Innovation Learnings: Interview with Maria Fernanda González Gutiérrez

We continue to inspire the Som-Inn Port ecosystem from good innovation practices applied to other organizations. Today we invite Maria Fernanda González Gutiérrez, CEO & Founder of the Catalan startup Fregata Space.

The company Fregata Space has created software that, through techniques based on Big Data, Machine Learning and new spatial technologies, collects and analyses information on the degree of water pollution in different areas. Its monitoring platform allows accessing historical information, viewing indicators in real-time, making predictions, alerts and tracking pollution anywhere in the world.

In this interview, María Fernanda explains the process of developing the solution and creating the startup.

Good morning Maria. It is a pleasure for us to have your participation in this initiative and we would like to thank you for your willingness to give us this interview.

To begin with, how did the idea of creating this type of software come about? How did you detect the need to implement this solution?

I have been working for many years in different industrial sectors creating artificial intelligence solutions. In telecommunications, banking, energy, employment, flights, health, marketing and I realized it is good to work in these areas to generate new business and improve profits but that we are forgetting to use artificial intelligence for the most important thing. Caring for the planet and in particular caring for the water.

Have you followed any specific methodology to test the solution?

The most important test is the business test, to understand what our customers want and to offer it. We are currently working on that. When we find things to improve we improve and test again.

What was the process of creating the startup like? How did you get funding to carry out the project?

We are in a very attractive sector where the latest technologies are combined. New space, satellite imagery, Machine Learning, Big Data, cloud computing, IoT sensors applied to pollution detection. That’s why we managed to find funding very quickly at the start of the company.

What have been the biggest challenges throughout the process?

The main challenge has been the remote management of the team and the commercial leads as we are working in very different time slots. Part of the team is in LATAM, part in Spain and our main customer cards are in Asia, Europe and LATAM. Initially, we did daily follow-up sessions and now that there are more leaders, we can manage daily unit meetings and weekly group meetings.

Where do you carry out studies on the number of pollutants in water? What experiences do you have with port waters?

There have been many scientists around the world working for years on water quality issues. The study of this problem is approached from different specialties such as chemistry, environment, engineering. At the moment we know very well what the polluting agents of water are and there are various solutions to the problem, from changing human behavior with respect to how waste is handled to using biological elements to eliminate pollution. And each ecosystem is fairly well understood, as is the case in ports where the origin and behavior of pollutants are very well defined. It remains to be able to couple the existing solutions into projects to clean up the waters.

We are currently working on a project for the Port of Rotterdam, which is still at an early stage of analysis. It is quite an interesting case as it is a river port and the intention is to monitor not only the waters of the Port but also the entire region.

What are the prospects for the evolution of the startup? Are you considering other functions in the software you have developed? New solutions?

“Water need Heroes” is one of our slogans. In Fregata Space we have the scientific, technological and business development capabilities that allow us to be the best solution for monitoring pollution detection and water cleanup. We can include in the platform everything from sophisticated algorithms, to Mobile Apps for citizens to help us collect information in water bodies, to IoT sensors connected to clean-up elements such as boats. In this way, we will get all the people who want to contribute to care for and improve the water of our planet can do it and we will continue among all the heroes of water.

 

Maria Fernanda, thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with us. We are sure that you have been an inspiration to the members of Som-Inn Port, we wish you the best of luck and hope that you and your company will continue to be successful!

21th December

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