Devicare is a research and development company of new medical treatments for diseases of the urinary tract. With a novel treatment of lithiasis, Devicare is a startup founded in Barcelona by Rosendo Garganta who shares his experience as a startup growing between Europe and LATAM.

I am part of a family with entrepreneurial tradition in Barcelona. My parents and siblings have small businesses and in my case entrepreneurship came naturally. I remember that during my MBA a professor always said that “the difference between an entrepreneur and an employee was that at the entrepreneur’s house there was always talk about work and the company during meals”. I don’t know if this is always the case, but in my specific case, how right he was!

LATAM, an attractive region for startups?

For Devicare, the bet on LATAM is very clear because our product, aimed at treating kidney stones, has a great market opportunity. In certain countries such as Mexico, due to their lifestyle, dietary habits, climate constions, etc., there are high percentages of population suffering from this pathology.

In addition to these circumstances, our common language, culture, health model and other synergies make LATAM a key market for Devicare. The marketing of our products is expected to start in September in Mexico and, before the end of this year, our goal is to also be present in Ecuador, Peru and Panama. In 2020, we will enter Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia, as different regulatory approvals are obtained from the respective Ministries of Health of each country.

For a startup like ours, identifying well the market you are entering is key to success. LATAM’s pharmaceutical companies, unlike those in other regions, such as Europe with very complex decision-making processes and guarantees, or Japan with very hierarchical and slow processes, have faster decision-making processes, very business-oriented, which helps us sign agreements quickly and enter the regulatory and commercial phase earlier. We know that the price at which we have to sell is also key according to the country and we have to design a pricing policy accordingly.

Key lessons/recommendations for companies planning to grow internationally

– In the real estate market is all about “location, location, location”, in technology companies like Devicare the mantra is “financing, financing, financing”. I wish that from the beginning every entrepreneur were aware of how important it is to finance oneself adequately. The burn rate is the main metric, what you have in the box is what you have left for operating.

It is necessary to identify in detail the milestones to fulfill with the money that you have. And make sure that those milestones increase the value of your company and/or the return for your shareholders.

– Creating a good storytelling or pitch about your startup is a very useful tool that will help you get financing from investors and other institutions, so I encourage entrepreneurs to work the pitch with dedication.

– Know the market you’re entering.  Each country has different regulations and demands different requirements for its products. The requirements, for example, for the Israeli market (with Kosher product needs) has nothing to do with the requirements in Arab markets. For example, there are markets where if the treatment is formulated in tablets or caplets the government regulates the price of it. If the same treatment is formulated in oral suspension, the price is not regulated and the company can decide its pricing policy as in any other consumer product.

– Companies are a team of people. The talent of the team is crucial. The most important thing is the talented people you choose to be part of your team have, and how you manage that talent to get the best out of it.  Many times you don’t have the money to attract the talent you want via payroll, but there are always ways to do it either via equity, via future promise or any other creative way that both parties agree.

– The work is daily and you have to maintain constant tension for everything to work. As I mentioned before, talent is key in any company and in a startup even more. Most of the times the entrepreneur spends 80% of his time looking for financing, creating networks of contacts, pitching the company to potential investors, industrial and commercial partners, etc., and having a talented team that takes care of the day-to-day running of the company is an essential part of the recipe for success.

– As an entrepreneur I want to change a very widespread perception that many new entrepreneurs have: the idea of an entrepreneur is worth nothing without a good execution. The human team, talent and implementation are the drivers to success. New entrepreneurs who think they have an exceptional idea and are afraid to share it because someone can clone it are mistaken.

– Another fundamental aspect of any growing entrepreneur is to lose the fear of being diluted. When you have a startup and you need money or talent, you have to lose the fear of sharing a percentage of your company with those partners who are essential to your business. Be generous with people who can create value for the project!

No Comments

Post A Comment