GPAINNOVA Talks: Pau Sarsanedas (GPAINNOVA) & Simone van Neerven (ReBella)
The technology platform GPAINNOVA is one of the 10 organizations that received this year the distinctive label of ‘Catalonia Exponential Leaders’ —which recognizes them as Catalonia’s most disruptive companies— from the Catalan Government. After the ceremony, held in July in Barcelona, its CEO and co-founder, Pau Sarsanedas, had a brief talk to Simone van Neerven, founder of ReBella, a company dedicated to highlighting the most innovative and rebellious talent of companies. Both discussed how to face the challenge of innovation and how to attract the attention of customers and investors with disruptive products and services that are yet unknown to them.
Pau Sarsanedas: Simone, where are you settled now?
Simone van Neerven: In Amsterdam. I expect to be back to Barcelona in October and come here more often.
P. S.: Is Barcelona a good place?
S. N.: Yes, it is an attractive city to be in, with an interesting business ecosystem and a good work-life balance.
P. S.: I have recently been to Tel Aviv, and I think it is very similar to Barcelona. There is an incredible number of tech companies. I felt very surprised at the opportunities it offers. Many technological projects are being carried out there.
S. N.: Yes, some of them are very complex, such as those for defense.
P. S.: It was really interesting to discover kibutz, where professionals develop projects without owners, everybody is at the same level. It is based on co-working and is a really efficient way to ensure fast growth. I think that this strategy would be worth to be implemented in large companies. What projects are you currently working on?
S. N.: I am developing a value-creation mindset for Chanel and scouting for innovation in a Dutch company.
P. S.: That is difficult. In the case of GPAINNOVA, we are still a startup, so sometimes we are still pushing instead of pulling. We have to convince everybody about our solutions.
S. N.: It is tiring. If you ask for permission all the time, everything slows down, but the fact is that people are feared of things that are no real.
P. S.: We know it, but companies need cash flow to operate. When we contact potential customers to offer them a new solution, their first reaction is to get defensive. The main part of them want to keep the status quo. When you try to sell something, they say at first that they do not need it. They cannot say “no” because everything is fine, so you have to work hard on communication strategies, trying to find the way to keep in touch with the client without being too pushing. You are selling something that clients do not know if they need it. In addition, you need to convince not only manager, but also your final customer.
S. N.: When it happens, you have to be lucky, to find the right time and the right person. It is like surfing: if you find the wave too soon, it is not going to work.
P. S.: Selling a product is demanding. I believe in people who have the ability to do it. I like to get results.
S. N.: What is your aim?
P. S.: We want to show that we are a Tesla in Barcelona, to do something to foster the confidence of investors in the project, to prove that we are working well. Sometimes people ask me why we are doing more and more things, and this is because we want to be a unicorn.