Nicolás Uribe and Jorge Contreras, volunteer firefighters in Chile (they are all volunteers in this Latin American country), have a combined experience of more than 40 years of service. Both are also co-founders of Smert, a startup in which Uribe is the director of corporate development and Contreras is the Chief Financial Officer, providing his knowledge as head of corporate finance.
We spoke with these two Chilean entrepreneurs on the occasion of the closing of the last call for the Sofltanding Europe Program of La Nave, innovation center of the Madrid City Councila program in which they participated in its second edition.
How did Smert’s idea come about?
It was born from the anger and helplessness that we felt as firefighters when, due to the lack of information in a fire, we saw how a family could lose their home or their source of employment.
What problem does the solution solve?
Currently, when firefighters go to an emergency, they do not have information about the structure of the building and upon arriving at the scene they must begin to collect it, which delays planning, the rescue of possible victims and the control of the emergency.
With Smert we deliver such valuable and important information in less than 15 seconds, so that emergency teams can intervene quickly and agilely.
How can an application designed to optimize rescue times in an emergency also help prevent them?
We are currently developing an update to our app for communities. With it, we want anyone to be able to access brief prevention capsules, such as what to do if you are trapped in an elevator, if a pot of oil ignites, etc. In this way we want to raise security awareness to turn citizens into proactive rather than reactive subjects.
Who is your target audience?
Property managers, industrial and commercial sectors, schools, universities, shopping centers… in short, any large infrastructure.
In which countries do you have a presence?
Chile, Peru and Spain.
What is the training process you carry out with emergency teams to ensure they know how to use your solution?
In February of this year we were validated by the APTB (Association of Technical Firefighters Professionals), which brings together more than 80% of the major headquarters in Spain. This partnership validated our solution and saw the great contribution we provided when an emergency occurred. Thanks to them, we are reaching out to the different fire departments in this country to train them. For example, we recently coordinated a simulation exercise with Alcobendas, a municipality in the Community of Madrid.
Any examples of customers already using the solution?
In our country, in Chile, we protect more than 250 structures from different destinations, and in Spain we are beginning commercial operations, for example, we are protecting the Cabify corporate building.
How has the internationalization process been?
Smert’s internationalization process has been an exciting challenge. We began by consolidating our presence in Chile and, as we gained experience and validation in the local market, we expanded our operations to Peru and Spain. This process involved adapting to the different cultural and regulatory dynamics of each country, but also provided us with the opportunity to learn and improve our solution based on diverse needs and contexts.
What have been the main benefits that being part of innovation programs and ecosystems like La Nave has had for you?
Being part of La Nave’s Softlanding Europe Program was essential for our transition to Spain. We received comprehensive training in legal, tax, financing, presentation skills and valuable networking opportunities, which facilitated our adaptation to the Spanish business environment. We have also enjoyed the benefit of having a free physical space in the La Nave facilities, equipped with all the necessary amenities to promote our expansion process in the country.
What are the next steps and your short-term goals?
Our next steps include consolidating our operations in Chile, strengthening our presence in Peru and continuing to grow in the Spanish market. Our short-term objective is to expand our client portfolio, continually improve our technological solution and consolidate strategic alliances. We maintain a firm commitment to sustainable growth and constant innovation.