We talked to Javier Garaeta of Hetikus about optimizing workflows, simplifying management and boosting collaboration during the pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Javier Garaeta: We’re doing well, considering. I was stranded in Panama for a while and actually got Covid upon returning home, but other than that we’ve been very lucky and, like everyone else, trying to move forward despite the most unexpected circumstances.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Hetikus.
Javier Garaeta: I was a corporate governance, compliance and risk management consultant for over a decade, and eventually, as regulations became more strict and my clients struggled to comply with them, I realized there was only one possible solution: technology.
They invested a lot of time and used several different tools in their efforts to have a compliant, responsible corporate governance. I knew enough about their pains and problems to create a single platform that could help them through every stage of their processes.
How does Hetikus innovate?
Javier Garaeta: We automated the entire corporate governance process through an end-to-end platform that’s intuitive and easy to use, as well as based on the needs of actual corporate governance teams around the world. We made it fully customizable so that it’s useful for any organization, from an NGO with a single board of advisors to a multinational corporation with several companies in different countries.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Javier Garaeta: It’s been a mixed bag, to be honest. While some of our prospective clients stopped new software acquisitions and certain projects altogether, a large percentage of companies who had long-term digital transformation plans had to speed them up. So we lost some, and we gained some.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Javier Garaeta: Last year, CB Insights released a roundup of the main reasons startups fail, and the second one on the list, right after there being no need for the product in the market, was running out of money. I think COVID-19 really tested a lot of startups, including ours, in this aspect, and I learnt that it doesn’t matter how great the idea is, you need funding to keep going in case a crisis hits.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Javier Garaeta: It’s fairly simple: exercising and keeping work and play –family, relationships, and just general fun– separate. It took me a while to understand this last one, but I think I finally got it.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Javier Garaeta: A lot of our competitors focus only on meeting management, so our end-to-end focus in the corporate governance process is a big strength. But given that COVID-19 has shifted so much in the market, we decided to approach sectors we hadn’t considered, that are less mature in terms of regulations but that can benefit from our principles.
Your final thoughts?
Javier Garaeta: COVID-19 has been devastating for a lot of us, both on an individual and business level. But in every painful time there’s also an opportunity, and if there’s anything we’ve learnt and I think everyone can get behind, is that digitalization is no longer an option or an afterthought: it’s a necessity.
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