How did the idea come about to combine science and play?
Science4you was born under my degree’s final project. In 2007 I was finishing a degree in Finance,at ISCTE , and my working group had to create a business plan for a project of the Faculty of Sciences students. And our group had to create a business plan for the “Physics Kits” project. This is the genesis of Science4you’s idea. In 2008, after completing my degree and after a brief passage through investment banking, I decided to return to this project and create Science4you, which materialized in a number of scientific toys certified by the Faculty of Science, from the University of Lisbon.
Did the partnership with a university help you get going faster?
Yes, of course. Early in the project we counted with the support of FCUL teachers who helped to create the first toys. In addition, early in the project nobody knew Science4you and the certification seal placed on the packaging of our toys helped to lend credibility and notoriety to the brand, so that retailers gained the confidence to sell our toys in their stores.
You are present in more than 15 countries now. What are the expansion plans?
Currently Science4you is present in more than 15 countries. Portugal is the country with the largest representation in terms of turnover, followed by Spain and the UK. In terms of internationalization, one of our main goals is to gain an expression and representation in markets like the United States, Canada and Australia. We expect that in a medium term the international market represents about 60 % of Science4you’s turnover.
Does the online store grab a big part of the sales, or are they more physical store based?
Most of our sales are made through the physical stores ( the ones owned by Science4you and the retailers).
If you were starting right now, what would you do differently?
Over the years the experience has taught us a lot about how to run this business, but in general, I would not change anything.
Can Portugal compete with the other startup hubs around the World?
Of course, but it all depends on the size and the core business of other companies. However we believe a lot in our ability and in the quality of the toys that we put on the market.