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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?

Investor insight

‘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

a hurdle.

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.

Moving forward

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

end-to-end journeys.

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.

Building sustainability

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.