Very often, a great business model emerges from observation, necessity and perseverance. Three elements united in LandFix. At just 23 years old, Teo Blanco had already worked in his father’s construction company for five years. There it came into contact with a product that calms the dust and prevents the cloud formation that is so annoying during some renovation work. “I saw that people were asking for something more: that it not only calms the dust, but also becomes a hard surface,” he says. Achieving this meant that any country road could be turned into a hard and solid road. “I had studied civil engineering for two years, but later decided to study economics. This technical training encouraged me to keep researching because I knew I could improve the product and achieve the goal,” he continues.

Convinced of the potential of what he had on hand and driven by a desire to start his own business, he decided to continue researching with his chemist uncle and they began developing pilots in their spare time. The goal was to get a liquid that, when mixed with the powder, would harden the surface enough to turn a dirt track into a road. They got it in 2009 and launched it in 2010. These were their premises.

Innovation. What is it made of? TecoFix, as they called their product, is a liquid soil stabilizer that compacts dirt roads, giving them a cement-like hardness. “It’s like a kind of white glue (technically an eco-friendly copolymer ion emulsion) that when mixed with the earth forms a kind of resilient plastic layer that also allows anything to be laid on top of it as if it were concrete. It is ecological, quick and easy to use, reducing costs by between 40% and 60%.” It is registered in Spain but not patented. “Because it is protected in Spain, it is also protected in the EU. It should be registered abroad, but there are different regulations in each country and in the end it’s a very long and very complex process,” says Blanco. Registration abroad has an explanation, and it is that practically 100% of production goes abroad, although this was not originally intended.

aggressive marketing. They wanted to develop the business in the Spanish countryside. To invade the communes, they launched a campaign. His suggestion was that they line up the machines and the company gave the product away for free. “We carried out tests and many orders came out, but we faced one of the most widespread problems in Spain: payment within 200 days. We couldn’t meet those deadlines because we had to frontload the liquid and the labor and that was a long delay in getting reimbursed.” To get liquidity, they went to the banks. “I had permanent contracts and still couldn’t get any financing, so we had to go abroad.”

Internationalization. Practically 100% of the billing is done from abroad. “In Spain, to the problems of payment deadlines, we have to add the problems of bureaucracy related to infrastructure. To participate in projects that involve building roads, you must be registered in the National Highway Plan, which requires publication in an act, and everything is delayed. I’m not ruling out country roads, but today 99% come from abroad.”

The application of TecoFix on dirt roads has been very well received, especially in countries lacking infrastructure, as they contribute to sustainable development, utilize rural roads and give them a resilient coating. The company has conducted tests in 30 countries and opened offices in The Gambia, Bolivia and India. There are plans to open another one in Romania, where they signed the country’s secondary network. They have already completed projects in Bolivia (for an amount of 40 million dollars), in Ghana where they have signed a contract to build 1,000 km, a 10-year project representing 1,000 million dollars, and they are exporting to countries in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. “My dream would be to work all over the world and reach China and India. Two months ago I was in South America and Africa and in the summer I’m going to Asia,” says Blanco.

Diversification: Now they are in the process of diversifying and looking for ways to apply it to areas such as leisure (golf courses, soccer stadiums) or waterproofing. “Contact with the needs of other countries suggests applications. In South America, we’ve identified a problem with coal mines: they stir up dust and cause breathing problems, so we’re investigating a variant of TecoFix to apply to minerals and reduce the amount of suspended dust. Another product will be GolFix for sandy areas on golf courses. “And we are in the LadriFix project, which is trying to get resistant and waterproof bricks by mixing the product with soil. Before we start any use, we check its feasibility and make sure to keep its benefits: respect for the environment, ease of use and efficiency for the customer.”

A spectacular development
Despite the obligatory drought of results in 2012, when the manager Teodoro Blanco decided to work as an employee, LandFix’s development is spectacular, supported mainly by the projects in developing countries. So much so that for this year 2013 the expected increase in sales is multiplied by 100 and even by 200, up to 5,000,000 if the advice and use of the product by the company is added to the pure and simple production.