Glovo’s hypergrowth — Podcast #41 with Sacha Michaud

On itnig’s Podcast #41 Sacha Michaud, one of the cofounders of Glovo shares his take and experience on the hypergrowth of the Barcelona based delivery startup with us, talks about market about delivery and on-demand user experience.

Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig and Jordi Romero, CEO at Factorial speak with Sacha Michaud about his own personal story, how he grew as an entrepreneur and last but not least his perspective on Glovo in this podcast. Listen to our podcast on Youtube, iTunes or iVoox.

Sacha, we know each other as partners in Playfulbet from a few years ago but tell us about you, please. What’s your story?

I am English by family, Canadian father but born in London. As a kid I travelled a lot to different countries and I ended up in United Kingdom. When I was16 years old I stated to run as a jockey and through the sport I went on to live in the US. But my mother lived in Barcelona at that time: I went to visit, loved it and stayed.

At the end of the 90s I learned to program, it was the time Internet was taking off. At that time I create Latinred, which went very well, I was able to sell it to a US Nasdaq listed corporate. We sold to a competitor, with less users and traffic but much more capital.

You were able to sell before the crisis.

Yes you could say it like that but there are also other examples. After three years I left to create what is now known as Betfair, first here in Spain and then Portugal and Latin America.

That’s where the circle closes. I come from the horse racing world, filled with bets, I knew the world and I was a big fan of Betfair.

At that time Betfair was very strong in London and Ireland — I really liked their model of betting against other users. The more traditional way is betting against the house, which is earning a margin. Betting exchanges on the other hand are against other users and the house gains a commission. Betfair invented this model and I was already a big fan when they called me up to launch Spain.


Their way of launching was “Create a business plan”, I had a very entrepreneur role, very open. You have the platform and capital and you can run and create. I learned a lot, before I had been focused more on technological side but here I learned a lot about Sales. It was a more strategic role where I spent 9 years.

How did you leave Betfair?

After 9 years many things had changed, we went public, the way of managing the business turned to become much more centralized. I would have had to go to London or Dublin to continue to have an impact but I decided to leave.

At that time I was already really interested in Peer to Peer and On Demand and the sector Glovo is in now.

I joined forces with Oscar, a kid who just came back from the US and had the same idea. To get started we became part of Connector, an accelerator, a group of mentors with Carlos Blanco.

How was this experience with you?

When you start out it’s a good place. A secure place to start. In the beginning Glovo was a text field — you introduced what you wanted delivered and to which address.

“Bring me a pizza from this restaurant to this address.”

We grew organically in Barcelona and Madrid, launching within an interval of 6 months. We grew without marketing by giving excellent services. This allowed us in the first phase to grow — even though it was not scalable.

Then in the summer of the next year we launched Glovo Marketplace ,— with the restaurants and catalogues of products you see now.

The text box is still there, right?

Yes, it’s magic! And it’s very important that you have it. Its the WOW — it’s these the orders that you comment to your friends. You won’t talk about having received a pizza delivery but something custom, yes.

User Experience is everything. It’s not the App but everything : the service to the customer, the speed of delivery.

More than weird things that are bought and delivered, I am surprised by the quantity of things like keys. Kids get home from school and forget their keys so their parents send a Glovo or Real Estate agents and Airbnb renters who use Glovo to send keys.


Here at Camaloon we’ve tried different providers. Now we are at a 2% of cases in which packages do not arrive. Lost packages, accidents…You really don’t have ?

Yes but you don’t control the transportation chain. There are different delivery providers involved and the user might not be at home when the package arrives. But at Glovo it’s the opposite. We have control and it’s in demand.

Glovo is sharing economy. Were you sure from teh beginning that you wnated to have an external fleet of riders?

For me sharing economy is a project between individuals. Sharing living space or a garage between two peers. We are economy on-demand. This is very different – here is a peer and a professional involved. We are a marketplace with professional sellers and the delivery is done by a professional, freelancer.

There are two arguments in the discussions: Flexibility and liquitidy to everybody and on the other side, precarity and worsening of the job conditions, giving control to one industry over a lot of workers.

I don’t think so. The big majority is not looking for a fixed, full time position so we combine it. Glovo is not the work of your life. It can be something nice to do but it’s not the main aspiration.

Somebody who has been working many years in a restaurant kitchen, small space, no air, as a Glover possible to make the same.

How much does a Glover make?

It depends on the city and the volume of orders — 5 /6 € per order and in high times the average is serving two orders per hour.


What do you earn then?

Commission and fee that the user pays, minimum 1,90 Euro.

Would it make sense to have Glovo with own riders like DHL?

This would mean changing the dynamics. Flexibility would not exist anymore — it’s something we would have to look into. It’s an option but at the moment we are compliant with the current model.

What’s the trade-off by dealing with big funds?

Dilution. But I think it’s about choosing the right partners.

What about Rakuten? Why did they join Glovo?

Because it’s a company which has a vision about the sector Glovo is operating in. Rakuten is the Amazon of Japan — they are very interested in on-Demand, they entered the taxi market with an investment in Cabity. I see them as a very good partner, I hope in the future they will continue.

Next steps: Latin America, reaching more cities and becoming leader where we operate and we are looking for other cities like Istanbul, Cairo, Bucharest…Each one very different but we see a big opportunity.

Jump to the podcast to hear the end of the conversation with Sacha:


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Sacha Michaud’s journey and his perspective on entrepreneurship and startups. 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.

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.

Podcast #39 Jesús Monleón’s 1001 stories

In itnig’s Podcast #39 you’ll hear from Jesús Monleón and his story of entrepreneurship: Cofounder of eMagister, Seedrocket, Offerum, Glamourum, early team member of Trovit and active investor with invested entreprises like Captio, Tiendeo, Redbooth and Mailtrack.

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


Jesús Monleón, how did you start?

I studied Business Administration and when I was at university I was curious about starting my own business. At that time, around 1996, at university we got an Internet connection and as I had started to think about creating a job portal I found out about Infojobs. I saw they were close by so I went and met Iván Martínez and Nacho González-Barros at the university campus in Cerdanyola.

Later I started working in the financial sector, but I quickly realized that this was not for me so I left and decided to create a business with my cousins.

This is when emagister.com — a search site for classes — was born in 1999.

Why emagister?

I thought to myself “If Infojobs went well, what I can do that is related?” At that time there were a lot of educational offers in the newspaper and everybody was already talking about how Internet was going to change education.

The first thing I thought was that to start out we need a team and so I gathered my cousins: I was the oldest with 22 years and then there were my cousin Juán Ramón, who was an engineer, another cousin Jordi Castellò had studied economics and Monica joined us in administration / finance.

We already knew each other, we even had created an ice cream kiosk at High School together.

We found our first investor and now really had to think about how to get this started. That’s when I remembered Grupo Intercom and called them up. And we set out to work. Our expectations were far from reality: In the first year we made 600 Euro in revenue, our prevision was of 6 Million Euro.

We had traffic, we knew that people were confirming classes through emagister but we hadn’t yet figured out how to monetize it.

Thousand of tests later, we still had no business model and we had given ourselves a year to get this working. Through an outside input to change our contact forms and ways to connect schools & students, we switched to a model based on leads. That’s when emagister takes off. We had traffic, a working business model and very few competitors. This was the beginning in 2001.

What did you do after emagister?

From my experience at emagister I saw that being part of a startup was tough and my impression at that time was that Internet was a bluff, entrepreneurship was shit, and only investors are winning.

So I went into the financial sector to make some money. I moved on to La Caixa’s Venture Capital department. With a team of four people we were searching for Catalan operations for the bank. I got tired after a while and needed some more action. I was part of the start of the bank’s Venture Capital department for entrepreneurs — a very interesting experience with very good investments — and decided to start again. That’s when I met the Trovit team and joined them.

At Trovit everybody was very techy, we were making money with adsense, my role lay in business development. First we sold Banners and then set up a pay per click system. I built up our commercial team.

Trovit went very well. It’s a good business. A company generating EBITDA.

*laughing*

As an entrepreneur but also from the other side as investor I have learned that investors are not my friends. As an entrepreneur I want to drive the company, drive the bus and want the investor to join the journey, to hop on the bus but not to interfere with me driving.

I don’t like to depend on investors. Investors are not your friends.

Years later I founded Seedrocket, as something I would have like to have when I started out with emagister. Seedrocket is an association without profit focus, we are a group of friends who have known each other for a long time and work together.

I was looking for people who could help me with their experience and place . a minority investment.

In 2007 I met Vicente Arias from Softonic, Grupo Intercom, and we talked about creating an incubator or investment fund. We were looking at YCombinator and Seedcamp models, just when YCombinator was starting out in the US. So we invested small amounts of money, 20.000 Euro, in three projects, offered offices and mentorship. I was looking for people who have had experiences creating companies, sharing what they have learned not in technical terms but more about relationships with cofunders, investors…somebody who has gone through the same as the entrepreneur.

The accelerator business model is really hard and I saw it would lead me to do things i was not fond of like selling to big corporates. So we are just a club of friends.

Follow the rest of his story and reflections in the podcast:

And today, what is your day to day life like?

I am spending my day on the phone. Basically spending my time on Seedrocket for founders fund, talking to entrepreneurs all day and to my own small investments. Spending my time talking to the different business.

Today I live off my own investments. It started out as ahobby and evolved into investments who have brought high returns.

As an entrepreneur, what do you recommend? How to start a technological project?

First thing, find a team. And then, launch.

Find the best team. This does not have to be a guru, nor the most experienced person but good people.

How do you define good people?

There are people with a certain talent and attitude.

I don’t mean technological capacities — Especially if the founding team are able to gather smart people around them and give less experienced people the chance to learn. This was amazing at Offerum, the team was growing with the company. When you are 23 years old, you don’t have any experience, everything you do is for the first time, but some people have a certain talent, a capacity that can be build out.

The hardest is finding good people. And there is no manual. And what is ‘good’ is hard to define.

Even talking to professional investors, the topic of good people has no answer. I think it boils down to ‘perception’, the perception you have of the person.

What is the last investment that you are crazy about?

Tuvalum — a bike marketplace.I like it because it combines SEO and a marketplace, of demand and offer, which gives room to arbitrage. It’s a very interesting project now and I believe it’s replicable internationally. In 3 years I have no idea how I will see it, this is pretty random but at the moment I really like it.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Jesús Monleón and emagister’s journey. 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.

Serial Entrepreneur Nacho Gonzalez Barros sharing his insights from Infojobs, Mailtrack & many more

In this edition, Podcast #32, Jordi Romero talk to Nacho Gonzalez Barros, who is typically introduced as serial entrepreneur, together with Juan Rodriguez, CEO at Camaloon and César Migueláñez, Product Director at Factorial. Nacho will share his story and experiences of launching and growing different businesses with us. Listen to our podcast on Youtube, iTunes or iVoox.

Nacho, what is your story?

I started in 1995 with one of the first ISP in Spain, called Intercom. I was 19 at that time and it was there that I saw how to start something. I got hooked and dropped out of my telecommunication studies. During this time at Intercom I was also very involved in the hiring process and really loved the part of finding talent. In this time about 100 selection processes went through me at the Intercom Group. This is where in 1997 I saw the opportunity to create Infojobs. We started with a technical co-founder and a business founder.

Actually we have had Albert Feliu and Javier Llorente as guests on our podcast as well!

Ah nice! Yeah, we’re all from the same family.

We spent a lot of years creating a company. Nowadays there is a lot of literature, but when we started out we had to learn as we went along. Infojobs went really well but that was just the start for me. When we sold Infojobs, I saw a new opportunity, the partners at Intercom trusted me and I set out to create Neurona, something like the Spanish LinkedIn, which I later sold to Xing, the German LinkedIn. Next I worked on Niumba, a web of apartments which was sold to Tripadivsor.

These three were the positive experiences but I have created a lot of failures.

There was Lincara — a social media platform focussed solely on the Spanish market. It was a disaster. Tuenti came along and we were not the best at executing. I was unfocused. We copied Friendster’s model but then Facebook came a long. Take a look at myspace and what happened when Facebook came along.

When you start, while trying the MVP, you can do other things but once you have traction you have to be all in, completely focused on the business.

Another example was Amigosfree, free dating site like plenty of fish. It’s the startup that had the most traction but we were missing a full time CEO. Dating creates recurrency, it’s a very attractive sector. And being free when Match and Meetic were paid was also a great advantage but here again the execution failed, I was doing too many things at the same time.

Now I am working on Mailtrack and it’s going very well — it’s a plugin for Gmail that adds a double check when your email has been read in Gmail. When somebody opens your email you are notified that the email has been read. We have 50 thousand customers with recurrent payments and are among the 100 extensions on the Chrome Appstore.

You’ve been working on Mailtrack for 5 years now. How does a product like yours evolve?

You put a pixel in the body of the email but technologically it’s incredibly complicated to create a product inside one of Google’s Apps. It seems really simple but technologically there is a lot of complexity behind it.

When you send an email with Mailtrack you add the statement ‘Sent with Mailtrack’ to the email. What part of growth comes from this virality?

About 45% of our growth is thanks to this virality.

Word of mouth is also important for us. There is a Wow effect upon seeing Mailtrack at work. Even people who are really into technology are surprised by this. It’s a very precise functionality nobody had worked on before.

In your past experiences there are either exits or companies that are closing. Mailtrack is going well but you haven’t sold yet. What is your plan?

The natural evolution is selling the company but we are not actively looking to sell, we are creating revenue. We have 2 million users and recurrent revenue — the most natural is that there is a CRM company in the US who sees this as a feature to their product. Not only valued by revenue and EBITDA but by the potential.

I don’t think of my company as my baby, I am a bit addicted to change.

Yes, so it seems. It seems like every 4 or 5 years you have a new idea.

I am really enjoying working on Mailtrack but the normal thing is that there will be somebody much better than me at scaling the company. I am much stronger at starting things and bringing them to revenues.

Do you do an autoscreening of your ideas?

Every time I am more rational and more of a realist when thinking about starting a project. Not obsessing about the solution but about the problem. Understanding the market, possible customers, talking to them. When I see that there is something that I need, that’s where I start with a project.

Dog fooding.

Yes, Infojobs was exactly this. I was a recruiter and I was going through 1000 of CVs so I really understood the problem other recruiters had. Now I am starting something related to hiring. I know the problem by heart. I see the problem and can visualize the solution.

I think before even starting to create a MVP you should go out talking to people to see if what you are thinking of is a ‘Must-Have’ or a ‘Nice to have’.

Fall in love with a problem before doing anything.

I think it’s important to recruit people close to you, early adopters, for a brain storming session about this problem and you really need to have a clear business models. There needs to be a clear business and you need to see that there is a space for you out there.


How are you going to start it?

Very cautiously as there is a lot of uncertainty. I am not going to raise capital but set out to better understand the market. Going from company to company to understand how they work, how they do recruitment and see if this solution could fit with their work style.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Nacho’s plans for the future, how he sees the founder personality and what he thinks about the process of scaling a company. 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 #31 Talking about Cambridge Analytica with ex-Facebook team member Antonio García Martínez

In itnig’s Podcast #31 Jordi Romero, CEO at Factorial speaks with Antonio García Martínez about his past experiences designing ad-targeting products at Facebook and his perspective on the current Cambridge Analytica controversy. Listen to our podcast on Youtube, iTunes or iVoox.


After a doctorate in Physics, I started working at Goldman Sachs as Quant Analyst in 2005. It was the time of the financial crisis in the US, an economic apocalypse. I thought the only thing that might survive after this crisis is the technological sector.

So I became a Research Scientist in an online advertisement company, a niche in the tech sector. There I got to know my co-founders, we applied to YCombinator and went through their Bootcamp as a startup. During this time, all problems that can occur happened to us. After 10 months Twitter bought us in a so called Acqui-Hire, when they buy a company but what they are really after is the talent and to get the founders and employees on board. After a bit of drama I went to Facebook.

At Facebook, my role was that of a Product Manager of ad-targeting products. At this time, in 2011, the whole team at Facebook were 20–25 engineers and 5–6 Product Designers. We all fit in a meeting room. However, Facebook had about 1 billion users and even with almost non existing business or monetization model the revenue was high. It was the time Facebook would transition from a startup with a crude business model to what it is today.

I was involved in product development for things such as the Custom audiences. With the IPO Facebook went public and started to turn its focus towards monetization models. These two years of developing products are what makes Facebook money now.

What is going on with Facebook now in terms of privacy?

The Cambridge Analytica crisis comes from the Facebook platform. You probably all remember the time when you could login on Spotify through your Facebook account and would receive some kind of spam to your Facebook profile. Facebook decided to take this step of creating a platform to make an integral product that could span and connect different sites. However, this was not a good product, a fail, as in the long run nobody was using the Facebook platform. As a user, you would use Facebook to log in, some of your personal data are shared with the product you are logging in to and this data might be used.

There really is not much Facebook can do to regulate the data flow and what happens with this information once it leaves the Walled Garden of Facebook. And that’s basically what happened as researchers at Cambridge University created a psychographic model, an app which by asking questions tries to make a psychological assessment of you as a person. They were creating a five dimensional graph based on the big 5 personality traits (Ocean — openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism) and projecting the user’s personality in five dimensions.

Through a model they then correlate this with your political views, eg. pro Trump, pro immigration.. and combine your psychological profile and political stand with Facebook’s ad platform to be able to find a person on Facebook and specifically target advertisement to the believed preferences.

Obviously the story has some James Bond badness, researcher, an almost hidden secretive company, financing Breitbart, Bannon’s involvement as editor — It’s a compilation of different elements that makes this story.

If the problem was that Cambridge Analytica breached the terms of service of Facebook, why did Mark Zuckerberg hide?

This is a bit curious. I think it’s simply because Mark Zuckerberg is not the most social person, he’ll do a Q&A internally and answer all kind of questions but externally he seldomly shows his face.

The problem is the perception, not so much the actual impact it had in the elections but the perception of it.

What about Fake news?

I think fake news is a real problem but it’s hard because there is no obvious solution. Compared to ad content, organic content is much harder to control. People are used to having a Feed of content optimized to their likes by default. In the US a lot of media consumption happens through Social Media, that’s hard to change. Two months ago, Facebook made a change to the Feed, giving journalistic content less importance and in a way bringing the old Facebook- between friends- back again.

This reminds me of the last podcast in which we spoke about cultural fit. You once told me about the employee handbook, the little red book that you received at facebook. Can you tell us a bit about it?

In my book, Chaos Monkey I talk about it a bit. During the interviewing cycles, somebody will always ‘there is no cultural fit’ and this can be some hidden part of racism, sexism…it might mean ‘the candidate is not like me’. T

In regards to the Little Red Book, it was born in 2012 out of Facebook’s fear of converting into an old, structured company. Worried that they would not be able to keep the agility and aggressiveness of a startup, the Little Red Culture Book was one way of fighting against the corporate ageing that might creep upon us as an organization.

On the last page for example it reads:

If we don’t create the thing that replaces Facebook, someone else will.

That’s the tone of the Little Red Book, I still have one copy actually.

If you want to find out more about it, we recommend to read Antonio’s book with many more anecdotes from his time as Product Manager at Facebook: Get the book here and listen to the whole podcast on Youtube.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Antonio García Martínez takes on Silicon Valley. 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.

Startup PR: How startups can increase their chances of getting press coverage

Especially after the initial product launch and after achieving the first milestones, startups most often try to get some press coverage, in order to increase the attention of venture capital firms, business angels and early adopters for their product or service. For that reasons, they usually reach out to local or international tech and startup publications. Getting featured in one of those can be as challenging as securing funding or getting your first customers. So it’s important for startups to take a close look a the publications they aim to target and to avoid common mistakes.


The tech and startup media landscape, internationally, in Europe, Spain & Barcelona: Aside of international tech publications like TechCrunch, TheNextWeb and Venturebeat, there are European startup/tech publications like tech.eu and EU-Startups, Spanish ones like El Referente and TodoStartups, as well as local ones in Barcelona like Barcinno and Barcelona Startup News. In order to get to know some of these startup publications better and to get a behind the scenes view, we recently organized a little round table discussion with Vivien from Barcelona Startup News, Sophie from Barcinno and Thomas from EU-Startups. If you’re interested in Startup PR, the role/state of tech media and the startup ecosystem in Barcelona, this one is for you:

During the discussion, there already came up a few tips and tricks. Publications like Barcinno, Barcelona Startup News, and especially international startup publications receive a huge amount of press releases per day, so in order to increase your chances of getting press coverage, you should really make sure to reach out the right way. To provide you with an overview, below you’ll find a summary from the discussion between Vivien, Sophie and Thomas, and some additional best practices:

What is news? The fact that your startup exists or just launched is usually not newsworthy. Unless you just invented a time machine or teleportation technology. Most interesting content for startup and tech publications is exclusive information and news that make their readers go „wow”!

Prepare a good press pitch: Provide all relevant information. Make it as simple as possible for the editors to understand your product, it’s USP and why your story is newsworthy! Keep your email pitch short and suggest an interesting angle for an article. Also: Don’t ask for permission to send a press release. Just do it!

Sending your press releases via email: Keep your emails to each of the contacted editors short and don’t send too many releases to the same editor in quick succession. Send them out individually, with a personal note (never: Dear editor…). If your email shows that you understand/read the publication, your chances of grabbing the editor’s attention clearly increase. Best case, the press release will be sent by someone the editor already knows.

Be a good communicator: When contacting editors, pick the subject line of your email carefully and make it stand out. Some editors of popular startup/tech publications get a few hundred emails a day, so you wanna make sure they at least open your email. If they do, and afterwards reply with some questions, save them time, by quickly replying. Sometimes it’s really a matter of minutes. If you don’t reply fast enough, the editor might already consider another story. On the other hand, if you are the one asking questions, make sure the editor can answer with one line or a simple „yes“ or „no“. Saving time is key!

Keys to good press releases: Great content and exciting news spreads automatically around the web. Your press releases should be a good read, easy to understand and as interesting as possible. Readers of startup publications, like pretty much all humans, like big numbers, interesting facts they didn’t know yet, successful people/stars, nice pictures, stories that spark emotions.

A sense of exclusivity: Media people like to talk to the people in charge. That being said, press releases should be sent by the startup’s CEO not by an intern or a PR firm. This is true especially for early-stage startups. And: Journalists like exclusives! By giving a publication the exclusive right to publish first (embargoed news) you will clearly increase your chances of getting featured there!

The perfect timing for sending your press release: Send your press release with advance notice. For example: If you’d like to see your news/story covered on Wednesday afternoon, reach out on Monday morning at the latest, saying that the day of the announcement will be Wednesday. The most important thing to keep in mind is: Editors don’t like old news! On the same day the first press coverage about a specific topic goes online, all other media outlets should have received the corresponding press release. Otherwise your chances to get additional press coverage are almost at 0%.

And if it doesn’t work out? Don’t take it personal if a publication doesn’t write about you and your startup! If your team and idea is strong, you will make it anyway! Other ways to get visibility for your startup are to properly present it on AngelList, Crunchbase, F6S, Product Hunt, Betalist, and of course on big social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Podcast #30 Cultural Fit — Does it exist or does it develop over time?

In itnig’s Podcast #30 Jordi Romero, CEO at Factorial speaks with César Migueláñez, Product Director at Factorial, Roger Dobaño, Product Manager at Quipu and Bettina Gross, Talent Acquisition about the concept of cultural fit.

Roger talks about the evolution of culture inside Quipu’s team, the selection process for open positions and we see examples of culture rendered transparent at PayPal, Facebook and Rebooth.

How did the culture at Quipu evolve?

We started almost 5 years, we were 2 people working inside of itnig very closely and we have grown to be a team of more than 20 team members, with one general managers and big changes in the organization. There are big cultural differences from the beginning to today.

What differences do you see?

In the beginning, we had very little experience and our founders’ personalities marked the culture of the initial team. In small teams you influence the culture directly but as the team grows, as you install levels of management it becomes a task to maintain the initial enthusiasm as the company grows. I think there were basically two phases at Quipu: When we were about 10 people, young people with a lot of energy, we shared a lot, not just work but also our private lives. Then there is a second time, when the company has become more professional, growing form 10 to 20 people, new departments like Sales.

The first contact a new employee at Quipu has is a talk with me, Roger, talking about our culture, our history and our plans for the future. I think it’s important that the first contact be a kind of anchor for this person — if you have any question, I am here for you.


What do you talk about in two hours on the first days of a new team member? How to refer to company culture?

There are two main things: First, a retrospective and then a basic guideline on how we solve problems. And then of course depending on the person and his/her future position I focus on the team and challenges ahead.

Do you believe the cultural fit is made or exists? Does a personal develop it within the team or come with a predetermined cultural fit?

I would say more than cultural fit, it’s about values. What do we share as group of humans? What are our underlying shared beliefs and values? And I think in this sense it’s something you have innate in you when you join a team or not but also something that develops over time.

If you think of culture, you can also take the example of migration. You move to a new country, the culture is different, but I still believe that you can become part of the group, of the society.

It’s interesting you say that Bettina. You actually come from a different cultural background, you did not grow up here in Spain or Barcelona and you’ve become part of the local culture. Do you think the differences become shorter over time?

Yes, I believe the distance becomes shorter. Maybe it’s just my own ideal or my own illusion but I think you can integrate in a new culture.

You believe you can overcome this distance?

Yes, if not I think I would not be living here.

You spoke about values — During interviews in the selection process, or even in employer branding when writing job offers, do you use values to describe the company?

Yes, at least that’s something we try and it’s something we have been speaking about a lot. How do different part of the team interact, should people from other teams be involved in the selection process. It does not have to be the founder who’s involved if in terms of values we are all aligned.

Even though a person from another team might not be able to assess the professional skills, he/she can still detect if there is a kind of cultural fit or not.

Cultural fit which for me is an important pieces, just as important as the professional talent of the person.

When we try to explain our culture, which is really hard, culture of the company is like DNA, changing constantly, adapting. Our initial culture is a part of Cesar, Bernat, Pau and me and that’s where we got our values from. We all sat together and each told their version of the story. When the first person joined our team we told him clearly that he is going to expand our culture. We are aligned at the base but he joins and expands our culture. And it’s the same for the 20th team member who actually joined us this week. He expands our culture just as much as the first person did.

I think this is very important that you talk about expanding. Sometimes the idea of cultural fit is also scares me, it may imply a fixed set of behavior, a group that is homogeneous and either you fit in or not. Especially in small structures like a startup I think it’s important to have somebody from outside, with another way of thinking and the ability to doubt or question.

Roger: My approach is not about saying this is how it is but more than anything about how we solve problems. I think we need a connection between humans who feel good around each other and can work together well. We had a person with us at Quipu who was very important for our culture and our group and even though she left her spirit and attitude are still with us today.

Bettina, you worked at PayPal some years ago, a US company and you were working in Berlin. What was the culture like for you? How did they transmit the company culture? Did you have contact with a very senior person explaining the beginning and history to you?

When I started I had a training of one or two weeks focussed on what it meant to be a PayPalian — there were even tests to make sure we were following. It’s an interesting way. The culture is always given from above, that’s clear, but to have it in paper (or well a software), is a whole different levels. There were a lot of rules but I think this was also positive. When you start somewhere new, those rules help you understand what the group expects of you and what you can contribute, whereas when you ‘swimming in uncertainty’ it is hard to find your place.

After the two weeks, what’s next? Do you get feedback? Do you hear you don’t fit in?

No, this I think was already clear from the selection process. But there were many follow-ups, like monthly meetings with teams, HR teams and senior teams. This was really helpful for me especially because it was my first job after leaving university — where do I see myself? How do I want to evolve?

I liked that you mentioned these two weeks of training. Actually at Facebook they have a small red book, The Facebook Way, that includes values. It’s the bible of why you are here and how we do things.

What kind of question do you see acceptable to find out if a person might be a good cultural fit or not?

I think you have to be cautious in terms of profiling. I think all questions should be acceptable if they serve an understandable purpose. For example you asking about technology used at home to find out if the person is ‘techy’. The goal was to find out if the person is ‘techy’ and not if he/she uses Mac or Windows but it can still be critical.

Well yes it’s always tricky, I think you have to find a way to create a conversation, because you will be in the position where one party scrutinizes the other.

Jordi, and you at Redbooth, a company founded here in Europe that suddenly comes to have a management team from the Us. How did that go?

Actually at Redbooth the concept of cultural shock took a different turn because I actually think we had two cultures. With a basis of Spanish or European culture we flew to San Francisco and set up an office there with people who had grown up in the US culture. Adn we left. So the company had a way of doing more or less US but a team from Silicon Valley ambitious, powerful and aggressive. We spoke different languages — two people who tried to do the bridge between San Francisco and Barcelona. We tried but in the end we were not able to understand each other.

An example: At some point in time we had a high churn rate and we set this as a priority to tackle. In Barcelona we wanted to all get together, create posters, a roadmap, to celebrate together but from the US direction, where our CEO was, the guideline was to make a Churn Bounty. The individual person who does xy, gets xY Euro. like the hunger games against churn but one agains the other.

In the end the company kept these two cultures, both in their ways, but without meeting midways. We tried to translate but it was not an integration.

And now, with a bit of distance. Do you see anything you could have done to create this integration between the two cultures?

I don’t believe in the concept of creating a company here, hiring a person there and working in two centers. I think the only way of creating a structure in the US in this example would have been moving a part of the core team to the US, staying for 3 years and not months and from there creating the US team. It’s really hard to transmit your ways of doing if you are not aware of them yourself — we were a young team, very inexperienced in leadership and communication. So it was all very implicit.

Thinking of this, how was it for you Cesar, to join Factorial when Jordi and Bernat and Pau had already known each other for a long time?

Good. I already knew Bernat well before we started Factorial but the other I got to know while working. I did not have much time to think about the culture either, we were so focussed on creating the first product. The compatibility of the personality formed our culture. It was very organic in the end.

And has it happened to you that a person, even though technically or professionally perfect fit with the team, ended up leaving because he/she was not able to connect with the group?

Yes, and it’s bad for both parties. If you are not collaborating well or not feeling well in the team it’s impossible to work together. You cannot add anything to the company if you are not feeling well.

Maybe that’s it the culture fit — that you feel good about where you are.

Yes, and you have to realize it quickly.

Now that we have Quipu and Factorial here, do you think there is a common culture among startups?

Yes, actually it’s also something I look for when interviewing candidates. Startup experience per se is professionally completely irrelevant but it teaches you what we expect from you, what we want to achieve, how we work towards it. I think it is another way of doing business it is underlying in most startups. A small structure where we are inventing something every day, no structures, no certainties — I think the strength it takes to do this transpires to all team members.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Factorial and Quipu’s ideas on cultural fit. 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.

EU-Startups.com moves in

EU-Startups.com, one of Europe’s leading startup publications, just moved into the itnig co-working space

With the start of the new year we are opening up our 5th floor as a co-working space to welcome talented individuals and promising startups to join us! Earlier this month, Thomas and Pablo from EU-Startups have arrived and are joining us in a collaboration, sharing their insights and startup knowledge not just with us internally but with you through our blog as well.


EU-Startups.com is one of the leading startup blogs in Europe with up to date information on startups, in-depth analysis of different sectors and many interesting interviews focussing on specific aspects of business. Next to the online publication, Thomas and Pablo are organizing the yearly EU-Startups Summit — this year to be held on the 24th of April with 750 founders, startup enthusiasts, corporates, angel investors, VCs as well as media people from all across Europe.

Thomas and Pablo met at MY-WAY, a project by the European Union thought to foster startup creation among students and asking what the EU can do to support them. Pablo was then working in Brussels with the student organization AEGEE and joined EU-Startups at the beginning of this year, focussing on the organization of the EU-Startups Summit.

They found together through a common interest for Europe and entrepreneurship, and the with the goal to foster innovation cross-boarder, spanning all of our countries and facilitating access to different resources. Undecided about which city to move to, Thomas finally settled for Barcelona last year as he thought it might be an easy pitch to convince event attendees, and future contributors, to visit to sunny Catalunya.

“Berlin might have more capital, cheaper rents and more tech talent, but I see a bright future and high quality startups here in Barcelona”.

While talking about the business model of EU-Startups as a magazine, Thomas talked about everything but a magazine. A job board, premium reports, a startup sourcing service, sponsored posts by corporates, and the EU-Startups Summit they are organizing since 2014 is what brings EU-Startups revenues. Actually we could be speaking about several business models.

Thomas, how did you get started writing about startups?

I was always interested in tech and new business models, and in 2010 I felt there is a need for an online publication that covers startups from a European perspective. More and more cross-boarder funding deals were happening, cross-boarder expansion, acquisitions, etc. So I started EU-Startups.com. Today the site attracts over 80,000 founders, investors and startup enthusiasts each month.

What have you learned from reading countless press releases a day?

You don’t learn a lot from reading press releases. I think you learn much more from talking to founders, investors, corporates and by doing your own research. Press releases always just paint the picture that a startup wants you to see. The reality looks often a bit different.

How should I pitch my startup to be featured in EU-Startups.com?

First of all, you should have something newsworthy to announce. As long as you didn’t invent a time machine or a teleportation device, the fact that your startup exists is not news. I actually have a little presentation on how to increase your chances to get press coverage, which I presented in some events. If you’re interested to read it, send a short email to [email protected] and I’m happy to forward it to you.

When you hear the word Blockchain what is the first association that pops in your mind?

It’s a hot topic. A bit too hot in my opinion. I sometimes have the feeling that all tech startups these days are either doing something AI, chatbot, or blockchain related. I mean it’s an interesting concept, but there are not so many actual use cases for it yet. In theory, yes. But in reality, we’ll have to see which kind of impact the blockchain concept will actually have going forward.

Podcast #24: Itnig’s point of view on Gymforless’ exit

In itnig’s Podcast #23 Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig and Pau Fernández, CFO at itnig share their point of view on Gymforless’ exit. How did the company start, pivot, live the change of CEO and reach an agreement with Sodexo which lead to the sale of the startup last week.

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 #24 dedicated to the story of Gymforless, Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig, Pau Fernández, CFO at itnig, César Migueláñez, Product Director at Factorial, Roger Dobaño, Product Manager at Quipu and Bettina Gross, Talent Acquisition at itnig come together to talk about the beginning, the pivots and the exit of Gymforless.

https://upscri.be/5c88ff/

Gymforless started out as a flexible model on how to use gym, directed to final consumer offering fitness tracking. Instead of models like Freeletics or 8fit, whom we have previously spoken about here at itnig, Gymforless focussed its tracking on workouts at the gym.

Guillermo Libre started out with the project and from itnig we supported him in tech development and an initial investment. The work on the b2c segment was very intense and it cost us a lot in marketing and customer acquisition, bringing only small margins.

Transition from daily pass to club, membership

With this panorama, Guillermo made a first pivot from a Daily Pass (pay per use) model to a Club Pass (a subscription) model. It was a hard decision, we were scared leaving something behind that was working and it seemed like a dangerous move.

It’s hard to leave something that is working, even though it’s not your core business.

After all, this was a very important change and from the on the project had a new direction. We were adding more features like rewards to work on churn. However this was only the first of many changes the startup would go through.

Guillermo, founder of the project had to leave the project and move to Madrid. In most cases such a change of CEO in an initial phase is the end of the business. Not in Gymforless’ case. Guillermo knew Oriol, current CEO, from working together in the past and he joined Gymforless to lead the startup through the next adventures. Oriol had extensive experience in Sales and B2B.


Pivot to a new direction — going corporate

The next step for Gymforless was a change in its customer target base. We started acquiring companies and offer gym as benefit for employees. The companies were very receptive to offer these kind of benefits and we soon had a working model. Oriol’s experience in B2B Sales helped this pivot from consumer to corporate business tremendously.

This change made the relationships with the gyms easier as well. Gyms no longer saw us as a threat, or cannibalization of their customers.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Gymforless’ beginning and exit 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.