Alfonso Zamarro CEO and CO-founder interview.
How did the idea of creating the company come up?
In 2014 I was finishing my studies at ESADE. Back then, my tutor, Jordi, with whom I was doing a business plan for drones carrying defibrillators for medical emergencies, decided to go forward with the project. We spent two years trying to make it a reality, but we discovered through speaking with over 100 emergency services that actually the real problem was the decision-making process instead of just having a drone in the air. At that point, we decided to stop with the drone initiative and focus on a software platform for decision support that went beyond drone tech. The idea was that it would bring situation awareness, coordination and an overall holistic approach.
So, in 2016 in Barcelona, we got together with Jordi (our Co-Founder), Sergi (our CTO) and decided to launch Unblur.
Where does the name Unblur come from?
It comes from making the situation less blurry. Our tech does this. It makes the situation clear for first responders.
What difficulties were in the way of developing the company?
The first key element worth mentioning is that when developing something for such a complicated environment as an emergency, we knew that we needed to build it with first responders. This meant testing it on the field, letting them break the system etc. We had to spend a lot of time speaking with fire organisations and police departments to evaluate who could support us and test our system. This really boosted us to where we are today. It was definitely a long process to find who these innovators, these early adopters in the public sector.
What is the mission of the company?
We work to make technologies truly helpful to front-line responders.
First responders, both in the public and private scene, are incredible people and face the most unexpected challenges to protect our communities. For them to succeed, they need the support of the best tools possible.
The digital world as we know it is a fairly new one (+30 years old). There is still a great gap in transforming technologies into something that can help first responders save lives, protect our communities and the environment.
And this is even more present in front-line first responders, the ones that face the toughest challenges in their daily work.
Our purpose is to create a digital tool that can truly help them make faster and safer decisions thanks to data.
What makes Unblur unique?
I believe three elements make our company unique. Firstly, is that everything that we learn in this process of prototyping, testing and breaking the system to build something truly helpful for emergency services evolved into service on its own. This constant improvement of the system is part of our subscription.
Our highly qualified design team allows our end users to have the most up-to-date and relevant technology in their hands. This aspect is key, as governments constantly believe that technology is going too fast. We respond that we take care of the technology and ensure that they always have updated instruments.
Moving on, our subscription model is not based on licenses but a number of users. What this means is that we are democratising technology. We can allow organisations in wealthy regions to have access to sophisticated technology. At the same time, this technology that is constantly being improved in collaboration with emergency services can be offered to areas with limited resources.
Essentially our subscription model tailors to the size of the organisation. Finally, I would say that our collaborative mentality plays a big role. This translates into a product that is open to be easily integrated and easily connected to any technology in our customers’ environment. We do not restrain our customers, facilitate them to work with other suppliers, and allow all to bring the best value possible to first responders.
Do you collaborate with any partners?
We collaborate mainly with companies that also make emergency services products and services since this allows us to bring a higher value to our customers. We work closely with Excelerate, which provides resilient telecommunications on the front line. This is vital for us as it is a key element to using Iris, and for the customer, it is also convenient as it facilitates the services they receive.
It is the same case with Zebra, which provides tablets and smartphones that allow the use of Iris. This network of partners is great for customers as they do not only get our service, but they can get recommendations from more companies that can aid them in their digital transformation.
What are your plans?
We are currently mainly in the UK but also starting to launch some projects in the Nordic countries and Spain. However, we are a company with a global vision and thanks to the aid received from private investors, from the European Commission with the EIC Accelerator grant, we are really building a product and a team that will be able to serve any country in Europe but also worldwide.
We aim to scale up this sort of technology that supports first responders to protect communities. We want to make digital transformation easy and truly helpful. Our ambition is to grow globally to serve in any continent and any type of organisation.