NxG Award 2018 Finalist Fernando Olloqui
Member Association: Colombia
Project description: Construction is the least digitized industry in Latin America, which translates into a lack of productivity and efficiency. There is a great opportunity for improvement in this multimillion dollar market. Fernando established Licify in 2017 as a revolutionary platform that transforms the way buyers and suppliers interact in the real estate sector. The digital service boosts productivity by standardizing and simplifying the purchase processes. Licify attracts, cultivates and cures the exchange of value in the ecosystem allowing symmetry, efficiency and transparency in the flow of information. Licify currently operates successfully in Colombia and has a plan for rapid expansion to other countries in the region in 2019.
Year initiated: 2017
Fernando is the co-founder of Licify, an online platform that is transforming purchases in construction in Colombia and Latin America. Prior to that he was de CEO of his other company Stonia, a goods and services provider for the construction industry.
Fernando also worked at his family business, Grupo Olloqui, doing high-end real estate development in Panama and did hotel development at OCG Capital. He also was part of JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley in New York City. He has and MBA from Columbia Business School in New York and two bachelors degrees in Industrial. Engineering and Actuarial Mathematics as a valedictorian from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.
Fernando has lived and worked internationally in New York, Madrid, Panama, Miami and Colombia, working for the family businesses or starting his own companies of which Licify is the fourth. He is a huge Real Madrid fan and likes to play tennis, horseback ride and play soccer and travel in his free time.
How does your project provide a solution to a problem or satisfies a specific need?
Licify is a revolutionary platform that transforms the way buyers and suppliers interact in the real estate sector. Our digital service boosts productivity by standardizing and simplifying the process of quotation, purchase and qualification of builders, developers, contractors, and horizontal properties such as hotels, shopping centers, hospitals, among others. We attract, cultivate and cure the exchange of value in the ecosystem allowing symmetry, efficiency and transparency in the flow of information.
How do you create customer value?
Licify transforms the procurement process for builders in Latin America through technology. Our digital platform is increasing productivity, generating savings of 13-18%, and improving project returns.
In Latam 80% of construction projects have cost overruns and + 20% have major delays, costing builders money. A lower level of digitalization of this industry compared to others is driving sub-par productivity and presenting an opportunity for improvement in a multibillion-dollar market. The solution is our technology.
How is your project innovative?
Construction is the least digitized industry in Latin America, which presents a great opportunity for improvement in this multimillion dollar market. We are completely transforming the procurement process in the industry through the use of technology. Our users now have an efficient, transparent and organized process for managing a vital part of their operation.
How do you plan to grow, scale, and expand the impact of your idea?
Near term: +10,000 construction companies in Latam, +180,000 providers of goods and services.
Medium term: Infrastructure companies, property operators (hotel managers, schools, office and residential buildings).
These stakeholders participate in “construction projects” either in development or maintenance.
A third stakeholder are property owners such as institutional funds, family offices and large investors that use Licify as a control mechanism.
Our focus is the 50 largest builders in each country, which represent +50% of the purchase volume.
Each construction company brings 30-40 providers, providing accelerated growth and solving the “chicken and the egg” problem. We currently operate in Colombia, will begin operations en Mexico in 2019 (have already started validation with large Developers and GC’s in the country) and Peru in 2020.
What is the most valuable mistake that you have made, and what did you learn from it?
We don’t come from a technology/start-up background so we have made many mistakes and keep making them every day. I think that the main one was at the beginning not being open and willing to change our mentality and our way to view the business. We thought that Licify would grow just like our traditional brick and mortar companies but it is a completely different thing. This made us less agile and dynamic, our decision-making was slow and extremely conservative. We soon found out that this wasn’t the way for a tech start-up. We learned that as we wanted out clients to change their thinking and adapt to the new world, we needed to do it as well.
How being from a family business has impacted you as a person, and which influence this has in turn had on your project?.
Ricardo Wills, my business partner at Licify, is also a member of FBN. We did not meet through FBN but it is how we became intimate, how we began to understand that we had similar roles within our respective families, how we were actors in the same industry, and how we shared an entrepreneur's DNA. FBN has had a huge impact because it made us see that we could create new businesses on our own rather than rely solely on our family businesses.