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Babatz (Clip): "Being an entrepreneur is not an end, but a means to reach a goal"

04/06/2016 10:59
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Adolfo Babatz, co-founder of Clip -a simple payment method based on mobile devices- highlights the importance of taking a look around you. For him, innovation is providing solutions to one-off problems by combining technologies that achieve things that were not possible before (expanding the market) or improving existing processes or services. Babatz is one of 33 innovators featured in the ebook Hablan los protagonistas (The key players speak).

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Could you describe your business?

Clip is a solution that allows any individual or business to accept all the cards that are used in Mexico. We began with a very simple product and were able to improve it and reach the current expanded database thanks to the reaction of the businesses that used it.

Why do you consider yourself innovative?

I do not consider myself as a innovator, it's the market that will make that decision. I am the CEO and founder of a company that has made payment processes at least 20 times more efficient than they were only a couple of years ago. The word "innovative" is overused. We should start by defining what we mean by "innovative"

What's the motivation behind your project?

To democratize payments in Mexico.

What are the challenges / obstacles facing entrepreneurs in Mexico today?

The first challenge is to develop a service that is actually demanded by the people. Then comes the subject of funding or where to obtain capital so you can start climbing the ladder. I am not referring to money from relatives or friends, but to investment by institutions that can really bring in a profit for the company and give it the opportunity to quote on the stock exchange. Once these obstacles have been overcome, the company has to be formed by contracting, retaining and increasing talent.

How would you define the DNA of the Mexican entrepreneur/innovator?

It has nothing to do with DNA. Setting up a company is a rational decision; some people are more adverse to risk than others. The trait shared by the individual who sets up a stand in the street and the one that starts up a technological company is that they both take a risk, but there is no natural disposition. That is shared by all the entrepreneurs in the world; there is no "Mexican DNA". That's a myth.

What main features define the Mexican entrepreneurial ecosystem?

The market has boomed in the last two years. I think progress has been made in investment funds and the number of funded companies. Like in any other boom, the next two years will see a consolidation. Many of them will not survive, but that's normal. The ecosystem is going through a key moment, where we will begin to see the first companies with significant earnings, making many of the traditional players uncomfortable.

What role do official and non-official bodies play in entrepreneurship?

The most successful ecosystems in the world are Silicon Valley and Israel. Both locations underwent a government investment in defense after the Second World War. The Mexican government has a window of opportunity in security to develop technologies that will used subsequently by other industries. This is a unique opportunity.

What is your vision of innovation/entrepreneurship in Mexico?

We are still behind other countries, including Latin American ones. Mexico is innovative as regards business and distribution models. Many of the large technological companies of our age have not become what they are by inventing an Internet search engine or a component for a device, but because they have taken advantage of this technology and innovated with a business and distribution model. In Mexico there are good foundations to build on this.

What trends do you see in the ecosystem?

Entrepreneurs are surrounded by myths and I think that's a mistake. One must understand that being an entrepreneur is not an end, but a means to reach a goal. If a problem arises, the entrepreneur creates something that solves that deficiency, but being an entrepreneur for the sake of doing so is a serious mistake.

What do you think of initiatives that are replicates of other models?

Almost all technology is a copy or improvement of something that already existed. For example, the first idea of an Internet search engine arose when the British intelligence services were trying to decipher the Soviet codes in the Cold War. This idea was used by several companies until Google tried it very successfully due to its business model. This is also true about countries. This is what China is doing and what the US did at the end of the 19th century.

What advice would you give a prospective entrepreneur in your sector?

To solve a single problem, only one. While they are doing that, they may come upon a magnificent proposal for the sector or industry; if they can solve one problem better than anyone else, there is a lot gained.

Adolfo Babatz suggests that entrepreneurship is to try to solve one problem better than anyone else and this can be a product, a service or even a business model. This is where innovation really happens.

The event held on January 21 was an opportunity to hear from those featured in this ebook. Click here to download the entire eBook Hablan los protagonistas: 33 innovadores mexicanos (The key players speak: 33 Mexican innovators).