“It was the hassle of authentication processes nowadays that inspired Youverse,” says Pedro Torres, the company’s founder and CEO. “You constantly have to prove yourself – to check your account, to make a payment, [or] to check in to a hotel.
“We dreamt about opening a bank account just by saying it out loud, or never having to remember a single password, or carry any cards. But we also wanted something special. We wanted users to authenticate without having to disclose their biometrics to anyone.”
A decentralized reusable identity for all – that is the vision behind Youverse, the hospitality technology startup that most impressed the audience during the Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) competition at HITEC Dubai in 2023. Their pitch won them the coveted People’s Choice Award by popular vote among attendees. This is significant validation for a fledgling business concept to receive, straight from potential buyers, investors and mentors within the hospitality industry.
“In [our] vision of the world, every interaction requiring authentication should be possible with a simple look,” Torres explains. “Right now, there is no offer in the market providing ubiquitous, private, hands-free authentication.”
So, they began building their future together as a team. They started out in 2019 with just three individuals: Torres as CEO, CPO Miguel Lourenço and CTO Vitor Pedro. Now, they are a team of 15, with plans to expand in the next year. Continue reading to learn more about their decision to participate in E20X earlier this year, what their big win meant for the company, and advice they would give to the startups participating in E20X next year.
E20X returns in 2024 at three different locations across the globe including Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Dubai, UAE and North Carolina, USA. Learn more on the E20X website.
What was the overall E20X experience like for you and Youverse?
Attending this event proved to be a highly enriching experience. I had the chance to connect with numerous professionals within the hospitality sector and engage in meaningful networking sessions. The event provided valuable insights and connections that greatly contributed to our understanding of the industry.
What led to your decision to participate in E20X? What kind of impact do you believe this competition has on startups?
The decision to participate in E20X stemmed from our belief in the transformative potential of our company for hoteliers and the desire to showcase it to the hospitality industry. We recognized E20X as a unique opportunity to gain visibility and connect with industry experts.
E20X not only opens doors to potential investors and customers, but also offers a chance to refine the pitch and validate concepts in the eyes of seasoned professionals.
What did it mean to you personally to be an E20X winner, and what did it mean for Youverse?
It was a privilege to be bestowed with the People’s Choice Award. This kind of recognition validates our team's dedication, work and innovative vision. It reinforced Youverse's commitment to being a driving force for change in the realm of hospitality technology.
What tips would you give to other hospitality startups, particularly those who will be participating in E20X next year?
I would offer a few key tips based on our experience. Firstly, thoroughly understand your unique value proposition and articulate it clearly in your pitch. Judges and investors are drawn to innovative solutions that address real industry challenges. Secondly, be prepared to concisely communicate your business model, target market and scalability. Judges often appreciate clarity and a deep understanding of market dynamics. Thirdly, leverage the networking opportunities at E20X to connect with industry professionals, potential partners and mentors. Building relationships is as crucial as the pitch itself.
Startups are now invited to apply to participate in three E20X competitions taking place next year: