How this Aussie tech startup is planning to build a brand

Baraja chief commercial officer shares how he sees brand building to drive the LiDAR tech industry forward

The history of Australian technology innovation is littered with great research-based tech breakthroughs that fail to grow into sustainable global businesses. For every ResMed and Cochlear there are hundreds of others that almost no one has ever heard of.

But one-Australian born technology innovator is seeking to boost its chances by giving itself something that many deep-tech entrepreneurs never consider – a strong brand.

Baraja is an Australian born startup founded in 2016 that now boasts more than 150 people, with employees across Australia, the US, Europe and China. The company’s core technology is LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging), a form of light-based radar that uses lasers to enable robots to ‘see’ the world around them.

This technology is expected to become a key component of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, giving them the ability to sense what is happening nearby and take swift action, such as applying the brakes in an emergency.

Growth of the brand has been tasked to Joseph Notaro, a 30-year veteran of the global semiconductor technology industry who has held roles in research, sales and marketing, primarily focused on the automotive industry. As Baraja’s chief commercial officer, he is now hoping to utilise his experience to help Baraja become an important component of the future of motoring.

“There are 1.4 million people who die on our roads, according to the World Health Organisation, and 90 per cent of accidents are due to human error,” Notaro told CMO. “LiDAR really brings a revolution to the way we see mobility.”

For Baraja to put a significant dent in that number, it must first establish itself as a key supplier in the industry. Much of the work to date has focused on miniaturising LiDAR technology down from something once the size or a suitcase to a device more akin to a deck of cards – which is also the meaning of the Spanish word ‘baraja’.

The Baraja brand was unveiled in early November and forms a key element of the company’s growth strategy. This is supported by a new logo featuring four dots representing the dots of so-called point cloud visualisations generated by LiDAR systems.

Notaro said the quality of the point clouds Baraja generates are one of its key benefits when compared to competing LiDAR technologies. And it’s critical in terms of helping vehicles sense the environments around them and keep their occupants safe.

“When people make the link as to why the point cloud is important, they can make the link to the Baraja logo and to our product – and the fact we are helping to create a safer mobility experience,” Notaro said.

The task now has swung around to expanding awareness and building relationships with industry partners.

“There is a phase in the startup life where you focus on the technology, and that is what Federico Collarte and Cibby Pulikkaseril did when they founded the company in 2016,” Notaro said. “As the chief commercial officer, my goal is to commercialise and scale up our product to the whole mobility industry. The rebrand is part of that scaling, so people recognise us for what we deliver.”

Notaro is taking the brand to market using primarily below-the-line channels including a new website, and through public relations outreach and LinkedIn.

“We want to make sure that our key stakeholders recognise who we are,” he said. “There are many examples of those [technology companies] that have died because they were just too early. They were not able to articulate the problem they wanted to solve.”

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