Lagatos is headed by Farah Brunache, who has a combined 14 years experience. Both as a Software Engineer and Program Analyst in the United States Intelligence Community working in distressed regions. In 2015, Brunache was named by the Obama Administration as an Emerging Global Entrepreneur. Lagatos turns devices into an anonymous local server that buffers content for others to use in their local community. Lagatos de-centralizes and unlocks internet access in markets that before have been in-penetrable. Farah shares how her company is adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, issues and successful solutions, and advice on financial resources and looking ahead for other entrepreneurs.
What area of your business is getting your most energy and focus?
Before COVID-19 at first glance, many would consider our product to be a “nice to have.” As many believed that people without home Internet were not a priority as they “all” had mobile phones. And could access the Internet there or at a library.
Post-COVID-19 has shown that high bandwidth Internet access is a long-overdue necessity. Most of our energy is spent educating and the solutions that can be implemented today.
What is the most important problem you are trying to solve?
Providing high bandwidth Internet access to people who disproportionately only have access to mobile data. And providing them opportunities to earn in the digital global economy.
What has been your most successful solution so far?
Potential and existing customers were always aware of the digital divide. But never thought of it in such concrete phrasing. COVID-19 has provided an opening for Lagatos to provide education around the lack of Internet. As it is not only a service we are selling. But a broader mission for equality.
How have you been staying connected with your customers and employees?
Fortunately, since the inception of Lagatos, we have been a digital-first and remote-only company. Maintaining this has enabled us to continue reaching and communicating with customers.
With our customers, it is social media, email, and video conferencing. And with our employees, we remain 100% operational. Using video conferencing and productivity web applications to stay connected throughout the week.
What advice do you have for businesses struggling with their finances?
These are difficult times for many businesses. And Lagatos is no exception in impact as customers begin to have less money to spend each month. Our suggestion is to seek grant opportunities. Understanding that COVID affects everyone. So funding opportunities will be limited. My suggestion is to look at how your business can switch gears or adapt to a COVID-19 issue. As a simple example, some companies shifted to manufacturing PPE material. Or software companies that shifted to helping brick and mortar companies get online. Whether it is setting up e-commerce sites or helping automate delivery services.
“The new normal is here. And so it provides an opportunity to provide services that people find essential. And will allow your business to grow. And to help people in need now.”
What has surprised you?
During COVID-19, our team expanded from one to six. This is a time of instability for many. And grateful for everyone who is moved by the mission. And willing to invest in continued innovation in the technology space.
How far ahead are you planning?
COVID-19 hasn’t changed how far out Lagatos plans its future. But has changed what activities we will engage in. This is because we believe Lagatos can have a global impact.
We have a short term (12 months), mid-term (5 years), and long term goals (10 years). And we ensure to always stay flexible. One of our core values is “passionate beliefs loosely held.”
What keeps you positive?
People are resilient. And every day I see many extend themselves to help. Whether it is online communities sharing grant opportunities. Or people supporting their brick and mortar stores.
What message do you want to share with entrepreneurs right now?
Post-COVID-19 is an opportunity for communities to reset priorities. If your startup has been majorly impacted by COVID-19, and it has to stop operations; this is an opportunity to work on products and services that people need now. The new normal is here. And so it provides an opportunity to provide services that people find essential. And will allow your business to grow. And to help people in need now.