The Sadako Story
Called Sadako Technologies, the company was started three years ago by Spanish twin brother and sister, Eugenio and Belén Garnica. Eugenio had developed a successful career in nuclear plant services while his sister worked as an economist.
After quitting his job in nuclear, he joined forces with sister and third partner, Javier de la Ossa who had experience in start-ups and venture capital. Sadako was born. Initially, the company looked at developing software-based systems for the nuclear industry but realised there “wasn’t much opportunity in the nuclear sector because of the strict regulation”, as Belén puts it.
While lecturing at UPC University in Barcelona, Eugenio was asked by a student to help oversee a project on waste management in Spain. It was during this time that the spark happened: he realised the potential for advanced sorting machinery in waste.
The twins started out with €150,000 in public loans but soon realised that would not be enough to even scratch the surface of developing new technology.
“When we started, €150,000 seemed like a lot. We thought we were rich!” jokes Eugenio. “It has been much more complicated that we thought at the beginning.”
Three years later the company has spent nearly one million euros – the three founders together putting in nearly €200,000 and €240,000 coming from venture capital group KIC InnoEnergy SE. The rest of the funding has been soft loans from public organisations promotion R&D.