1. You are traveling around the world, how many awards / recognitions have you received during this time? Do you remember which was the first? And the last?
Hahaha the truth is that yes, in 2016 I took 70 airplanes and in 2017 I lost the account. I love to travel but when it reaches this level it gets a bit tired, especially since you have to juggle to be able to take some time out to enjoy the city you are going to.
Since 2015 we have won more than 25 awards for technological innovation in health. The first was undoubtedly one of the most relevant for us and everything would have been different if we had not won it. It was the prize of the Rafael del Pino Foundation in the Zinc Shower event of May 2015. Thanks to the prize we managed to scale up to the financing of Dubai in just two months. The last thing we won was the EU Startup Summit, held in Barcelona with companies a lot of quality and a major prize of € 68,000 in products and services, besides being the event where we access the magazine cover Retina of El País.
2. You have been the winner of the pitch competition held during the EU-Startups Summit. What other recognitions have you had in Europe?
Throughout these years we have won many competitions and resources at European level. Starting with phase 1 of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, which gave us € 50,000 in lost fund. We are now preparing Phase 2, in which we will request 2 million.
But we have also won competitions funded by the European Commission, for example, we were second in the contest pitch Innolabs and we have recently qualified for the EIC, (European Innovation Council) mwhere we will have the opportunity to present to companies that could become potential clients and investors.
3. How have these European awards / recognitions helped you?
Some of them have given us funds, others have helped with the dissemination and others have given us enough support to increase confidence in our technology, all have been important at different levels. It is essential to move and make noise to get resources when you have to start from scratch, for us it has been the key to growth.
4. Do you think that being European has opened more doors for you? How?
The truth is that I have never analyzed it that way. I believe that being European has given me some basic resources that have allowed me to reach this point, such as a primary and university education, a stable family nucleus, access to quality healthcare etc ... that helps a lot when creating a company like Medicsen. But at the level of having more opportunities to be European, it is true that the EU has provided us with funds and unconditional support, but I do not believe that it has been dependent on my nationality, because we have accessed funds in Australia without having anything to do with it. country, so I tend to think that once you have met some basic needs like the ones I mentioned, you have enough tools to access resources for yourself no matter where you come from.
A difference that if I appreciate being European is that in that basic education that I received, I was trained to fear failure and I was given little motivation to create things instead of working for a third party, even more considering that I am a doctor. In the philosophy of Anglo-Saxon education, failure is used as a necessary step towards success and people are encouraged to have ideas and to undertake. I think that will be filtered in European society in the coming years but we must work so that future generations approach education with these principles, as it brings personal growth with enormous quality.
5. Entrepreneurship is always difficult, how many members did you start on the team and how many are you now? Do you have a salary? Do you dedicate yourselves exclusively to this project or do you make it compatible with other projects / jobs as many entrepreneurs do?
It is always complicated, indeed. We started 5 and soon we were only 4. We have been friends since childhood and that has brought us good things like the enormous confidence we have in each other and bad as very hard discussions because we know how we are. Now we have grown to 20 members of the team, 15 of them with economic retribution every month for a year and a half. And to achieve their commitment, even in times of lean times (as some that we have spent), we give shares of the company, so everyone's work is for everyone and not for a boss. Of the 20 members, more than half are full-time dedicated to Medicsen and the rest have different levels of involvement, which always revolve around our needs, as they constantly change and we need to adapt dynamically.
6. There is much talk of successful entrepreneurs but not so much of the hard work behind them and the personal sacrifices that need to be made, as well as the investment in one's time and money. Before receiving the first recognition or that the first person / company believed in you / your idea, how much time and money did you invest in your idea to get the first "reward"?
I had zero Euros in my name when I founded the company. We always consider my father the first "investor" because he gave us € 500 when we did not have anything so we could start and with that money we bought the Zinc Shower ticket, the first contest we won. For almost two years we received retribution only as "diets", so that the company could survive. And the difficulty of obtaining resources has not diminished, because we increasingly need more, as is logical in a growing company. When we talk about time, to create something as innovative as Medicsen from scratch, it is essential to devote all your time, and you have to make many sacrifices but it is worth it if you have a good motivation, as is our case.
7. At what point would you define who you are now? Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur who creates and sells and then recreates?
I see myself as a serial entrepreneur but there is time in life for many projects and each one deserves to be treated individually. I love Medicsen very much and the founders have always preferred to grow it before selling it. You never know how the thing will progress or the offers that can be made, so the only door we close is the sale to a direct competitor, so as not to risk the exploitation of current techniques despite having technology that allows us to improve the quality of life.
I am sure that I will create more things in the future and surely some will be to develop and sell quickly, but for the moment I am 100% necessary in Medicsen and my only concern is to grow enough (and at the right pace) to reach the market and be able to implant us successfully, which implies passing all the clinical tests for regulation and having managed to access the necessary resources previously, so we are setting up a round of financing to achieve around 3 million between public and private funds.
You can read Part 1 here.