The 20 Impeccable Women in Business 2017

Alicia Asín: Thought Leader in Pursuit of Innovation

Alicia Asín

A thought leader of the industry, a true believer that IoT will be the next tech revolution, and a frequent speaker at international conferences on the issues related to Smart Cities, Wireless Sensor Networks and the IoT, Alicia Asín is the Co-Founder & CEO of Libelium.

The first woman to receive the National Young Entrepreneur at the 2014 meeting of the Spanish Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs (CEAJE) and the first woman receiving the Rey Jaime I Entrepeneurship Award, Alicia has earned many accolades.

Alicia  is a Computer Engineer focused on how the IoT can change the world, starting with Smart Cities and Precision Agriculture, among other applications. She co- founded the company with David Gascón, CTO of Libelium, a Spanish IT company that has created “Waspmote”, a wireless, modular and open source sensor hardware platform for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Libelium’s technology is present in more than 120 countries worldwide, developing projects to monitor and improve efficiency in agricultural crops, with environmental control systems to prevent climate change, or even through e-health control equipment to universalize access to health services in developing countries.

Libelium, Working for a Good Cause

Libelium’s wireless sensor platform is present in projects of great economic and social impact to address the great challenges humanity faces in this century. Libelium sensors are helping to prevent pests and improve productivity in agricultural crops, are helping to reduce pollution and traffic in several smart cities, have been involved in projects to predict volcanic activity, are helping to universalize access to a health system to populations far from hospitals, and have even arrived in space on board a satellite to study solar storms.

Alicia is leading the growth of the company based on international projection and continuous innovation of the technological platform. “I sincerely believe that the greatest legacy that the Internet of Things can provide is greater democracy and transparency so that citizens can value the decisions made by public administration managers,” says Alicia.

Additionally, Alicia leads several educational projects to promote the vocations of young girls to engineering studies. “By 2020, 4.5 million programmers will be needed worldwide for the 50 billion devices that we will connect to the Internet. We either bridge the digital gap between the knowledge that companies demand and practical knowledge of the workforce, or we are endangering the growth of innovative companies,” adds Alicia.

Overcoming the Challenges Coming in the Way Towards Success

It was not at all easy for Alicia to conquer every challenge coming her way! But she knew exactly how to turn them topsy-turvy and make out a way. She narrates one of the challenges as, “I co-founded Libelium at 24 and I have always looked younger than I really was. I remember the guys at the bank totally ignoring me when I was with David, my co-founder, even when he kept telling them I was the CEO. I have no regrets about those things, just used them to make my skin thicker, you cannot get distracted with details when you have higher goals, just focus on what you want to get from people you are talking to.”

And as a CEO and the management at the head of Libelium, Alicia has led the company to overcome 11 years of successful history. In the last five years, Libelium has experienced a growth rate of 20% year-on-year in its turnover, which has been motivated by an increase in the percentage of exports and also accompanied by a considerable contribution to the generation of employment. The three main drivers of Libelium’s growth are its capacity for innovation, its international orientation, and the talent of its team.

Libelium’s business vision is based on two keys: horizontal approach and interoperability. It’s sensor platform is open source, horizontal, and scalable. This allows other products to be developed based on the platform without having to pay for patents or trademarks. The platform has been designed to implement solutions for agriculture, water management, smart cities, or any other sector as it can integrate more than 120 types of sensors. Thanks to the horizontal nature and scalability of Libelium’s IoT platform, any proof of concept or small project can be expanded and modified over time without having to carry out changes in the installation.

“In this sense, we have developed a strategic plan for Libelium’s growing based on the construction of a solid IoT ecosystem for mutual collaboration, especially with start-ups and big system integrators to develop new smart solutions. We want to continue betting on generating an ecosystem of innovative and technological companies around Libelium. For this reason, we have an international network of more than 100 companies,” asserts Alicia.

Alicia’s Personal and Professional Life Balancing ‘Manoeuvre’

Balanced is such a bold word… I am a GTD freak, so I only have one TO-DO-LIST with both professional, family and personal tasks. Having everything into one single list helps you to see where are the biggest priorities at any time. And of course, I try to exercise twice a week to release the stress. I would say that the secret is mindfulness, do and focus on one thing at a time… but I am not a master on that precisely.

Here’s Alicia’s Advice for the Young ‘Womenpreneurs’

Every woman has to face her professional future with self-confidence, abilities and personal growth. The professional career is a race of endurance, not speed. The goal is not to reach high and succeed in the first, but in constant learning and in carving out one’s own path, learning from successes and failures with humility. The cinema has shown us many films of young people who succeed quickly, but in real life there are more cases of success in consolidated trajectories based on effort and constant sacrifice than of blows of fortune.