En este episodio del podcast “La Revolución de las Startups”, Pedro Varas habla con Orr Fabian y Jacob Nes-el, el CEO y el Chairman de InkaRobotics, la startup que está revolucionando el mercado de tatuajes en Israel, y pronto, en todo el mundo.
Ellos comparten con nosotros las historias y los desafíos de cómo trabajar en una startup. Además de revelar lo que aprendieron con los errores del pasado y cuáles serían las principales razones que contribuyeron para el éxito de hoy.
Para escuchar el podcast, haz un click a seguir y conoce más sobre InkaRobotics y sus fundadores:
La mayor parte del podcast está en inglés, por eso transcribimos todo el contenido y resumimos las respuestas en español para que todos tengan acceso:
Pedro Varas: Qué es InkaRobotics? Cuál es la historia?
Fabian y Nes-el se conocieron cuando Fabian estaba en búsqueda de inversionistas para su startup. En este momento, Nes-el no financió la empresa, pero creía en el negocio. Fabian tuvo que cerrar las operaciones, hasta que un día, después de un viaje en un crucero, donde Nes-el percibió la cantidad de personas que tenían tatuajes, Nes-el entró nuevamente en contacto con Fabian y hizo la propuesta, no solo iría financiar la startup pero también iría participar del negocio, como Chairman.
Además, investigaron y descubrieron que el mercado de tatuajes tiene estadísticas asombrosas con solo un poco más de 100 años de antigüedad. En los EEUU hay más personas con tattoos de que personas con un Iphone, por ejemplo. Esta combinación de una industria muy, creciente y en auge y la industria que no ha cambiado en más de cien años hace que esto sea muy, muy interesante para comenzar.
Orr Fabian: So, we started approximately four years ago. We’ve been working in the basement of a kindergarten in  Israel. It was very romantic, we built the robots. After two years we’ve joined the – one of the greatest accelerators MassChallenge, where we’ve won the Most Likely to Succeed Startup. We came after – after two or three years we’ve started fundraising. We didn’t have much money. When we came to the point where we have to raise money, we didn’t have much time to raise money and after three or four months we decided to close the company. At MassChallenge, I met Nes-el. Nes-el do you want to take it from here?
Jacob Nes-el: Yes. I was there as their mentor when they arrive to MassChallenge. My experience as a CEO, I managed already six companies. Two of them I made their exits and one of them was a startup and, so, I was mentoring them. And then, I found very intelligence four people – four young students. We were meeting, we met something like two, twice, maybe three times a month and we went over their business plan etc. When they went to raise money they actually went to the round with no Orr in the round. And they gave up very quickly. And they told me that they want to close the company because they don’t have enough money to go on with them. Orr was a hundred percent working on the startup and he has a wife, two girls already three. I told them [with experience] that it takes time to raise money. But one of the partners got a very interesting opportunity to start PhD at the Technion. By doing it, all of them, all 4 are from the Technion. Technion is the most [high] technology university in the world. And for them – they knew each other there, were from the Technion. I thought it was a pity, but they close the company etc. And by coincidence, I don’t know how, one year after I went on a cruise with my family. It was a cruise with a very big boat – vessel run on the Caribbean, the biggest in the world. In the boat there were something like 10.000 people, 3500 crew members and 6000 passengers. I was amazed to see that almost every one of them has a tattoo. I saw so many tattoos there that I was so impressed and understood that the world is full of tattoos. You know there is an expression in Hebrew that you say that “Until your wife she is pregnant, only then you see how many pregnant wives are in the street.” Eventually I saw that everybody there is with a tattoo. So, when I came back, and it was something about one year after they closed the company. I called Orr and I asked him to come meet me. And I repeat what I told them one year ago: “I think they made a big mistake” and I think they should reopen the company, the startup. But this time, I will not only invest my money but will support them as an active chairman and I will help them to actually raise the company and to bring – to the round now that we are talking about.
Orr Fabian: So, the reason why we decided to bring InkaRobotics to life. Actually, we very – first, when we explore the tattoo market, we saw staggering statistics, ok? This market is over a hundred-year old, you know that the less part within the industry is from 1891 –, the tattoo machine that they use in the tattoo shop today. It was amazing to me that change hasn’t occurred in this industry. The other thing it’s that this industry is staggering statistic, it’s like a growing market. Do you know in the United States, there are more people who own a tattoo than people who own an iPhone? It’s a crazy market! So, this combination of very very, growing, booming industry and the industry that hasn’t changed for over a hundred years make this very, very interesting to start with. Also, I work in [Intellect Wilson] with the depth camera, and it occurred to me immediately that we can build a robot using this type of technology with depth camera and so immediately I started thinking about how we can integrate this type of technology into a robot that gives you tattoos. So, this is pretty much the idea of how things come together.
Pedro: Cuáles son los mayores desafíos que encontraron al crear el negocio?
Para ellos, contratar las personas correctas es el principal desafío. Es necesario personas inteligentes, con habilidades y experiencia pero que también sepan cómo trabajar juntas. El otro desafío es la recaudación de dinero, pues el negocio es algo nuevo y es una barrera para los inversionistas más conservadores.
Jacob Nes-el: Well, I think that the biggest challenge, the biggest two challenges we have is – first of all: recruit the right people. We are here, a team of seven people and I can tell you that each one of them is smarter than the other. They are geniuses, each one of them. Only me, I’m feeling a bit stupid around them. Those are the geniuses here. And I think to find and locate and making a cherry picking of very intelligence, skilled, a lot of experience, people that know how to team together is one big challenge. Actually, you invested for supporting a team. And the second challenge is raising the money because actually we are creating something new. Nothing was existing like this before. It’s not medical, it’s not robots, it’s not a hardware, it’s not software, it’s something else, it’s something new. So, you know most of the people, most of the people who are conservative investors etc., maybe they call them, they call themselves venture capitalists etc. But they are very conservative, and they want to see it looks like what. But here we are actually creating a new industry, and a new concept. And raising money is another challenge here.
Pedro: Cuáles son los principales acontecimientos que ocurrieron en la industria de tatuajes que los motivaron a seguir creciendo?
Antes de todo, lo que pasó de muy interesante, son los robots colaborativos, que son un tipo especial de brazo robótico con sensores y funcionan junto del cuerpo humano. Eso integra con el producto de InkaRobotics, que funciona con las cámaras de profundidad que poseen una precisión y resolución increíbles, haciendo con que se pueda rastrear y reconocer el movimiento de los robots con poco error. Además de la evolución de los sensores.
Orr Fabian: Ok, so, the big thing that happen that actually make this very, very interesting for us is first of all, the robotics arm industry has one big turn into what you called collaborative robots, ok. Collaborative robot is a special type of robotic arm that you can put alongside with humans. They have sensors so that – they also have certificates of compliance, so they can work alongside humans, ok. This is very new, ok. They started in the recent years to develop it and this is very important for us because this actually help us to actually use this type of robot to actually integrate it into our product. Also, you have the depth cameras. Depth cameras have come a long, long way in the recent years. Today, the accuracy and the errors and accuracy are amazing, and the resolution is amazing on this type of cameras. So, we are integrating really new cameras in our robots, so we can now reach amazing tracking and movement recognition with our robots using this type of cameras. Also, several sensors have advanced. So, these are the main events that happened that really, really supported us.
Pedro: Cuáles son las dos principales fortalezas de la compañía?
Jacob Nes-el: Primera cosa es el equipo, tenemos un equipo excelente. I already mentioned it before, we have a very strong team, very dedicated, very intelligent, very skilled, a lot of experience and working great together. Secondly, it’s the technology we’ve gained so far. You know, you can ask yourself, if it’s so great business, how come nobody, maybe before, nobody developed it? Well, it’s a big, big challenge. It needs a lot of technology. It is very difficult to track movement of zero – of body – which is not stiff, not rigid. It recognizes even a small movement of 0.1 millimeter. So, it’s very complicated. It’s a lot of algorithmic of computer regiments etc. Third, it’s the experience, the know-how. The founders, two and a half year before they met me, they started with a deep investigation. I don’t think that there is, even one to two artists in Israel they don’t know personally no tattoo exhibitions in the world. They don’t know or didn’t be there. All style, all challenges, all equipment, and, so, the know-how of the arena – the tattoo arena - is one of the main three strengths we have.
Pedro: Cuáles fueron los dos principales fracasos y los aprendizajes?
Primero, empezamos a buscar inversionistas muy tarde y el poco tiempo enfocado en eso fueron los fracasos.
Orr Fabian: Ok, so, well I would consider our so-called failure – one is, the fact that we didn’t manage to raise money the first time around. We started raising money too late and we also didn’t raise money for a long enough period. I think this also was connected to maybe to the second thing. And I would say experience on my part – we were working maybe for a very long time on developing the hardware and very, very short period of time on the fundraising. This is probably the two things that I would consider the main failure that we have.
Pedro: Cómo es un día típico de trabajo para ustedes?
En la oficina, hablando con VCs, inversionistas, haciendo mucha pesquisa y manejando el equipo. Por ahora, aparecen en la oficina solo 2 veces a la semana, pero después de obtener la inversión, la idea es estar todo el equipo todos los días en la oficina.
Orr Fabian: So, a normal day for me would be, I come to the office, I make a lot of - I’m talking with VCs, investors, I make phone calls, I make a lot of research that I have to do. I have a team that comes here twice a week. We are working together on the actual robot. So, this is pretty much the typical day of my work.
Jacob Nes-el: They are only working twice a week because they – within the raise money so far, they actually come in twice a week as a kind of volunteering. And when raised money, it will be seven days a week.
Pedro: Recomendación de películas o libros y por qué?
Orr Fabian: I would recommend the movie Flash of Genius. Flash of Genius is a movie about an entrepreneur that develop the wipe – the windshield wipers of the car. For a story idea, it’s a very interesting idea – it’s an idea about an entrepreneur fighting to succeed. I would totally recommend it for every entrepreneur.
Jacob Nes-el: I would recommend the movie Cinema Paradiso have you seen it? I can tell you a lot of stories of whys but in the bottom line, it’s an excellent, excellent movie. It’s moving so much and it’s muy emocionante.
Pedro: I analyzed that movie in my school. It’s a really, really good movie but – this is for you, this is not about me! Maybe we can continue. Ok, the next question is…
Si pudiesen dar un consejo a ustedes mismos, cuando estaban iniciando, que se dirían?
Fabian nos cuenta que a él le gustaría tener un mentor desde el comienzo, pues después que entró Nes-el en el equpo, como Chairman, las cosas mejoraron mucho en un corto espacio de tiempo. Ya Nes-el es confiar en la suerte, eso demostrará que es la forma de tener éxito.
Orr Fabian: Ok, I would tell myself, the less experience myself to take someone that would mentor me like – such as Nes-el. Once he joined I think he makes a lot of different in terms of business planning and he would shorten a lot of work, business wise and stuff like that. So, I think a mentor, a chairman, someone like that that you can have alongside you is very, very important.
Jacob Nes-el: If I have to choose what I really want to bring here una cosa: suerte! Es la mejor cosa que se puede pasar. That will show that it’s the way to succeed.