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Founder Spotlight: Oscar R. García, Founder & CEO at Need2Say | Startup Pulse Podcast

On our latest Startup Pulse Podcast, Anshuman Sinha, Co-founder & CEO of Startup Talent & Co-founder of Startup Steroid, interviews Oscar R Garcia, the founder & CEO of Need2Say, a mobile app that bridges the language barrier within the construction industry.

“Have you thought how, just by removing the language barrier, you can make the work environment a much safer place to work?” asks Anshuman Sinha.

After a brief introductory session, Oscar and Anshuman led us through an informative and enlightening session in this freewheeling podcast.

The Beginning of Need2Say

Anshuman Sinha begins the show by asking the most critical question about how the language barrier can alter the work environment. His guest, Oscar Garcia, the founder of Need2Say, talks about the inspiration from his father’s experience as a Mexican immigrant working in construction. 

Garcia also elaborates on his passion for language learning. Having spoken to Duolingo’s CEO, he realized a significant gap between translating applications regarding languages. 

While Duolingo focused on teaching appropriate grammar, Garcia was inclined to create an app to help immigrants communicate in English efficiently. He wanted to create something that allowed people to communicate in their native tongue without feeling left out. 

This prospect helped him create Need2Say, which not only helps people communicate in their native tongue through translations but also allows them to seek information regarding specific questions that they might have.

The application primarily helps workers to communicate with their managers and provides safety information in multiple languages. 

Need2Say has gained immense traction in the construction industry and is raising funds to develop further and expand. The company endeavors to reduce accidents, improve productivity, and increase profitability within the construction sector.

Why did he focus on the construction sector?

When asked about his inclination towards the construction industry, Oscar elaborates that he initially wanted an application to help bridge the language barrier between English-speaking individuals and immigrants. 

However, as he began working on the app, his interests pivoted. While Oscar started the app in 2019, his interest pivoted in February 2020 when he witnessed a massive problem within the construction industry. He elaborated that each year, more than 5000 Hispanic workers would die in the US. His research helped him understand that the main issue within the industry was the language barrier. 

Having been working on an app that strived to eradicate the language barrier that immigrants often faced when entering the US, he chose to join the construction industry and create an app that caters to the needs of these construction workers who had no idea about the safety requirements or the manual instructions that were usually only offered in English. 

He believed that while international students have the resources and can go to school to learn the language, immigrants working in the US could not do those things. This is one of the reasons why his app, Need2Say, entered the construction sector. 

He elaborates that in 2022, he started working with construction companies and conducted thorough research into their communication needs with their employees. Based on his research, he understood the needs of Hispanics, Americans, and the industry. 

He began his endeavor for the app by launching a beta in November of the same year. Today, he has made around $45,000 in sales from the pilots he had started with. Today, he works with substantial construction companies through his app, one of the most prominent being Turner Construction.

Oscar Garcia’s Origin Story

Oscar had completed his Bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Tourism in Mexico. However, he always wanted to study English and leave his home country. This dream made him apply for scholarships and eventually made him eligible for one, which allowed him to study abroad. 

He chose to study at Alabama since he had family there. However, he eventually ventured out to seek a master’s degree in Arts and then moved to Stanford University Graduate School. 

His educational journey helped him connect with several like-minded people, for which he is hugely grateful.

Need2Say: Present to Future

When Anshuman asked about his employees’ structure, Oscar elaborated that he works with two developers and has recently hired a marketing manager. He strives to start by using marketing strategies to upscale his business. He also elaborated on working with a full-time UX UI designer who helps make changes to the app’s dashboard.

Returning to his passion for his app, he elaborates that the driving force for getting into the construction company was the need prevalent within the industry. He admits that while several technologies can be applied to architects, supervisors, and safety managers, only some applications can serve the skilled workforce at the bottom of the work pyramid. Due to this gap, several accidents have happened within the construction sector. He believes that for decades, these immigrant workers have not been given access to technology that can genuinely support them. 

Sensing this need within the construction sector, he endeavored to create this app that is not only based on simple translations but also provides communicative powers. Immigrant workers can communicate directly with managers and gain insights into OSHA safety insights and regulations. 

He elaborates that his app also allows immigrant workers to communicate questions directly to managers. The app helps immigrants ask questions about using specific tools they might need daily and can help them seek answers quickly.

With his years of expertise, Anshuman Sinha highlighted the importance of hiring resources, government grants, R&D credits, fundraising, and entrepreneurship. Both entrepreneurs shared advice regarding the entrepreneurial landscape and how flourishing in such a competitive environment cannot be easy. 

Oscar talks about his initial struggles regarding networking. He believes that while networking is complex for all entrepreneurs, it is significantly more challenging for a minority entrepreneur attempting to create a name for himself within an already competitive landscape.

Anshuman Sinha discusses the potential for market expansion in the Middle East and the availability of resources like EOR services and government grants. 

Anshuman Sinha also recommends exploring R&D credits and tax breaks for research-related payroll. 

Upon discussing fundraising, Garcia stated they’re trying to raise 1.5 million USD. He also explained how his company secured the first-time patent filing, which allowed him to skip the line so that his application could be expedited.

Upon further questions regarding his fundraising endeavors and choosing Alabama instead of California, Oscar stated that he has had unique experiences in Orange County. He has not only been able to take part in excellent programs but also connect with entrepreneurs. 

Oscar shares that he has been able to raise money efficiently for his app in Orange County. He also elaborates upon his company’s win in the Fresno pitch competition, where he secured some cash. Having secured money in Orange County, he elaborates upon his expansion ventures and shares how he has been advised to expand in the Middle East as the app has a lot of scope.

Pearls of Insight

Fascinated by Oscar’s passion for creating such an app, Anshuman Sinha gave him some fundraising advice. 

As an Angel investor and member of the TIE group, he shed light on the fundraising landscape and how Oscar could achieve more extraordinary things within the startup ecosystem. He spoke at length about fundraising options with Oscar, including raising funds from international investors, and pointed out the importance of building connections within the startup ecosystem.

Anshuman Sinha elaborated upon the competitive landscape and emphasized the importance of connections to secure significant funds. He also stated that Oscar’s educational background at Stanford means he already has many connections within that ecosystem. 

Anshuman encourages Oscar to use his connections in Mexico, California, and Stanford and utilize them for his benefit. 

He is highly fascinated by Oscar’s passion and drive for fostering change. He advises Oscar not to limit himself when it comes to fundraising and to use all the networks that he has been able to create thus far.

Having been in the industry for 28 years, Anshuman Sinha shares his insight about how an entrepreneur can situate himself in this competitive landscape. He elaborates upon providing mentorship, accounting help, and digital marketing help that can help Oscar’s app reach newer heights. 

Oscar firmly believes that his venture succeeded only because of the passion and drive he and his team shared regarding making a change for Hispanic workers in the construction sector. He firmly believes in what he is doing, and bringing change within a strictly set sector where the language barrier has been prevalent for decades has been extremely rewarding.

Taking Anshuman Sinha’s advice to heart, Oscar thanks him for his insight and states that he is highly motivated by their shared conversation. 

Listening to Anshuman’s advice has encouraged him to keep working hard and striving for more. While the app has a bright future ahead, this conversation has undoubtedly contributed to Oscar’s already burning passion for his venture.

Before ending the segment, Anshuman asks Oscar about his advice for budding entrepreneurs. He says. “My advice will be, you know, pursue something that you’re passionate about. Do it for the right reasons. If you decide to start a company just because you want to make money, that’s fine. You can do that. However, there’ll be times when things will get tough.” 

He continues, “You know, you are investing in the most precious thing you have in this world, which is your time. And if you are investing that time in something that you’re not passionate about, something that you don’t feel that it’s going to make that big of an impact. You will probably quit easily and say, All right, this is not working. I’m just going to move on with something else. But when you are passionate about something, no matter how tough things get, you will be able to overcome that because you’ll find ways, you’ll find, you know, solutions that you may not know are there, but they’re there.”

Anshuman ends the conversation by emphasizing the importance of passion, perseverance, and building a solid team in entrepreneurship. 

Conclusion

The episode motivates potential startup founders to work hard to change the business landscape. 

Remember that you are not alone in this startup journey. Join our online Startup meetups and participate in the Startup Pulse Podcast to gain insights into entrepreneurship while ensuring your long-term success.

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