Three argentinian companies chosen by MIT
Onapsis, Technisys and VU Security were selected this year for the MBA student program at MIT. Your stories and plans.
They are in the global vanguard and no longer only promise revolution: they appear closer and closer to achieving it. They are the fruit of the local technological entrepreneur ecosystem, a segment praised for the capacity, talent and “waist” of its members. Emerging from a growing sector, that of knowledge-based services, which exported USD 6,100 million in the first 9 months of 2018 and, despite having a positive balance a decade ago, will pay retentions for selling services abroad.
These are three local companies that have the head and a large part of their businesses set on a global scale, and which were highlighted at this time by the prestigious MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
These men and women have remarkable resilience and offer great possibilities for the future (Johnson)
They are Onapsis, Technisys and VU Security, and were selected to present the projects of the Global Entrepreneurship Laboratory (G-Lab), in collaboration with the MIT Sloan Business School, founder of this international program. Thus, teams of MIT Sloan MBA students “will work at the headquarters of these companies throughout January to offer them high impact knowledge and analysis”.
Why were these companies chosen? Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the IMF and co-founder of G-Lab, explains that “these men and women have a remarkable resilience and offer great possibilities for the future.” For our students, it is a privilege -and a learning- to be useful. Everyone returns to the United States very impressed with the energy and intensity of the CEOs of these companies. “
Each of them has a story that deserves to be told, but above all they have a great future ahead of them. They face it with innovation and focus on new business. Here, a review for each of them.
Technisys, the “old lady” who became world class
“We’re starting to play the global game … Yes, now we’re going around the world,” Miguel “Mike” Santos (48) tells Infobae.
He is the CEO and founder of this company that was born in the first wave of the Internet, more than 20 years ago. Adrián Iglesias (Operations Director) and Germán Pugliese Bassi (Marketing and Alliances Director), who lives in the United States, are the other co-founders. They specialized since the zero minute in technology for the financial market and now they “exploit” with the fintech, the traditional banks eager to invest to aggiornarse and the new 100% digital banking.
Last year they jumped from the region and won projects in Canada and the United States. Analysts such as Gartner, Forrester, Celent and ResearchReportsinc stand out as key players.
– Why did it take 20 years?
– We did many things in 20 years and it went well, but this seems to be our wave. There is an accelerated growth of the industry that affects everyone, but a lot to the banks. In addition there are the fintech, the challenger banks, or 100% digital banks, and other companies that are converted and give some kind of financial service, such as Mercado Libre. Our technology is very powerful, goes hand in hand with the world class. That’s why the project is more aggressive than ever.
We did many things in 20 years and it went well, but this seems to be our wave. There is an accelerated growth of the industry that affects everyone, but a lot to the banks (Santos)
Technisys billed USD 50 million in 2018 and expects to increase 30% this year. “But we can reach USD 500 million in the next 5 years”, calculates Santos. Argentina represents 20% of the revenue, they have 500 employees and their investors are Alta Ventures, Kaszek, Oria Capitals (Brazil) and Endeavor Catalyst (USA).
There are 40 large clients: 30 traditional banks (Macro, Itaú, Patagonia, Bancor and Provincia, in the country), five digital and four fintech.
“Brightside is a 100% digital bank of Canadian capital owned by the ATB bank, they made a global search among 50 technology providers, managed by PWC, and we won it, it’s a business that in five years will leave us USD 20 million. that level we compete today, “says Santos, grandson of modernist architect Amancio Williams and great-grandson of composer Alberto Williams, founder of the Buenos Aires Conservatory of Music.
The entrepreneur studied at the National College of San Isidro and then at the UBA, Computer Science. He is married to Jessica and has two children. According to the book Los nuevos reyes argentinos (Paidós), “he was a professional tennis player until he was 19 and he played some tournaments, like the ATPs of Buenos Aires and Itaparica, he is also a music fan and composes electronic music”.
VU Security, security first
Undoubtedly, VU Security is a good example of what many entrepreneurs and foreign investors – and MIT, also – define as Argentine resilience when it comes to creating a startup.
This fraud prevention and identity protection company was born in 2007 and its CEO, Sebastián Stranieri (38), is a self-taught techie, the son of a policeman and a social psychologist, who has also practiced Buddhism for 16 years and is judo and Formula 3 driver “Now I do not run, I dream of having a team, my sabbatical plan is to be able to follow F1 for a whole year,” he tells Infobae. But for that lack: “First, VU”, affirms.
“We are the only Argentine cybersecurity company that has such a global expansion that at the other end of our platforms there are 80 banks and more than 200 million users protected with our technology, today, the most innovative companies select us to prevent fraud and digital onboarding: The Renaper and the Ministry of Modernization, for example, hired us for the new facial identification system for life tests from a cell phone, “Stranieri explains.
The company already has a presence in 15 countries and among its clients are Banco Santander, the Bank of the Republic of Uruguay, Prisma, Falabella and Globant.
We are the only Argentine cybersecurity company that has such a global expansion that at the other end of our platforms there are 80 banks and more than 200 million users protected with our technology.
Last year, VU billed USD 4 million and they estimate double that figure in 2019. From the company they detail that the local sector moves USD 100 million per year and that in 2017 there were more than 3 million cyber attacks to the State and the private sector in Argentina.
“The people of MIT come to work with us, in our particular case to help us with planning, the focus of innovation and business strategy,” explains this entrepreneur about the agreement with the American Institute. “It’s great because they evaluate us as a company, but also because of the impact we generate.” This opened many doors and allowed us to talk about how we put Argentina at the forefront of technology, “he concludes.
Onapsis, with the focus on the outside
Onapsis is the youngest of the three companies highlighted by MIT. He was born in 2009, his founders are Mariano Núñez Di Croce (CEO) and Víctor Montero (CIO), and in just a couple of years he had set up his headquarter in Boston, in the USA. Its focus is global, with the extra challenge of being in a market that is also being born.
It is a cybersecurity company that is mainly dedicated to providing solutions on critical business applications, especially SAP platforms, something in which they were pioneers. “We were the first to provide such a solution and we are the leaders in a super small and emerging market, but we are leading that growth”, explains Sebastián Bortnik, director of Research and Innovation of the company.
A few days ago they announced the purchase of Virtual Forge, a company with 100 employees and operations in Europe and Asia. “The objective is to expand the business that was most concentrated in the US and take it to a global scale, the same with our portfolio of solutions, we are currently 200, between Buenos Aires, Boston and Europe, so it is an important growth. great step, “says Bortnik.
Onapsis has about 300 clients, all of them are big: the US Army, Sony, Hershey’s, General Motors, 3M, Cargill and American Water. At the local level, it is responsible for the security of MercadoLibre, Tenaris and Banco Galicia platforms.
“MIT sent four students (two from China, one from Hong Kong and one from Saudi Arabia) who were working with us in analysis and consulting on some ideas that we had going around, mainly about the expansion that the company is doing and the planned growth The truth is, the project is great because they are young people, trained, with a lot of world and energy, they were very focused on studying all the edges of these ideas for several months, something that in a startup that grows like ours is a luxury that Managers can not always give us, “said Bortnik.
Are Onapsis, VU Security and Technisys three new Argentine local “unicorns” in the making? Maybe. What is certain is that they always go for more. The game of innovation that is played in a global court is played with very tight teeth. And with waist and some other gambeta, too.