The Startup Playbook

Connecting you to the best entrepreneurs, investors and resources from around the world

Ep146 – Federico Collarte (Co-founder & CEO – Baraja) on building the future of autonomous vehicles

My guest for Ep146 of The Startup Playbook Podcast was the Co-founder & CEO of Barja, Federico Collarte.

Baraja are the creators of the Spectrum Scan LiDAR technology, which simply put,  enables autonomous vehicles to “see” the road via lasers.

Their pioneering technology completely rethinks environment scanning for autonomous vehicles, by exploiting the wavelength properties of light to steer lasers through a prism in order to better detect objects at range.

To date, Baraja has raised $63.9M led by funds such as Blackbird and Main Sequence Ventures.

In this episode we covered a range of topics including:

  • The importance of being contrarian (and right!)
  • Balancing long term vision with short term execution
  • The challenges and opportunities that come from building a market from scratch
  • How Baraja got investment for a deep tech business at a very early prototype stage
  • & much more!

Time Stamps 

  • 2.34 – The focus of Federicos’ company Baraja – LiDAR technology
  • 3.24 – Federico’s background, why and how he started Baraja 
  • 14.34 – Building an idea and business with conviction
  • 18.45 – How Federico got from Blackbird and the importance of a personal connection and experiencing the product when partnering with a VC
  • 22.28 – The challenges of hiring staff in a new industry 
  • 27.09 – The pros and cons of building a startup in Australia
  • 31.09 – What Federico and Baraja look for when hiring talent
  • 34.22 – Building and maintaining culture in a growing organisation
  • 37.30 – The power of bringing well known and respected people into the company
  • 40.19 –  The importance of understanding your customers needs early in the development journey
  • 43.47 – The long term systems worth investing in especially in the early stages of launching the business
  • 45.53 – The importance of long-term contact and interaction with both the customers and the product 
  • 48.32 – What’s next for the Baraja following a $40M funding round
  • 50.30 – How you can get in contact with Federico and find out more information about Baraja 

Links Mentioned: 

Federico’s Link:

People Mentioned:

Companies Mentioned:

Special Thanks:

Special thanks to Cibby Pulikkaseril, Duncan Ross and Rick Baker for their help with research for this interview 🙏 .

Feedback/connect/say hello:
@RohitBhargava7 (Twitter)
/rohbhargava (LinkedIn)
@rohit_bhargava (Instagram)
My Youtube Channel


Music: Joakim Karud – Dreams

Other channels:

Don’t have iTunes? The podcast is also available on SpotifySoundcloud & Stitcher Audio Player.

Leave a Comment