HOPU | X-Europe Startup Interview
Welcome to our X-Europe startup interview series. We have virtually sat down with a number of our founders from past cohorts to hear all about their solutions, vision for the future, and what made them tick during our X Europe programme. So whether you are a deep tech founder looking for startup support, an eagle-eyed investor, or simply interested in the possibilities that technology can bring to society, then we welcome you to take a read. Please meet HOPU, a startup that focuses on providing an air quality solution in smart cities.
Can you briefly explain what your solution is all about? What’s unique about it?
Our Unique Value Proposition is the focus on providing an air quality solution in smart Cities with High accuracy and reliability in terms of data quality with advanced algorithms and relevant services. Our key advantages are the 3 Terabytes of datasets that have trained 4 models (AI) to support cities to design Low Emission Zones, Identify the origins of pollutions, urban health impact and tourism impact. All these models have been validated in multiple cities with different characteristics/sizes, and this know-how and background enable the opportunity to support and transfer these experiences to new customers (cities) using our SaaS.
At the same time, HOPU has reached the major level of market certifications in Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) by European Commission, partnerships with quality control and certification companies as SGS, a laboratory for certification of air monitoring with ISO 17025 certification, own IPR for the software and 2 European patents for the mechatronic systems that enable us to collect hyperlocal data to enhance the results and models for every individual city,
Finally, the association with key organizations as CEF (European Commission), FIWARE Foundation (gold member and member of the board of directors) and IEEE P2510 (chair of the data quality standard).
What led you to start or join your company? What is the key motivation and mission behind the startup?
The reason to set up HOPU was to put into practice the PhD results and potential. Our dream is empower urban authorities with data-driven decision-making tools to foster urban sustainability. We think about user experiences and value engineering. We generate urban innovations using the latest techs as AI, IoT and Data-Quality. We engage decision-makers, to guarantee that data is understandable, intuitive and usable. We are here to support sustainable urban development. We really believe our planet's sustainability must be supported by all the advances in sensing and AI techs.
Who are the key target audiences? How does the technology make a positive impact?
Our market is split into two main markets. On the one hand, Smart Cities (environment monitor for cities), which is addressed via public tenders with customers in cities as Madrid (monitoring the Low Emission Zones - Madrid Central), Cartagena (industrial pollution and port impact in the city monitoring), Onda-Castellon (air quality monitoring), Helsinki (pollution source identification; including industrial background), and other cities as Valencia, Santander, Canet, Carcaixent, Badajoz, Canary Islands etc. using the environment monitors and dashboards for the air quality and pollution monitoring.
On the other hand, industry for monitoring industrial processes as petrochemical industries as Sabic to identify H2S/SO2 emissions, Sacyr to identify odours in water processing plants, plastic injection plants to monitor gases that could impact to occupational therapy, pregnancy risks and safety as Lisanplast, and constructions to monitor noise/dust-levels.
What’s the biggest milestone your startup has achieved so far, and what has surprised you most on this journey?
Our success is to make the HOPU solution a must to have by all cities, industries with sustainability plans and social responsibility. We envision our solution as the Next Generation GIS, fully empowered by contextual intelligence (AI-based on context and real-time information) that enables the capacity to understand what happened in a city, its relationship/influence with other organizations (industry, ports, touristic areas...).
Therefore, the ambition is via our network of partners, reseller and certified experts to reach a high market penetration that converts HOPU is the standard de facto for sustainable plans audit, certification, planning and monitoring. For this purpose, we aim over 200 cities by 2023 (right now, over 50 cities in Spain), opening a market in Germany and extending our network of partners overseas. The major achievement was the PCP for Madrid nanoparticles monitoring.
How has X-Europe helped you during the past few months? Connecting with other entrepreneurs working in the Smart Cities domain, getting insights about this market at a global scale (beyond Spain) and specialized coaching in our market.
What are your goals over the next 3, 6 and 12 months?
Our ambition in 3 months is to establish our first contracts in Germany, in 6 months to open our subsidiary in Germany together with EIT and in 12 months, open a reseller and partnership programme to support our network of experts.
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur trying to pave his/her way in the Smart Cities & Sustainability landscape?
Make a deep analysis about the tenders with these needs, how feasible or near to current demand and needs is your value proposition.
What’s unique about the X-Europe programme?
Top mentors, global scale and visibility.