Access to finance is one of the main barriers for development of startups and even more difficult for creative businesses. But you are not alone. We are bringing to you a new series of interviews with successful investment stories where startups from our global network share their funding strategies.
We talked with Camila Orantes, Co-Founder of SPOT.
Camila Orantes: SPOT is a startup with a mission of providing data assets of the physical world to companies and help them navigate and control their business remotely using Artificial Intelligence. We were born in El Salvador and know we are also in Chile.
You participated in the Creative Business Cup Global Finals 2019. How did this experience and Creative Business Cup in general, help your startup?
One of the best things that the event gave me was the opportunity to meet more fellow entrepreneurs with similar mindsets from all over the world. During the event, I also had the opportunity to learn from amazing coaches. It’s very validating to be a part of a global network and it has helped me to envision my start-up as global too.
What is the status of your business at the moment?
We are in an expansion stage. We recently acquire Walmart Chile as a Client and are growing with them in the whole country. We had a seed investment last year, now we are preparing for a second round.
The pandemic took a toll on the business sector overall. However, did you find it more difficult to get funding this year? Why?
Since we closed the investment last year for this year, it was already “schedule”, however, we did had to change plans on how the investment was going to be spent. Q2 was a huge challenge, we had to rethink and work 4 times as harder with half of the resources, but it was worth every second because that’s what led us to grow in Chile. Now (Q4) we are receiving offers for the next investment round.
What was your approach to attract investors?
Now, we are using our success during the pandemic as a way to demonstrate the real power of our technology. Our approach is that we are essential for the “new reality” that we are living and our technology is here to stay!
What type of investment did you get and what was the most challenging in raising capital and how did you overcome it?
Seed investment. We wanted to find the right partner. Not someone who just wanted to give money, but someone who listened to us and was willing to understand our vision. We overcome it by not rushing into taking the investor and take our time to meet them
How important was it to have traction to raise capital?
In our case, since we are a Hardtech company it was important because there was always the “fear” of the technology not being fully appreciated by the market, we were rejected at first in some contests because of that. But a year later we demonstrated we had a couple of clients using the first version of the software in multiple businesses. It was very amazing how multiple contests and investors were interested in us!
Can you give startups any tips/advice?
Get yourself a team of people who are fearless and in love with your technology or solution. The only way your company will make it to the top is with teamwork!
Camila Orantes is a 22 years old student of Computer Engineer Science from El Salvador.