Back in Spain, Sergi Roura ’19 Forges Path in Entrepreneurship

Back in Spain, Sergi Roura ’19 Forges Path in Entrepreneurship
  • One World
Julie Dengler

From participating in an exchange program in Singapore to launching a start-up and wrapping up a fruitful college experience, he continues to embrace the “incredible journey” he began at Ravenscroft.

Sergi Roura ’19 has experienced life on three continents, with some of his most formative years here in Raleigh at Ravenscroft. We recently connected with him to see how his time as a Raven has shaped and served him, from his decision to participate in an exchange program in Singapore to launching a skin care start-up and finishing college in his native Spain.

Tell us a little about your life before you came to Ravenscroft.
I was born in 2001 in Barcelona, Spain, and raised in a small coastal town just outside the city, where my early years were filled with cherished memories. In 2011, when I was nine, my dad was tasked with moving to North Carolina for the acquisition of a company in Clayton.

It was a pivotal moment when he gathered me and my two sisters, Laia ’18 and Ines ’21, in our living room. He presented us with a large hardcover book titled “North Carolina,” brimming with photographs of what would soon become our new home.

Intriguingly, the book featured a full page on crocodiles — a creature I never encountered during my time in North Carolina, which I find slightly amusing now. Adjusting to this new life with my limited English and a vastly different culture was challenging. However, enrolling at Ravenscroft turned out to be the most wonderful outcome, marking the beginning of an incredible journey.

LEFT TO RIGHT: A young Sergi Roura and his sisters, Laia ’18 and Ines ’21, run down a grassy hill with their mother, Joana Sabat, early in their stay in Raleigh; Rourai poses with Ines ’21 and Laia ’18 during a recent family visit.

How was your adjustment to Ravenscroft as a fifth-grader? What did you like and dislike? What struck you as different or new?
Adjusting to life at Ravenscroft in the fifth grade was, unsurprisingly, not the smoothest transition at first. With a background steeped in a different culture, passions and language, I felt distinctly out of place among my new classmates. My fashion sense — rooted in the love for Quicksilver and Vans — clashed with the prevailing trend of bright pink Vineyard Vines shorts that were considered “cool” there. While I preferred jeans, my peers were more inclined towards casual wear, like Nike shorts paired with Elite socks pulled up to their knees. Their conversations revolved around the Warriors and the Patriots, whereas my heart lay with the love for El Clásico between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Fortunately, my youthful enthusiasm for sports of any kind helped bridge some gaps. I eagerly learn games like Foursquare and tetherball, integrating myself little by little every recess.

The initial months were particularly challenging due to my limited English marking me as the odd one out. I often found myself yearning for the familiarity of Spain. Yet, it was the budding friendships that emerged during this time that transformed my experience at Ravenscroft into something profoundly meaningful. Both the teachers and students at Ravenscroft extended their support, easing my integration into the community. Before I knew it, I was proudly identifying as a Raven, unaware at the time that our intended three-year stay in the United States [would be] extended to eight, allowing me to flourish at Ravenscroft.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Roura attends the Class of 2019’s Alumni Association Welcome Dinner with friends Will Tierney ’19 and Connor Margraf ’19; Roura gives a thumbs-up after participating in the Ravenscroft commencement tradition in which students give their mother a yellow rose.

Tell us about your time with friends, teachers and staff at Ravenscroft.
From my very first teacher, Barbara Paul, who encouraged me to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in homeroom to improve my English, to Megan Winter, whose vast vocabulary never ceased to amaze me. Shayla Thomas [Coleman] managed to capture my often-distracted attention with her strict yet incredibly effective teaching methods, while Kalista Richardson imparted unforgettable life lessons amidst her geometry instruction. Then there was Alfie Hobbs, whose motivational talks after class inspired me to learn coding, a skill that later distinguished me in my college coursework.

These teachers (and countless others) were more than just teachers; they were mentors who demonstrated unwavering dedication to our education and personal growth day after day. The skills I learned at Ravenscroft, particularly in essay writing and presenting, gave me a noticeable edge in my college classes. This solid foundation was a direct result of the school’s early focus on effective communication across various subjects.

I won’t go into detail with my classmates because I believe every single one of them had some sort of impact during my eight years, and they are without a doubt the thing I miss most in Spain. Despite being miles away, I maintain connections with many, and it’s been a joy to host some in Barcelona, bridging my worlds by introducing them to my college friends.

Upon returning to Spain for college, was there anything from your Ravenscroft experience that was especially helpful or unique? What did you study?
I studied business administration at Esade, a university with campuses in both Barcelona and Madrid. Aside from my English, which is usually well above the level of other Spanish classmates, I think Ravenscroft and the American culture have given me a competitive trait in academia, and now, in my professional life, that has helped me and, I expect, will help me in the future.

Additionally, Ravenscroft was big on combining academic life with extracurricular interests like clubs, sports, arts and volunteering, and I have kept that same enthusiasm to do more than just classes at university through playing clubs, sports and exploring my interests. A differential factor that was common in the U.S. and Ravenscroft but a competitive advantage here at Esade.

Roura and some college friends visit with his Ravenscroft classmates Bridget Glenn ’19 and Jake Schneider ’19, at right, during their study abroad experience in Spain.

Can you speak to your interest in entrepreneurship, both through your involvement with Esade/E3 and your skin care venture?
Ever since I started college, I’ve been getting more and more into entrepreneurship, especially within Barcelona’s start-up ecosystem. I got involved with E3 at Esade; it is [an extracurricular club] all about boosting innovation and entrepreneurship through different events, workshops and competitions.

At E3, I usually helped organize these events, but one time I decided to jump in and compete. That’s how I ended up creating a business plan for a men’s skin care line with a buddy of mine. We called it Adonis Lab and launched it at the start of 2023. It kicked off way better than we expected, selling out our first batch of products in just two weeks. But by November, we hit a snag with some legal stuff over our trademark, and we had to shut it down. Even though we had to close up shop because we both started working full-time jobs in January 2024, it was still a great experience. It taught us a lot and made us even keener to try out new ideas in the future.

Roura and a friend founded Adonis Labs, featuring skin care products for men, in early 2023 but have since closed the business; the experience “taught us a lot and made us even keener to try out new ideas in the future,” he said.

You also studied in Singapore for a semester. How did that experience bring value to your education and perspective on the world?
During my last fall semester, I studied abroad at Singapore Management University. This experience was like opening a new book on how different life could be elsewhere. Just like when I moved to the U.S., living and studying in Singapore showed me a whole new way of seeing things, from how people work to how they view education.

In Singapore, students take their studies very seriously. I was surprised when some of them told me they’d never been out partying because they were so focused on school, which was pretty different from what I was used to. Also, a lot of what we learned and worked on in class was about making a positive difference in society, especially concerning the environment and how to help people in Singapore live better lives. Something that reminded me of [Lead From Here] at Ravenscroft: lead oneself, lead with others and change your world.

But it wasn’t all about studying. Being in Singapore also meant I could travel around Asia. I visited Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, each with its own unique way of life and traditions. These trips showed me just how diverse and rich in culture Asia is. And it made me realize how big and varied the world really is. All in all, my time in Singapore was a huge eye-opener. It not only made me a better student but also gave me a much broader view of the world, and Asia in particular.

Roura enjoys local cuisine with friends at one of Singapore’s famous hawker centers (food courts) during his semester of study there.

Tell us about your work now.
Right now I’m working at the Finance Consulting Department of Globant, a tech company that acquired Bluecap, where I’m based, in 2021. We mainly deal with banking projects in Spain. Part of my degree requires doing an internship, which I’m doing in my last semester. Come June, I’ll be graduating just like I did from Ravenscroft not too long ago. 

After graduation, I plan to travel! I’m heading to the Dominican Republic with some friends to celebrate, and then I’ll stay in Central and South America to visit university friends and their families. In September, I’ll start my first full-time job in strategic consulting here in Barcelona. I’m really excited to enjoy one last summer before embarking on my professional career.