Agustina Sartori realized she wanted to create her own tech company while she was developing software for a Uruguayan startup in a mechanical workshop in Montevideo. That’s where she got her Why not? attitude. Today, Agustina is founder and CEO at GlamST, a beauty-tech platform that allows its users to try on make-up using augmented reality technology. Less than a year ago, this beauty-tech startup was acquired by Ulta Beauty, the largest beauty retailer in the US, where Agustina is now Director of Technology and Augmented Reality.
GlamST started out as Agustina’s final project at university where she was studying telematic engineering. As a child, she was fascinated by software and always wanted to work in technology. Together with her partner, she decided to follow through with that vision in the beauty industry.
In this episode, Agustina talks about her decision to start a business and raise capital in San Francisco, where she has lived since 2014. She explains what it was like to be an entrepreneur in Uruguay when the startup ecosystem was still incipient, including the forms of support she had during the startup’s early stages, and how she discovered and incorporated Uruguayan talent into GlamST.
Listen to this episode of the WeXchange podcast to learn more about Agustina’s journey as a STEM entrepreneur and her path to success with GlamST.
Agustina explains that in Uruguay there’s a faulty assumption that local talent can’t possibly meet the standards set by Silicon Valley. However, Agustina proves that great tech talent exists everywhere, and that it’s possible to develop high-quality software regardless of geography. Agustina, along with her team, has broken that preconception and impressed investors and clients with the quality of their product.
Listen to this episode to learn more about Uruguay’s talent and its growing startup ecosystem.
The acquisition process of GlamST taught Agustina some very valuable lessons. An acquisition involves a lot of questioning from investors, which makes entrepreneurs start questioning themselves. One of the hardest questions to answer came up when Agustina went to raise capital in San Francisco. She was asked to justify why an investor from the US should invest in a Uruguayan entrepreneur that has zero academic or professional experience in the US. Why her and her team? Agustina explains that building trust with the investors was key to her success, along with offering a highly demanded product in the beauty industry at the right moment.
Acquiring a startup takes a leap of faith. Find out how Agustina built trust with GlamST’s investors in this episode of the WeXchange podcast.
Advice to potential entrepreneurs
According to Agustina, there’s no way to be fully prepared for the many challenges involved in creating a startup. Although planning is important, and finding the right talent can help guide the startup’s direction, intuition plays a huge role in the startup’s success. Agustina explains that she defines intuition as the accumulation of experiences that lead to making decisions, and that is why it cannot be reduced to just a feeling. She suggests the best way to take the first step in entrepreneurship is finding someone in similar shoes who has made it. That inspiration can make something seemingly impossible become attainable.
To learn more about Agustina’s journey as an entrepreneur, listen to more pieces of advice she has for fellow entrepreneurs in this episode of the WeXchange podcast.
● [1:10] – About Agustina and GlamST
● [4:15] – Why beauty-tech?
● [6:20] – Decision to create a business
● [9:10] – Fundraising in San Francisco
● [12:15] – Leaving for San Francisco
● [17:00] – The hardest question to answer
● [18:42] – Uruguayan talent
● [21:04] – GlamST acquisition
● [26:50] – Agustina’s next steps
● [28:19] – Advice to women looking to create a startup
● [30:57] – Entrepreneurs that inspire her