Startup Initiatives During COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19 has become more than a health crisis, it’s causing all kinds of problems among society as we’ve seen in the news and experienced ourselves. As a result, many startups have expressed their willingness to help, either by trying to find solutions or making their products and services available to everyone. At Itnig, we’ve come across amazing startup initiatives, no matter the size or type of company!

Continue reading “Startup Initiatives During COVID-19 Crisis”

Itnig invests in Syra Coffee ☕

Itnig invests in Syra Coffee and to tell you all about it, in our episode #100 we interviewed Yassir Raïs, founder of Syra Coffee, who is rapidly growing a successful business in the specialty coffee sector. We at Itnig deeply believe in his project and we have decided to invest in accelerating its growth!
Syra and Itnig together became what we call Coffice, an office space that offers coffee for everyone.

Podcast #100: From 1 to 100 cafeterias with Yassir Raïs from Syra Coffee

We got to the podcast 100 already, and to celebrate it we have invited Yassir Raïs, founder and CEO at Syra Coffee. At Itnig we believe in the potential of his project and Itnig invests in Syra Coffee through the Itnig Fund to support its growth. His claim is to democratize coffee, good coffee. He believes that specialty coffee should not be expensive but it should remain of outstanding quality. His success in his fist shop in Gracia (Barcelona) has encouraged him to dream big and scale the business to become the leader in the sector.
We compared the business to Luckin Coffee (over 1.700 shops) and Starbucks. Check it out here!

View on YouTube | Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple

Syra was born in 2015, in a small pedestrian street in the neighborhood of Gràcia, in Barcelona.

A design-driven coffee company

Small coffee shops, take-away, meticulously designed, and focus on one product only: specialty coffee. They are coffee-roasters and select import, cup, and roast every single bean of coffee served in their shops.

Every product, merchandising, coffee, location, or communication is meticulously thought, develop and created, internally. From our takeaway paper cups (customized even in the most invisible parts) to every single corner of our coffee shops, and to our unique communication with costumers.

Come to Itnig Coffice on Pujades, 100 and have a delicious cup of coffee while meeting super interesting people!

Albert Domingo between Services & Investment on our Podcast #40

On itnig’s Podcast #40 Albert Domingo, CEO at NexTReT and partner at itnig takes us on a journey through his experiences as business creator but also investor and shares his point of view on project evaluation with us.

Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig and Juan Rodríguez, CEO at Camaloon speak with Albert Domingo about his experiences and learnings and his advice for fellow entrepreneurs. Listen to our podcast on Youtube, iTunes or iVoox.


I would like to start telling the story about how we met Albert, our first investor at itnig. This story is closely linked to my own story as Bernat. While I was studying computer science at university I did a three months internship at NexTReT, a software company from Barcelona, Albert’s company.

I realized this was not for me and later set out to create itnig. When at itnig we decided to start our own business, I knew we needed funding but I had no idea where to go so I thought about my internship and went to see the founder and director, Albert Domingo. During my time as intern I had never met him but with this idea, very far from reality we eventually got to know each other. Albert Domingo told me very nicely that NO, he was not interested in investing but however we improved and improved the business plan and idea and eventually got to partner up.

This company was Camaloon, Albert invested and told people in his network about it and we were able to close a funding round with 12 partners.

One thing that Albert told me will always stay with me. It grounded me:

When I invest, I am sure about one thing: If I loose my capital, the entrepreneur looses his health.

He told me this very seriously, I got scared but more than anything this sentences has marked me. 7 years later his words are still in my mind — His message was very clear. Commitment and dedication are very important for Albert.

Albert, what is your story? What did you study and how did you create NexTReT?

I studied engineering and then worked in two companies, the last one in network solutions. When at this time, I made propositions of improvements I did not get very far. I decided to set out on my own, reached an agreement of 5 years with my university and this helped me get to met really good professionals. In 1993 there was a huge crisis in Spain and I was still able to reach new clients so I thought to myself: ”If I can do this now in this time, imagine what this could mean in a good economic time in Spain.”

This was the beginning of NexTReT. Our first client was Esade, then an ex-professor of mine moved to La Caixa, later we reached an agreement with TV3, and so step by step we reached a good client base offering our services in informatic systems and infrastructure. Our promise to the CEO is that their information technology will work, no matter the time of day.

Progressively the company grew, now we are 12 partners.

When I met people interested in creating their own business, I was always ready to help. Share my own experience. I like to share and to add value. That’s how I started to get involved with entrepreneurs, because I think there can be many things to start businesses. In 1999 I got involved in a project doing my first investment.

I have invested in many occasions but for me the investment is consequence of sharing. The order is: Getting to know somebody, and only when I feel good about somebody and trust this person, and I see that the person is committed (it’s not about leading an unhealthy life) we can take a step further into investing. Commitment is fundamental.

Commitment is fundamental, in all things in life.

If a person is not committed, no problem, but there won’t be an investment from my side. For me the first thing I look for is mutual trust, then I need to believe that I can add value and lastly the entrepreneur has to see me as adding value. However, investment is my hobby. my life and work is NexTReT and investment is my hobby.

You say you look for entrepreneurs who are committed to their businesses and don’t just leave their projects. Do you believe that there are some occasions when you see that it goes no further?

Yes, of course. There are times when it does not make sense to pursue. You need to know how to loose and when to stop. Right now for example I am in a similar situation with a great entrepreneur from Valladolid. I told the kid you need to stop. You gave it your all. You did the possible, we have lost the project and the investment but you need to stop and dedicate your talent to other projects.

There are two Albert Domingo — Albert Domingo from NexTReT and Albert Domingo outside of NexTReT. You say investment is a hobby to you but you dedicate a lot of your time. How do you organize your daily life?

My daily life evolves around NexTReT but of course I always manage my calendar myself. I have my family, my hobbies and organize my life around it.

AT NexTReT we have a General Director, we have a clear organizational structure and the business already works very smoothly. I maintain contact with our clients — that’s where I see my contribution.

What companies are you involved with now?

I don’t need to mention itnig’s startups right? To come back to the beginning of our conversation actually: I don’t remember having told you No but I do remember how we met.

Bernat was a kid who told me he wanted to create a business to sell buttons online. I had never bought buttons but he seemed to be a good kid.

Yes of course I am involved in other companies.The last project for example is a company that automizes vending machines, the decision was very quick, I liked the entrepreneur, it’s an innovative idea and a partner of mine is involved.

What is your advice to an entrepreneur who is looking to talk to you? What are you looking for in a project and in a entrepreneur?

I might not be in line with other business angels but for me, personally, I have a kind of order of what I look for.

First, there needs to be trust, I need to see brilliance in the person, I want to share in the project with other people and lastly I look at the project where I look for potential, a clear market and past accomplishments.

If somebody has a clear idea and wants to share it with me, I am happy to listen. If you look for it you will always find time.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Albert Domingo’s journey and his perspective on investment and entrepreneurship. Learn more in this Podcast in Spanish on our Youtube channel, listen to it on iTunes or enjoy it through iVoox and subscribe to our newsletter to stay always up to date.

The Story of How We Became Real Estate Owners

At itnig we strive to host the best talent in Europe. Our startups have attracted skilled and high performing professionals who enjoy working in a place they call home. With growing teams a new space became soon necessary and thus expanded to an additional floor in our same building.

Our new office space has been engineered with the experience of many years of startup hosting and designed for open startups that have different needs at every stage of their development. With a mix of working area, quiet meeting rooms and phone booths and many square meters destined to exchange, relax and fun itnig’s new floor is a great addition to Barcelona’s @22 district.

If you are interested in knowing the whole story of our new space keep on reading! In this article we will take a look at how we came to need more space, how we found the place and how we financed it.

The beginning

All our startups are growing at such a rapid pace that is seems like every week we are welcoming a new team member and giving him or her a tour of the office.

We had been using the same 600sqm office for the past six years and we had to add to the space two times using available offices on the same floor. It wasn’t bad but not enough if we wanted to keep growing, and we will. So two years ago we started with the search of a new office where we could fit nicely today and in a future, to work concentratedly in the office, to invite people for meetings and conferences and to take calls without disturbing each other.

At itnig one of the most important parts is being able to share what we are doing, what we are learning or struggling with — we see our strength in the collective of different startups and different people. As such, we could not imagine having to split up just because we did no longer fit in one space or having to miss out on the external inputs we are receiving through our co-working area.

I, Meritxell Viladomat, itnig’s office manager was in charge of the search of the new office. We went out on many safaris though Poblenou to find a suitable space, I rang up countless of administrators and owners…until finding out about a company leaving in our same building. We were not the only ones interested and soon enough, two interesting parties started teaming up like allies to bet us out of it (and actually try to rent the same space to us ..). It was time to move quickly! What used to be the showroom and office of an apparel company was being sold. After going downstairs to visit the space several times we decided to go for it and scrambled to get the downpayment together. From the reservation of the space we now had three months to gather the whole sum.

The financing

Like a round of finance for one of our startups, we split the value of the office up into different parts and set out to find our investors. Surprisingly — or not? — it was rather easy to convince them of the value of our new office. When before we struggled to have our pitches heard, this time while talking about a building, a physical good, everybody we spoke to was interested.

Every time we pitched, we succeeded. Real estate, no risk, tangible and easily imaginable. That’s what our investors heard.

In only two months we were able to bring more than a million € to the table and so to finance our own floor in a Poblenou building. It was the first time, we wrote our business plan with clear certainties.

We see our office space as a company itself with a clear business plan with income streams and many expenses that needs to be profitable. Like our startups, it’s an investment for the long run — we are thinking ahead many years from now. Not only our startups contribute to the working space we also have a coworking space with more interesting people to learn from and exchange ideas with.

We think startups have 2 missions: To make a great product that satisfies needs and to sell it for a profit. At itnig we allow our startups to focus on this, instead of wasting time and effort on utility bills, reception services and other headaches. Renting an office and all the services apart is quite more expensive and time-consuming than renting in a shared space where there is already a team being in charge of all the office related tasks.

“Itnig puts the infrastructure and each startup or co-working user contributes their share.”

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Do you like to work surrounded by smart and fun people in a frenetic environment? Do you enjoy going to the beach after work, learning something new about marketing or technology and going through ideas for your business over lunch? itnig is the place for you — join us in our co-working space in Alaba 61!

Contact us!

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The renovation: Design & Work

I am an architect and so planning the re-structuring, getting quotes and negotiating with the contractors came handy to me. Besides a little part that was used as a showroom, the new floor was pretty empty and in its original state. The few walls that were there did not serve us so we tore down everything. A white canvas. A fresh start.

A complicated thing that most external interior designers and architects face is that they do not know the customer. It takes some time and visits for them to get to know what their customer really want and why. All this discovery of needs for the space was already done in our case as I have been in the itnig team for already two years in charge of the office management. I spent two years getting to know the teams and what they think of the office through the Confort office polls that were sent repeatedly every 3 months. If you are curious about the poll answers, showers, free coffee and a terrace were the more demanded features, which at the end, we managed to include in the new offices.

We wanted an open space but at the same time every startup needs to have their closed space to work. The floor we chose had big windows in all its perimeter so we wanted to have the working areas with the natural light and the meeting rooms, bathrooms and kitchen in the middle without direct access to natural light. I went through different proposals still without knowing if we would finally be able to get the money and buy the floor. We thought about a floorplan with a circular design around the meeting room and services nucleus that at the same time would allow us to divide the floorplan into 5 different independent offices in case we would not be able to fill it with our startups.


Construction work

We didn’t realise how poor our budget was until we started asking different contractors for quotes. As in very project it’s very important to find the right partners whom you can work well with and trust.

All in all the new space is 1.300 square meters big of which 490 square meters are dedicated to common areas: meeting rooms, chill out areas, terrace…

In this relation alone you can see how important exchange is for us here at itnig. For us working means learning, growing and challenging ourselves but also our businesses and we believe that this is best done in company. Each startup has their own corner, their own space to work from, and we come together to compare and contrast. Even though each of us faces a different market, the general logics of customer acquisition, retention and product development are the same and sometimes a new perspective gives unexpected input to push us to the next level.

I have already shared my tips for designing an office for growing teams, so if you are interested in finding out more about how we work together at itnig, check it out, join us for one of our next events or stay tuned to our podcast.

Podcast #25: Becoming a professional investor from scratch

In itnig’s Podcast #25 Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig, talks with Javier Llorente, an old friend of itnig and investor of itnig and Quipu & Camaloon investor about how he became a professional investor from scratch.


At itnig every Friday we sit down to talk with interesting people whom we meet throughout the week and we make a podcast (in Spanish) out of our conversations. You can listen to it on iTunes, subscribe to our channel on Youtube or enjoy it through iVoox.

For this Podcast #25 Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig and Javier Llorente come together to talk about the beginning of his career, the founding of Grupo Intercom and subsequent investments.

https://upscri.be/5c88ff/

Javier is a professional investor, the European Found of Investment (who invests alongside Javier) names him the most active investor in Spain with more than 40 investments. We talk with him about his beginnings?

Javier, how did you start?

I started working when I was 14 years old to contribute to my family’s economy. When I 16 years old I joined the Banco Vizcaya even before it fused to become BBVA. However it was not a job I liked, the days were long and it was boring to me. (Actually I studied clinical psychology but have never practiced).

It was at a time where you said: ‘Internet — what’s that?’

How did you start working with Antonio González-Barros?

When I left the bank I started working in a school focussed on technology. Antonio was the neighbour of the school were I worked and that’s how we were introduced. Antonio was introduced to Axel Serena, a youngster at that time who had lived in the USA and was the first to tell us about Internet. He told us about Internet at a time when in France people were using Minitel.

In May 1995 we founded Intercom as internet provider. Antonio brought together 30 friends, who were all fascinated by email.

In 2000, before the crisis started, Intercom was bought as one of 10 Internet providers but in these past five years other than the Internet provider we had started different classified sites like Softonic of Infojobs.

On Infojobs uploading your CV was free but the companies publishing job offers were paying for the service. After the first three offers we had different ad packages for companies. Monster, leader on the US market, spent an enormous amount of money on the market but there was not much they could do. Infojobs kept growing and became a monopoly.

From then on this was our success at the new Grupo Intercom: To achieve that these classified sites converted into leaders in their category. Softonic for Software, Infojobs for the job market and later on Emagister.

Did you start investing after selling Intercom STA (Servicios Telemáticos Avanzados), the Internet provider?

Yes, we invested in new businesses, some went well others didn’t. There were some business models that had worked in the past but were hard to replicate in 2008/2009.

I remember that in ten years 1999 to 2009 the value of a participation in Infojobs grew from 100 to 3124.8 Euro. in 1999 the 100 were pesetas in 2009, the 3000 were Euro. This is really hard to replicate.

What are you looking for in an entrepreneur for you to invest?

Excel sheets adapt to anything but what really counts is the person.

When you meet somebody, you see the enthusiasm, you connect on a personal level. I am looking for honesty, somebody who is engaged and is hard working. For me the important factor is the team and the entrepreneur who manages it.

I think we invest emotionally and then we rationalize.

Is it important for you to know who invests? Do you lead or co-invest?

I have been in both positions. It’s good to know who else is investing and to be able to exchange opinions. It’s important but not determinant, it’s not a sure fire rule.

Actually I think there are no rules, you kind of improvise.

As a psychologist, what is the profile of entrepreneur you are looking for?

Firstly, the attitude is more important than aptitude. With attitude alone you cannot work of course but for me attitude comes first and then the capacity to create what you want, to learn what you set yourself.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Grupo Intercom’s beginning and development story. Learn more in this Podcast in Spanish on our Youtube channel, listen to it on iTunes or enjoy it through iVoox and subscribe to our newsletter to stay always up to date.