You have an early-stage project ready for success, but chances are, you need funding. Without funding, reaching success is very hard, not to say almost impossible. If you are confident enough and ready to share your project with the rest of the world… Located in Barcelona, here are Tech Investment Funds for startups you can reach out to.Continue reading “Investment Funds for Startups in Barcelona”
Factorial raises €2.8M to change the world by becoming a leader in workplace management all over the world. This new funding comes from Creandum, Point Nine Capital, and K Fund.
International funds Creandum and Point Nine Capital (investors in companies such as Spotify and Typeform, respectively) are participating in this financing round, together with the Spanish fund K fund that adds up to the € 500,000 that were raised more than a year ago from several local entrepreneurs.
“The ease with which they solve a problem as complex as employee management seemed just spectacular”, says Iñaki Arrola, general partner of K Fund, one of the venture capital funds that participated in the financing round. “Since we launched K Fund in July 2016, we have made a significant bet for SaaS companies, which account for more than half of our portfolio, and also for startups settled in Barcelona. Factorial fits like a glove with our investment strategy,” adds Arrola.
Factorial was born in itnig as the initiative of three engineers (Jordi Romero, Bernat Farrero, and Pau Ramón) who, after managing different technology companies, decided to develop another way of carrying out administrative tasks and employee management. That was the main reason for creating Factorial; changing the current work paradigm. This cloud tool not only turns payroll and employee contracts into a child’s play that everyone can understand but also automates their generation; connects it directly with public administrations and allows managers and labor experts to interact and draw conclusions in real-time.
After a little more than a year since its establishment, Factorial has managed to make a difference in the daily life of more than 10,000 customers thanks to the free services of its software. The program allows you to manage absences and vacations of employees, their benefits, and even more recently, the management and creation of contracts and payslips in just a few clicks. All this with the ease of a cloud storing.
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.
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.
January closes with €195.3 million investments in Spanish startups within 24 operations
- The Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem is maturing thanks to investment rounds of more than €10 millions.
- Barcelona and Madrid continue leading the Spanish ecosystem.
This is the first in a series of posts in which we will do an analysis of the Spanish startup investment landscape. We will look at the overall funding numbers and trends in the country month by month and compare it with data of the previous year.
What are the Spanish investment activities like on a month to month basis? What deals and volumes are we talking about? At what stages are startups prone to search investment and which regions in Spain attract the most funding?
The year 2017 brought us plenty in terms of innovation and investment activity within the area of technological startups, although Spain has been driven by political problems. The developments we have seen in 2018 so far are picking up at just the same fast pace.
January has closed with €195.3 million investments in Spanish startups within 24 operations. Of these funding rounds, highlights are the round of Cabify, Hawkers and Redpoints :
- Cabify: The ride-hailing app that competes against Uber, has raised €143.3 million ($160) Series E funding round from a mix of previous and new investors, including Rakuten Capital, TheVentureCity, Endeavor Catalyst, GAT Investments, Liil Ventures and WTI, as well as prominent local investors from Spain and Latin America.
When analyzing the structure of financing deals, the increase in venture capital activity in Jan-18 is noticeable in comparison with Jan-17.
#Deals and volume in the Spanish startup investment landscape in January
In terms of the number of deals closed, we have seen a slight downward trend in the country. With a broad participation of Venture Capital, there have been less deals but more capital invested in each transaction. The reason for such a boost is mostly the gigantic financing round of Cabify with participation of giants’ VCs like Rakuten Capital, TheVentureCity and others.
The entry of European, American and Japanese funds investing in Spanish startups are accounting for a large percentage of the growth of the investments in Spain. At the same time, this global investment rise is making the average value of the financial rounds soar up to more than 1.5 times that of the previous year (without taking account of Cabify’s investment, that would turn this factor to more than 6 times the previous year)
The differences between January-2017 and January 2018 in terms of the increase in venture capital activity is shown below:
Startup investment deals by size of round
As we expected to see, the number of operations closed by investment size tends to a larger number in larger deals. While the number of deals of €500k or less have decreased considerably, the number of larger deals have gone up notably. This might be understood as an increasing number of companies maturing and reaching later stages of funding.
To properly ensure the aforementioned, in the following figure we show the breakdown of the investment activity by year of foundation of the company:
Startup investment activity (Jan-18) by year of foundation
Our previous statement is reinforced by this figure. The large transactions take place on established companies. In general, the more years a startup survives, the more established it is. As we observed, in average, the startups that were previously founded are those who raised more funding. That makes sense because normally an older startup has a bigger team and unless it has reached breakeven, it will need more funds to survive.
Startup investment deals by Region
Regarding the breakdown of startup investments by region, Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia bolster their position in the top of Spanish regions:
- Cataluña (mostly in Barcelona) stands with 9 deals closed and an investment of €19 millions
- Madrid gathers 7 deals and an investment of €148 million (€143 million in Cabify)
- Valencia up to 3 deals and €23 million (€20 million in Hawkers)
Operations January 2018:
Every week we take half an hour to talk just about any topic that crossed our minds during the last days and create a podcast for you (Listen to it in Spanish here and subscribe to our feed). We call it an Open Mic Podcast as we want to invite different people to participate, new ideas to take form and to shed light on various experiences and perspectives on business development.
This week’s Podcast #15 is opened by Masumi with our regular participants Bernat and Jordi, whom you already know. As a special guest today we welcome Ubaldo Huerta and talk about another kind of entrepreneurship, a slow growth that is not VC fueled. Listen to our podcast on Youtube or subscribe to our RSS to be always up to date.
Ubaldo Huerta, a young entrepreneur who learned to program at home thanks to his mother, left Cuba in the beginning of the 90s to San Francisco to live the early years of .com companies. In this new industry everybody was looking for developers, companies growing like mushrooms but also closing again. After a few years in this frenetic environment Ubaldo decides to leave on a sabbatical and — burned-out — wanders through Europe. He arrives in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona and is mesmerized. Quickly he decides to stay and migrates from the US just as he had years earlier from Cuba. In Barcelona he felt right at home:
“An organized place with ticks of a third world country.”
In Barcelona Ubaldo becomes an entrepreneur out of necessity: “I was earning a lot of money, but in Spain the job market was more complicated as there was no need for software developers at that moment. It was also the time of transition to dedicated servers, when you could get a server for a few dollars and build it up yourself. You could start out, try something without a high investment for infrastructure.”
Ubald started Loquo, a kind of Craigslist, a classified site from his living room. He starts with scraping email addresses from forums, sending out emails to these accounts and commenting on all kinds of threads. He starts out working on his own, with his own resources:
“I prefer to do something with my hands, spend my time writing code even though it might take time, I don’t need to live in the times of venture capital.”
“Everybody should do what he does best. If I had to spend my time raising money, talking to investors, I would go crazy.”
And after a while eBay becomes interested and ends up buying Loquo to expand their own service of auctions. Since then Ubaldo has moved on to many more interesting projects and is now busy with Fonoma.
When I create something I need to connect with my environment.
A couple of weeks ago Olapic was acquired by Monotype for $130 million.
For those of you that don’t know Olapic, is a startup that helps brands promote themselves with user-generated photos. Even though it’s not a registered Spanish company, the founders; Pau Sabria, Jose de Cabo and Luis Sanz, are all Spanish.
We sat down for a chat with Pau, which was quite relieved after the acquisition was final.
My co-founders and I are very excited about the next chapter for Olapic. It has been an amazing six years for us. At one point early on, we had a make-it-or-break-it moment, so to have come this far is quite satisfying.
Looking back, the three founders could not have chosen a better time to launch a user-generated photos startup.
We launched before Instagram even existed, so we really did not know what was in store for us. We were looking for a way to share photos after attending to a friend’s wedding. Fast-forward six years and we have shifted the way global marketing organizations are interacting with consumers and are influencing hundred of millions of transactions.
Not done with Olapic
None of the three founders are leaving Olapic after the acquistion.
We’re all staying on board to continue to build out the Olapic platform and to affect change in the marketing industry with the use of consumer-generated imagery. We are entering a new era of more authenticity in marketing and look forward to the next few years.
He explains that there has been many sleepless nights, long days, endless travel and tough choices in the last years, and expects more of the same in the years to come as well.
An entrepreneur’s work is never done!
In total Olapic has raised around $21 million in funding since launching.
Apart from working day and night with Olapic, Pau recently got engaged, and will spend a fair amount of time planning the wedding.
Keeping an eye on Spain
Olapic is based out of New York, but Pau is always keeping an eye open for Spanish startups.
It’s always interesting to see how the business environment is growing and evolving in Spain. My family is still there and all of my siblings are also entrepreneurs, it’s in our family blood, so I do like to know what’s happening.
He thinks the biggest difference between Spain and the US is the rapid pace.
Being based in New York, I can say there is an intensity and a deep drive to create new things at a rapid pace. As Spaniards with a broader worldview, being based here allowed us to expand rapidly into Europe and build a global business.
Pau is confident that Monotype will develop Olapic and help the company to expand even further in the future.
Monotype will be able to expose Olapic to creative agencies, creative directors and designers who are increasingly looking at how to include user-generated content as part of the design mix.
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(Written by Sindre Hopland)