Spain accounts for a significant part of the group's turnover, and is expected to continue growing
20 years ago the IT engineer Pedro Coutinho launched Ambidata in Portugal along with his friend the chemist Paulo Rego, who had made him aware of a gap he had spotted in the market: a software program to assist in laboratory management. The innovation was not so much that they were offering a new product, called LabWay LIMS, but that they made it affordable for all laboratories, as the tools available at the time were far too expensive and within reach of only the major players in the sector.
Soon after, after they embarked on their expansion in Spain. Seven years ago they decided to set up their subsidiary using Spanish capital. Today Ambidata Spain serves as the launchpad for the expansion the company has already begun in Latin America, where it is seeking local partners to become involved in management and contribute ideas.
When did Ambidata arrive in Spain and what were its aims?
Ambidata was already familiar with the Portuguese market, and for us, Spain was the natural next step. In fact, we already had some customers we were supporting from Portugal, but we realized that there was potential for business in Spain and we had to go for it. Ambidata's objective has always been to grow at the same pace as our customers, and that potential was already there in the Spanish laboratory sector.
What infrastructure do you have in Spain?
We currently have a branch in Madrid with a consulting team and commercial office. The technological infrastructure support is provided from Oporto, but for all the other activities we are fully autonomous. Although we are two different companies, we like to consider Ambidata as a single enterprise with a team that works together.
How has the company developed since it arrived in Spain?
When we started we had only a commercial presence, and we made frequent visits to run demos, make visits and so on. In the end we felt confident enough to make a commitment and we founded a company with Spanish capital. The initial investment was rather modest; in the first years we had the backing of the Portuguese subsidiary, but we gradually became totally autonomous and now have excellent growth prospects.
What investment has the company made in Spain and how many jobs has it created?
We initially hired two people, a consultant and a sales person, and we currently have five people working full time, plus 30 in Portugal who travel to Spain on a weekly basis. Our plans are still to keep moving forward: by 2020 we expect to increase our customer portfolio and consolidate our current customers.
How is Spain important to the company's strategy?
For us Spain represents an important part of the group's turnover, and we want to continue increasing this percentage by becoming established in the Spanish market. Spain has also been the starting point for reaching out to Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America. We already had customers in Brazil, but we've realized that opening an office in Spain has been essential to driving Ambidata's internationalization. It opens doors and brings us closer to our future projects.
What projects do you currently have underway and what are the upcoming challenges?
We're currently immersed in the Portugal 2020 program and our aim is to increase our volume of international business. We've been investing in the partners projects for several years, and we now have the participation of several partners to implement LabWay LIMS in Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico and Brazil. So that's our challenge: breaking into the South American market through these partners and becoming a go-to product for Latin American laboratories.