On the Promoting Enterprise portal, we are talking to the entrepreneurs on the 33 Under 33 list. This Secrets of Success initiative aims to shine the spotlight on a selection of successful young entrepreneurs, documenting their stories in an effort to inspire others to consider entrepreneurship as a career path. Today it is the turn of young Portuguese Tiago Sá.
Tiago is from Portugal and has an MSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His mentor is Carri Duncan and his hero is Bill Gates. Tiago believes that he was born with a spirit of entrepreneurship. He financed his start-up with funds received from venture capital, bootstrap financing and from customers. His company Wisecrop offers a centralised and integrated management platform for farming businesses.
Tell us about your business
Wisecrop is an agricultural operating system - a centralised and integrated management platform for farming businesses that boosts their results, year after year. It offers an online interface that aggregates and processes data from various sources, such as sensors, aerial imagery, weather forecasts, machinery, etc. The operating system was designed to support small, medium and big farmers growing any type of crops, but it is mainly focused on high-value crops such as fruits and vegetables.
Where did you get the idea from?
The idea came from a project at university, in which we worked on an energy-efficient data transfer wireless protocol. We developed a working prototype that gave farmers a detailed mapping of the weather and soil conditions in their fields. Soon we understood that the real value came from post-processing the raw data, and not only from the data itself. As a result, we started developing management tools, with intelligent algorithms and predictive analytics to provide farmers with actionable and real-time indicators. The operating system is a constantly evolving solution, developed for and with farmers.
How old were you when you first decided you would start your own business?
I was 25 years old.
How did you get it off the ground?
First, with a few prizes from local and small idea competitions, then from venture capital, and very soon from customers.
Who did you turn to for help?
Our incubator (UPTEC), our early-stage mentors (from UPTEC and the university) and from other entrepreneurs with more expertise.
Describe some of the obstacles you faced as a young person starting out in this business.
First of all there was my ignorance, about pretty much everything related to business, and a lack of expertise in negotiations and business development. I also encountered a lack of credibility among partners, customers and investors and experienced difficulty in growing a highly qualified team.
How do you define success?
Externally, by being recognised for the good work done. Internally, by being happy with everything done, both professionally and personally.
What was the most challenging aspect of setting up your business?
The most challenging element was a lack of resources, mainly financial resources.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?
The satisfaction of our customers and the constant positive feedback given. Feeling we are actually changing lives for the better, is the most valuable reward we could ever have.
What are the future goals of your business, and how will you go about achieving them?
Establish Wisecrop as a reference in farming management solutions, mainly in Europe.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
Don’t be afraid of failing - it’s part of the process. Embrace failure as a requirement for achieving success.
- Publication date
- 30 May 2023
- Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
- Promoting Enterprise - categories
- Secrets of Success
- Promoting Enterprise - tags