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Can an academic project become a startup? Yes, and that’s what happened in the Brazilian capital, Brasília. It all started when the Performance Management Research Group at the University of Brasília (UnB) — created eight years ago by professor Alexandre Maduro-Abreu — developed a project with the aim of ensuring the health of the operation and the development of companies.

With the participation of professors, students and advisees from UnB, the Performance Management Model was born. This is a methodology aimed at helping company managers make more informed and assertive decisions. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, 48% of Brazilian companies close within three years and the main reason is the lack of efficient management.

With the resources handy, Maduro-Abreu and his master’s student Kayton Ávila realized that they could (and should) monetize their creation, integrating the concept with cutting-edge technology. In 2020, i3DATA was founded.

“We talked about that for four years, until we decided to turn the concept into something feasible, a solution for the market. And the best way we found to do that was to found a startup”, says Maduro-Abreu. He and his former student Ávila, who became the co-founder and president of i3DATA, invested 150,000 Brazilian reais ($30,000) to start the business.

Kayton Ávila and Alexandre Maduro-Abreu, co-founders of i3DATA

Maximum performance

The professor and his advisee developed i3Performance, a data-driven performance measurement software that uses mathematical and statistical models to compare the performance of a company, branches, teams, products or franchisees.

The platform is integrated to the client’s ERP system to obtain all the company’s data, so the methodology can work its magic and generate several indicators to support managers’ decision making processes. In short, the software guides the company on what adjustments must be made to achieve maximum performance, where and how.

“The methodology proposes to deliver indices of efficiency, performance and performance. We synthesized everything into a single index. One of the main indicators shows the company how much money it is losing because it is not operating at peak performance”, Ávila said.

In addition to the monthly recurring payments for the use of the software, the startup charges a fee to start the project, where a study of the organization is carried out, the analysis of its data, identification of the company’s level of maturity in relation to the concepts used in the platform, etc.

The initial cost for the client varies between 20,000 Brazilian reais ($4) and 60,000 Brazilian reais ($12), depending on the complexity of the project. The exception was a large company, who paid 150,000 Brazilian reais ($30,000) to start, due to its size. The monthly fee for using the software can range between 4,000 Brazilian reais ($800) and 20,000 Brazilian reais ($4,000).

In addition to the platform, i3DATA has other sources of revenue such as consulting and training. “Adding the recurrence of the software to other projects, we expect to reach a gross revenue of 1 million Brazilian reais ($200,000) in 2022”, Maduro-Abreu said. The startup currently serves 30 retail stores in Brasília and 650 credit unions across the country.

Focused on the projects they are working on this year, for now the entrepreneurs are not thinking about seeking external resources – but are open to talk. Who knows?

Free software use

Cognizant of the fact that the price tag of the platform could be a little expensive for micro and small companies, Maduro-Abreu and Ávila devised a way to give smaller companies the opportunity to use the methodology. This year, they created the Brasil Mais Performance initiative.

Under the project, once a year i3DATA will select up to 5 micro and small companies in the wholesale/distributor sector to have access to the i3Performance platform for free, in addition to getting training and qualification on the Performance Management Model.

To participate in the selection, applicants need to be a micro or small company from anywhere in Brazil that is formally structured and has data available, and need help to improve the performance of their business. Interested parties may apply for the project through the i3DATA’s website or social networks.

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