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Meet the team... Valeria Cortez, Senior Product Development Manager

February 16, 2017 • By TAB team

In our latest team interview, we sit down with Valeria Cortez Vaca Diez, Senior Product Developement Manager at Crowdsurfer.

In our latest team interview, we sit down with Valeria Cortez Vaca Diez, Senior Product Developement Manager at Crowdsurfer.

Valeria’s passion is interacting with users and building new features according to their needs.

We caught up with Valeria at Crowdsurfer HQ, and asked her about the vital work that she is doing.




Valeria, how long have you been with Crowdsurfer?

I joined in January 2015, so a little over two years.

And what’s your background? What were you doing prior to joining the Crowdsurfer team?

I studied Business Informatics and Technology Management at the Technische Universität München and Ludwig Maximilian Universität.

When I graduated, I worked for several startups, developing new products, and I found that I really enjoyed working on design and user experience.

In 2013, I was also lucky enough to be invited to do some interesting work on the economics of privacy at Microsoft Research. This brought me to the UK and, specifically, to Cambridge, where I met Emily (Crowdsurfer founder and CEO).

A short time after that chance meeting, I joined Crowdsurfer, and I’ve been here ever since!

What’s your job at Crowdsurfer?

Senior Product Development Manager.

Sounds important. What are your key responsibilities?

My main responsibility is to make sure we build features that solve customers’ needs.

It’s pointless if you build a product that solves a problem that nobody else thinks is a problem. So my job is to make sure all we do at Crowdsurfer, and all we build, is aligned with the needs of our users.

This must throw up a few challenges.

It sure does!

So what’s the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?

I’d say, prioritisation.

We’re constantly being made aware of new features that users want us to develop, and also being told there are parts of our system that users would like to be tweaked or improved.

The key is to make sure we select, build and improve the right features for our users. To do this, it’s important that we listen really hard to acquire a deep understanding of what our users are doing on the Crowdsurfer Pro dashboard. We then need to align these needs with overall company strategy.

Sounds full on! What’s been the biggest achievement you’ve enjoyed during your time at Crowdsurfer?

Good question…I’d have to say it was probably building Crowdsurfer Pro. That was one of the most exciting periods of my career at Crowdsurfer.

It must have been an exciting time. Can you tell us a bit about how it was built?

Firstly, we collated all of the feedback we had on file about our offering at the time. Then, using this feedback to shape our thinking, we tore everything up, started from scratch and began to build a new product!

As a priority, we grouped our users into three different groups and built the entirely new product based upon the specific demands of each of these user groups.

As a result of this process, Crowdsurfer Pro now allows you to do a whole range of things, including:

  • Research how to successfully fundraise
  • Discover crowd finance investment opportunities
  • Monitor the crowd finance industry's growth

There’s more info here.

What does the future of Crowdsurfer look like, Valeria? Any exciting plans you can share?

I love finding about great new products. Large crowd funded projects in particular, are a clear indication of innovation. A cool new feature we have in the pipeline is an email alert function that will notify a user when a new campaign they’re interested in is added.

Another development that I think will be a big milestone for Crowdsurfer is creating a classification for the entire crowd finance industry.

Simon, our Head of Data Analytics, is currently working on developing a taxonomy that will detail the different areas of the industry that are being funded.

I really think that this work will open up many opportunities that will help us understand what is trending (and trendy!) in the market.

It’ll help us understand the world of crowd finance just that little bit better. And that’s what Crowdsurfer is all about!