Nigal is the acronym for New Galician Industry (and also the name of a goddess from Mesopotamian mythology) and already from the name the founders of this start-up from Lugo set the ambitious goal of bringing innovative and revolutionary solutions to different sectors of the industry Galician, always based on Machine Learning and mathematical models. Although the company is barely two years old, they already have three products for various sectors in the purchased one and they aspire to develop many others in the future.
Lara Neira, Nigal’s CEO, explains that the idea came from a group of Galician researchers who, like her, were working abroad and wanted to return to Galicia to start some kind of innovative project that generates added value. “With this idea we went to the call for 4.0 projects of Galicia Open Future and we were selected to participate in the accelerator. Then we won the award for the best accelerated project and in May 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, we created the company”, indicates Neira.
Libatio is the main project in which Nigal participate. It is an intelligent stopper for barrels that controls the evaporation of wine and improves its quality. The initiative is developed in collaboration with the Vigo company SC Robotics and has a grant from the Conecta Hubs program of the Galician Innovation Agency (Gain) of the Xunta de Galicia. At this time, the solution will apply to the wine sector, but it may also be extended to other sectors that work with other types of liquids, such as oil, for example.
The other two projects that are already being marketed by Nigal are an application that makes it possible to digitize the process of cutting down wood (Notifor) and a waste management platform (Lixo), which has already begun to be applied in collaboration with the Ribadeo Town Hall. As in the case of Libatio, the application of mathematical models to industry is at the base of the products. Neira points out that the growth of the company is being very fast due to the knowledge with which the founding partners started. She herself has a doctorate in Machine Learning and another of the founding partners, Adrián Rodríguez, has a doctorate in Applied Mathematics.
“For the immediate future, our plans are to scale the products we have to increase supply and, at the same time, develop new solutions for other sectors. Our fundamental objective is to create value for companies. Internationalization is something that we also have in mind and we already have some contacts in that line”, Neira tells. In just two years the company already has 8 employees and in 2022 it aspires to consolidate the business generated.
Neira highlights the importance of the public support obtained for the development of the company, both within Galicia Open Future, as well as Conecta Hubs and a grant from Igape to attend a food fair in Germany where Libatio was presented.
Nigal is an example of a company that knew how to detect an important market niche and in a very short time was the one who brought out products for very diverse sectors. The fact of basing their model on artificial intelligence facilitated their entry to the buyer and now they have to face the challenge of bringing these innovative products to companies that are demanding solutions for an industry 4.0 that is increasingly developing in the Galician economy.
It is also worth noting the fact that the company was created by researchers who decided to return to Galicia to develop their skills and that from a small place like Ribadeo it is possible to develop a leading start-up in a sector with a lot of competition and that is capable of to generate a lot of added value.