Spain, as you know, is in a terrible economic mess. Entrepreneurs like Alicia are vital to the country’s economic future. She has built a steady, cutting edge technology company with 60+ people from Zaragoza. Impressive!
Sramana Mitra: Tell us about your beginning. Where were you born? Where did you grow up and in what kind of background?
Alicia Asin: I was born in Zaragoza, Spain. I went to the University of Zaragoza. This is where I met David Gascon my co-founder. We founded Libelium. We’ve been always tied to the same location. In fact, starting a new business gave us the motivation of staying in our city. It was like a rebel act of saying, “It has to be possible to be high tech in a city like ours.”
Sramana Mitra: Both you and David had a real commitment to growing the economy of your city and you wanted to build your company base there and not leave the place.
Alicia Asin: Yes, exactly. We think that this is something very Spanish. We have a great engineering university in our city. Many engineers need to go abroad. We are very proud every time we hire people. I would say that 95% of our engineers come from the local university. Instead of going abroad, they are creating value for the country .
Sramana Mitra: It’s very important given where Spain is right now. I’m thrilled to hear that is one of your missions and you are succeeding in achieving that. Tell me a bit about what you and David thought about doing when you were planning to start this company? What was going to be the premise of the company?
Alicia Asin: To be totally honest, we didn’t have a clear idea. We knew that there was a concept called wireless sensor networks and we wanted to be a part of that. We started the company with just two ideas. The first one was we were seeing an incredible opportunity of exploiting this new revolution. At that time, Internet of Things was not trending. The second thing was that we were seeing that it was going to be so easy. It was going to be so stupid not to do it.
When we started, we were too young. We were just 24 and we hadn’t finished our studies either. We were thinking that it was going to be so easy. Now when we remember those times, we laugh because we were so naive. I’m very happy that we were not conscious of the problems we were going to face because otherwise, maybe we wouldn’t even be here today.