Being a business leader, there are many professional traits needed, but the skills and abilities such as leadership, communication, persistence, and constant sacrifice are few of the most important traits. Things like easy and quick success are just words, a leader has to put daily efforts and constancy to demonstrate that the company has a strong and stable foundation. ALICIA ASÍN PÉREZ, CEO of Libelium, is an evident and profound example of how skills of the leadership shape an idea into a successful business.
Below are highlights from the interview conducted between ALICIA and Insights Success:
Give a brief overview of your background and your role in Libelium.
Libelium’s IoT technology is helping to improve people’s quality of life and companies’ competitiveness. The company offers solutions for different spheres such as agriculture, parking systems, urban monitoring, waste management, environment or security & emergencies.
Libelium is an international company whose portfolio includes IoT products for all the markets worldwide with no specific focus by region or country. Libelium’s technological platform is committed to the interoperability of different sensors that allow the measurement of any parameter through any wireless communication protocol and send the recorded data to multiple cloud platforms. Libelium has been a pioneer in the world of the Internet of Things for over a decade and has continued to revolutionize the digital world with their vision for the future of technology. Identifying IoT as a breakthrough for any company, Libelium has found new ways to solve the problem of interoperability of any IoT project. Furthermore, it has focused on organizing its relationship with the ecosystem and has launched more partnership programs than ever. The most striking quality about Libelium’s Smart Sensor platforms is that they can be utilized for a variety of purposes, from monitoring cities to precision crops.
In 13 years, Libelium has moved from being a start-up to an SME of 5 million invoicing, more than 50 employees and customers in 120 countries exporting 90% of turnover.
How do you diversify your solutions that appeal to your target audience?
The most demanded applications by the market are solutions for agriculture, for environmental monitoring (whether water quality, air, noise) and smart cities (with applications such as parking or detection of mobile devices). If we talk about eagerness, there are certain enclosures that need our technology to be more efficient and demand it with urgency criteria: airports, shopping centers, office buildings. The projects for smart cities are long distance because they involve many key players and require technologies that are inoperable enough to guarantee that the investments are going to be long-lasting and the projects can be scaled over time.
What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that shaped your journey?
I was a child with many sporting, cultural and technical interests. I practiced rowing in high competition. Along with the footprint left by my parents, sport is the other half of my personality. That’s how I learned what sacrifice and daily constancy, essential qualities in professional life, entails. Before finishing my University Degree in Computer Engineering, I decided to undertake my own business project with my business partner, David Gascón. That was the time of social networks and smartphone apps startups, hardware did not look like the easiest way, but we really wanted to create value in our region and overall make a positive impact through technology.
What were some of the primal challenges and roadblocks that you faced during the ini_al phase of your journey?
Leading a company is like riding a roller coaster, some day you are celebrating an award and the next one your warehouse is burnt (true story for us) but nor success or disgrace are permanent, it is important to always bare this in mind to keep on working.
Where does Libelium see itself in the near future and how will you catalyze the change?
We are evolving from being a hardware manufacturer to being a solutions consultant for complete IoT projects. Libelium’s strategy is to offer high value-added products and services for the entire IoT value chain.
All our projects revolve around two objectives: to grow and to make the IoT market grow. From the education sector, where there is a long way to go to transmit technological knowledge about the use of IoT; through applications to make the industry more competitive and reduce its costs; to the market for daily solutions. Everything that we develop in Libelium is done to provide customers with ready-to-use technology that combines hardware, software and final application data analysis. This is the only way to achieve the predictions of large investments and innovative results around the technological disruption.
What is your advice for emerging women entrepreneurs?
I would tell them to train for skills such as perseverance, decisiveness, clarity of ideas, in general, which are common features to many brave people who decide to start a business. And also skills such as analytical and communicational ability, temperance in times of adversity & success, curiosity for new market trends, and always & above all, enthusiasm in every task to perform are necessary. The professional race is an endurance race, a long-distance race; it is not a matter of speed. The goal is not to reach the top and succeed at the first but in constant learning and in carving out one’s own path, learning from successes and failures with humility.
About the Author
Alicia Asin co-founded Libelium in 2006 with David Gascón and has been its CEO since the beginning. She is focused on how IoT is becoming the next tech revolution, starting with Smart Cities. She is a frequent speaker at international conferences on issues related to Smart Cities, Wireless Sensor Networks and the IoT. She is a computer engineer by the University of Zaragoza and graduated by ESADE Business School. Alicia is also the first woman to receive the National Young Entrepreneur at the 2014 meeting of the Spanish Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs (CEAJE).