With over twenty years’ experience in consulting, Laura Urquizu is the partner and CEO of Red Points. Laura has led the implementation and deployment of the company’s current business model — Software-as-a-Service solution — resulting in exponential growth. Under her leadership, the company has built an impressive portfolio of technological products and secured two major rounds of funding in the past 3 years.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Thank you for having me. My journey is quite unusual, most entrepreneurs usually start off by founding a successful company before becoming angel investors or VCs. I did it the other way around.
I started my career as an executive in Banking and Consulting and then became the head of the first VC fund investing in seed capital in Spain when no one else was investing in start-ups and the ecosystem was still very small.
I then moved on to become Red Points’ CEO in 2014 after spending over 20+ years on the investors’ side.
Why did you found your company?
When I met the founders of Red Points in 2014, it was a small company, the business was still being formed. However, when they asked me to join as the CEO, I did not think twice.
From day one I fell in love with the company and what it was trying to achieve, although back then it was initially focused on copyright protection.
Red Points’ invaluable contribution to helping brands worldwide fight piracy and counterfeits online means that we’ve been able to help safeguard companies’ priceless IP and protect consumers against potential harmful goods. This is something I am very proud of.
That’s why, since I have joined the company, I have been working hard to further expand Red Point’s efforts to protect trademarks and drive the worldwide adoption of our technology.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Red Points is truly changing the game in online IP protection. When I started leading Red Points four years ago, I saw a clear need for a solution that would tackle not only online piracy, but also counterfeiting and irregular distribution using technology.
That’s why we have developed our very own proprietary solution that assists and automates the detection process, validation and enforcement of the intellectual property infringements on the internet, using image recognition and machine learning developments.
Thanks to these technologies, we’re able to identify infringements human analysts alone wouldn’t be able to find. The technology also learns from the enforcement history the brand has with us in order to predict which cases have a high probability of being irregular.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
Throughout my career, I had a couple of exceptional managers that really inspired me with their leadership style and coached me to become the leader I am today.
What they all have in common is their exceptional ability to communicate and their willingness to create a transparent workplace. All of them truly valued the power of transparent communications, both external and internal, to create a successful business.
How are you going to shake things up next?
As a company, we continually think outside the box to ensure we remain ahead of the game when it comes to online brand protection. For instance, we are using our latest $12M funding towards expanding both our teams and services. We are also investing heavily in technologies that will fundamentally impact the future of IP like artificial intelligence. Machine learning is already heavily integrated into our processes however we always want to explore further.
Soon, Red Points will not only become the leader in anti-counterfeiting and brand protection, but we will also support brands managing their relationships with existing distributors.
Ultimately, when brands fail to monitor their partners’ activity it can negatively affect sales and customers’ trust. That’s why, over the coming years my aim is for Red Points to help brands protect their brand integrity not only on illegal channels but also on official ones.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
Follow your instinct, always. Whenever I’ve had to make important decisions in my life I always followed my gut feeling. When I decided to join Red Points and stepped away from the successful role I held for years, many people called me crazy.
Even though I knew joining a newly created startup was a risky move, I was attracted to Red Points’ entrepreneurial mindset and driven by curiosity. Fast forward to present times, I am glad I followed my instinct and took the plunge. Life would not be the same without Red Points.
Enjoy every minute. Enjoy whatever you do. If you don’t enjoy it, it’s not worth doing.
Be yourself. Never lose sight of who you are. Leading a company can be extremely stressful and difficult at times however, it’s important to feel at peace with all the decisions you make along the way and remain true to yourself. People will respect you for it.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?
I read Jonah Berger’s Contagious in one sitting. The book is filled with valuable insights on social behaviors that apply to multiple products and services.
Berger’s core argument is that everyone should invest in word-of-mouth, because people don’t really trust advertising but they listen and trust what their peers say.
By making virality not only part of your marketing strategy, but also an important value of your product and business, your branding becomes less a sum of tactics and more a natural consequence of your team’s everyday work.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I’d love to have a private lunch with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. As an entrepreneur, I have always looked up to him. I really admire his leadership style. He’s not an eccentric founder. What’s important to him is the company he has built, it’s not about him.
If you ask people who the founder of Amazon is, I bet many might not know his name, however through his work he has created a real legacy that will live on for the years to come.
How can our readers follow you on social media?