2/21/22 · Institutional

The UOC once again brings entrepreneurial projects to the Mobile World Congress start-up event

The University will have a stand at 4 Years From Now to showcase eight innovative initiatives from its community
The entrepreneurs are promoting innovative technologies in fields such as learning, motion capture, the metaverse, recruitment, the protection of the elderly and the purchase of what we see in films and series
The UOC has participated in the 4YFN since 2015 (photo: UOC)

The UOC has participated in the 4YFN since 2015 (photo: UOC)

From 28 February to 3 March, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) will once again be taking part in Four Years From Now (4YFN), the start-up event held as part of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), with a stand showcasing eight start-ups and spin-offs. The University will be participating through Hubbik, its support platform for entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer, which has remained active during the pandemic, as Mireia Riera, director of the UOC's Research and Innovation department, explained: "The virtual incubator has made it possible to continue to respond to the needs of entrepreneurs by offering them Hubbik's guidance and mentoring programmes and services completely online."

Riera highlighted the importance of participating in 4YFN, "a strategic event in the start-up world" that is aligned with the University in its "mission to transfer new knowledge to society" and make it possible for the "results of research and innovation to have a social impact". In this respect, Riera added that 4YFN is "the ideal environment for spotlighting the services and products offered by UOC start-ups and spin-offs" while also "connecting these businesses to the entrepreneurial ecosystem".

As such, the UOC will have a stand at 4YFN where it will showcase innovative technology for learning in organizations, for motion capture, for inclusive and respectful education, for harnessing the metaverse, for agile recruitment, for protecting the elderly and for accessing goods and services that appear in films or series.

Designing learning experiences in six simple steps

The BeChallenge platform allows any professional, even if they are not an expert, to design learning experiences based on projects or challenges in six simple steps. The creator of BeChallenge is Xavi Pascual, a graduate of the UOC's master's degree in Education and ICT. Pascual is pleased to be attending 4YFN with the UOC, the institution that invested in his initiative, as it gives him the opportunity to present "a disruptive proposal in the field of education and training". He said: "The fact that the UOC, the world's first fully online university, supports BeChallenge puts us in a very good position."

The pandemic "has made it clear that the world of education needs tools like the one put forward by BeChallenge," Pascual added. Educational institutions, he explained, have realized the need to go beyond digitalization and "start evolving their educational and training models through the use of tools that support them".

Motion capture based on open-source technology

Chordata Motion, a start-up specializing in the development of suits for capturing motion and rendering it in 3D, is another of the projects that will be participating in 4YFN with the UOC. This initiative was one of the winners at the 2019 final of the SpinUOC entrepreneurship programme and has also received investment from the University. "At Chordata Motion we are launching a motion capture work environment based on open-source technology, which is a radical disruption of this business model," said CEO Juancho Casañas. 

Casañas hopes to "make contact with potential investors and/or institutions and establish synergies with them" and welcomes the support of the UOC as "it helps us to grow and reach new opportunities for our company". 

Inclusive educational technology

Gemma Fàbregas, a graduate of the master's degree in Multimedia Applications, who won one of the SpinUOC awards in 2017 with her project Jo També Llegeixo, is the head of Diversity Apps, a start-up that will also be on the UOC stand and in which the University has also invested. As specialists in cognitive accessibility, the team is focused on creating inclusive educational technology and also advising the educational technology sector in this field. 

Fàbregas explained that she wants to make the most of her participation in the event, for which she credits the UOC's support, to showcase creation and consultancy services in inclusive technology. The start-up is looking to network with other entrepreneurs for possible collaborations, as well as with future investors. The aim is to "grow our app and turn it into a platform for accessible educational services," said Fàbregas, who pointed out that the pandemic has increased the number of clients in Latin America despite the difficulties they have faced.

Technology for respectful education with scientific evidence

Àlex Letosa, course instructor at the UOC's Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, is the driving force behind Educatool, "the online tool for respectful and loving education, based on scientific evidence" and one of the winning projects at SpinUOC 2021. Now, together with the UOC, he will be participating in 4YFN, an event at which Letosa is looking to "make contacts to study the different growth plans" that his start-up has established for the near future. "We also think that it is a great opportunity to present our educational and online training tool to the general public," he added.

Letosa, who highly values the UOC's support in helping the start-up to grow, explained that the pandemic has partly helped to boost the project, as "people have got used to using online training tools, for example, to attend sessions with a psychologist via videoconference or take asynchronous courses".

Learning solutions in the metaverse

The UOC spin-off company Immersium Studio, which received investment from the University and won one of the world's most important virtual reality awards for its training course on ICUs and COVID-19, will also be taking part in 4YFN at the academic institution's stand. The company's CEO, Luis Villarejo, is excited to be attending because the MWC "is a very important showcase for the entrepreneurial and innovative scene and is a meeting place for many important figures".

Villarejo pointed out that it is a fantastic time to be positioning a project with online and metaverse learning initiatives because the pandemic "has encouraged many companies and institutions to develop metaverse learning experiences that complement more mainstream teaching".

Connecting companies and programmers in a matter of minutes

Eduard Teixidó is the CEO of Opground, a start-up that connects companies with the most suitable programmers, just like recruiters do, but it does so in under five minutes and without anyone having to waste their time. Opground allows companies to save up to 80 % of the time they spend looking for new talent. By attending 4YFN, he explained, they hope to "expand our network of contacts, promote our value proposition and discover other projects". Teixidó, who highly values the UOC's support for the project, recalled that they started the company at the most critical moment of the pandemic and, "regardless of the complications that this may have caused, it has also made us a much more united team that can handle the ups and downs".

24-hour preventive protection for the elderly

Ángel Puertas, a graduate of the UOC's Executive MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, is the head of SeniorDomo, one of the winning start-ups at the 2019 final of the SpinUOC entrepreneurship programme and also the recipient of an investment from the University. Puertas, who hopes to gain "contacts and potential clients" at 4YFN, appreciates the UOC's support because it has been a "key accelerator" for the project. 

The pandemic has affected its operations, but it has had a positive side. Puertas said: "For us it has been a positive experience; I think that without the challenges posed by the global health crisis, we would not have survived, because we have been forced to improve and scale our business model in a different way."

Buying the products and services in films and series

José Antonio García Pamplona, a student on the UOC's Executive MBA in Digital Business, was one of the winners at SpinUOC 2020 with Waital, a project that uses an app to turn the viewing of a film into an unprecedented shopping experience for the products that appear in it. García is pleased to be attending 4YFN with the UOC because it is "a great opportunity to promote ourselves and establish new relationships with future investors and possible collaborations with other companies in the audiovisual and technology sector". 

Expert, tailored support

All the start-ups and spin-offs attending 4YFN with the UOC's support are benefitting from Hubbik's entrepreneurial guidance. Mireia Riera, director of the UOC's Research and Innovation department, pointed out that, through this platform, the University "provides expert business support and guidance, free of charge, that's tailored to the needs of projects at any given stage". The initiatives receive support "from the validation of the business idea to its acceleration" and there is also the "possibility of working with other entrepreneurs and actors in the UOC community, such as research groups and researchers, as well as making connections with the entrepreneurial ecosystem in general," Riera added.

Experts UOC

Press contact

You may also be interested in…

Most popular

See more on Institutional