Jaime Manteiga and Janse Lazo grew up in Cuba without a computer system, or as the young entrepreneurs say, “We have been from inadequate people.” It is a curious assertion to qualify a social standing in a nation the place scarcity is the norm.
“The 1st computer system I had belonged to my sister. I was about 14 many years aged, and I made use of to perform programming,” Manteiga recalled. “It seemed magical to me that if you place a selected programming language in a machine, it could attain a consequence. I was thrilled when I noticed that it was open up to developing whichever you preferred.”
Many years afterwards, currently in the United States, Manteiga and Lazo are proof that when entrepreneurship is portion of your nature, you only want to recognize an absence in the marketplace to just take advantage of an possibility and develop a new products.
A tour of the know-how conference circuit was more than enough for the entrepreneurs and programmers to detect that when anyone handed them a company card, they generally dropped it. Also producing thousands of paper cards isn’t environmentally welcoming and has turn into obsolete for a lot of folks.
“Seven out of 10 cards are in no way employed. They are simply just thrown away,” said Manteiga in his Kendall office, chatting about the beginnings of the startup TapTok, a platform to assistance firms hook up with their viewers he made in Miami a number of months just before the pandemic started in March 2020, when steering clear of direct get hold of among individuals turned a requirement.
Hence, TapTok’s flagship product or service is the electronic small business card, “which goes to the cellphone of the particular person with whom you want to share the speak to details,” claimed Manteiga, applying Lazo’s telephone to demonstrate how a “tap” on the card, which appears like a credit history card, enables you to transfer every thing you want that particular person to have about you: your site, social media networks, the Google map of your business, in circumstance the human being requires to get there applying the GPS.
All that information and facts out there in a second, and devoid of the particular person you give your details getting to obtain an software or have special technological abilities. And most effective of all, the electronic card avoids using tons of paper.
A passion that was born in Cuba
Manteiga and Lazo are from On line casino Deportivo, a Havana community. In simple fact, they did not tackle a laptop or computer with an suitable speed right up until they met in the Joven Clubs, facilities exactly where younger men and women could interact with desktops.
“We built the most significant chat room in Cuba,” Manteiga said. “Back then there was no web and connecting persons was magical.”
Cubans did not have entry to the world-wide-web on their telephones until 2018, so the chats designed by the programming fanatics were being the possibility to “chat” with a girlfriend, trade suggestions with yet another lover of details technologies or share activity data.
“We commenced to create match servers to which men and women could join and there they had all the video game figures, and it started off to improve,” saidLazo, describing at initial they did it out of “passion,” but considering the fact that “they experienced to earn a living” they started out developing desktops and marketing them.
The to start with enterprise Lazo began in Cuba got him off the island. His undertaking gained the 10x10KCuba contest, sponsored by the United States, and he was able to go on a tour that took him to Silicon Valley and Stanford College and to stop by the headquarters of Google, Fb and Twitter. At the finish of the tour, he came to take a look at his relatives in Miami and determined to remain.
“We have normally had this mentality that we have to battle for what we want. We never like that limits are imposed on us,” claimed Lazo, now TapTok’s main running officer.
A few years soon after keeping in Miami, Lazo launched his initially enterprise, a digital marketing and advertising company, with the help of Manteiga, who had arrived before.
Manteiga located the likelihood of leaving Cuba at the age of 16, thanks to his blood marriage with Galicia, the land of his grandfather. Immediately after earning a bachelor’s diploma in economics, in Spain he finished a master’s diploma in programming, with a specialty in data stability.
“I did quite effectively there, and I arrived to the United States to make it better for me,” stated Manteiga, who formed his initial business in Miami 8 many years ago to suggest businesses on security problems.
A new undertaking in Miami
Pertaining to the starting of TapTok, Manteiga mentioned he made the decision to change the services he offered with his initially enterprise, since it was tricky to scale. He then began TapTok with Ana Suárez, now its vice president of operations, and gave the enterprise its identify just before the attractiveness of the online video social media network TikTok exploded.
“I was straight away passionate about it. 4 months later the amount of consumers was developing, and it was also much get the job done,” recalled Manteiga, who then called his mate Lazo, who contributed his working experience in promoting.
“The critical is to understand the audience, their desires and dreams, and acquire the message out there,” claimed Lazo about the accomplishment of TapTok. Many times the company has every thing in its digital retail outlet in a couple months.
The Cuban entrepreneurs’ firm has 7 employees, but it requirements about 50, reported CEO Manteiga. That is why the company is hunting for investors.
In addition to electronic business enterprise playing cards, TapTok offers the possibility to make minipages, a web-site businesses or specialists can style from their cellphone.
One more gain is that, if there is a alter in the company’s information, it can be edited digitally with no the have to have to discard hundreds of physical goods. This is incredibly beneficial for firms these as dining establishments, which often adjust the menu.
Also, business people or pros can have several small business profiles and backlink them on the TapTok platform. It is also attainable to crank out QR codes men and women can examine with their telephones and then go immediately to the minipage or web site of the business enterprise that is advertised.
Digital playing cards are also shielded from information theft, because if its proprietor loses it, the TapTok platform has a functionality allowing knowledge to be blocked.
Lazo claimed goods can be picked in the TapTok on the net retail store, together with plastic or steel playing cards, and the card style and design. You can incorporate the corporation emblem, or develop a new a person, additionally details about the small business. The electronic cards are despatched by mail to customers who then set up the cards with their phones.
“We have been growing and now we have a cell application. If you are assembly a human being who has a paper card, you acquire a image with the TapTok app, which digitizes this paper card and the information, using artificial intelligence,” Manteiga said.