Interviewing Marc García, co-founder & CEO at Viuing

Last Wednesday, February 18 Marc García, co-founder & CEO at Viuing, was interviewed at the 2nd CEO talks of the year, organized at itnig by our colleagues from Delvy Law & Finance.

Below you can find the video of the interview, which was conducted in Spanish by Josep Navajo, lawyer and co-founder at Delvy.

About Marc García and Viuing:

Marc García describes himself as “an entrepreneurial spirit with a determined attitude and passionated about my job”.

But before launching his own business, Marc worked for two big corporations: 8 years at Ferrovial as sales area manager, and almost 9 years at Yamaha as coordinator of water vehicles, recreational vehicles and power products.

When asked about these experiences, Marc assess them very differently: “At Ferrovial I was very junior. I stayed because they offered me to lead a project — Don Piso — and I mainly learned about dealing with customers. But Yamaha was my top job experience”.

At Yamaha Marc learned how to design, evaluate and re-allocate budgets, and how to manage teams in a multinational environment. And during a F1 race, he and his co-founder, Sergio Palomino, had the idea of Viuing: “Standing at the grandstands we realized that we were actually missing most of the race, and we came up with the idea of a device we called Viuing”.

After that, he left his job because “I was a risk lover, as I guess all entrepreneurs are, who deeply believed in his project”. But, what is most important, Marc knew there was a market for his product!

And in October 2013, Viuing was born: a device for attendants to major events so they can see everything that is going on, even if it happens outside their field of vision. “Viuing is a way to maximize your experience”, says Marc.

Although the product is focused on motor sports’ events, because of the number of attendants, their needs, and for reasons of advertising investments, Marc knows the device can be used in many other events, like big music festivals or even for broadcasting a mass of the Pope.

And as you probably already know, early this year and with only 1 year of life, Viuing managed to close its first round of investment of €700K, which will allow them the “go to market” during 2015.

The Importance Of Financial Management in a Startup

Startups in Spain tend to trivialize the importance of the financial management of its businesses, and often look down on it, considering it a “simple number producing” activity related to “gestorías” (agencies that undertake administrative work).

But companies who care for having a first class finance management from the beginning have some clear strategic advantages:

  • Efficiency: Releases time from other key positions of a startup — founders, CEO’s, CTO’s, CPO’s, Sales Directors — who otherwise have to do financial management in a partial, reactive and non professional way.
  • Data analysis: Beyond the “simple number producing” label, the company becomes a data-driven organization, managed by information and data. Data rigorously analyzed, linked and integrated that keep the board well informed, adding value and guiding the strategic decisions.
  • Organization processes: Process is everything! With a sound base of financial and non-financial metrics, the company can adopt a rigorous and standardized weekly and monthly operational cadence. The Board and the Board of Directors ensure that the strategy is implemented and that any significant variation is discussed, debated and, if necessary, corrected.
  • Visibility: To third parties — investors, strategic partners and financial partners — a level of confidence is transmitted when the company has a strong and professional financial management.

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

I do not have CFO, so what?
Many companies make the mistake of assimilating a professional financial management to large and complex enterprises. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a clear advantage to professionalizing the role from day one .

Now or later?
Now! The main reason for delaying the decision of professionalizing the financial tasks of a company is usually the cost, since it is not a function of the front office. Companies that pay attention to financial management from day one are able to scale their operations better. Instead, those companies that wait to succeed, often discover that they professionalized their financial department too late.

Common mistakes:

  1. “We are facing a shaky and not cohesive organization with respect to key metrics”.
  2. “We must walk the path of one year in only one month”.
  3. “There were mistakes in the initial approach of the company that are now expensive, slow and delicate to fix”.
  4. “In an emergency such as a financing round or an internationalization process, the finance area may not respond adequately and quickly enough”.

Having a “gestoría” is not enough?
No. The accounting data is not directly interpretable by the business and, in any case, someone should do the job of adding non-financial metrics, interpret them, report them and discuss them appropriately with the board. Raw data do not add value.

What is the difference between the financial management in a small company and the one we might have later, once we succeed?
Essentially the cost and the flexibility, not the quality. On each growth-phase of a company, complexity and business success requires a CFO model adapted to it. But maintaining the common elements that we discussed earlier in this post. It is a mistake to wait for the company to succeed to change from an external financial agency to an internal CFO, who is capable of dealing with a millionair financing round or sell the business. The change is too abrupt, and the results do not occur as quickly as the company would like .

Given the need for a startup to have a professional financial management service, we have identified the following solutions:

  1. The startup has a CFO who is also a co-founder and who knows and wants to grow with the company. This CFO cost should be aligned with the initial business needs.
  2. The startup has an independent CFO who can growth with the company. He/she has to be able to gradually adapt to new situations, challenges and complexities. And the company has to be able to retain him/her!
  3. The startup has a service support tailored in terms of commitment and cost. This service provides the support needed on every life stage of the company and it is able to scale with the business.

This post appeared first on Delvy Law & Finance blog, on February, 3 2015

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by Xavier Sansó
CFO at Delvy Law and Finance

Interviewing Verónica Torras, founder of Womala

Verónica Torras is the founder of Womala, a mobile app for women in the area of Fitness & Health, and expert in business models, and a customer development and lean startup evangelist and practitioner. Starting from the beginning, Verónica got into the business model generation and lean startup methodologies through Alex Osterwalder (author of the Business Model Canvas), Eric Ries and Steve Blank, and during the last 4 years she trained quite a lot of entrepreneurs through her own 3-days workshop, the Startup Bang Bang program.

At itnig we have been knowing Verónica for a while, because in her trip to the core of the lean startup method she has been one of the most active organizers of the Barcelona Lean Startup Circle, started back on February 2012. The group has been meeting at itnig since that time, and it keeps doing so. Although she is still involved (“in a second row”, she says) within the organization of this meetup, her life pivoted some months ago, when she decided to stop working as a facilitator and trainer of the lean methodologies and she put all her focus on launching and developing her 1rst startup: Womala.

This interview pretends to be an enlightening dive into Verónica’s decision, its results until now and its perspectives on the short and middle run.

Question: In your blog you mention that you had tested your idea during 1 year before deciding to focus into it. Could you explain in brief what is Womala and how did you knew that the right moment for your startup had arrived?

Answer: Womala is a service to improve women’s lives through an online personal trainer. We offer assistance for the pelvic floor health at different stages of life: young women, pregnancy, childbirth recovery, mothers and menopausia.

Pelvic health problems are unknown by people in general, however its prevalence within the feminine society is high and they know about the problem. We give relevant information and tools for women care, and we offer personalized workouts and tips as well as a motivating follow-up.

When I had this idea, back in March 2013, I decided to start testing it. I very quickly found Olatz Zeberio, my partner and also the expert on pelvic floor physiotherapy. We built a very basic MVP in 3 months. We got 130 users that were receiving pelvic floor exercises every week during 3 more months. And an encouraging percentage of those women were doing the exercises at their homes. This together with tons of qualitative feedback, we saw that we were into something important, and made us decide to take the leap of faith.

Q: Verónica, in your blog you mention that when you decided to devote yourself to Womala, you completely changed your lifestyle: “I cleaned up my financial structure, left my attic from Barcelona, reduced my belongings to a couple of bags and started to be lean like a kite.” Which was the ultimate moving thought that lead you to take this decision?

A: The need of focus! Before to take the decision I had some conversation with 5 people I trusted. Bernat Farrero (as you know founder of itnig and CEO of Camaloon) was the one making a lot of emphasis on this particular aspect. He was very clear on that point: ‘Focus is key’. You can’t do 5 things at the same time if one of them is to build a startup. You need to put all your focus on this one if you want to play the game’. Steve Blank also mentions that as a must for an entrepreneur.

Bernat’s statement was resonating in my head day after day until I decided to do it. And when I took the decision, I left my apartment and reduced my personal cost structure in order to have flexibility and freedom to make a new prioritization of things in my life. This was after 9 months I started to test the idea. Three months later (now!) I have to say that making focus on Womala has been one of the best decisions I have made lastly.

Q: Any startup is failure-proof, but since you are an expert in business model design and the lean startup method, which are the top 3 requirements you have make sure your project meet, before launching it?

A: Hahaha, always looking for formulas that work! Ok, I am going to mention those 3 requirements but I would like to emphasize that this is my own case and it might not work for others although it can inspire them.

First, we got a positive analysis of the business opportunity. We looked at the problem, target, size of market (in our case is the prevalence of several pelvic health issues), chances to make it international, and a first set of 30–40 interviews with potential customers (women), doctors like urologists and gynaecologists, and other physicians. In fact, the business opportunity is huge because there is a common problem in adult women with few solutions out there. I highly recommend doing interviews to real people at the same time that doing the market research. It keeps you in the ground, in the real world.

Second, we reached out our first 130 users with our first MVP. We were looking for any evidence on the following: Does the problem exist? Do women know about the problem? Do they have solutions? Which ones? Are they interested on ours? And yes, we met that requirement as well. The first acquisition test showed that there is a high interest for the issue and we have got lots of conversations with women who tell us that a solution like the one we offer is needed.

Finally, the third requirement, is more related to the founder skills. I made all kind of questions to myself and tried to answer them sincerely. Do I really want to commit at least the next 3 years on this project? Do I feel passionate about solving this problem? Do I have the possibility financially speaking? Do I have the skills needed like empathy and capacity of solving all sort of problems? And do I have the network to make it happen? All of them were a yes. I also hear a podcast recently from Startups for the rest of us called ‘The test founder’ that is answering this point very well (for those who want to start is worthy to check it out).

Q: In your blog you say that you are a “non-technical founder” but that you managed to learn enough of the technical side to build your first MVP. Which advice would you give to non-technical founders, men or women, who are also trying to startup? What is the mindset they need in your opinion?

A: Nice question! You can find all over Internet the opinion that if you are a non-technical founder without a technical co-founder you can’t start a tech startup. However if you have the right mindset, I believe that is possible. I think you need to be creative about solving problems and very open to learn. This mindset helped us to build an MVP that is allowing us to validate the market, the problem and the business model. Womala is now a validated model and it is a very attractive opportunity for a developer that will join our team. We believe that we are now in a good position to find a developer girl that will join the company’s vision of improving women’s lives and we are looking forward to find her.

Q: About the Womala design process, and looking backwards, could you clearly define which steps or phases your project has been through? In which phase are you right now?

A: I think I have mentioned that bit earlier: 1st stage, business opportunity analysis and interviews; 2nd, a basic MVP with automated emails, 3rd step, taking the leap and building the first version of a web-app. A first soft launch has given us a lot feedback that tell us that this project needs to be done and it is a good opportunity to be part of something bigger. Our next stage is to enlarge our team, specially for the technical part. We are now meeting girls from different tech communities to find the technical person because we think that the team is ready now to go to the next step. That might be attractive and exciting for any programmer.

Q: After 3 months working only for Womala, can you now say that it was the right time to focus on it? Or you wish you had started before?

A: I believe it is the right time to build this and I believe that I made the right decision at the right time as well. I have to say that when I first had the idea to help women in their pelvic health back in 2006. I was working with urologists and gynaecologists in a small pharmaceutical company and I already saw the problem at that time. However, almost nobody had a smart phone, and there was not even a fitness app yet. So, I really believe that now is the right time!

Q: Talking about the near future, which are the next steps on Womala’s roadmap (6 months view)?

A: Thinking about the stages of a startup, we have learned a lot about the problem, and now we are focused in our solution. We want to be close to women to build the best features and the best product they will love. So product development and customer development are our priorities in the coming 6 months.

As I said before, we are looking forward to increase the team with the best people: we look for a tech girl, a growth hacker girl and a content manager…. Positions related to development, marketing and sales.

We are also exploring partnerships like health centers, associations of women, midwifes, gynecologists, etc. And we are planning to launch internationally very soon too. Womala is a global company doing a local test in Spain. So we are going international in the coming 6 months. That is why when we look for new team mates we look around the globe. We have no limitations to find team mates in other countries as far as they share our passion.

Q: Tell me 3 things about your lifestyle any entrepreneur should consider, for the good and for the bad, before starting his/her own project.

A: First, the order of things: being an entrepreneur changes the order of things. I have seen this a lot in my friends when becoming fathers. They always say that having a baby changed the order of priorities in their lives. Starting your own startup is the same. Things that were important to me before are not anymore. However, I am super happy with that. I am enjoying the path very much and I find it exciting.

Second is passion: when you have passion and you are part of a core team of passionate people trying to change the world, in this case woman’s world, your life is very rewarding. Womala is this kind of project that gives us a big reward when we meet other women’s expectations.

Third, we are becoming a nomad company. We will go to places where we can get resources, inspiration and talent. We are a global startup and we believe that being stucked in a place has its limitations. Our future team mates will have the possibility to choose this lifestyle too, travelling around the globe looking for convenient places to be while focusing in building the company. It is called digital nomadism.

Anything else to say? Any manifesto? Your every-day motto?

Passion! Passion for improving people’s life. Passion for what I do. This is my biggest source of energy. I believe that passion is the fuel you need to work uncountable hours a day, solve all sort of problems and still be happy at the end of the this journey.

Legal Issues When Starting a Business in Spain

Spain has become a very interesting place for foreigners to establish their businesses. They can find a solid entrepreneurial ecosystem, skilled partners and workers, and nice weather. All these elements are attractive enough to start an entrepreneurial adventure.

In this article we are going to outline some of the basic requirements that everyone should have in mind when starting a business in Spain.

Legal Structure

In Spain there are two main ways to structure a business: the first one is to work as a Freelancer (Autónomo), and the second one is to incorporate a Spanish Limited Company (Sociedad Limitada).

Identification

First of all, any foreigner interested in starting a business in Spain, either as a freelancer or through a Spanish Company, shall have a foreign identification number (NIE).

Freelance (Autónomo)

To be an Autónomo means to begin a business as a self employed person. There are two steps to become an Autónomo; first of all you have to notify to the Spanish Tax Administration (Agencia Tributaria) that you are going to start an economic activity, and then you should register to the regime of self employed persons in the Social Security (Seguridad Social), with a notification validated by the Tax Administration.

Once you are registered in the Social Security, you will have to pay a monthly fee, being the base fee 256,72 euros. However, current reductions for new Autónomos have recently being approved by the government, including the following features:

For new Autónomos under 30 years old the following reductions will apply:

  • An 80% Social Security fee reduction during the first 6 months. (50 euros approximately);
  • A 50% Social Security fee reduction during the next 6 months after the previous period of time;
  • A 30% Social Security fee reduction during the next 18 months after the previous period of time.

For new Autónomos with 30 years old or over the following reductions will apply:

  • An 80% Social Security fee reduction during the first 6 months. (50 euros approximately);
  • A 50% Social Security fee reduction during the next 6 months after the previous period of time;
  • A 30% Social Security fee reduction during the next 6 months after the previous period of time.

Furthermore, an Autónomo must comply with several tax obligations, mainly to present its quarterly declarations of taxes relating VAT and Retentions made by other professionals.

Spanish Limited Company

A Limited Company is the legal structure most used in Spain to start a company. As stated above, it is necessary to hold a NIE to become a shareholder of a Company.

The main steps to incorporate a Limited Company are as follow:

  1. First of all, it is necessary to obtain the Name of the Company through a Certificate issued by the Companies Registry (Registro Mercantil).
  2. The next step is to open a bank account and to deposit the minimum share capital to incorporate a Limited Company, which is 3.000 euros. The Bank will issue a Certificate of deposit that shall be presented at a Public Notary.
  3. Both Certificates are necessary to incorporate the Limited Company before a Public Notary. All the shareholders will have to be present and sign the deed and the Articles of Associations of the Company.
  4. After signing the deed, it will be necessary to obtain the Tax Identification Number of the Company (NIF = Número de Identificación Fiscal).
  5. Finally, the incorporation of the Company will have to be registered at the Companies Registry, and the beginning of the activity shall be notified to the Tax Administration.

It is important to add that it’s necessary to appoint a Director of the Company, and that the person occupying this role will have to be registered at the Social Security as an employee or as a self employed person (Autónomo) if he or she is a shareholder of the Company with 25% or more of the share capital.

I hope that this article has served its purpose of being a general guideline to evaluate the different options that any person has prior to start a business in Spain. We support the entrepreneurial initiative and encourage any person to follow its goals.

If you have further questions or any doubts regarding initiating your project, feel free to contact us at i[email protected]

Pablo Mancía
Lawyer
www.delvy.es

5 Tips To Be Successful In A Business Fair

Managing a company’s presence in a business fair can be a lot of work (and stress) but certainly can be just as rewarding. There is no better place to get in touch with your target, especially if you are an ecommerce guy.

But fairs are also a hostile place where too much is on display and everyone is calling for attention. A few simple tips might help improve your presence and leave a good mark in the minds of those who got in touch with you.

1) Have a vision. A vision helps you transmit one idea and not a thousand. One idea, one message will definitely have more chances to break through than many smaller ones. One idea leads to clearness. Many will only achieve confusion.

2) Be visible. But not loud. You want to be noticed without shouting. People are curious, find a way to play with their curiosity and attract them to your stand.

3) Be longer lasting. Visitors will be overstimulated by things to look at and try. You want to give them something they will be able to take home in order to give it a second look. Once the circus is over they will be more relaxed and will take it into proper consideration. Be careful, whatever you offer needs to be original. You won’t be the only one handing out goodies.

4) Produce engagement. You want people to come back to you. That is more likely to happen if there’s something “in” for them. They are not just buyers. Whatever you are “selling”, they should have a special reason to choose you. Make them feel like an active part of the deal.

5) Observe the context and learn from the past. Pay attention to what others do and learn from their experience. Being inspired by someone’s idea is not stealing. It is upgrading. Nothing new is ever invented. It is all just a matter of recycling with creativity.

There are no real rules. And flexibility should definitely be part of your attitude. But these five tips can help you achieve better results.

Eddie Pezzopane
Events Manager & PR
Camaloon