Image | Alberto Carrasco-Casado
The Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem is on the rise. A few years ago it was very difficult for an entrepreneur to establish and maintain a startup, mainly due to the lack of investment across all the development stages. But today, in 2015, this is no longer the case: for the first time in history Spanish investment in startups will top the historic record of 500 million USD.
During the first three quarters of 2015 a total of 409 million euros were invested in Spanish startups. Given that the total numbers in 2014 and 2013 were 285 and 221 million euros, respectively, the data from 2015 shows that the entrepreneurial community in Spain is now firmly established. Furthermore, by just adding the investment figures for Spanish startups in October, the number rises to 460 million euros – already surpassing the psychological barrier of 500 million USD.
What companies have been leaders in securing these investments?
In 2015 investment in startups has doubled, mainly thanks to two factors. Firstly, the multi-million euro investments made in classified ad companies geared towards the mobile market, like Wallapop and LetGo, both based in Barcelona. Secondly, the exponential growth of startups set up 4-5 years ago, which have now needed an economic boost to expand their activity into international markets, like UserZoom, Jobandtalent, CartoDB and Typeform. All this has spawned a perfect confluence of trends allowing venture capital firms, business angels and investment companies to focus their attention on the new products and services being developed in Spain.
Image | Novobrief
What has changed?
Hitherto one of the main problems in Spain’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has been the lack of funding throughout the different stages of a startup’s development. In 2015 the trend has shifted for investments in the initial stage, as the number of investment entities has risen. International financial institutions continue to be those which generally invest in Spanish companies to support their international expansion.
How does a startup acquire financing?
The current market has several mechanisms for startups to receive financial support for their activities. As a general rule it is essential to be abreast of current developments in the entrepreneurial community, so as to be prepared to access all the available opportunities.
Examples of this include the Founders & Investors sessions forming part of 4 Years From Now, the mobile startups congress backed by Mobile World Capital Barcelona and GSMA in conjunction with the Mobile World Congress.
Founders & Investors is a tool to discover disruptive projects. The ultimate goal of the activity is to place entrepreneurs in contact with potential investors interested in the startup’s sector, and with funds available to invest in it, whatever phase the startup is in. Entrepreneurs and investors meet at 3-minute one-to-one sessions during which entrepreneurs make pitches presenting their projects.
For the first time, the 2016 edition of Founders & Investors will be divided into several sessions, depending on the type of investment chosen by each startup:
The 4YFN team will hold a coordination process with a view to bringing together the representatives of the startups registered and the most appropriate investors.
The startups that have requested an exhibition space at 4 Years From Now will have direct access to Founders & Investors, while other entrepreneurs are to acquire the Founders & Investors Pass. The investors, meanwhile, will be invited to participate in the activity and will have exclusive access to the database of registered startups.
At the 2015 edition there were 250 investors and 450 startups, producing 5,000 meetings.
The Spanish entrepreneurial community must take advantage of the opportunity to participate in initiatives like Founders & Investors so that 2016 is as productive for the industry as 2015 is proving to be.