Last update: 06/10/2020
Entrepreneurs are playing a crucial role in turning the coronavirus crisis into an opportunity for progress. The Santander X Tomorrow Challenge winners in the Re-launch category tell us the problems they encountered and how they stayed motivated to get this far.
The severe health and social problems caused by covid-19 have altered our world considerably; but at Santander, we’re striking while the iron is hot. And entrepreneurs will play a big role in our efforts because when they see a challenge, they see new solutions.
From day one, they were finding solutions to the problems posed by the crisis. To assist them, in May we launched the Santander X Tomorrow Challenge, a global initiative for entrepreneurs to come up with solutions to the short- and long-term problems caused by the pandemic.
After six weeks, this initiative had received 2,251 projects from around the world, from which 20 winners were chosen. Today, we asked the winners in the first category, Re-launch, about their projects to reopen and adapt businesses and industries against the new backdrop.
HumanITcare provides remote medical observation so patients can avoid leaving their homes to receive round-the-clock professional care. Its use of artificial intelligence translates into closer monitoring while cutting costs by 40%.
Co-founder Nuria Pastor found traditional visits caused a huge data gap that proved troublesome for treating patients. The project ultimately created real-time patient data solution. ‘We worked nonstop for a year without any financial assistance. Now, barely two years later, we have a staff of 15 and work with 20 hospitals across Europe’, she said.
When the covid-19 crisis began, HumanITCare gave free access to its platform, putting patients at the top of its priorities. Hospitals that tested the product could monitor patients without making them leave their homes. Now, many hospitals are looking to roll out the solution in their systems.
‘What matters to us most is knowing that what we’re developing has a positive impact on patients. They know their doctors will be alerted immediately if something is wrong. Getting health care workers the data they need when they need it makes getting up and going to work every day worth it’, she concluded.
VU Security specialises in fraud and identity theft prevention. It runs an identification and verification platform to help organisations, governments and the general public carry out transactions safely, turning something as complicated as cybersecurity into an asset anyone can enjoy. Its solution can be tailored to any business model.
Sebastián Stranieri, CEO at VU Security, told us ‘we faced a major challenge when hiring our fully remote sales team. We put together the entire team supporting us today from several countries in Latin America remotely. We are also raising awareness of the risks we are exposed to with our IoT devices. We visit schools and give talks to children, parents and teachers on cybersecure practices they can follow in their daily lives’.
Sebastián believes entrepreneurship is crucial in the fight against covid-19. ‘Times like these test our resilience and ability to innovate. Many people who are apart but united by a common goal can find more solutions’ she says.
Lexgo. For early-stage startups, costly legal advice can hinder growth or even survival. Lexgo offers automated legal services and advice. On a single platform, entrepreneurs can automate legal workflows, hire staff and even raise funds, among other advantages.
Leonardo Barrientos, CEO of Lexgo, launched this legal service for startups in 2018. ‘A few years ago, when we were advising entrepreneurs, we saw that, in the early stages, they weren't receiving quality services because they couldn't afford them. They ended up using cheaper solutions that fit their budgets’.
‘These companies are clamouring for IT solutions that not only address accessibility issues but also reshape how entrepreneurs work with their advisers’, said the Lexgo CEO.
MATER DYNAMICS has created Stamly®, a smart box with an insulated cold space for transporting food that ensures better traceability and logistics as well as cutting transport costs (30%). It does not require human contact, enhancing operations and reducing risk of infection.
Tiago Cunha Reis, CEO of Mater Dynamics, told us about a global problem: the abundance of food that spoils throughout the supply chain. ‘I realised the problem was that shipping containers aren't smart. Food waste has a severe impact on the economy and the environment. Solving this problem has become my personal and professional mission’.
Tiago believes adversity opens up the door to change. ‘The pandemic has made us rethink how society should be, and entrepreneurs have come to the forefront. Economic stress and health concerns have created new opportunities to make our lives easier. By the time the pandemic is over, the need for new ways to consume products and services will have led to permanent changes and that’s always a good thing’.
Komodore. Holiday rental properties waste, on average, 8.5 hours a week managing tourist bookings, and 80% of this time could be automated. Miguel Escobar, CEO of Komodore, has helped his family manage holiday rentals for over 10 years. He came up with an idea to automate such tasks as guest registration, communication during stays, and booking or location information to enhance the guest experience.
‘It was really tough at first, but something always showed us we were on the right track’, said Escobar. ‘By digitalising guest management, we're helping dozens of holiday accommodation managers stay in business."
In his opinion, what entrepreneurs have most in common is the ability to come up with creative solutions when it appears there aren't any. ‘This ability is more important than ever before in the fight against coronavirus. As entrepreneurs, we must take the lead. I'm convinced the risk is worth it’, he assured.
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