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Start-up generation

María Eugenia Martín Hidalgo

CEO and co-founder of ColorSensing

María Eugenia has a degree in industrial engineering and business organization, worked two years at industrial companies and six in project management providing incubation services for start-ups at the UPC. She quit her job to join d·HEALTH Barcelona, the program promoted by Biocat to train healthcare entrepreneurs. Through a contact in the program, she met a researcher at the UB and, after exploring the possible commercial applications for the technology he was developing with his research group, they decided to create the company ColorSensing, as a spin-off of the UB. 


“My goal? To build solutions that have a place in the business world”


ColorSensing is a technology-based company that develops color-correction-based applications. Through our algorithms, the company can correct the color distortion that affects cameras and other photographic devices due to exposure to light and other environmental factors. Thus they can provide with either normalised pictures or reliable color quantification. Their first product, FoodSensing, helps food manufacturers and retailers cut down food waste and adds quality to their products thanks to a quantitative and cost-effective food freshness indicator. ColorSensing is also developing a photographic color correction tool for telemedicine and digitalising color-change-based sensors.


Why did you want to be an entrepreneur?

When I decided to study Industrial Electronics Engineering, it was because I have always liked technology and I was attracted to the idea of a degree that would allow me to build solutions to problems. When I finished the first part of my studies, which was quite specific and technical, I chose to major in Industrial Organization to broaden the scope a little, as it covered all the areas of management and organization associated with industrial business. 

After doing internships at several industrial companies, I worked at the UPC for six years, in a department that was constantly seeing projects from technology start-ups. Part of my job was to provide services for these new companies that had come out of the university or were incubated in its spaces. 

After giving it a lot of thought, I realized that I had chosen to study Industrial Engineering and Organization because I wanted to build solutions that had a place in the business world. So I quit my job and joined the d·HEALTH Barcelona program, promoted by Biocat, in order to pivot my career in that direction. I wasn’t sure whether I would end up as an entrepreneur, but when I finished, I met the researcher that is now my partner and one thing led to another. I really never wanted or decided to be an entrepreneur. I just decided I wanted to develop technology within a business framework (instead of in research), and the rest just happened.


What is the most important strategic decision you’ve made so far?

I think it’s still early to judge whether any of the decisions we’ve made have been right or not, but I guess the most important one was to decide which of the applications for our technology we wanted to focus our efforts on. 


What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Not following every piece of advice to the letter, because you get a lot when you’re starting out. It’s best to take that information, which is often contradictory, digest it calmly and reach your own conclusions. 


And now what? What milestones do you want to achieve in the short term?

Just before the State of Emergency due to the coronavirus, we were planning our first industrial manufacturing tests for one of our prototypes, and we’re looking for private investment to launch a pilot program with customers in 2021.