The circle of a startup - born and reborn What does it take to set up a startup?
The circle of a startup - born and reborn
The world is a startup land. It seems that
today everyone sets up a startup with the promise and expectation to turn the world
upside down. But how do you start a startup? This question is one that Paulo
Ferreira dos Santos, an entrepreneur from Portugal, tries to answer.
‘I have been running businesses since I was
in my late 20s,’ Paulo Ferreira dos Santos says. He is the CEO of a Portugal based
mobility startup Ubirider. first startup developed medical devices to
extract information from the body movements.
Kinematix created a sensorised insole
connected to a small chip-like device that is attached to the footwear. It was able to
monitor runners’ feet behaviour on the ground and then send in real-time the
information to smartphones or smartwatches for a further analysis and provide an adapted
training plan to improve running form.
His company wants to provide a digital platform, named Pick, connecting travellers
and mobility operators to provide real-time information to guide them on how to attract
more users and deliver better experience.
The startup operates internationally and has already signed deals in Portugal, Spain and
the UK. ‘I want to share my knowledge,’ Paulo explains as we talk about how
startups are born, when they die and are reborn again.
The device was small and comfortable
and it didn’t stop people from running
and walking as they normally do.
The Logistics Point, Issue 4 - May 2020 ‘I have always loved combining technology and design and delivering an amazing user experience,’ the entrepreneur explains. His ……………………. The product was targeted to any kind of athletes, from amateurs to professionals, …... …..
who wanted to know how they moved and
improve the whole body movement or give ideas on future training techniques. Why did
it not work out?
‘There were very little possibilities of
investment in such a small country as Portugal so we had a public venture
capitalist,’ Paulo explains. Unfortunately the investor’s thoughts changed with the change
of the political wind. The startup had to deal with multiple new leaders at the venture
capital company in about two years. requirements during the bootstrapping
phase. There is also a large difference between the places where investments are
done. ‘This means we need to be much better than startups located in London or
Paris,’ Paulo tells.
Portugal is an example of how good
startups struggle. According to the
entrepreneur the country has good
startups but the investment rate is not
high. The size of the domestic market is
The entrepreneur didn’t give up but learnt some important lessons. He decided to keep
the team and engaged them with a new project that will see them create Ubirider and
the Pick platform for easy mobility.
‘Most of the design and technology principals are the same as the old business.
We might not have a hardware but we explore the power of the smartphone.
Seems very different but it is not so different,’ assure Paulo. ‘If you are in London you can focus on the British market for the first two years because
it is big enough and investment is just around the corner. For us, we need to be
international from the moment we start,’ the founder of Ubirider explains. Developing
The Logistics Point, Issue 4 - May 2020
The size matters
The current investment environment for startups is not easy for early-stage startups as venture capitalists and business angels want tougher market or user engagement proofs.“This means entrepreneurs have more investors to address, but possibly bigger challenges in achieving their …………. international relationships is where the leading team needs to focus their attention.
Ubirider wants to address many common problems that the MaaS industry faces. ‘I have no doubt that the number of cars in cities will reduce enormously,’ says Paulo. …. …………...
A common problem many MaaS companies
are trying to solve is create a more detailed picture of not only where people get on but
where they get off. Pick has such capabilities and is designed to deliver a full visibility of
Knowing the flow of passengers will be a key factor to define vehicle frequency, stop
location and building a more sustainable and efficient network where people can move
seamlessly between suburbs and city centres.
Improving movement will mean changes to the way people think and not look for a
solution that fits all. At this point in our conversation Paulo is keen to show me an
example of friction.
A photo taken in Portugal where a large queue of tourists is waiting to buy a ticket
from a vending machine. ‘I can pay by credit card but I still need to stay on the queue,’ he explains. ‘And the machine is so user
friendly that the cleaning lady has to help people.’ Different cities have different needs.
Smaller ones have an advantage in some
ways as a full scale solution can be implemented much faster.
In their home country though they often need
to convince those responsible for transport to embrace a more digital experience.
Paulo Ferreira dos Santos
Paulo has a degree in Computer Science and a masters in Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship. Paulo explains he enjoys working as a startup entrepreneur as they are more challenging than traditional business models. ‘When I feel depressed, I go to the office. I have been very lucky,’ he finishes.