Leaders in Tech: Lucas Alencar
For Tech Tuesday, the Mobile Development grad gave an inside look at how he helped build Adopets, a startup focused on animal adoption shelters, from the ground up.
Many tech-industry hopefuls have their sights set on the startup world, but developing a fresh product or service and getting it into the marketplace can seem overwhelming. Luckily, Mobile Development grad Lucas Alencar joined a recent edition of Tech Tuesday to give Full Sail students a behind-the-scenes look at how he co-founded, raised funds for, and scaled Adopets, a successful startup that helps animal adoption shelters improve their operations.
Finding a Socially Conscious Concept
Lucas was always interested in social causes, and he worked several events with Pure Motivation, Full Sail’s student volunteer organization, while he was earning his degree. He was working on a different app with his colleague Artur Sousa when he was in school, but they were inspired to change course when Artur tried to adopt a rescued albino black Lab named Frisco. It took two months and over 70 emails for Artur to bring Frisco home, but the frustrating experience gave Artur and Lucas a socially impactful problem to solve.
“That was really how it started, was understanding how we could simplify that adoption process across the United States and the world… Really thinking from a social impact perspective of, how can you create something that can be helpful for people but also for the community and society?” Lucas said.
Finding a concept that they were passionate about gave Lucas and Artur the motivation they needed to start building Adopets — and look for funding.
After researching the ways that other startups had gotten the capital they needed, Lucas and Artur decided that the Silicon Valley model of fundraising through accelerators was the best fit for Adopets. They applied to a few different accelerators and were accepted to the competitive TechStars Boston Accelerator in 2019.
TechStars Boston liked Adopets because they were a business with community impact, but Lucas and Artur’s networking skills also helped them catch the accelerator’s eye.
“Tech accelerators are always looking at the people involved in the business and following through their connections to see how they evolve across the years,” Lucas explained. “At the time, Artur was also working with [accelerator] MassChallenge, so it was really common for us to try and have meetings with people involved in different places in the Boston area to become better connected and find investors… Having talented people together and being involved in the community to create an impact was the most important thing TechStars saw in us.”
Technology is all about solving problems, and all startups will have new issues to tackle as they grow. As more and more shelters started using Adopets, Lucas and his team have figured out how to integrate data from a shelter’s old software into the Adopets system, how to get accurate information about an animal’s breed to appear on screen, and how to process returned animals. Solving those issues is integral to scaling the business, but Lucas also keeps an eye on the tools they’re using and how they’re using them as the company expands.
“Maybe your technology is scaled, but what about your operations? What are your processes? [As you scale] you’re going to get 10 times the number of tasks that you got yesterday, and if everything is being resolved on pen and paper, most likely that’s not scalable. You need to think deeply about the process and operations that could make that scalability sustainable” he says.
To hear more about Adopets and general startup tips from Lucas, check out the entire Tech Tuesday discussion led by Full Sail Vice President of Emerging Technology Luis Garcia below.
Tech Tuesday is an original online show produced by Full Sail University that delves into different aspects of the technology industry. Check out upcoming or past episodes.