TB Members Calling #61 | Natàlia Pujades: “Technology education will enable us to live a better future”
Natàlia Pujades (Barcelona, 1990) has set herself a goal that at first glance seems complicated, but which is becoming increasingly essential: teaching children to do programming. She does so as founder of Scratch Barcelona, an academy of robotics, programming and 3D printing extracurriculars in Barcelona, and -more recently- also as co-founder of Mochi Robot, an initiative to develop technological tools to teach robotics and IoT classes. Previously, she worked on innovative projects at Wayra, Telefónica’s open innovation area.
TB: What is the purpose of your project?
NP: The purpose of Mochi Robot is to provide children with tools to learn programming, which are also adorable, accessible and top quality, such as Mochi Card, an electronic board that can be programmed by blocks. And, of course, to motivate students to program their own applications, in an easy way, with the different sensors it includes. For example, you can program the Mochi Card to alert you when your hot chocolate is no longer burning and is at the ideal temperature.
TB: A good idea you have had.
NP: Going beyond teaching robotics and innovating in projects like Mochi Card. It makes me very happy. I still remember the day I was thinking about proposing to Domingo Alcalá, my business partner, the fact of developing an educational robot together, when I suddenly received an email from him proposing exactly the same thing. It was great!
TB: A bad professional experience.
NP: Due to the confinement linked to the pandemic, we were not able to set up and use a prototype production. But then, fortunately, we were able to pivot and now we have a much more practical and competitive tool. Fortunately I have many more good experiences than bad ones.
TB: The best advice you’ve ever been given.
NP: Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today.
TB: A professional reference that inspires you.
NP: Mar Masulli. She is an entrepreneur in the industrial robotics and AI sector. She works with robotic arms to automate many tedious tasks in SMEs, and her company BitMetrics has already raised rounds of funding. As well as being an entrepreneur and technologist, she is the mother of one of our students and her vision of robotics is very much in line with our values. “Robotics always at the service of people and not the other way around”.
TB: A technology that will shape the future.
NP: The future is primarily human, and then collaborative through technology. So any technology that has an impact on education is already part of the future. It depends on it whether the generations to come are prepared to continue to evolve and develop projects that make our lives better.
TB: What are you worried about?
NP: I think it is important to use social media, AI, robots and technology in general to do the world ‘GOOD’. Unfortunately malice exists and proof of this is that there are still wars. Tools with such an impact, in the hands of the wrong people, can have very negative consequences for society, such as loss of rights or unprecedented population control.
TB: A startup.
NP: Neutroon, a Barcelona-based startup that develops cutting-edge technology for 5G networks.
TB: A book to recommend.
NP: “The time is now” by Eckhart Tolle.
TB: A series, film or song that defines your moment in life.
NP: I watch very little TV. As for songs, any song that has a catchy melody and gives off a good vibe. I was a big fan of ItaloBrothers and many Italo dance groups 🙂
TB: A recipe, a meal, a restaurant.
NP: Lately I’ve become a Matcha lover; I love the Matcha cake recipe by Paco Torreblanca, the pastry chef who made the kings’ wedding cake. Imagine how good it is….
TB: A city, a journey.
NP: Barcelona, because it is my city and at the same time an international pole of attraction. A trip? Mannheim, Germany. I lived there for a year and discovered what startups were all about.
TB: Where would you invest 100k?
NP: Obviously, at Mochi Robot. To continue growing, innovating and reaching more children around the world. And above all, so that they can enjoy robotics.
TB: And a million euros?
NP: I would diversify and, as I did when I worked at Wayra, I would invest in several startups that had an amazing team, traction and differentiating technology.
TB: If you weren’t an entrepreneur…
NP: I would like to work in a company doing product development, R&D or marketing. These are areas that fascinate me and that, of course, are already very present in my day-to-day life as an entrepreneur.
TB: What is Tech Barcelona for you?
NP: It is the entrepreneurial initiative where Barcelona and international entrepreneurial talent is concentrated, facilitating the development of opportunities and synergies with many companies. I have been involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem since 2013, and I have seen many initiatives disappear and appear. I think Tech Barcelona brings together great talent, with very balanced profiles, whether they are entrepreneurs, companies, media, developers or investors. And I love being part of the community and knowing that professionals like Mar Galtés always have us on their radar.