Uruguay

Ingenious Softworks: Design that leads to ACTION!

Looking to influence stakeholders on a psychological level? One way to do so is by positively affecting an individual’s behaviors/actions through behavioral science. Gabriel Camargo, CEO of Ingenious Softworks and his team are doing just that; by applying behavioral science through technology, they are able to solve business problems for clients. “We specialize in helping companies design and create digital and physical products that lead people to take action.”

For example, one product Ingenious Softworks created is an app that influences a smokers’ behavior, helping them quit through behavioral science. The app records how long a user goes without smoking. Each time the user feels an urge to smoke, they press a button on the app, signaling former smokers from across the world. The former smokers speak with the smoker, offering advice and motivation to stay clean. By the time the conversation is over, the behavior has been diverted and they’ve forgotten their urge to smoke. “Behaviors can not be removed, but they can be changed,” declares Gabriel. “We just figure out a way to trick the brain.”

“If we can help people make their life a little bit better, and multiply this by millions of people, that’s a huge change!” explains Gabriel. “These small, but important improvements on people’s lives are what drives our organization.”

Applying behavioral science through technology also helps companies sell more products, by affecting customer's behavior through triggering short and long-term rewards. For example, Ingenious Softworks recently created a coffee maker for a Dutch appliance manufacturer that is designed to take advantage of these influential decision factors. Ingenious Softworks studied the psychological profiles of a typical office person and their coffee consumption habits. From this information, Ingenious Softworks came up with the “half pot syndrome.” They noticed that during the workday, people who used the office coffee maker would dump out any remaining coffee in the pot, because they didn’t know whether or not it was fresh.

Ingenious Softworks implemented sensors to measure how much coffee remained in the pot and when it had last been brewed. Then using an algorithm, they calculate the health of the coffee and display the information on a “freshness meter” for users to see.

“This way people never waste good coffee again, allowing the customer to save up to 50% on water usage and 35% of energy in a year.” The savings and sustainability features on the coffee maker are long-term rewards for the buyer. But, the coffee maker was still missing a short-term reward; something that would make the customer decide to pick this coffee maker off the shelf over competitors. That’s why Ingenious Softworks implemented text and tweeting features on the coffee maker. Yes, that is right; this coffee maker has it’s own personal Twitter account and can tweet messages to office staff with updates regarding the freshness of the coffee. This gives a short-term reward to buy the coffee maker, because it is now “cool and following the online trend,” says Gabriel. “This factor ended up being the reason that people were buying this coffee machine left and right over others in the market.”

“Most people, subconsciously value short-term rewards over long-term rewards,” explains Gabriel. Each product designed by Ingenious Softworks contains both long-term and short-term benefits to trigger both sides of the brain. His unique team of engineers, software designers, psychologists, and others continue to push the boundaries on product design, while bringing new technologies to the market to positively impact lives.

Is your company delivering products and solutions that have both short term and long term rewards for your customers? If not, consider how you can add these triggers to reel in new customers. Check out the short video below to learn more about the power of behavioral design (may not show up for email subscribers).

Thales Lab: Entrepreneur Meets Intrepreneur

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“The Macintosh team was what is commonly known as intrepreneurship… a group of people going, in essence back to the garage, but in a large company,” states Steve Jobs, Former CEO of Apple in a 1985 Newsweek article. An intrepreneur is an employee that innovates within the confines of a company. The term intrepreneur isn’t new, but the power intrepreneurs can have in a corporation is something few recognize.

“Our niche is the intrepreneur,” says Sylvia Chebi, Director of Thales Lab – a Montevideo based company builder that supports technical startups by entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs. “We believe that by promoting intrepreneurs and their ideas within companies, it benefits both the organization and the intrepreneur. The organization has the ability to capitalize on an amazing new piece of innovation while keeping a talented engineer, and the intrepreneur gains access to resources and finances by the organization. It’s a win-win.”

One of Thale’s amazing intrepreneurial start-ups that is gaining recognition is Futbol X – a football (that’s soccer for us Americans) app with over 750,000+ downloads. By using Futbol X, soccer fanatics can watch live games and receive real time stats and updates on their favorite teams. “It’s the official soccer association app in Uruguay and Mexico.” Explains Sylvia. “They launched in February. The app is so awesome that Apple even called and requested that one be made available for the Apple Watch.”

Thales Lab offers $10,000 USD in exchange for 10% equity from intrepreneurs and entrepreneurs that join their program. But, “Even if we didn’t provide money, I believe our start ups would join regardless. The amazing thing about being part of Thales Lab is the connections and support we offer."

Trillonario: This idea hit the jackpot!

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For Ariel Pfeffer, his latest entrepreneurial adventure began in the Miami International Airport. “I was wondering around, waiting for my connecting flight when I stumbled across a long line of people waiting to buy tickets for the Florida Jackpot.” He purchased a ticket and while he didn’t win the 40 million dollar cash prize, he may as well have. “That experience spurred my latest company: Trillonario,” say Ariel. Trillonario is a global service that allows people to purchase lottery tickets from around the world. Trillonario (Win Trillions is the US brand) is completely online, and functions by tacking on a small service fee onto each sale. 

Today, this ten year old company offers lottery tickets in 180 countries and has 20 offices located across the world. “Our biggest challenge is to have a marketing budget large enough to achieve our goals and tackle opportunities,” admits Ariel. “We see opportunities in many different countries, but we don’t have enough structure to go everywhere. At the moment, we are concentrating on Europe and Latin America.”

“Entrepreneurship has always been in my DNA,” says Ariel, two-time entrepreneur. “When I work on a new project, I’m constantly on the move, brainstorming ideas.”  The thing Ariel loves best about business is marketing strategy. “It’s my passion,” says Ariel who writes for Puromarketing - a Uruguayan paper.

 Ariel Pfeffer poses at Piso 40 in Montevideo, Uruguay

Ariel Pfeffer poses at Piso 40 in Montevideo, Uruguay

Today, Ariel hasn’t stopped his entrepreneurial endeavor with Trillonario. Two weeks prior to this interview, Ariel opened Piso 40 – An Angel Investor Club located on the 40th floor of Uruguay’s World Trade Center. “One of the big things lacking in Uruguay’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is funding between 200,000 and 1 Million USD. I’m trying to close that gap by teaching investors the best practices at Piso 40.” At Piso 40, “we aren’t looking for projects that are copy and paste projects from The States. That’s about 90% of the projects we see. Instead, we are looking for NEW, FRESH ideas with innovation behind them.”

“Entrepreneurial spirit is on the rise in Uruguay. Many different things are coming to the market like investor clubs, government programs and accelerators,” explains Ariel. The government is also getting involved through the National Agency of Investigation and Innovation (ANII), providing technology startups with funding between 50,000 – 500,000 USD.

“It’s important that we continue to expand the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of Uruguay,” says Ariel.


Ariel’s family ritual:

“I’m even getting my family involved in entrepreneurship,” says Ariel. His family will sit down once a week for an hour and discuss entrepreneurship or watch something on the subject. For example, he recently shared with his family the TED Talk featuring Simon Sinek entitled: “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” 


da Vinci Labs: "Dreamers of the day are dangerous men"

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“Our challenge is to turn local dreams into worldwide dreams and worldwide impacts. That is our main challenge. We empower Uruguayan companies to think globally,” Sergio Delgado exclaims when speaking about da Vinci Labs. Sergio is the co-founder and managing director for da Vinci Foundation and Director of da Vinci Labs, one of the up and coming incubators in Uruguay. “The world is our market” says Sergio, who pushes entrepreneurs to think and bet globally.

da Vinci Foundation began in 2008 to create a networking space of equality and to empower startups. It has since become a startup incubator with a focus on helping young companies develop their differential value and think globally. “People come to us with tons of ideas; we help turn those ideas into actions and to ultimately create value,” says Sergio. “Our mentors and advisors know when and how to look for money for our entrepreneurs.”

da Vinci editors division recently edited and published a book called Founders.UY, which contains stories featuring twelve young entrepreneurs in the internet space. From this book, da Vinci hopes to tell their audience of the innovations these entrepreneurs have created and the positive ecosystem they have established for Uruguay. A free preview is available from www.Founders.UY

In the prologue of the book, CEO of Collokia and previous board member of Endeavor Uruguay, Pablo Brenner, discusses the vast improvements Uruguay has seen in its entrepreneurial movement. He points out the effect one entrepreneur can have on another in the community, which leads to exponential growth. “Knowing that this new generation of entrepreneurs has adopted this pay it forward philosophy is the best indicator of a bright future,” says Pablo.

da Vinci uses a quote by Thomas Edward Lawrence, the renowned British archaeologist, diplomat and military officer, to describe the passion of these twelve entrepreneurs and the many others found in Uruguay:

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream at night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

GPS GAY: "Giving back to our community!"

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“10% of the world’s population is part of the LGBT community,” explains Magdalena Rodriguez, CEO of GPS Gay, a tech startup located in Montevideo, Uruguay.  “Not to mention the fact that the LGBT market tends to spend 40% more than heterosexuals on themselves.” The LGBT market is big opportunity around the world and few have learned to tap into it as well as this two-year-old tech company, GPS Gay.

  Magdalena Rodriguez (Left) and Rosario Monteverde (Right) of GPS Gay

Magdalena Rodriguez (Left) and Rosario Monteverde (Right) of GPS Gay

GPS gay is a platform designed specifically for the LGBT community. It’s an interactive social network where the LGBT community can find LGBT friendly hotels, clubs, events and activities. It also contains LGBT content including movies, novels and other forms of media. “But,” cautions Rosario Monteverde, Co-Founder and CTO, “GPS Gay isn’t a dating app. Instead it’s like a real GPS. It can tell you all the cool places to go and where everyone is hanging out.”

In addition to the website platform, GPS Gay recently launched an app that is already winning plenty of awards and comes in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. They recently were named Uruguay’s best app and won the Monile Premier Award’s best app in the world.

GPS Gay has accumulated a large following in Latin America, totaling 350,000 users and 310,000 fans on Facebook. “Our average age is about 30 years,” explains Rosario. “That’s key because they are not too young that they don’t have discretionary income and are still in the age range where they are native internet users.”

So where did the idea come from? “We were in visiting Brazil and wanted to go to a gay bar but couldn’t find much information,” explains Magdalena. “We thought it would be cool to know where to go. It also allows us to use our talents in design and IT to create something positive for our LGBT community.”

“Our biggest assets is user data,” says Rosario. “But we also make money through sponsorships and commission on sales of LGBT content. Later this year, we are going to launch our first LGBT party. Generating revenue through parties will also be a big opportunity to gain revenue and grow our database.” In the short term, however, sponsorships generated through unique partners that fit GPS Gay core values are their bread and butter. Magdalena sites one important sponsor as Dove. “Dove has great values that are aligned with ours. It’s important to us that we choose sponsors that fit our culture and values. We would never have a condom sponsor for example; we want to distance ourselves from dating sites.”

Looking forward, Magdalena and Rosario are forecasting 1,000,000 users by end of 2015 and 50,00,000 users by end of 2019. A lot of that growth will come from expanding their market to the USA and Europe. “GPS Gay combines aspects of the biggest social media networks in the world, but are fine tuned to suit the LGBT market. Not only is it turning out to be an opportunity of a lifetime, but we’ve found a way to give back to our community,” explains Magdalena. “That’s the thing that is driving us – making a positive impact.”

 

Inetsat: The importance of saying NO

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“When it comes to creating a TV network, there are three core costs: the cost to license the content, internal operational costs and distribution costs,” says Pablo Salomon, CEO and Co-Founder of Inetsat in Montevideo, Uruguay. “The traditional method of distributing content via satellite is a huge cost for a TV network (typically $20,000 USD per channel per month). That’s where Inetsat can make a huge impact.” Instead of using satellites, Inetsat allows TV networks to deliver channels to cable operators over a low bandwidth internet connections, ultimately saving TV networks 5-10 times the cost. “That’s our initial value proposition.” Inetsat can also help smaller channels launch who can’t coudn’t afford to utilize satellite technology, while also providing primary or disaster recovery channel playout and distribution for other networks.

Inetsat

Despite cable operators being what is considered a dyeing industry, Fortune Magazine named Inetsat as one of the top 10 most innovative Latin American firms in 2013. “Yes we are serving a dying industry, but that’s playing to our favor for now,” states Pablo. TV networks are being pressured to cut costs to compete with Netflix and other OTT offerings and Inetsat can be the tool for traditional TV Cable distribution to compete. “You also have to keep in mind that cable subscribers are still increasing, especially in the developing world. It’s going to take a generational change for the clock to turn in the industry and for cable to start disappearing. By then, we’ll be doing something even more fun.”

Pablo isn’t new to building companies. By age ten, he started developing his first software programs and by 13, started selling it. At age 23 in 1999, he started his first official tech company – a social media business that eventually pivoted and became an instant messaging producer for third party portals. In 2009, the company was acquired by a publicly traded company from India.

“The way I approached my second tech startup was completely different than the first,” explains Pablo. “I learned a lot of things from that first startup. Especially, that forming a business is a long-term commitment. I spent a year researching and tweaking the business concept behind Inetsat before jumping into it.” Pablo cautions would-be-entrepreneurs to be aware of the needed research period before launching a startup. “Entrepreneurs need to recognize that there is a needed period of time where they are validating the idea – a period where your idea matures. They should speak with potential customers and investors about the concept and take into account their advice.”

A second piece of advice Pablo offers is, “the importance of being able to say no. Many entrepreneurs say yes to sales they shouldn’t take on. When you deviate from your business, you lose focus and that can be dangerous to the startup.” 

Sinergia Co-Work: “You Are Crazy!”

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“You are crazy” that’s what my grandmother loves to say of me for starting a company in Uruguay,” says Macarena Botta, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sinergia Co-Work in Montevideo, Uruguay. “But I’m doing what I love. What else could I ask for?”

At Sinergia, their mission is to democratize entrepreneurship for the Uruguayan entrepreneurial community. “Before co-working spaces arrived to Montevideo (Sinergia was the first!), the entrepreneurial ecosystem was a bit elitist,” explains Macarena. “You had to know certain contacts to get into the community. With Sinergia, we wanted to create a space where we could democratize entrepreneurship. We wanted to create a place where entrepreneurs and freelancers could come together as a community.”  

Sinergia co work

In order to develop a sense of community, the co-working space has been developed to encourage networking among the members. “From yoga classes to workshops on accounting and sales, we provide activities each day that encourage networking between entrepreneurs.” Sinergia also has spaces where members come together to socialize like a terrace for asados, chill zones, ping pong tables, and an inside café where entrepreneurs can chat.

 Macarena and Kaity pose for a photo

Macarena and Kaity pose for a photo

“The cool thing about co-working spaces, especially Sinergia, is that they shorten the entrepreneurial learning path because you share stories and experiences with other entrepreneurs,” explains Macarena. “It’s about learning from other’s mistakes and successes. It also makes being an entrepreneur feel a lot less lonely.”

While Sinergia only began a year ago, they have already added an incubator to their list of services and have plans to open a second co-working space geared towards the tech and robotics industry in the next couple months. “We hope to have five additional co-working spaces in Uruguay within the next five years.” Luckily, Marcena just might be crazy enough to make it all happen.