"Failure is a natural part of the journey. You need to be comfortable failing most of the time and being successful some of the time.”

My favorite activity is: Running My favorite food is: Pasta

Armando Biondi

Harnessing data to help businesses accelerate

WILLING TO INVEST FOR A GREATER REWARD. Armando Biondi is big on reinvention. His journey from physiotherapist to tech entrepreneur might not be the most obvious of trajectories, but a firmly held belief that no option should be off limits has been central to his success. After a decade working in sports rehabilitation with some of the world's top athletes in his native Italy, Armando wanted a fresh start. "I was looking for my next act, to some degree. I wanted to try and see whether I could reinvent myself."

After successfully pursuing a long-held dream to become a host on Italian national radio, Armando sought to broaden his scope beyond Italy and pursue a project that would give him a more satisfying return on the time and energy he was willing to invest. "Entrepreneurship was the only way forward, and if you want to maximize outcome and output, technology is the industry you need to be in, and if you want to play where the number ones are playing, San Francisco was the city to be in." In the early 2000s, Armando moved to San Francisco to complete his reinvention as an entrepreneur.

Armando admits his sexuality was another key accelerator behind the move. As a gay man, he found America’s culture of acceptance and inclusivity more evolved than in Italy. "For me, there was a level of discomfort in Italy, diversity was barely tolerated. It has improved over time, but America not only accepts but rather embraces diversity, and has a stronger sense of community and social skills than anywhere else."

Now 15 years into his entrepreneurial journey, Armando has launched three companies and is an angel investor for around 300 startups. He co-founded his latest venture, Breadcrumbs, in March 2020. The platform represents the next generation of lead scoring for businesses by helping them have a high-performing flywheel engine to deliver better conversions and more revenue. The idea is for companies to avoid "reinventing the wheel all the time."

A BALANCED APPROACH TO SUCCESS. Breadcrumbs is, in many ways, a natural evolution from Armando's previous enterprise AdEspresso, an advertising optimization tool for businesses that became one of Facebook's top five ad tech partners globally by processing around one billion dollars. He sold the company to Hootsuite, and became their Global Head of Growth Operations.

AdEspresso was a phenomenal success, but Armando admits the failure of his first company, which focused on Facebook data and social market research, taught him the most valuable lessons about startups. "Failure is a natural part of the journey and make no mistake: it’s painful. You need to be comfortable failing most of the time and being successful some of the time, and then you develop a framework around it. You want to ruthlessly fail as fast as possible, with as many things as possible, in the cheapest possible way, so that you can identify (and double down on) the interesting, fun, and successful stuff."

Reflecting on his startup journey so far, Armando only wishes he had started his reinvention sooner. "Leaving everything on the table to move to another country and speaking a language I didn't know was f**king hard, but I wish I'd spent fewer years thinking about it and more years going for it." Now, he’s considering how to enable future generations of entrepreneurs through tailored education. “It's cheaper and easier than ever to start a company, and the opportunity is bigger than ever for most industries, but skilled entrepreneurs and founders are a really scarce resource.”

Despite his always-on inclination, Armando is resolute that a balanced, self-care approach is key to being a successful entrepreneur. "I constantly struggle with not making enough progress and not going fast enough. Something I'm constantly relearning and rediscovering is that growing anything into something is very similar to growing a plant… some things you just can’t accelerate. Give a seed too much water or sun, it will either drown or burn. But if you give it the right amount of sun, water, and most importantly time, it will become an enormous, beautiful tree."

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.