Last month in Spain… well, actually last quarter

These series of posts are a compilation of what has happened in the spanish startupsphere within and outside our borders. As part of our efforts to promote Startup Spain movement, we want to increase the exposure of the our startup ecosystem. If you want to contribute, please do not hesitate to ping us on Twitter @startspain with any news you want us to feature here. Thank You!

Spain is not Israel, we know that. Neither Madrid nor Barcelona (or any other Spanish cities by extension) can be compared to either Berlin, London, Tel Aviv, New York or Boston (at least, not yet, although our friends at Startup Genome beg to differ). Furthermore, any similarities you can spot between any city in Spain and Silicon Valley is purely accidental. However, we believe Spain in general does not receive the attention and fair treatment it deserves in the tech-startup international media landscape.

The tech scene here is getting “hotter” every second, the ecosystem is growing exponentially, and there’s plenty of activity going on that clearly most of the world is missing out on. We are here to put an end to this!

 

We plan on making these posts on a monthly basis and for the sake of following our “thorough work standards” this means that in this first post we have to catch up everything that has happened in Spain related to startups since the beginning of the year. So, hang on tight, cause we have a lot to talk about.

Without further ado, here you have the latest, freshest, (in our humble opinion) most relevant news about the spanish ecosystem!

WILKOMMEN, BIENVENUE, WELCOME,… ¡BIENVENIDOS!

Firstly, we would like to officially welcome two of the world’s most successful startups who have recently decided to open offices in Spain in these past few months, the global network of accommodations offered by locals AirBnB and the world’s leading professional social network LinkedIn. Additionally, we would also like to welcome the global startup program Founder Institute, for moving in Spain with the mission to continue globalizing Silicon Valley. Having all these new players around surely is going to be a great addition to the local startup ecosystem.

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty I assume you are all expecting to find in this post…

SO,… WHO GOT FUNDED?

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* EDITOR’S NOTE: To be completely honest with our readers, we are hardcore defenders that raising funding is not a real success indicator or an accurate traction milestone for startups.

In our opinion, funding in the end is merely one tool among many others that receive way less publicity to achieve the milestones that are really important such as user growth, scalability metrics, cashflow evolution, etc. Yet, for several reasons, funding rounds are way more public, attractive, recurrent and publishable sources of information for the mainstream media and its readers having become the industry standard to give indicators of traction and business model validations.

Anyhow, I’m digressing again, so let’s get back to the subject at hand…

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Since the beginning of 2012, there has been plenty of activity and interesting news of the fundraising arena.

For starters, on the accelerator front, we started the year learning that Mallorca’s Mola accelerator secured 1.2 million euros in funding and announced 7 more investments and a second round of financing with other investors in PriceBets (Congratulations!), and Wayra announced the 10 startup projects that will be joining their Barcelona program including Mashpan (Tetuan Valley Startup School Alumni from its 5th edition). Additionally, we received very good (and much deserved) news when we heard that two of our favorite spanish startups were admitted to 2 of Europe’s best accelerator programs: 2012′s Seedcamp winner 24symbols, the Spotify for Books, and Startupbootcamp Amsterdam‘s FeudalSquare, a SoLoMo Dungeons & Dragons kind of game. Clearly, all great news for our ecosystem; congratulations to all of them.

Beyond the accelerator/incubator arena, below the half a million mark, there were some pretty interesting deals. Gaming marketplace platform Tusjuegos.com raised 420K euros and our very good friends from Cabiedes & Partners invested an undisclosed amount in early-stage venture Nonabox (Sort of like a Birchbox for expecting & new moms). Special kudos go to social voice note posting plugin uWhisp (formerly known as VoiceU, Tetuan Valley Startup School Alumni from its 4th edition) for raising EUR 132K from public funds for no equity.

Getting closer to 1 million euros, we saw deals like the 525K euros raised by Simbiotika (a B2B social network for companies), the 550K euros raised by Spain’s LinkedIn for Women Womenalia, the 800K euros raised by online organic & environmentally-friendly supermarket EnterBio or the 650K euros raised by legally certified e-mail service MailCertificado. Special mention in this section goes to rockstar serial-entrepreneur Diego Mariño (one of our favorite people in this ecosystem) and his amazingly beautiful and simple real-time online metrics dashboard tool, cleverly called Ducksboard, for raising 650K euros from top-notch investors like Cabiedes & Partners, Kibo Ventures, François Derbaix, Jesús Pindado and Juan Luis Hortelano.

Above 1 million euros, we had an incredibly active quarter. Some of the “most talked about” deals, include:

  • The 1.6 million euros round from enterprise social network Zyncro from investor like Cabiedes & Partners, Active Venture Partners and Perennius, amongst others
  • The 2.7 million euros raised by online supermarket Alice.com from various investors like Carlos Dexeus (investor in Tuenti, Kelkoo,…), Rodolfo Carpintier (founder of seed capital firm Digital Assets Deployment), Gustavo García Brusilovsky (founder of BuyVip, sold to Amazon) and Patrick Raibout (Partner at Debaeque Venture Capital), amongst others
  • The 4 million euros investment deal with public and private financing on legal research platform vLex
  • Presumably (amount has not been disclosed), the investment of on-website communications service Whisbi by Active Venture Partners
  • The 7.5 million euros round in the spanish car-sharing social network Blablacar (formerly known as Comuto), led by Accel Partners together with its previous investors Cabiedes & Partners and ISAI

Additionally, although the much anticipated “Amerigo” funds apparently continue in “yet to be deployed” status among their already selected funds (or so we’ve heard), Spanish telecom giant Telefónica has also had a pretty busy time investing throughout these past 3 months via its corporate vehicle: Telefónica Ventures. To date, they have participated in notorious investment rounds of  6 international tech companies, including cloud computing service provider Joyent ($85 million round) and mobile payment startup Boku ($35 million round).

AND,… WHAT ABOUT MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS? ANY ACTIVITY THERE?

My, oh my, this has been a very active M&A quarter.

Just a few days ago, Austin-based NASDAQ-listed vacation rental marketplace HomeAway acquired rural accomodation booking startup TopRural for a reported amount of 14 million euros; and, in the midst of its co-founders celebratory week for this exit, Idealista (Spain’s leading real estate classified ads portal) acquired their other side-venture Rentalia allegedly for 8x their EBITDA during Easter. Congratulations to François Derbaix and Marta Esteve for 2 successful exits less than a 2 weeks apart!

Moreover, Amazon-owned daily coupons giant LivingSocial executed their acquisition option for the rest of the shares of Spanish coupon startup LetsBonus (they already owned 51% stake previous to this deal) and French Birchbox-clone JolieBox acquired its Spanish homologous startup, Seedrocket-backed Glamourum, just a little over 6 months since its incorporation.

Notwithstanding, not all M&A activity has been from outside companies acquiring local Spanish startups, there has also been examples of Spanish startups acquiring foreign ones, one clear example is online food ordering startup SinDelantal acquiring its Mexican homologue, MiOrden.com.

You didn’t read about many of these news on online international media outlets did you?

The shocking part of it all, is that these are just some few examples of all that has happened in the ecosystem in the last 14 weeks alone!

In all fairness, we get it. We know none of these news sound as outrageous and attractive as Instagram’s acquisition by Facebook, but they do deserve more attention as they are quite relevant indicators that something really is cooking down in sunny Spain.

As of today, Spain doesn’t sound as hot or cool as other places, and clearly our government and mainstream media news outlets are not doing much to make the rest of the world think otherwise. Nonetheless, a lot of cool things are happening here and it is getting more and more exciting every day.

We still have a long way to go, but trust me when I say that there are far more startups and tech entrepreneurs in Spain that have nothing to envy their peers from all the current hot startup hubs than you could imagine!

If you want to know all about these great spanish entrepreneurs and want to be updated on the evolution of the Spanish startup ecosystem, you can Follow us on Twitter @StartSpain, Like us on Facebook and/or Subscribe to our NewsLetter

If you feel that we have left out of this update any important deal that is worth mentioning or you have any feedback regarding these series of blogposts, please let us know in the comments section below. We would gladly update the post with your inputs as fast as we can.

Stay tuned for next month’s update!

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12 Comments
  1. Fantastic post, and thanks for collating all this recent news. It’s about time the world realised there’s a lot of stuff taking place in the Spanish startup scene. Looking forward immensly to your next update.
    Saludos!

  2. Best summary I have seen on the matter. Please keep doing this guys!

  3. Thank you for your kind words Mark! We will make an effort to put together our next update.

    Best,

    Jose

  4. Thank you Asier! Distribute it in Poland, we are always looking to broaden our reach.

  5. Love the initiative! Great idea to put this together with differnet stages and deals in one place, and in English for the outside to check out!

  6. Hi Guys,

    Great post and fantastic initiative! Keep it coming!

    One other startup activity to report – IE Venture Lab startup @Neuvoo closed $600k from a group of London/Madrid based angels in Jan. I’m sure they’d be happy to tell you all about it.

    Liz

  7. Thanks Riley!

  8. Thanks! Let your information here: http://startupspain.com/contact/ we will reply as soon as possible

  9. Great summary of activity. Any chance we could sign up for a newsletter to receive this info every month? Would be super useful. Thx

  10. Hey Martin, Thank you for your kind words.

    We are setting up the Newsletter again (we had some technical problems with it) and we will be sending a bi-weekly summary of all our latest news and blogposts starting again this week. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    You can sign up in the top-right part of the website in the icon that is the furthest to the right (shaped like an envelope).

    Best!

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