EAE Lab, a great opportunity for entrepreneurial projects like Equicontrol
19 de December de 2018
19 de December de 2018
Adriana Aliaga (Bolivia), Alonso Vargas (Costa Rica) and Federico Castro (Costa Rica) have developed QUPA, a data management tool for equine livestock that is beginning operations in Costa Rica before expanding across the Latin American market.
The Equicontrol team expressed their satisfaction at forming part of the group of entrepreneurs that have benefited from their experience in the EAE Lab incubator, which they described as "a great opportunity to work and focus on our project". In their opinion, the sense of being a group is extremely important to them. "We are a team who have worked at a good pace on the project throughout the Master, with a similar vision, which has enabled us to make key decisions naturally and honestly when taking part in the incubator and committing to this new venture and lifestyle".
Did you already have a developed project or did you prepare on expressly for EAE Lab?
We developed a project for our Master's Thesis on the Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This was the initial foundation of the version that we put forward for EAE Lab. After a month's work, we have honed the original idea and turned it around significantly. We now have a defined approach to our business model.
Why do you think were selected?
On various occasions, they have mentioned that one of the key factors in being selected was our team. We thought that it was one of our strong points and we demonstrated that not only do we have technical skills, but we also have a great team dynamic and we complement each other well to tackle a challenge of the scale of an entrepreneurial venture.
EAE Lab accompanies the development of each entrepreneurial project for five months. How did Equicontrol evolve with the support of the team of mentors and experts?
In the time since we started at the EAE Lab, the project has evolved dramatically. We have mainly made progress in terms of establishing internal processes, defining a shared vision about what we want and where we want to go with Equicontrol. We have managed to clarify our exploration for potential clients. Before the accompaniment process finishes, we want to have a quality pilot project ready to start the first phase of commercialization.
We were talking earlier about the team. Tell us more about yourselves and what you contribute to the project.
We are a team that, first and foremost, get along with each other and share a vision. Moreover, we have tried to capitalize on our strengths and capacities to organize our entrepreneurial venture. Alonso has great skills in terms of designing and creating the company image. He is the most creative when it comes to devising the project because he always searches for practical solutions. Federico is the salesman of the team. His duties include constant contact with potential clients, having meetings to present our project and making the most of our contacts. Adriana has several years' experience of managing her own company and she oversees the operations and tracks the progress of the project.
Have you developed and introduced any changes? If so, what do they involve?
Yes, before our solution was only aimed at pets in general, but we changed tack after carrying out some in-depth research. We realised that it would be more beneficial if we focused on a particular segment of the market, namely equine care. In the horse market, we can more easily reach contacts and potential users, and we can offer a different added value that specifically benefits horse owners in the Latin American market.
How did EAE Lab contribute towards this turnaround?
EAE Lab's guidance helped us to realise a number of things. Our mentor, Jorge Urios, worked alongside us during the market research and our analysis of competitors and other options already on the pet market. This led us to explore other segments related to animal care, but always with a similar proposition. He also helped when looking for business opportunities.
In terms of innovation, have you got any point of reference that inspires you when you tackle the huge task of driving an entrepreneurial venture forward?
There are stimuli to innovate all around us, particularly when we are immersed in an entrepreneurial ecosystem. In Madrid, there is a diverse variety of activities on offer that give us the chance to discover new entrepreneurial ventures, and we attend rounds of investment, although just as observers for the time being. At Equicontrol, we try to take full advantage of the environment and events that take place, keeping up to date on trends. That really inspires us. Whenever we find out about new propositions and meet people from the entrepreneurial ecosystem, we are filled with that energy and it drives us forward to continue with our project.
In a short time, you have to manage to develop an MVP. How do you spend your time in the EAE Lab incubator?
The truth is that the time flies by. Without noticing, we are reaching a key phase in which we start working towards the MVPs. This requires us to be attentive and fast, making the most of the time we have. Our goal in the short term is to have a simple but very convincing MVP to start talking to potential pilot clients before the end of the year.
Looking back, between finishing the Master and now, what lessons have you learned? Do you feel different?
We have learned a great deal from each other, our colleagues and the experts that have shared their practical knowledge about the entrepreneurial world. Without a doubt, we are not the same people any more. We now have a much better idea about the phases of an entrepreneurial venture that has been planned and analysed, striving to minimize the risks. Being in constant contact with the entrepreneurial experiences of the lecturers, at the companies we visit and the events we attend, has given us an insight into the reality of this sector and that has given us the boost we need to embark on the Equicontrol project.
Do you have any projections for the future or are your feet firmly on the ground and in the present?
We have a clear idea of our objectives for this phase of the EAE Lab incubator. We want to have our first clients and the consolidated business model. In the future, we want to expand our service to at least four markets in Latin America. We also think that our platform can be used for the care of other animals, not just horses, but also other types of livestock.
What is your investor profile? Have you already got a clear idea?
In the event that we resort to external investment, their profile must be compatible with the needs of the project. In other words, they have to complement us in terms of their technical capacities and share the essence of our vision as a company. We think that somebody from the equine sector or the technology sector in the field would be a good fit.
Lastly, EAE Business School has given Equicontrol the EAE Entrepreneurship and Innovation Award 2018. This award consists of a cash prize of 10,000 euros to invest in their innovative project. Congratulations and lots of luck to the Equicontrol entrepreneurs!