For corporates with social programs, it makes sense to verify if their initiatives actually achieve the positive impact they set out to achieve. To meet this challenge, the Chilean startup Cuantix, which is part of 5-HT’s digital ecosystem, has developed a platform specialized on impact measurement and management. With the support of experts at Cuantix, the platform allows organizations to complete the full process of impact measurement in one place, from designing the project, selecting the indicators and collecting the information to analyzing the data and extracting the results. In this interview, Chief Strategy Officer Javier Graterol talks about the benefits for the users of Cuantix, and about the startup’s plans for expanding beyond Latin America.
Why do companies need to measure the impact of their social projects?
For NGOs, this is obviously an essential need since they have to show their investors and donors that their social programs are successful. But also corporates can take advantage of impact measurement in multiple ways. Because the social programs you implement should always be related to your core business or objectives, your business will thrive if you effectively develop the communities you interact with. Furthermore, investors and customers are closely looking at aspects of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) nowadays. If you prove to be a company that takes care of how it affects its environment, you diminish the risk of market shifts that can harm your brand. Therefore, impact measurement is not just an altruistic means of saving the planet, but an important part of risk management which helps you to build a long-lasting, less vulnerable company.
How does impact measurement with Cuantix work?
Of course, the social change that can be attributed to your organization’s activities is not easy to grasp, but with the right definitions and methods it can actually be measured. At Cuantix, we follow a three-step process, starting with the question what change you want to bring about in the community. In the onboarding process, we set you up with a consultant who helps you design the measurement plan for your project. First, you define your project in terms of what you are going to do, to whom you are going to do it, why you are doing it, and how you are going to measure it. Especially the selection of the right indicators is a key challenge because you need indicators that provide valuable data. Therefore, we help you to select suitable measures from our constantly growing database including over 1000 indicators, e.g. IRIS indicators, the GRI Standards, indicators by UNESCO and the International Labor Organization, or several internally developed indicators covering aspects like economy, society, finance, and others.
One key differentiator of Cuantix is that all indicators are ready to be implemented. This means, we have already prepared all the sources, associated questions and calculation methods so that, once the indicators are selected, the final survey is ready to be applied. On our platform, we offer a wide array of tools for data collection. Depending on your target population, we can use automated WhatsApp or SMS bots, phone calls, online interviews, print questionnaires, or even person-to-person interviews, and you can also define the rhythm of data collection, for example once a week or once a month.
Finally, we analyze the results of the impact measurement process and communicate them to our clients. There are two ways of doing this: inside the platform, we offer personalized dashboards where our clients can get an overview of their social programs, look into their data, and see how the projects are developing. However, if they don’t have the time to analyze the data themselves, we let our data analysts prepare a report that summarizes the key findings.
What are the key benefits for your customers?
Usually, impact measurement is done by big consulting firms, which takes a lot of time and money. Since we use technology and have a lot of automated procedures, e.g. for data collection, we make the whole process of impact measurement cost-effective. At the same time, we offer the perfect mixture between technology and specialized online support. Thanks to our technology experts, we enable our clients to deploy their impact management projects very fast. As compared to other solutions, one key benefit of Cuantix is that we collect the information directly from the source, which gives you granular data and more insights. Furthermore, we provide you with comparable data: when you get your results, you can see how well the average of organizations did in the same indicators. In addition, our service is very low-cost when it comes to repeating an impact measurement project in the next cohort or in a different city. Once you have the measurement plan and the surveys designed, it’s very easy to adapt this to a similar program.
How did Cuantix get started?
Our CEO Adriana Mata used to work for multilateral organizations in several Latin American countries, implementing impact measurement solutions for their social programs. During this time, she realized that impact measurement was only done for very few projects because it was a complex process that needed a lot of resources. Nevertheless, it is very important as it lets you know if you actually create the change you want to create. This is why Adriana decided to use technology to streamline this process so that even organizations with a smaller budget are able to implement impact measurement projects. Together with our CTO Rafael Angulo and our COO Natalia George, she began working on Cuantix in 2016. After taking part in the MassChallenge Accelerator in Mexico, they decided to fully focus on Cuantix. I joined the startup in 2018 after I had been working for Cuantix as a consultant. In 2018, Cuantix was officially registered. From then on, we pushed our startup to grow: at the moment, we are a team of 12 people, and we have already worked with over 50 clients from 9 different Latin American countries, like Google, KPMG, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) or the Chilean government. Our customers are NGOs, social enterprises and corporations with social initiatives.
What are the next goals for Cuantix?
This year, we are planning to launch a freemium version of our platform where the first steps of the process – designing the program and selecting the right indicators – will be for free. This way, we want to help as many corporations as possible to start with impact measurement. For next year, we plan on building a closer relationship with the Impact Management Project (IMP), an organization that aims to establish a basic set of metrics for measuring environmental and social impact. By integrating their processes into our platform, we will make it easier for impact investors to use Cuantix. In a next step, we are also going to look into ESG tracking, the monitoring of the three central factors measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company – a topic that will be especially interesting for corporates.
What are your plans for the growth of Cuantix beyond Latin America?
As soon as we have raised our first round of funding, we aim to expand first to Brazil and the USA. After that, it makes a lot of sense for us to integrate with the community in Europe because this is one of the most developed regions in terms of impact measurement and sustainability. We have already had talks with potential clients in Spain. But before we can bring our solution to countries outside of Latin America, we will first have to adapt the indicators for every region: obviously, it’s not the same to measure poverty in Bolivia and in Germany.
When it comes to entering the European market, what do you hope to achieve by being part of 5-HT?
It’s a great chance for us to start having conversations and developing our network in Europe at an early stage, before actually entering the market. Thanks to 5-HT, we were already connected with a big German corporation which we will soon begin to talk with. We hope to be able to develop our relationships with time, so that people already know what we are doing once we launch our platform in European countries. For the chemical and pharma industry, we see great potential for our platform because of the huge impact they have on communities. Therefore, we are looking forward to having first conversations, getting feedback, and finding out if our solution would be of value for the companies in your network, or what additional features they would perhaps like to have.