Entrepreneur of the month: Marc Santandreu, founder of Tekstum
Marc Santandreu is an entrepreneur with extensive experience in the publishing world. His taste for reading and technology made him start the startup "Tekstum" in mid-2014. In this interview he tells us about his experience as an entrepreneur and the future plans for Tekstum.
Tekstum is a startup focused on the publishing and tourism sector. The company analyzes the reading experience by extracting the reader's emotions and feelings. This information is provided to publishers for decision-making and for the enrichment of online book selling platforms. In this interview, Marc Santandreu tells us more in detail the differential value of his startup.
What was it about the world of startups that attracted your attention?
Initially, nothing in particular. I found myself involved in it without looking. I returned to Barcelona after some professional experience abroad and was dying to start a project. Without realizing it and with little knowledge about the world of startups, I became immersed in it and identified myself with it. Starting in an incubator was a help to me.
What would you say are the keys to entrepreneurship?
Vision, creativity, passion, perseverance and determination, but above all an ability to listen and learn quickly from mistakes.
How did the idea for Tekstum come about?
Tekstum was the result of my last professional experience at an American publishing company. I had ideas and interests in my head and decided to implement them. I decided to focus on the publishing aspect and on tourism because that is the world I know best and like most. The publishing world is a very traditional industry, where it is very difficult to get innovations adopted. This may be an obstacle in one way, but at the same time it is an opportunity and I wanted to take advantage of it.
Given the enormous volume of data today, what would you say is Tekstum's differential value?
Tekstum's differential value is the capacity of our algorithms to adapt to very specific sectors. In other words, our analysis of feeling and emotions is not generic but specific to each particular case. We have to take into account that it is not the same thing to analyze a review or opinion that talks about books as one about hotels, restaurants, or a clothing brand. If you use a generic tool for all these cases, the analysis is less precise and the final result is obviously not the same.
What plans are there moving forward for Tekstum?
Tekstum was created with a focus on the world of books, where we work with some of the main publishers, and then we expanded to other sectors such as tourism. The aim is to reach more sectors, adapting our algorithms to each particular case. In fact, we are currently working for a dozen vertical markets. Our technology is based on artificial intelligence. It helps companies improve their marketing, decision-making and recommendations for their customers through an analysis of customer emotions and feelings with respect to a brand, product, service or campaign.
How would you describe the outlook for Spanish entrepreneurship?
The outlook is positive. There have been some major successes, but we also have to remember the high mortality rate of startups. It would also be a good idea to demystify the entrepreneurial world. The press only covers major success stories, with astronomic figures, but in some cases it would also be positive to tell the story of major failures, of the bubble that has been created artificially related to startups. That's the only way we will have a real vision of the sector that can help future entrepreneurs.
What would you say has been the most important lesson or milestone in your adventure as an entrepreneur?
It's very tough to be an entrepreneur. I've learned that when things go well you have many people around you who seem to adore you, but when things go bad you are alone. Absolutely alone. That moment is key, and what makes you stand out is how you handle it. It's also true that it is at difficult times when your ingenuity is keenest and you give the best of yourself.
What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur?
That the passion inherent to all entrepreneurs is not enough. You need a good product, a sufficiently large market and, above all, you have to attract a team with talent.
What is your perception of the API market?
The API market has made progress in recent years and has become an essential tool for many businesses. APIs are key to the creation of products and services with a high added value. They are basic for generating business opportunities.
What elements do you consider make an API effective?
It is essential for APIs to be closely focused on business objectives.
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