Edgard Marcondes

We need to create products that enhance our humanity, not turn us into robots

September 15, 2023

Hi Edgard, can you talk more about your journey here?

I'm originally from São Paulo, Brazil. In 2013, I left my electrical engineering college because I wanted to experience the world. I moved to Dublin, Ireland, to study and during my time there, I had the chance to travel extensively, immerse myself in various cultures, and grow as an entrepreneur. In 2017, I relocated to Portugal with my family, and that's where my son Bento was born.

Where did entrepreneurship start and why?

While living in Brazil, I constantly had new business ideas and considered launching startups. However, my true entrepreneurial journey began in Dublin. There, I established a bike shop catering to students, followed by a study abroad marketplace that sold courses to students from Latin America looking to study in Ireland, Canada, and the U.S. In Ireland, I initiated several startups, including a dog walker marketplace named "PetMyPet" and a house cleaning service called "HouseHeroes." After traveling to over 20 countries and settling in Portugal in 2019, I started a travel marketplace, "LetsGo Travel." We received seed investment and eventually merged with another startup, "ActivBookings." Post this venture, I immersed myself in the web3 domain with a global community named "w3blab." About a year ago, I delved into the world of generative AI, and I truly believe we're at a pivotal moment in how we interact with machines.

Presently, I'm working on the "GenAi Hub" in Portugal. It's dedicated to assisting companies and startups in harnessing the power of Generative AI. We're launching consulting services to help businesses automate processes with AI, support startups with tech, growth, and funding, and also building a community of tech professionals and founders centered around GenAi. Our vision is to focus on virtual assistants for various niches, primarily aimed at automating tasks and providing insights. We're in the development phase of a virtual travel assistant, which helps travelers curate their itineraries and provides travel information via WhatsApp. Future plans include launching virtual assistants in the realms of real estate, SMEs, and angel investing. I see enormous potential in Portugal to emerge as an AI hub, and I aim to expedite this transformation. With Portugal set to receive about 23 billion Euros from the European Union, a significant portion is designated as grants for tech startups, offering up to 50% investment in equity-free grants. If you'd like to know more about our GenAi Hub, please get in touch, and let's collaborate.

Why and how does AI show up in your life?

In our 2019 travel experience marketplace, we implemented algorithms to customize user experiences. However, the real game-changer was the release of ChatGPT-3, which showcased the potential of accessible, conversational, and customizable AI. I believe we're on the brink of a monumental tech revolution.

How many projects are you working on at this moment? And what are they?

Currently, I'm actively developing the GenAi Hub and another initiative named "RegenHub." My mission is to automate tasks so that people have more time to embrace their humanity, connect with others, and nature. RegenHub is designed to foster sustainable, creative, and tech-driven communities intertwined with nature.

Do you have a Beta version coming?

Yes, we're launching the GenAi Hub soon. In about two months, we'll unveil several startups with virtual assistants in development.

Who is going to be your customer target?

For GenAi, we're targeting founders keen on unlocking the potential of Generative AI and tech professionals. To cater to this audience, we're launching two podcasts – one dedicated to founders and the other geared towards tech enthusiasts.

What about AI trends?Where are we heading?

I foresee a future inundated with virtual assistants that automate tasks and offer insights. There'll be two prevalent realities - people immersing in virtual reality using AI, and others using AI for automation to free up time for creativity, human connections, and nature. I'm dedicated to championing the latter.

What is at this moment the biggest challenge for AI?

For GenAi, the primary challenge is preventing hallucinations and ensuring the authenticity of generated information. Fine-tuning models, training with proprietary data, and adjusting prompts are potential solutions to mitigate these hallucinations.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for small businesses when it comes to AI?

The most significant opportunity lies in time-saving and the potential to automate operational tasks, allowing small business owners more time for product enhancement and family. The current challenge is providing a user-friendly UI and UX for easy and accessible AI integration. Our goal is to support startups offering such seamless experiences.

How do you see the future of AI tools evolving over the next decade?

Similar to past revolutions in agriculture and industry, AI promises to bring automation across all sectors, from services, consultancy, healthcare to legal. Every domain will be amplified by AI. I anticipate a need to implement a Universal Basic Income (UBI) as many traditional jobs will become obsolete. I'm passionate about driving this automation while also creating spaces close to nature for people to live, connect, and foster creativity.

What is the business area that will change the most with AI?

Every knowledge domain, including education, law, health, marketing, and sales, will witness a transformation due to AI.

In a world full of technology every day and with AI rising high, it feels good to see projects like “A Costurar Historias” happening. What is the idea behind it?

"A Costurar Historias" was conceived from the collaboration between my wife, an educator and children's author, and Mr. Tita, a retired fisherman from Algarve with myriad stories to share. In today's tech-centric world, we often forget the essence of human interaction, especially with our elders. This project aims to capture tales from the elderly, explore the region's cultural heritage, and transmute them into children's books. This way, the younger generation can appreciate and value the knowledge and cultural legacy they inherit.

Favorite tool?

Without a doubt, Chat GPT.

Word of advice

We need to create products that enhance our humanity, not turn us into robots

One book, one person to follow/that inspires you, and one music?

Book: "Infinite Game" by Simon Sinek.

Inspiring Personality: Martin Luther King.

Music: Jefferson Airplane - "White Rabbit".

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