It was the second event of our second day in Chile, and having spent the last 6 months in Ireland none of us were conditioned for the Mediterranean climate we found in Santiago, especially leaving Dublin at a time when the Beast from the East was fresh in our memories! I would be the first to admit that staying focused is not my forte but when you have travelled the 11,460 km distance from Dublin to Santiago you need to make the effort. Fortunately for myself and my colleagues the calibre of the speakers lined up was fantastic and it made attending the presentations a privilege.
We arrived at Wayra just after lunch on our second day in Chile. Wayra are a start-up accelerator, founded by one of the biggest telecommunications provider in the world, Telefonica and are part their Open Innovation Program. Soon after our arrival I was informed that to get to our presentation location I would need to climb 4 sets of stairs, as you know ladies don’t sweat we glow and I was glowing red hot 😉 On the way up the stairs to the presentation space I observed some of the people working in Wayra. They were from various start-ups, young, mostly male and sitting around at various locations on bean-bags. This scene brought back alot of nostalgic memories for me about the last start-up I was a part of. Even though our group of 30+something MBA candidates were dressed in business attire, one of the Wayra employees continued to sit amongst us, on a bean bag in true start-up tradition and spirit, absolutely unbothered by the presentation. There was a great atmosphere throughout the presentation and we all found it extremely interesting. Unfortunately, the entire presentation was in Spanish but thanks to the presenter Pepe Pascual, nothing was lost in translation.
What really captured my interest at the presentation was that even though Chile is a developing economy there is still a strong presence of startups venturing into technology industries in areas such as AI, machine learning, cloud computing etc. This made me realize that these technologies are already highly in demand. Below is a sample set of the start-ups that Wayra are working with:
Smartbox – The team at Smartbox believe that they have taken OTT to the next level. Through their Nunchee platform, users could customize their personal video & audio playlists with many new and interactive features. Nunchee platform could also be easily integrated with any device, including laptop, tablet and mobile. Cool right! Let’s talk about the next one.
Wivo – Another name for retail analytics. The most challenging work done by the team to date is to understand customer behaviour though algorithms which use data acquired by sensors and heat maps installed in the shops. To highlight their work here is a fun fact that I spotted on their web page.
‘Did you know that people who like dogs are more likely to purchase an iPhone by as much as 37%?’ Very intriguing!
Inbenta – Now I believe this start-up will change the future of customer service or BPOs forever. Inbenta has created a chatbox which interacts with customer queries in the absence of a human customer service representative. This is done with the magic of machine learning and NLP as the underlying technologies. Through these technologies it is possible to predict what the customer is looking for and help precisely direct them to their desired products, vastly reducing search time. Sharp!
And as always I have kept the best till last!
Poliglota – This start up is by far the most original and innovative (in my humble opinion!). Have you ever wanted to learn a new language but didn’t like the mundane tutorials. Poliglota allows people to learn languages in places like pubs, cafes and learn face to face from people who are experts.
The company visit to Wayra really inspired the Thought Leadership Club members and as a result we have decided to bring these revolutionising technologies together on the same platform and help other students to learn more about them. It is my pleasure to present to you the Thought Leadership Club’s keynote event ‘Digital Transformers’ that will take place on the 24th of April 2018 at UCD Smurfit. For more details, kindly follow the link.
Last but not the least, muchas gracias to the MBA programme managers for organising this amazing trip to Chile and Peru. We had the best experience of both culture and business together. Salut! :)
Nadisha Garg, Full Time MBA 2017-2018