Area 31 interviewed Sergio Puyol, Environmental Director or one of our startups: Recycl3er. He told us his story:
- How did everything start?
About 5 years ago, we found that citizens demanded more and better information regarding recycling. In Spain, there are several public administrations responsible for waste management. The public information offered to citizens on recycling is segregated and is not easily accessible nor complete, which makes it difficult for them to properly recycle.
The lack of clear and complete information is the main reason why we decided to develop «dondelotiro.com» web platform to provide a uniform system with recycling information in a single site, to be able to recycle correctly. Consumers can access to the information in an easy, simple and understandable way for everyone.
«No matter what residue you have, no matter where you are or how you want to manage it (deposit, sell or donate), we give you the solution in 3 simple clicks «
From this initial idea, we evolved to what recycl3R  is today, a recycling inform
ation hub, which allows companies to introduce any type of product in the market, obtain valuable information related to the consumption of their products by citizens.
This is achieved through the Internet of Things (IOT) and smart tags, which allow us to give information to the user on how to easily manage waste and reward them doing so properly with a series of incentives. As a result, this will enable to inform the producer of how and when their products are consumed by citizens.
- What is your business model?
We use a white label system so our clients can get a medal for providing our services. We charge all our clients with an annual license, and, for those clients who want to control the unit level via IOT, we charge them with a cost per call.
This call can be a product scan or a request for product or recycling information.
- Has the concept evolved since your first idea?
Yes. We started by offering only information on how to properly recycle and now, we have started a service to obtain valuable information associated with recycling. We can tell companies information on who throws a product in the market and how it is being consumed by its clients.
- What is unique about your business, and different from your competitors?
At the moment, we do not have direct competitors. No one is offering our same services. There are other platforms that inform consumers on how to manage waste correctly, especially from public administrations, but none give information on all the different types of waste which can be recycled or collected nor use a user-friendly platform, where you can easily access and obtain information from a simple way.
In addition to that, none offers a service of obtaining information of consumption by the citizens nor offer an App service to be easily accessed with mobile phones.
- How did you get funded or what creative strategies did you use to execute on minimal cash flow?
Recycl3R is a project that was born by an environmental consultancy firm called Lmental from Mallorca. The start-up was made with our own resources initially, although we are currently searching for external financing to be able to grow.
- What is the thing that motivates you the most about your project?
What most motivates us most is the care of the environment. Putting in the market a tool that allows to increase the possibilities of people recycling more and better, will enable us to contribute towards improving the current environment state as far as we can.
- What was your biggest mistake?
We did not listen our clients in the first place. We expended a lot of time and efforts creating an amazing product that everyone was interested on, but no one wanted to buy it. After this cruel reality, we changed our product and adapted it to our client needs and delivered solutions we already knew they wanted.
- What would you have done differently?
Managing the team expectations. When you are building something amazing, and that’s why you begin a start-up, everyone is very happy and has a lot of hope and expectations. Every time the team finds an obstacle these expectations change and if you have many obstacles the team begins to have negative sensations. I would have changed how the information was delivered to the team, how every message regarding the start-up path was delivered, and the one I most care, I would talk a lot with all the team all the time about how do they feel about their work and their future.
- Do you always thought that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
Recycl3R’s team was created from the union of different environmentally dedicated entrepreneurs. We are people with many concerns and have always been involved in innovative projects to challenges ourselves, enriching experiences, and that brings social and environmental value.
- In one word describe your life being an entrepreneur:
- If you had one piece of advice for someone that is just starting what would it be?
Surround yourself with good professional profiles, but above all, with good people.
- If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heartache, what would you tell yourself?
Learn to Manage Expectations Correctly