Spotin INC is a local startup that is currently innovating the tourism sector of Puerto Rico. It also contributes to the development of ecotourism and the adventure travel market of Puerto Rico. As they express in their site, they “aim to redefine adventure. To us, it’s all about going to places not because you want to get there, but because the journey will most probably be an epic one. It’s about the little things: exploration, perspective, friends. It’s about entering into other people’s world. Seeing things as they see it, even if only for a day.” They continue explaining how Spotin will help plan trips and meet people and offer flexible ways for adventure guides to earn money to their “Spotters.” The key word here is adventure, and the Spotin team will help you find it all in the Island of Enchantment.
Here are the talented team of women making Spotin possible:
Pamela Nicole Rodríguez Ramos
When asked about the driving force that led her to join the Spotin team, this office administration major (with a minor in marketing), expressed that this was the marketing aspect. Pam has worked in several areas in the team, which include digital marketing (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat), coordinating the influencer road trip, and working on the newsletter.
Pam looked back on her experience with AIESEC, because it “taught her to be solution oriented, self aware and to empower others.” The organization also helped her in both her professional and personal growth. However, she admits owing her discipline to the courses at UPRM, which also taught her how to fight for what she wants, and to not stop until she has achieved it. Back to her work in the current organization, Spotin has taught her many things about marketing and international relations. “But the thing I’ve liked the most is being able to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom, but with my own genuine touch.”
María Alexandra López Silva
This second-year industrial engineering major is the UI/UX director in the Spotin team. She works with the user experience, as well as gathering feedback, opinions, and suggestions from the users through the creation of surveys and personal feedback requests. López Silva uses that feedback to make the app better, work more efficiently, and being more user friendly. “What the users think about the app is very important for the constant development of the app.”
López Silva explained how it all began with an email from cartero about an internship opportunity with Spotin. She sent in her resume and had an interview with the CEO, Bryan Bou. That same week, she was accepted. It wasn’t until her acceptance that she discovered what Spotin was about. “When I knew what it was about I got so excited because I have always been an adventure lover and being part of a team that wants to promote eco-tourism in PR got me so excited!”
María has always loved adventures. She detailed how she would go with a group of friends looking for new adventures every weekend and how she “got to know many of the beautiful hidden places in our beautiful island which made [her] love for [the] island grow more every time. Having this love for adventure and this group of friends who also love it has helped [her] know what the user looks for in an adventure app and the diversity of activities it can have.” By now, she has gained more love for Puerto Rico by getting to know all the activities and adventures one can do without leaving the island. López Silva has also gained her first professional experience as an industrial engineer by focusing on efficiency, which is the main focus of her job. She goes on explaining: “I have met so many good young people with our same purpose: finding ways to make our island get back up. I have learned a lot from all of these talented and young people whom I work with, and the ones I have met along the way. It has been a tremendous learning experience. I’m very grateful for being part of the Spotin team!”
Laiana I. Lugo Santori
Laiana is a senior psychology major who was led to the Spotin team for the same reason as María: an internship. She explains how she was attracted “by the idea of adventure and local tourism. [She] had always wanted to go to many of the beautiful places that the Spotin app showcases but never really had the directions or the group to go with. Spotin has been like an adventure family.”
Lugo Santori has always loved design and digital design. She has taught herself some techniques, learned how to use photoshop and other adobe programs, and invented techniques of her own. “In terms of blogging, writing has always been a part of my life, especially when it comes to telling stories about nature and adventures.”
She currently works as the graphic designer and blogger of the team. Her tasks include designing and creating graphics for social media, the app store, and Google Play; writing and editing adventure stories; and in the early phases of the app, she helped create mockups of what the app and web page would look like. Laiana recounts some of the things she has learned during her time working on Spotin. “One of the most important lessons has been that hard work and perseverance always payoff. This may seem a little cheesy but it’s true. The application and the idea behind Spotin was definitely not born from one day to the next. It has been years in the making. We have gone through a lot of meetings and a lot of failed ideas. It has been the perseverance and desire to really continue [what] has brought it to what it is now.”
Gabriela Diaz Figueroa
This prepa mathematics major is making the most of her first year at university. She’s currently the Sustainable Tourism Developer at Spotin and the Costal Clean-up event organizer. She dedicates herself to finding ways to keep clean the spots Spotin promotes and to organize clean-up events for the places in need. “It is very important to keep our ecosystem litter free because all the trash we leave out takes hundreds, even thousands of years for it to be degraded naturally, eventually many animals die by confusing garbage with food and our planet slowly dies, too. Also, this affects Puerto Rico’s tourism because dirty places aren’t attractive places. I love our island and all of the beautiful places it has, and this is my motivation in helping maintaining Puerto Rico’s beauty.”
Coast Cleaning at Las Salinas, Cabo Rojo, where 94 students participated on March 4, 2018.
This trail-blazer pinpoints the roots of her motivation to all the roadtrips she took with her family where they visited many of the places Díaz promotes and cleans now. Díaz Figueroa describes these memories as inspiration to do her best everyday and to give her 110% to Spotin. “These experiences helped me realize how important it is for us to show people the beautiful places Puerto Rico has to offer. This is why I decided to join Spotin.” Díaz Figueroa wants to keep visiting new places and help let the world know “how wonderful our island is and Spotin is the key to this.”
“Spotin has given me the opportunity to use all my skill and enthusiasm to help embrace and protect our beautiful jewel that we want to share with the world. I’m grateful for being a part of Spotin, it has been a tremendous experience and I wouldn’t trade this for anything. I’ve gotten to know incredible people, visited amazing places and best of all, we are doing something for our Puerto Rico. Each day I’m grateful because I love what I do and I know that someday everyone will know how amazing Spotin is.“
Coast Cleaning at El Litoral, Mayagüez where 57 students participated, on March 18, 2018
Claudia D. Ramos
This senior marketing major joined the Spotin team when they held an opening through the Idea Platform Startup Job Fair and she took it. Ramos explains how she “always identified with the company’s concept so [she] was very happy about the opportunity.”
By recalling what she has learned in her college courses and in a past internship with the Mayagüez Resort and Casino, Ramos mainly works with Spotin’s website and its Web Content Optimization. She is also part of the Content Creation team. Within content creation, she mainly writes blogs full of useful information for anyone interested in tours, exploring Puerto Rico, and other related things.
Ramos describes how, “more than anything,” Spotin has helped her gain confidence in her skills. “With this being a Startup, there are many marketing strategies you have to implement from scratch that maybe you’ve only seen in class, so putting that knowledge to the test in a startup set up has really made me confident in my skill set.”
Edielmarie Santiago Mercado
Edielmarie is a human resource management major who works on the recruitment of new tours and tour guides around the island. Her journey in Spotin began with a kindred spirit attraction. The fact that it was an idea that sprouted in UPRM prides Santiago Mercado in so many ways. She continues that it’s refreshing “to belong to such an amazing community of students coming together to let people know, not only tourists, but residents from Puerto Rico, that you don’t have to travel to have an amazing experience, it might just be a few miles away.”
Even though she has worked in past internships that helped her gather knowledge and skills, being part of Spotin has been completely different for her. What has set it apart from other experiences is that she’s been part of the process of building something and “seeing it grow and nourish. Which makes it even more exciting to work with!” Furthermore, Spotin has given Santiago Mercado tools that will help her in the future, “and I have yet to learn so much more, as well as working with a community of students, like myself, that are determined and passionate about this project.” Lastly, she explains how throughout her SpotinPR experience, she has learned “to appreciate Puerto Rico much more and all the potential in tourism that is available and has been taken for granted.”