Brazilian e-resident Michele Garcia’s tales of international marketing and Tallinn Christmas markets
Michele Garcia lives in Rio de Janeiro. It’s the city of Carnival, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, of Copacabana Beach. It’s the kind of place where Estonian people want to be in winter (especially because when it’s winter in Estonia, it’s summer in Brazil). But last December, at the height of the pandemic, Garcia flew across the ocean to Helsinki, Finland, and took a ship to Tallinn to collect her e-Residency card and to visit her new digital homeland for the first time.
“I fell in love with Estonia,” says Garcia, a marketing technology specialist who runs Kuninganna, a Tallinn-based startup that provides marketing technology or ‘MarTech’ assistance to startups and more mature companies throughout their development cycle.
Garcia had been to Europe before, and worked in Malta in the Mediterranean, but this was her first landing in the Nordic part of the world. In total, she spent a full month in Estonia, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve, staying in Tallinn’s picturesque Old Town just a few streets from the internationally renowned Tallinn Christmas Market.
“Believe it or not, but it was my first experience with snow,” says Garcia. “It was a magical place, everything is amazing there, and when I left, I felt sad, because I didn’t want to leave.”
Anyone who has been to the Tallinn Christmas Market can no doubt identify with Garcia, but she is also the chief marketing officer for Leve Investimentos in Rio de Janeiro, an investment startup, which means Rio is home for the time being. Her academic background is in digital design, but she has developed extensive experience in the marketing technology sector and is especially skilled with using HubSpot, an automation platform for marketing, sales, and customer service processes.
According to Garcia, demand for marketing technology experts like herself has only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among international companies. This was one reason for her to create her OÜ in Estonia, which she named Kuninganna — “Queen” in Estonian. She needed a way to serve international clients and in a straightforward, hassle free way.
Her long-term business plan is to focus on building out a European customer base via Kuningana.
It was an Estonian colleague in Brazil who recommended e-Residency to her. Garcia has several Estonian friends, one of whom had nicknamed her the “Brazilian queen,” the name she chose for her new business.
She also chose the name Kuninganna to honor the friendship, she said.
Though the company is nascent, she already is serving some clients, from Chile to the US, offering HubSpot services and other support. She uses her e-Residency digital ID to access Estonia’s digital business infrastructure, invoice these clients, and retain the funds in her bank account. “I’ve already closed some good deals,” says Garcia, “and have savings in euros, pounds, and dollars.”
Ideally, she would like to make Kuningana her priority, but Leve Investimentos is her main gig for the time being. She would also like to return to Estonia again, preferably for a longer period of time.
“A year from now, I want to apply for the digital nomad visa to be able to spend some quality time in Estonia and in Europe while working,” she said. “I believe that having e-Residency and an Estonian company can contribute to this process.”
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She is also constantly surveying the market, she adds, and honing her MarTech prowess.
“For me, this is all like a hobby, because it’s something I love doing,” says Garcia. “I am always studying, learning techniques, and reading,” she adds. “It is nonstop work.”