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Astrid Camprubí: "We have designed a tool that solves today's problems with today's technologies"

Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is a programme of Foment del Treball, the U.S. Department of State and the American Consulate in which 30 women entrepreneurs have been able to participate. The AWE consists of 4 axes: online training by the Thunderbird Business School of the University of Arizona, face-to-face Masterclasses, inspirational tours and the opportunity to be part of the global AWE network with connections all over the world.

In order to know more in detail the different business projects of the programme, from the magazine "F de Foment and Fepime" we will approach you first-hand the profiles of the entrepreneurs who have been part of the second edition of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs through interviews with the different professionals.

Today we talk to Astrid Camprubí, CEO of Aqtiva Data Technologies.

Foment i Fepime

October 14, 2022

Read the article in Catalan here ⬇️

What project did you submit in order to be part of the AWE programme?

Recommended and very motivated by a good friend who had participated in the first edition of AWE, I decided to apply to give Aqtiva a boost since at the time of the application it was still in the MVP phase and we felt that the program could help in many aspects to our project. From Aqtiva Data Technologies we have programmed a tool that validates the quality of the data that companies use to make strategic decisions ensuring that the data used by all departments is "good" and meets business requirements. Our purpose is to offer a flexible tool, intuitive to use so that any business user without the need to have a technical background is fully autonomous, pay-per-use and without large initial investments so that all companies who want it can access to our solution.

Until now, the options that existed on the market were marketed by large corporations that have been in the market for many years and that offer products designed for problems of many years ago based on technologies of years ago. We have designed a native tool in Big Data, AI and Machine Learning that solves today's problems with today's technologies. Thanks to predictive algorithms and self-learning capabilities, Aqtiva has the ability to suggest quality rules adapted to each data set so that the user only has to validate and approve them if they are aligned with business objectives. Likewise, with predetermined fields the user will also be able to define their own rules without too much difficulty finding an appropriate solution for every need they may have.

With Big Data technology, The solutions that we had found on the market until now are large "suites" of processing the value chain of the data which, in addition to being complex, require large technical teams and programmers to be able to adapt these solutions to the realities of the different business and moreover they force to make very important initial investments causing that only large companies with a large budget in technology can access them.

Aqtiva has a clear vocation to help any company that wants to treat data as a strategic asset, to have access to our quality tool thus guaranteeing a clear competitive advantage without decapitalizing in the initial implementation process. Currently, we already have several global clients in different sectors who have allowed us to validate all the functionalities, robustness and essential security to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act. Also, we have an ambitious roadmap in which we want to add functionalities such as remediation, "data profiling", or the ability for the user to determine how much weight each quality rule has in the analysis of a specific data set.

Aqtiva Data Technologies is a "spin off" of Matica Partners, a company founded in 2018 with the desire to accompany companies in the capitalization of the use of data and to value data as a strategic asset. Its motto "from data to decision", Matica Partners, which has large clients globally and which in the last 4 years has achieved a monthly turnover of €3.5M and a team that almost reaches 60 people, always looks for ways to be more efficient and cut costs for its customers. With this vocation for iterative improvement, it was found that its clients repeatedly had the need to validate the quality of the data they used for commercial campaigns, from marketing to present "dashboards" to senior managers from where they would obtain the data to make decisions direct impact on business; and they decided to "imagine" and design a program that could automate this quality validation. One of the founding partners of Matica Partners and now also of Aqtiva Data Technologies, together with two other colleagues created the "seed" of what would become Aqtiva – Good data from the start.

Later, upon validating that the solution had had very good results in three of the consultancy's clients, they decided to apply for a CDTI. With the funds, they could develop a platform that would adapt to any data architecture environment (Google, Azure, AWE...) and that would have all the functionalities that would provide a 360º solution to potential customers. Thanks to the assignment of the CDTI and the talent of the team, the tool was programmed in record time and it was verified with the different clients that we have been winning that the platform is fully aligned with the purpose of the company.

My joining as co-founding partner and CEO gives me the challenge of scaling and internationalizing Aqtiva and reaching as many companies as possible. We wholeheartedly want to make data quality a non-issue. There is little education in business schools about the importance of the correct use of data and the profiles we come from business sometimes do not perceive the great potential we have if we extract correct information. In an environment where data entry is unstoppable, the entrepreneur or team that knows how to format and apply quality to extract the road map of their company will win. "GOOD data is the new oil" without a doubt.

Of the four axes of the program, which has helped you the most to move your project forward?

The program is very well designed and each part reinforces the other, therefore I could not prioritize one or the other as I stay with all of them. Although it is true that I was very pleasantly surprised by the very high level of speakers who came to share their experiences and knowledge in person at Foment del Treball. I, personally, have really appreciated the mandatory face-to-face attendance as it has been the best way for the participants in the program to weave strong bonds that I hope will last forever.

This leads me to say that the global network of the program is an asset that I take with me and that it is also active on a daily basis. Not only do we share mistakes to prevent others from making them, but we also share resources, ideas, other training and opinions about decisions we are going to make in our project.

I will also confess that our promotion does not miss a networking cocktail or a fair abroad where we take the opportunity to get to know each other better in a more informal environment. It is nice to feel supported in the difficult process of undertaking by other people who are going through a similar process. Everyone's successes are very much celebrated by everyone as we are very aware of all the hard work that goes behind each milestone.

How has Foment helped you grow your idea/project?

For me, he has been a strategic partner in matters of communication and support when clarifying doubts that have been key in the successful development of our business plan. In particular, I would like to emphasize the work of Maria Mora, innovation director of Foment del Treball who, despite having an overflowing agenda, always finds a moment to attend to you with a smile and, moreover, always has a good solution. Also, thank the United States Department of State and the American Consulate for the opportunity to participate in this project that builds bridges to market our products or services in the US.

What are the most immediate future challenges for your project?

Balancing the product acquisition cycle with the financial needs of the company. Accompany the growth in a sustainable, efficient and profitable way so that in a few months we will be self-sufficient and find funding to continue improving the tool and quickly scale to other markets. My personal goal, in addition to everything I've discussed, is for us to be seen as one of the best solutions for ensuring the quality of data used by businesses. Therefore, we need to keep expanding the client portfolio and thus we will obtain more information to enrich the tool. A big challenge is to find talent and make them never want to leave Aqtiva.

What would you ask the public administration to grow your project?

More agility and less bureaucracy, even now for some grants you have to go to sign in person in Madrid. In a digital age we should be able to speed up procedures and reduce the need for the use of paper. I think it would be worth rethinking the complexity of both the applications and the justifications for the grants. Often start-ups are left out because they do not have the capacity to prepare everything that is required to validate the eligibility of the projects.

Do you think there is enough funding for the early stages?

Yes, I think a lot of progress has been made. In the specific case of Catalonia, our government is making an effort to boost the fabric of startups and this is noticeable and visible. An effort is also being made to attract foreign private funding which is also perceived by the projects that are getting impressive rounds.

Barcelona is considered one of the meccas of entrepreneurship and that we do not value it is not fair. I feel very fortunate to be part of it and to be able to enjoy Barcelona & Catalonia Startup Hub and a hub like Tech Barcelona that works to boost us globally. I would only say, as a native of Girona, that perhaps there is work to be done in the rest of the Catalan provinces.

What role does women play in entrepreneurship?

I believe that the most important thing of all is that schools receive sufficient resources and adequate training to accompany children in their development and have a real ability to focus each one on the path where their talent will shine. This is not about gender, the real problem we have today is the lack of support for our young people to foster their skills and we often fall into stigmas or let them choose studies because of what they have seen at home or what the majority is doing.

Added to a deep crisis of critical thinking where the new generations have less and less ability to make use of it, we are facing a great challenge. If we gave the system a format that emphasized what we are good at, we could personalize the itineraries and we could easily motivate young people to dedicate themselves to what they like and what comes naturally to them.

One path should be that of entrepreneurship and tools should be given and concrete knowledge developed so that all young people with good ideas could take the path of entrepreneurship with confidence and knowledge. It is true that there is still a long way to go in matters of equality, but I trust that everyone works individually, daily and respectfully so that everyone has the same weight in our society.


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