the emerging world of 3D printing. Excited about this new technology, he founded a company dedicated to 3D printing. The path was not without its challenges, but Daniel’s passion and the team’s dedication allowed them to secure funding and achieve revenue generation.
Over seven years, Daniel led the company’s growth and moved back to Spain. The company was eventually sold to a prominent Spanish 3D printing manufacturer in 2021. Although he continued to work at the company post-acquisition, Daniel knew that it was soon time for a new adventure.
The birth of Nieve and the GenAI focus
As Daniel contemplated his next move, he was certain that his next venture would be in the service industry. He initially considered freelancing, but fate had other plans. An opportunity emerged to build Nieve as part of Fusion, a company that aligned with the Nordic culture and values that had always resonated with him.
Nieve’s focus on generative AI (GenAI) technology was not an accident but a strategic pivot. Originally intended as a generic software development business with subcontracting plans, the market shifted rapidly, and the subcontracting strategy became untenable. Adapting to the changing landscape, Nieve began to explore IoT-related services, and as AI technology advanced, it naturally became part of their focus.
“The idea was to get started with subcontracting and then find out the right business focus area. However, the market drained very quickly so that the subcontracting strategy never happened. We had to pivot more quickly.”
Daniel’s personal interest in working with cutting-edge technology and the high demand for GenAI-related services compelled Nieve to pivot in this direction. The accessibility and applicability of GenAI technology to software development further cemented their decision.
Going forward with a GenAI vision fuelled by “sisu”
Today, Nieve stands as a prominent GenAI consulting company, helping customers discover the potential of GenAI and providing support for proof of concepts, pilots, and scalable solutions. Nieve’s goal is to be recognized as the go-to team for GenAI solutions, renowned for their high-quality work and forward-thinking approach.
“Nieve’s focus goes beyond technology; we aim to help customers implement business-relevant GenAI solutions. We start with understanding the customer’s business and guide them to discover the possibilities of GenAI. This approach, starting small and smart, aligns with my personal vision of making a lasting impact in the world of GenAI.”
Daniel has learned the art of emotional stability in the roller-coaster world of entrepreneurship. He advises against getting too high or too low in the face of success or failure.
“Entrepreneurship can be hard, and sometimes you need to make a pivot or several ones. That requires grit or ‘sisu’, as it’s called in Finnish. Having mentors helps as their real-life stories support building a gut feeling for business.”
This is the 8th part of co-founder stories:
- Finding meaningfulness in entrepreneurship – Jani Kallio
- Curiosity leads an entrepreneurial path – Mikaela Nyman
- Courage, smart risk-taking and a club – Vesa Härkönen
- The story an entrepreneur would tell – Emma Grönlund
- Building a company is a journey worth experiencing – Jaakko Karhumaa
- If you can do it for someone else’s account, why not make it your own business – Ilkka-Cristian Niemi
- On a mission to transform learning through a purpose-driven business – Marjut Sadeharju
- From corporate world to GenAI pioneer – Daniel Arroyo
About the Author
Riikka is Investment Director at Fusion Ecosystem, leading the way in co-founding initiatives, funding, and company growth support. With a background in management consulting within the tech industry, Riikka brings a wealth of expertise to her role. Outside of work, Riikka is a pursues a PhD in business agility and strategic risk management at Tampere University. In her free time, she finds joy in challenging herself through marathons and ultra marathons, as well as indulging in cycling and tennis.
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