Red Points is helping brands win the war against counterfeiters

4 Dec 2017

Red Points CEO Laura Urquizu. Image: Red Points

Our Start-up of the Week is Barcelona-based Red Points, a company that is protecting the content of some of the world’s biggest entertainment brands.

“Red Points is a technology company that provides a solution for brands and content owners against counterfeiting online and digital piracy,” explained Laura Urquizu, CEO of Red Points.

“Red Points is the preferred brand-protection partner in the sporting, entertainment, fashion, editorial, design and luxury industries, providing unique products across the entire digital spectrum,” she said.

‘Because of the increased threat and our disruptive tech solution, we’ve been growing exponentially. We’ve gone from 100 to over 300 clients in less than a year’

Urquizu said that the company, which works with brands such as Universal, Hearst, Foreo and Knockaround, has been devoted to protecting creativity, innovation and design since 2012.

The market

Red Points is a smart tech-based solution for brand protection online.

“The exponential growth of internet and e-commerce online has created an incredible opportunity for businesses everywhere. But great opportunities have come with greater risks,” said Urquizu.

“Red Points ensures brands can take advantage of this new reality without risking their reputation or losing sales to ‘brand abusers’. We protect our clients’ online distribution channels and, essentially, we automate an otherwise time-consuming and laborious task. The result is that our solution is highly cost-effective when compared to traditional methods in anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy.

“Red Points is a great solution for any company that sells or deals with products and content online. Because of the increased threat and our disruptive tech solution, we’ve been growing exponentially. We’ve gone from 100 to over 300 clients in less than a year.”

The founders

The company was founded at the end of 2011 by Josep Coll, an intellectual property lawyer. David Casellas joined Red Points’ team in 2012 as a co-founder after having worked for FC Barcelona for more than two years.

“They invited me to be Red Points’ CEO in 2014 to grow the company and help realise their vision to turn it into a global company,” Urquizu said.

Urquizu previously held executive and management roles in big companies such as Arthur Andersen, Caja Navarra and Corporación CAN.

“I later held the position of adviser of the board of directors and corporate development at Lokku.”

In addition, she has acted as a member of the board of directors for numerous technology companies throughout Europe, including Abiquo, Spamina, Justinmind, Nestoria, Deneb, D2D, Biko2, Adecq (Best TV) and DAD. She has a master’s degree in management development from IESE and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Universidad del País Vasco.

The technology

As Urquizu explains it, Red Points makes online intellectual property protection smart.

“Our solution is based on an advanced keyword-monitoring system paired with image-recognition technology, which guarantees that we can find all our clients’ online assets. Once detected, filtering and validating brand infringements is done in seconds.

“We also automate the enforcement process, which means that removing brand abuse from marketplaces, social media and other sources can be done without a person having to manually send a notification.

“Across our entire solution, we implement our machine-learning capabilities. With this, Red Points’ system can learn with each brand’s enforcement history. Our platform suggests new detection and enforcement rules based on cases which have already been detected, validated and enforced.”

Urquizu said that Red Points is changing the game of IP protection on the internet.

“We want to make sure no brand will ever have to worry again about the risk of piracy or counterfeiting to their consumers and their reputation.

“In the internet era, this can only be done with technology. And that’s how Red Points will become the number one solution for online brand protection worldwide.”

Red Points closed a series A investment round in September 2016 and has plans to accelerate its growth worldwide.

“We’ve recently had a major product deployment that incorporated our advanced keyword-monitoring and image-recognition systems to our solution.”

Disruption isn’t easy

Urquizu said that Red Points’ technology is disrupting the legal sector.

“Our challenge is to invite and include other parties to participate in this ecosystem with us, such as IP lawyers, who have their roots in the traditional methods.

“In fact, we have opened a partnership programme that makes our technology available to these parties, so they can utilise our solution for intellectual property detection and enforcement. Our tech doesn’t replace a talented legal professional – quite the contrary. With our solution, they’ll be able to focus on what they do best, which is to investigate and litigate using the evidence we’re able to provide them.”

Going global

According to Urquizu, Barcelona’s start-up scene is growing up and has been professionalised.

“It has learned to harness the thousands of talented people that are attracted to our young, upbeat city, and use them to build world-class businesses that have in turn become global references.”

Her advice to other tech start-ups is to be careful with their bootstrapping culture.

“That mindset is important at the beginning, but it’s important that they learn to move to the next step and don’t become afraid of investing. This mentality is what differentiates today those start-ups that are or will become successful from those that won’t be able to make it. Remember: the failure rate in the sector is as high as 90pc.”

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years