Evolufarma ha recibido el Premio João Cordeiro en la categoría de Herramientas de Gestión como la más efectiva de la actividad farmacéutica. El galardón, entregado por la ANF (Asociación de Farmacias de Portugal), empresa propietaria de Consoft (Farmatic) y Pulso (Nixfarma), a través de Glintt, está destinado a aquellas empresas cuyo proyecto y espíritu de innovación tienen como objetivo promover el desarrollo de las farmacias.

Este premio, que celebra durante este año su primera edición, reconoce a aquellas empresas que recogen el testigo de João Cordeiro, fundador de ANF en 1974, expresidente de Glintt e histórico emprendedor farmacéutico, cuyo carácter llegó a estimular el desarrollo del sector en el país luso.

Este reconocimiento se produce tan solo unos meses después de que Evolufarma pasara a formar parte del Área 31 del IE Business School, dirigida a empresas innovadoras, donde ha podido trabajar y desarrollarse en una escuela de prestigio internacional con acceso a una comunidad de más de 6000 empresarios de todo el mundo, y tras haber recibido los siguientes reconocimientos del mundo empresarial: finalistas de Wayra (Aceleradora de empresas de Telefónica), Partner de IBM, semifinalista de SmartCamp (IBM) y semifinalista de BStartup (Banco Sabadell).



Escrito el 17 noviembre 2014 por entrepreneurship en emprender


A great opportunity to form your dream technology startup

Escrito el 14 noviembre 2014 por entrepreneurship en emprender

If you are a business student with entrepreneurial attitude, if you would like to contribute in the development of a real business model in cooperation with high level Information Communication Technologies (ICT) experts and mentors with international reputation, a chance is offered for you within ICT2B, an expenses paid pan-European tech start-up programme funded by the European Commission. The first step is to apply online at [www.ict2b.net]. The second is to spend two days full of creativity at the Lufthansa Training Centre

ICT2B is an innovative programme designed to foster entrepreneurial creativity and innovation by bringing talented business students with entrepreneurial aspirations to join forces with the brightest technological minds in the field of ICT and digital research. We are looking for leading business school students to spend a weekend working with leading researchers to develop big ideas for a new generation of tech start-ups.

The next tech launchpad event will be held at the Lufthansa Training Centre near Frankfurt, Germany from 19-21 February 2015. The most successful tech startups will be mentored and invited to a takeoff event in Halkidiki Greece in Summer 2015.

Participants can expect: high-level industry mentors, top-notch co-founders and a once in a lifetime sponsored activity in the unique Lufthansa facility. Participation of management and business students is limited to 50 funded places for those who apply before December 1st 2014.

Please register through ict2b.net. There is a 100 EU deposit that will be refunded if you register before December 12

For any questions, contact us through info@ict2b.net, read the FAQ section or interact with the project through Facebook.com/ICT2B or Twitter.com/ICT_2B


Venture Network Zaragoza 20 de Noviembre

Escrito el 14 noviembre 2014 por entrepreneurship en emprender


Meet the startups in Area 31: tiiim.co -by Imagine Through Software-

Escrito el 6 noviembre 2014 por entrepreneurship en emprender

Author: Jon Pittaluga

tiimTiiim is a Madrid based startup which helps video and creative professionals to deliver a better service for their clients with a simple collaboration tool. Our vision is to help professionals boost their productivity by simplifying the way they gain and share insights, building a place where creatives and executives have joint understanding.

The most relevant tags to position our startup are: SaaS – B2B – Productivity – Cloud

Why do creative professionals need your solution?

Collaboration is crucial in every creative production, from a corporate video to an ad campaign people need to exchange information constantly. This is especially important when reviewing and approving proposals, where it’s hard to avoid misunderstandings. Media files and insights are spread across different places and it’s very easy to get lost in translation (it often feels that creatives and executives don’t speak the same language!).

Getting feedback and sharing creative insights should be simpler for everyone involved in a video/media production. We provide the tools for sharing insights and media files in a same place, accelerating iteration times and improving team’s productivity. This means gaining time, saving money and, most importantly, improving happiness.

Where did you get the idea?

Miguel Calderón, my co-founder, and I have been working in video and creative spaces since we first met at the university. We’re partners in a creative agency www.santacc.es and I have also founded a video production company www.patitopro.es. For too long we had been suffering with the problems of miscommunication and slow iterations… losing time and money frequently. At first we tried to solve some of these problems by building an artificial intelligence tool. Despite some initial success (we managed to code some amazing algorithms which may be re-used in the future), we pivoted to a simpler and more achievable solution.

We made this pivot from within the Area 31 incubator, which has been a splendid place to learn, connect with people and create a smarter project.

How does your product work?

Put simply, users upload their media filestiim2 and invite people to form a discussion. Invites are generated through private links and once received, allow everyone to collaborate by adding timestamped comments, drawings, voice notes and chats directly over their video, photo or audio projects.

Furthermore you can make to-do lists, add new versions, invite more people…

What is your business model?

As a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) startup, we sell subscriptions with different plans from freelancers to medium sized teams or corporate clients. We also expect some alternative revenues from access to our API.

What kinds of investors does the company have?

Apart from the founders, for the moment we just have some friends and funding from our previous small business. Formally we’ll start a seed round in the coming weeks.

Any help, tips or advice is always welcome!

What is the stage of project now?

As we speak, we are launching a private beta version which is almost customer ready. We’re currently running tests and private demos with potential customers like production companies, broadcasters, creative agencies and all sort of creative freelancers, in order to refine the solution and learn how to build the best customer support infrastructure. We are also partnering with some of the biggest software vendors in the creative space in order to develop a marketing strategy through integration.

In terms of our team we are looking for a Head of Marketing as well as an intern. Anyone interested in these positions please contact us (jon@tiiim.co).

How many people are in the team?

Today we are four members strong, with one intern and one full time freelancer. I hold the position of CEO and manage business development, marketing and supervise product design. Miguel is our CTO, based in UK, he is responsible for the software production (both desktop and web applications) and the API programming. Carlos is head of desktop programming (for MacOS and Windows) and Gonzalo is our designer, he also manages all the testing. Additionally we have one intern, Martin, who helps in communication and market research and Pavel, a freelance front end developer.

Among our shareholders we have brilliant minds like Mario López de Ávila (IE professor, consultant, entrepreneur and natural born mentor), Luis de Velasco (financing and operations) and James Ogden (development).

What have you learned from your experience as entrepreneurs?

Well… the truth is we have been starting up our own companies since we left the school. This is my fifth company (three of them still operating) and Miguel’s third project (two of them working). Our previous projects were not so scalable and the approach was completely different: now we are aiming to build a global company, which becomes a productivity titan, targeting creative industries but also adjacent markets from e-learning to engineering.

In this sense we are lucky being part of Area 31 and all the IE Business School community, where you meet a lot of inspiring talented people. We are learning a lot from all those people, from building a company, to recruiting, finding investors… It is a true master in global entrepreneurship.

What are you most excited about the project at the moment?

Regarding the product finally we are close to the release of a new iteration and we are ready to get real feedback and metrics. No matter how lean you are, it is the real product which customers can buy that will provide true validation. So now we will be out of the building, ready to sell, close partnerships and hopefully grow fast.

This will help us to be prepared ready to start raising funds from professional investors … which is also one of our next big milestones. As such, we face a lot of exciting challenges now!

What are the most difficult challenges of entrepreneurship?

This is a hard question. Everything is a challenge when you are building a startup. In our case I think the hardest part was understanding our own weaknesses, which was the basis of the pivot we made at the beginning of this year. Also balancing between your expectations and the facts is also difficult, but this is part of the entrepreneur’s journey. You have to switch from the vision to the facts, enjoy everything you can and try to learn from your failures, as it’s the only way to succeed

Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you had the chance?

Yes. A lot of things… We should have started building a strong, flexible and resilient team, rather than focusing solely on out product. Team first, idea second.

What advice would you like to give to potential entrepreneurs?

Again, team first, idea second. If you have a great team and a market you know that challenges you… just keep failing and you’ll find the Happy Idea. You will probably spend three to five years of your life with a lot of hard times, probably losing money and failing your expectations. So enjoy your co-founders, teammates and the market you are targeting, they are your biggest reward, plus the knowledge and experience that will make you STRONGER and SMARTER.

What would you ask to the IE community?

Now we need a few things from students, professors or alumni:

For customer development:

Contacts worldwide in the video and advertising industries. From students to senior pros, every contact may be helpful.

Contacts in universities with communications/film/media departments. Alumni, we need your networking super-powers!

For customer discovery: We will start very soon to make problem interviews in the engineering and architecture industries.

And of course… we need you to try our beta and give us some feedback. Sign ups here www.tiiim.co


Email: jon@tiiim.co

Twitter: @jonpittaluga

Skype: jon.pittaluga


Author: Jorge García-Luengo

(This is the second part of a post published last week)

You don’t need to be able to serve the whole market with your MVP

Lets do some simple maths. Say your customer is the tablet owner with children from 3 to 6 years old. Around 50m people worldwide could fit that description. Approximately 58% will be running their tablets on iOS, 23% on Android, 6 % on Windows, etc (Forrester Research 2013). When you consider this data before building your MVP you might be tempted to say: “If I build my MVP for iOS I have a served available market of 29m people, but if I also build it for Android I can cover an additional 11m people, and that’s nearly 40% more!”

Don’t do that. It’s a trap. You’ll start both developments, one will always be ahead of the other and, until you find a good fit, iterations will have you mutating your apps with the knowledge you’ve extracted from the most advanced application. As a result the laggard version will only be pumping resources from your start-up and no value will be added to you Customer Development.

Lets say your first version of your MVP costs 13k $, each iteration costs 2k $, and you need to do 5 iterations before you find a product that people use and love:

  • If you did both versions on parallel you spent 46k $
  • If you only did one Operating System (O.S.) until the product was validated and only then you developed the second O.S., then you spent 36k $

That means you spent 27% more cash when you added a second O.S., and if you were using the same number of developers you also spent more time so you would have to add overheads. You spent more money and time, but you arrived to the same result.

In Product Validation you want people discovering your service, using it and coming back to it. Success is not measured in volume but in proportion. For example, if you create awareness on your product for just 100 users, 20 of which engaged, and 16 are recurrent users, well, there might only be 16 people, but your product is a huge success! If you can show this kind of metrics you will always find the funding you need to develop on all Operating Systems. A funnel that shows a retention rate of 16% with an addressable market of 50m looks pretty sexy.

Marketing your product while searching for Product Validation

This leads us to the next challenge, the famous Marketing Plan. In my opinion there is not such thing as implementing a Marketing Plan if you still haven’t validated your product or service. You still need to create awareness on your product though, and people need to understand clearly what your product does. Creating awareness does require using some of the market research that you’ve put in place when you designed the first version (or versions) of your Business Model. For example you need to direct your efforts towards the most interesting customer segments.

To continue with the example of Web Diamonds: What should they do to create awareness? Find a channel that’s cheap and efficient and invest regularly on it. Choosing the right channel should be cheap and fast. Web Diamonds could try spending 50 $ one week on each of the most attractive alternatives (e.g. Facebook, eBay, Twitter), and choose the most effective. Then they would invest a small regular sum every week or month, and track their progress throughout time. We want to keep as many variables of the experiment as steady as possible, so stick to one channel and don’t move. If you feel tempted to say, “my product doesn’t sell because I’m on the wrong channel”, well, prove it.

The product is not the only thing you will need to validate. Creating value is the most essential thing, but channels of communication and distribution (and all the other blocks of the Business Model) are elements where a start-up might want to innovate and therefore test and validate.

Whether you have a clear Marketing Plan or an innovative communication strategy you will invest in different channels and messages, focus on different aspects of your value proposition, and play with the emotional aspects of your product. These variables and many more will influence the way people engage and use your product, even if the underlying Value Proposition stays the same. If you do that you will learn about how to better communicate but you will lose control on the real value that people are extracting from your product or service. You might end up having many leads but you will waste them if they don’t find enough value on what your offering. That’s why trying to Grow your product and Validate your Value Proposition simultaneously is not a good idea, you will waste resources in your communication is good but your Value Proposition is poor, and you wont be able to measure your improvements when you iterate.

Always be aware of your cash

The advice here is very simple. Calculate the number of weeks (or months if your pockets are full) you’ve got left with the current burn rate, and draw that number on your forefront every Monday (or at least on a post-it that you’ll stick somewhere it can’t be avoided).

Making decisions ignoring this number is not smart. Hiring someone to work on a service or feature scheduled to be available after you run out of cash is not clever. Creating partnerships that will serve you in a future that’s beyond the day you run out of cash is not wise.

A start-up is all about passion, creativity, and innovation. People want to commit to their idea, and there is a strong temptation to do that in a way that could hurt. Some public symbols of engagement (like going to South Africa to buy half of your cash in diamonds, of hiring a designer that works with Cartier to create a very exclusive brand image) might excite and motivate the founders, but it’s not the way to proceed.

Think about the actions you undertake: Are they teaching you something? Will they result in a better understanding of your product, your customer or its problems? Will they create value for your customer? If that is so, will you be able to measure it? When you look at your motivations, is your customer in your heart? Or is your product taking that place. And finally look at the mirror and read the number written on your forefront. Be wise.



Escrito el 4 noviembre 2014 por entrepreneurship en emprender


Author: Jorge García-Luengo

(The second part of this post will be published next week)

Product Validation can take many paths; some can exhaust your cash and kill your project, extenuate the teams’ morale, or take too long to accomplish making you lose momentum. To avoid this, start-ups must be smart, they must challenge some aspects of what is often considered “common sense” in corporate management, adopt a scientific approach to business development, and follow a business sequence.

When your product finds “fit” in the market and you have finally Validated your idea, you will then have another challenge, to Grow. It’s important to understand there is a logical sequence here: first validate your product, and then make it grow. Accepting and respecting this process requires patience, which might be hard to find in a very dynamic and passionate environment. We will discuss how trying to achieve validation and growth simultaneously will end up confusing the entrepreneur and obscuring the learning process.

Some of these aspects of how you manage resources on this early phase are counterintuitive and surprise many entrepreneurs: don’t search to be profitable, don’t put your whole business model in place, don’t spend on marketing, and don’t try to serve the whole market. If you come from the corporate environment some of these statements might surprise you, but a start-up is not a small version of a big company, it’s something else, it’s an experiment, a laboratory.

Why should you be doing things this way? Well, limited resources is why. You can’t really know how much time you’ll need to achieve Product Validation. It could take years, like for the Nestlé guys with Nespresso, or months, as for the team behind Twitter. You really can’t tell, but if you play the game long enough, you might get lucky.

You don’t need to be profitable

“What? I don’t need to make money with my start-up?” Yes, but not with your MVP. Its purpose is not to make you rich, its purpose is to test your product or service, guide you through the process of discovery and innovation that will hopefully take you to the promised land of greater utility for your customer.

You do need to design a Business Model that will be profitable once all the pieces of the puzzle are in place. But that is different from creating a profitable MVP. Your MVP can very well serve its purpose even if you lose money with every product you sell.

This means that it is ok to have a non-profitable product to test with, as long as it helps you learn and validate your product, and as long as it is profitable once the complete Business Model is in place.

You don’t need to be scalable

Some products or services can serve many people at no extra cost, and some need to be scalable if they want to be competitive. These ones will want to be able to scale, and their foundations should include those principles when possible. The question here is: Does your proof of concept need to be scalable to do its job?

For example, the usual dilemma for tech companies, especially if they are in cloud computing, is: “If I make it scalable right away I’ll have the job done. If I don’t I’ll have to redo lots of stuff.” Here you must do the maths and be honest with yourself. That’s very much all you can do. When doing your maths think of three things: how much does it take to make a non scalable version, how much does it take to make a scalable version, and most importantly, how much time do you have left. These three factors, if taken into account with honesty, will tell you what’s the right path to take.

Lets see all this through an example. We’ll use an imaginary start-up called Web Diamonds. They sell diamond jewellery online. It might look like the kind of product no one would buy on the web, but we’ll give it a try.

Their business model is based on a few principles:

  • Not having to own “brick and mortar” stores on expensive locations, having few security overheads and insurances, and needing less human resources will save on production costs, so they can sell at a 30%-60% discount compared with competition
  • Partnerships with designers to create jewellery for them, imitating the big players on the industry, very much like Zara does
  • Partnerships with financial institutions that will help finance these expensive products (even a low-cost diamond is an expensive product)
  • An attractive return policy, “no questions asked” on the first 20 days, and adjustments in size are free

If Web Diamonds wants to be profitable they must buy their own raw materials. To create their own products they must partner with designers and other craftsmen. That requires lots of negotiation, volume in purchases, lawyers, etc. Doing all that is time demanding and expensive, and Web Diamonds doesn’t have time or resources to waste. For now, they just want to validate their idea so, what do they do? They find a contact that works in jewellery and they ask him to let them take some pictures to the products. They need the pictures for the website, right? They also need the web, but hopefully today it’s quite easy to open a store online, and you don’t need programming skills to build one.

Here are some of the unknowns they want to figure out: Are people willing to buy jewellery online? What is a good discount when benchmarked against traditional jewellery? Do people want jewellery that resembles the kind of product that luxury firms are doing (like Zara does for clothes)? Or do they want original designs (like Ikea does). Will they trust the certificates handled by Web Diamonds on the products quality? What’s the price range that will sell well on this channel? Etc.

Web Diamonds doesn’t need diamonds to validate most of its assumptions. They don’t need a payment gateway; they don’t need designers or financial partners for this purpose.

If they want to test further, lets say they want to test the return policy or the distribution channels, they could even buy the products from their contact in the jewellery industry at retailer price (for example 1000 $), even if their selling price on their website is cheaper (e.g. 700 $). They would lose 300 $ on each sale, but that would still be cheaper than investing on building all the value chain and waiting for everything to be in place to start the tests.

I hope this illustrates why you don’t need to be profitable to validate your product, and also that trying to be profitable from the start, even if it makes sense in mature industries, can be counterproductive when you are testing value innovation.

You need to own your core competencies

Some assets and skills you’ll need are easy to acquire, to replace or to learn, others are not, and these might be essential to develop your business model. If this is the case, the start-up must find a way to own these core competencies. The classic example is business people with an idea that needs technical expertise.

Web Diamonds, for example, might need someone in the organization with the necessary skills to purchase diamonds, someone that knows where to find them, how to assess their quality and negotiate their price. This is the kind of competence that can be purchased at a high cost and that is key to this business and should not be externalized.

If your value proposition is supported by some competency that is expensive in the market, you need to find a way of owning it. If your website has a complex and dynamic customer experience you need a web developer and a U.X. expert in the core team, if you’re selling diamonds you need a certified expert. If you don’t own these competencies your Value Proposition will suffer.


Venture Network @Madrid Fintech

Escrito el 29 octubre 2014 por entrepreneurship en emprender


Customer service, support, care…. or love?

Escrito el 28 octubre 2014 por entrepreneurship en emprender

Author: Martina Cusano, General Manager at Groupalia Srl

Dear lean startuppers, you’re working on business model canvas, bootstrapping and growth hacking ….Ok; you’re all doing it right. But, have any of you ever stopped to think about customer support?  If you hear successful entrepreneurs speaking the topic comes up quite often. It seems though that none has still found a word to make it sound catchy. And as first time entrepreneurs go through the process of building businesses, they tend not to even think of customer support until they get that very first customer contact or, most probably, until they receive a large enough number to start thinking of it as a problem.

Certainly, you all lean startuppers, are focusing on building a great product and looking for customer feedbacks. You should consider customer support as an intrinsic and important part of both processes, if not the most important. More than building a great product you should actually be thinking at building a great brand. If you just build a great product, anyone could beat you at any time with a better or cheaper product. If you rather build a great brand, you are after building value for the long term. Building a great brand is difficult and requires time. The good news though is that it requires mostly attention to small details rather than big marketing investments. Think of your product as an overall experience and aim to make it magical.

It’s not the product that should be insanely great, but the experience of being your user.

Cit. Paul Graham, founder Y Combinator.

Every interaction with the client should aim to be surprising and unforgettable, but the customer support is where the magic happens. This is when the company and the product become “humans”, can listen to and talk to the client….it’s the beginning of a great relationship. In fact, this is when value truly gets created. Your customer support you should not simply listens and answers to the client but also be able to pass client’s feedback over to the rest of the company, that in turn should be able to act upon it.

In words it all sounds easy but in reality the only way to make it work is to focus on it since day 1 of the company, while you’re still building the product and even before there is any client. Giving a great customer support should become part of the company’s culture and values.

I want to share a short story of my experience with Groupalia. We started off the company in a very atypical way: very well funded, with a product and business model that proved to work amazingly well in many other markets. We got a great team of advisors who was telling us that succeeding was just a matter of winning the run for the market. We started in growth mode, with everyone in the company only focusing on growth, sales, active customers, gross revenues, margins. For the customer support, we simply hired young and willing people, which for a while worked well.

We kept growing at a pace of over 200% monthly. Yet, our customer support tickets were growing at an even bigger rate. Unfortunately, because of the poor investment we made – we basically used a gmail account at first and then a freemium ticketing tool – we were blind. For a while we kept scaling the team by hiring new people and using standardized emails on the most common issues. We were managing to close all tickets within 48h and that seemed reasonable.

Meanwhile, the Christmas season hit, we hired a few more people, we got the team to work on weekends and told them not to take holidays because after the 25th we would still had a big pile of tickets to reply back. Instead of seeing a sharp decrease in activity after the 25th, we were shocked by the actual number of tickets almost doubling daily. It was the chaos; and the most tragic part of it was that it took us weeks just to figure out why that was happening, and how to solve the situation.

Since that incident, we spent lots of time and money on building a strong customer support team but reality was that the culture of the company remained one where sales was the king, not the product experience.

Here are few things I learned through this (painful) process:

  • Make customer support part of your product building
  • As founder, make sure to dedicate at least 30 minutes daily to customer support activities (ideally you should initially take care of it entirely)
  • Get everyone in the company participate in customer support
  • Never outsource your customer service as a startup
  • Empower customer agents to take key decisions on development, marketing and sales
  • Make it a revenue center: customer service is not just a cost, it is a driver of sales
  • Always monitor closely customer support KPIs
  • Make it scalable by investing in software and processes

In fact, the list could go on and on. This is the kind of things you don’t study at school and no book can teach you. The secret is just to learn by doing it, always stay focused on it and make the entire company care for it. Just love your customer and let them know.

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