Only a few weeks ago, we heard from the winners of the Re-Launch category of the Santander X Tomorrow Challenge about the difficulties and joys of taking their ideas to where they are now. Today, we talk to the five winners of the Re-Invent category.
This category, which received 809 projects, sought ideas that explored the need to transform or adapt traditional business models, an area of the market that has been particularly hit hard by the covid-19 crisis.
WConnect is one of the winning companies. Its project, Simples Receita, is a platform that connects doctors, patients and chemists for online purchases of prescription medicines. This initiative streamlines processes while helping patients with limited mobility.
Mauricio Conti, CEO of Simples Receita, tells us that all employees had to work from home as soon as the pandemic started; this led to talks about using technology to find solutions to the lockdown. ‘Our idea was to use online banking and blockchain technology to connect doctors, patients, insurance companies and chemists. That way we could get patients their medicines without them leaving their homes’.
According to Conti, online and telephone sales of medicines have increased by 130% during the pandemic, and he expects this figure to rise steadily. ‘The problem is the lack of access to medicines: more than half the cities in Brazil do not have electronic health record systems. If we want to change this and, above all, expand access to the health system, entrepreneurship is essential’.
Fofuuu is an app that combines neuroscience and speech therapy in interactive games to help children with special needs learn and practise.
Its prospective users are child therapists, families and specialist centres; its value proposition lies in getting children interested and active through gamification.
The story of Tricia Araujo, creative director and co-founder of Fofuuu, is a shining example of entrepreneurial spirit: ‘I was born with a cleft lip and palate in a town so small that the nearest specialist, whom I had to visit regularly, was over 12 hours away by car. I had to undergo 15 surgeries and 8 years of speech therapy. Today, with technology, I’m trying to help children with special needs do exercises without going through what I did’.
According to Tricia, her startup’s biggest problem was not knowing how to develop or market its product: ‘At first, it was just Bruno Tachinardi (co-founder) and I, two people unafraid of challenges but unexperienced in business or entrepreneurship. Getting it off the ground was the hardest part, but with help from mentors and acceleration programmes, we were able to open the company’.
‘The Santander X Tomorrow Challenge award arrived just in time; right now we’re shifting to a new business model and releasing a new version of our app. We’re putting a lot of faith in the future, but what’s motivating us is the present: getting videos of children developing skills while having fun with our app is what gets us out of bed in the morning and why we put 300% into our work every day’.
Bewica is an easy-to-use, intuitive and affordable cybersecurity platform. Cyberattacks, a major threat to SMEs, are rampant, but solutions in the market are aimed at big companies with large security budgets. Therefore, smaller businesses are increasingly targeted by hackers. Bewica makes security accessible to not only SMEs, but also educational centres and NGOs. Eva Berg-Winters, CEO of Bewica, tells us her startup’s story:
‘I was working as head of the claims department in a leading insurance firm and most of the claims were related to cybersecurity breaches, but what surprised me most was the difficulty small and medium-sized enterprises had in protecting themselves against these attacks. I wanted to use my experience in insurance to create a risk model and help companies to protect themselves. That's how Bewica started’.
‘Cybercrime has increased sharply in the last few months. Far from being a theoretical risk, it is very real. Hackers can destroy a whole business and even harm customers. Preventing this from happening is what motivates us to keep working and perfect our services’.
For Eva, the crisis caused by covid-19 ‘has forced entrepreneurs to focus and become more determined. That's why we should consider what has happened as an opportunity to grow and for new beginnings’.
Flicq is another winning startup. It lets customers monitor operational assets remotely and in real time. As we settle into working from home, companies are looking to monitor their assets at a distance in a way that does not put their employees at risk. Flicq’s option is both affordable and easy to install. Furthermore, its business model is service-driven, based on a fixed annual fee per sensor.
Flicq CEO Karthik Rau explains that ‘given what’s now considered the new normal due to the pandemic, people are getting used to working from home and companies need to find efficient ways of monitoring their assets without unnecessarily exposing their employees’.
He added that ‘if we’re going to have to live with the pandemic and consequences for an unspecified period of time, which is expected to be lengthy, companies will face enormous challenges to remotely monitor their assets as existing technologies are very expensive or very complicated to install’.
Motion Miners has developed technology to prevent infection in closed spaces. Many companies, by nature, need employees working on-site. With the pandemic, protecting their health while preventing losses or even bankruptcy has become a real challenge for these companies. Using artificial intelligence sensors, Motion Miners monitors chains of infection and sends out reminders about hygiene as well as alerts if safe distancing is not being observed.
Malcolm Harris, CEO of Motion Miners, says that ‘the solution allows manual work to be analysed and optimised using sensors and artificial intelligence. This technology provides us with a greater understanding of not only human behaviour but also underlying technology, for instance, to monitor windows and doors, redesign areas or improve social distancing habits among—to continue the example—cleaning staff’.