Campus and Community

“You must be prepared to fail”

Carlos Moedas, Técnico alumnus and European commissioner, gave one of the most popular lectures on the second day.

The Startup University stage hosted a panel titled “What they don’t teach you at business school”. Carlos Moedas, Técnico alumnus and European Commissioner for Science and Innovation, Vasco Pedro, co-founder and CEO of Unbabel, a Técnico spin-off  and the singer Akon, talked about leadership, networking, the importance of diversity and the reasons why we should never be afraid of failure. The debate was moderated by Anne Gaviola, Economics & Money Editor at VICE magazine.

“You must be prepared to fail”, said the Técnico alumnus, who considers that being afraid of failure can hold you back and that you have to persist through failure to be successful. The European Commissioner also stressed the importance of team diversity and mentors. Vasco Pedro shared that his experience at Unbabel taught him that “leadership is something that can be promoted and encouraged. Follow your passion, don’t be afraid to fail”.

A few minutes before this panel start we asked João Graça, Técnico alumnus and co-founder of Unbabel, what are the benefits of studying engineering for someone who follows an entrepreneurial career. “Engineering teaches us to solve problems. We have to deal with many problems in a startup, so an engineering background helps us to look at these problems and to find pragmatic solutions”, answered João Graça.

“We have been participating in the Web Summit to gain more visibility and then, through the parallel events, we aim to reach potential clients and make interesting contacts”, said João Graça.

“At Makewise we are using computer vision and AI to automate operations in real-world scenarios”, said Gonçalo Abreu and Ivo Lucas, Técnico alumni (BSc in Information Systems and Computer Engineering) and founders of Makewise. “We typically work with large companies like The Navigator, BP or Brisa. We started investing seriously in this area of Artificial Intelligence a few years ago, just before this fuss about it”.

This is not the first time that Makewise participates in the Web Summit. “We want to open new business opportunities not only in Portugal but also abroad. We want to find partnerships and to contact with investors”, says Ivo Lucas. According to Gonçalo Abreu “studying at Técnico allowed us to acquire the tools we need to be able to solve any problem. I improved my management, human resources, marketing and communication skills, and I also learnt a little bit of everything that is needed to create a startup”.

Many Técnico alumni, current students, partners and public visited the Técnico booth, which is located in pavilion 3. Pedro Rodrigues, Técnico student and volunteer at the Web Summit, visited our booth. “I think it’s very important that Técnico participates in an event like this. Many students and many entrepreneurs from all over the world are here today, so it’s very important that they know more about Técnico”, says Pedro Abreu.