Export Knowhow

How IST Group successfully launched AQUA4D into the Chilean market

AQUA4D offers solutions which reduce the water consumption and the use of chemicals in agricultural production by 30%. Felipe Villarino, official representative of the company in Chile, tells us how they entered the market and why he likes to collaborate with the Swiss Business Hub Chile.

Water facility

Chile has consolidated its reputation as a leading player in the global food industry. While exports are growing, the country is also affected by climate change, which produces prolonged periods of drought. As a result, the agricultural sector needs to reinvent itself to save water and preserve the soil while become increasingly productive. 

What makes your product different?

AQUA4D’s technology is unique in the world in terms of its sustainable applicability by the way it identifies important efficiencies in any process involving water use. And what differentiates us in all the industries where we participate are our HAAS (hardware as a service) models integrated to a SAAS (software as a service) model. This allows us to deliver an integral service between the integration of state-of-the-art technology and a very relevant data service that will strategically support clients' decisions. Finally, we further emphasize on our shared value program, where through the aforementioned service, we manage to impact the 3 Ps of the ESG framework: People, Planet and Profit.

What is your model of internationalization?

AQUA4D is present in more than 40 countries where use a collaborative model through distributors and representatives. For Latin America in particular we are working on a new and innovative model with our partner IST GROUP that is much more integrative and acts as an extension of our offices through its structure and location.

What experience did you make entering the Chilean market?

Our experience in Chile has allowed us to understand that each market behaves very differently in the adaptation of new technologies. And this after deeply analyzing the market and the industries where we participate. The level of development of innovation and sustainability ecosystems that exist in the country is fundamental to invest and integrate AQUA4D.

Why did you choose Chile for your expansion?

Because in Chile we found a great partner with the IST GROUP to be able to develop the business under global standards. Chile is a country where an important part of its economic activity is based on mining and agriculture, as in Peru. And it is precisely these industries that present the greatest challenges in the efficient use of water. Since they are highly demanding of this resource for their production and survival. This is where we saw a huge potential to generate impact with our technology and thus ensure that these important industries continue to operate in a sustainable manner, generating employment, social and community impact, always under the care of the environment. On the other hand, we know that in recent years Chile has been the most stable country in political, economic and social terms, which allows us to visualize it as the Hub for the rest of Latin America.

How has S-GE supported you in this over recent years?

Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) through the Swiss Business Hub Chile (SBH) has supported us from the beginning in the positioning of AQUA4D and the relationship between Switzerland and Chile.

We believe that this support is essential for any Swiss company that wants to position itself in Chile, as it allows a collaborative alliance and is framed within the common objectives.

What did you like about S-GE's activity?

The activities are always of great value to us, as they create spaces where we connect the purpose of Swiss governments with their local activities and with our mission as a company in Chile.

We are very grateful to be able to collaborate with S-GE and the SBH.

Where do you see business potential for Aqua4D? What are your plans for the future?

For us as IST GROUP our goal now is to position ourselves very well in Chile, in order to continue with our geographic expansion in other markets in Latin America and the USA. That is why today we have generated important agreements with productive associations and global companies to be able to face their water and sustainability challenges at a regional level.

About Felipe Villarino IST GROUP / AQUA4D

AQUA4D was founded in 2004 and is now present in more than 40 countries. The Swiss company developed a clean technology allowing irrigation water savings (~30% average), restoring salt-saturated soils, and saving resources - sustainably and without any chemicals. The technology is efficient, operational, scalable worldwide, and is fully complementary to existing irrigation infrastructure and e-monitoring.

Supporters of the company include the European Union, the Swiss Confederation, the Swiss Climate Foundation, the Solar Impulse Foundation, and CleantechAlps among other organizations, and senior agronomists from many countries.

Felipe Villarino is an entrepreneur who has dedicated the last decade to generating impact through innovation, technology and sustainability strategies. He holds a Master's degree in Organizational Development from the University of Chile, with a specialization in business development from Harvard University and a specialization in Circular Economy and Sustainability from the University of Cambridge. He is constantly supporting educational organizations, as well as supporting some chambers of commerce in matters of sustainability and innovation. As the CEO and official representative of AQUA4D in Chile, he is very excited about the important challenges and impacts they are generating in the various industries where they are present.