“We are a small team, but very motivated”, says Judit Camargo, founder and CEO of the start-up Roka Furadada. Judit is one of the four key speakers of the Women in Biotech 2021: Women Empower Teams virtual event that will take place on 29 September 3 pm, EEST.
Company Roka Furadada, founded in 2019, aims to reduce the risk of skin cancer and other UV-related diseases. This startup team has developed and patented a new generation of progressive solar-dose-dependent UV filters that will be used to develop a new generation of sunscreen protection.
Judit Camargo agreed to share her insights as founder and manager of start-up Roka Furadada of forming an effective the team. The team is very important for start-ups, but the number of start-ups set up by women is still far behind. The 2019 survey conducted of Startup Lithuania showed, that start-ups with at least one woman on their founding team are more successful in attracting investment, especially when it comes to the early ones. But most of the investment in the world still goes to start-ups founded by men: In 2019, such start-ups received 87% of total investment, 10% of total investment came from mixed founding teams and only 3% from start-ups founded by women.
What’s the importance of a team in the start-up Roka Furadada you have founded in 2019?
The team is the most important part of the company. Without them, we will not be able to finish the product and break into the market.
Was it difficult to find the people you needed?
I would say that, more than difficult, it takes time. We look at the scientific background and professional experience, but we also pay careful attention to soft skills.
What skills are essential for your team members?
In our case flexibility, team-building skills and being proactive are all very important. But also for staff to share Roka Furadada’s values, such as female leadership, employee empowerment, INNOVATION promotion, professional DEVELOPMENT & fostering a PEOPLE-FIRST approach.
As I can see now, you team consists of 11 persons including you, so it’s not a big team in general. How do you encourage team spirit?
We are a small team, but very motivated. What we offer is exponential growth in terms of the learning curve of very different soft and technical skills. Our employees enjoy the kind of work they do, they can easily measure their individual and group contribution to the company. We are goal-oriented and we have a very flexible work schedule. Furthermore, staff can combine in-person work with teleworking, and we are also very flexible with holidays.
Have you ever thought about a having dream team? What would it be? Or maybe do you have it already?
I actually do have a dream-team. I’m very pleased. We are a very young company, and we are growing very fast, from the 3 professionals that began in 2019 to the 12 that we are now. My concern is to grow in a sustainable way, balancing the time that I can give to my staff and the time that they can devote to the people they supervise, because in two years we could easily be a team of 20. I have to ensure that everybody is aligned with the values, objectives, company culture.
What’s the difference between working in academia and managing your own business?
I’ve never worked only in academia. I’ve been working in the private sector, corporate world all my life, combining it with academic work, till I founded my own business.
Roka Furadada is doing research on smart solar filters, and that sounds appealing! Could you tell more about it to Lithuanian readers?
We have developed and patented a new generation of dose-dependent progressive UV filters that will be used to develop a new generation of sunscreen lotions with on-demand protection. The main characteristic is that when our SMART UV filters are exposed to UVB radiation, they undergo a photochemical transformation and become UVA absorbers.
The final compound is a broadband filter that can adjust to the level of radiation.
Therefore, we call them SMART. We encapsulate the filter with a patented process that prevents their release into human skin and the environment.
We invite you to join the live broadcast of the event at 3 pm on 29 September. Event will be broadcasted on the event’s portal, LRT.lt and the Facebook page of the Lithuanian Biotechnology Association