Last Month (…or Two) in Spain

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!

If you want to learn more about what has happened lately in Spain, you can read last month’s post HERE.

Hello Readers,

A lot has happened since the last time we spoke. It has been a very memorable two months. On an international level, people will probably remember May and June of 2012 most for the important developments in the EuroZone crisis; most notably the elections in Greece (which confirmed that they would stick things out inside the EuroZone) and the bailout (oops, I mean “victory”. Sorry Mr. Rajoy) here in Spain. On a national level, people probably won´t remember much about May or June other than Spain’s unprecedented third straight international football title, as they won the EuroCup once again! In fact, Spanish sports stars have had an incredible couple of months. Not only were they at the top of the football world, but in tennis, Rafa Nadal set the record for most championships won at Roland Garros, and Fernando Alonso is currently sitting atop the Formula 1 world.

All of this is very exciting, and gives Spain an impressive image in the eyes of the rest of the world. However, as impressive as the Spanish achievements in the sports world have been, there is only one EuroCup every 4 years; there are only 20 Formula 1 races every year; there are only 4 major tournaments in professional tennis every year. So what´s so impressive about Spain when there isn’t a championship to be had? What are we doing on a day-to-day basis that makes us stand out? Well, as a soldier inside the startup trenches here, I can confidently say that there is, in fact, a ton of entrepreneurial talent working hard every day to put this country on the map.

In our last article, we made the argument that there is “lots of talent” in the startup sector, but we didn’t give specific examples of who that talent is and what they’re doing with it. To back up our claims, let’s first take a look at Twitter. Spanish startups have been rapidly conquering the social media giant with a slew of new management and organization tools. You’ve got SocialBro, a realtime analytics tool, Gamisfaction, a community management tool, Zoomry, which offers realtime event reporting, Pirendo, another tool that offers analysis and intelligence reporting, and Moodyo, who recently launched a new product called Twissues that allows you to backup and organize all of your past tweets. Outside the Twittersphere there is even more talent that’s being recognized. Juan Carlos Viota, a very well known Android app developer who won the 2009 Android Developer Challenge, was recently hired by Pixable after personally building an independent Android version of their app in just 3 weeks! Now that is some serious talent. Finally, the European Commission ran their first “EU Tech All-Stars” competition, which was an EU-wide competition to choose the best tech startup from different accelerators and incubators around the EU. Of the three finalists, TWO of them were Spanish companies. CogniCor, the eventual winner, is a very useful complaint resolution tool for companies’ customer service departments, and Change Your Flight is an innovative solution to non-refundable plane ticket cancelations. But enough jabbering on and bragging. I think you get the point: Spain’s enormous pool of talent is not limited only to the tennis courts and football pitches, but is ever present in the startup world as well!

Now, onto the real news and updates:


Clearly, we are not the only ones noticing the positive trends here in the Spanish startup community. Several companies have announced their entrance into the Spanish market over the last couple of months. First and most notably is Plug and Play Tech Center, the Silicon Valley-based accelerator, who announced last month that they plan to open an accelerator in Valencia. As a large, established accelerator from Silicon Valley, Plug and Play’s arrival in Spain could mean great things for the future development and expansion of the startup community here. Also of note, Twitter is planning to open an office in Spain, recently announcing that they will start recruiting staff in the area. Considering the aforementioned dominance of Spanish startups on Twitter, this could potentially be big news for a lot of people.

But those people have just arrived at the party. Let’s talk about the people who have been keeping the party going for the last two months!


As we mentioned in the first section, both CogniCor and Change Your Flight reached the finals of the EU Tech All-Stars competition last month, which deserves yet another round of applause for a job very well done. In addition to their triumph, we would like to extend a congratulations to StartBull and Wideoo, the two co-winners of the fourth edition of the BBVA Open Talent competition. Sticking with competition winners, Fidiliti, an app that helps you organize and manage your loyalty cards, won a 50.000€ prize from the Fundación Horizonte XXII. Finally, we´d like to give a nice big pat on the back to all of the graduates of Wayra, Telefonica’s accelerator program, who presented at their first Demo Day in Madrid back at the beginning of June. There was a lot of talent in that group, and each startup promises to do big things. Here´s a review of the Demo Day happenings as well as a breakdown of the teams that presented.

These two months we’ve been super busy and we’re super happy about some of the latest milestones. First of all, since everyone is launching an accelerator nowadays, we wanted to keep sharing our experience in the startup space over the last 5 years and… we published the book that contains our story and our lessons learned: Tetuan Valley Startup School for Dummies, and Banco Santander have sponsor the first edition. Check it out, we’re sharing it for free. We also held the graduation of Tetuan Valley 6th edition, with another batch of ubertalented entrepreneurs joining the community. They’re all beautifully portrayed via Referama on our site. And last but not least, we hosted the third edition of our Startup Spain Angel School, with rockstar guest speakers and more than 30 wannabe angels joining the community.

First printed edition of Tetuan Valley Startup School for Dummies

Sorry, that wasn’t the last about us, we have a brand new super cooooool video on What is Tetuan Valley, developed by our sponsors Motion 4 Startups, who produce great demo/intro videos for startups.

Also, IE pulled together a bunch of startup rockstars as speakers and jury members for IE Venture Day 2012. Looks like Paris de l’Etraz and Liz Fleming are working really hard to get IE Venture Days to be a remarkable European startup event, and this May they brought a lot of top-class venture capital players to Madrid, such as: our very own Jose Maria Cobian ;) , Ali Partovi, Jeff Clavier (Soft Tech VC), Sean Seton-Rogers (Profounders Capital), and James Tan (Quest VC). Congratulations to Invoost, winners of the startup competition, and HoloHolo, our Tetuan Valley Alumni who made it to a very impressive 2nd prize.

Enough of the warm, fuzzy, congratulatory feelings though. Let´s dig into the hard facts and numbers!



Now this is the fun stuff that you came for. Given the amount of action in the startup community over the last 2 months (trust me, there has been a lot), it would be nearly impossible to go into detail about every significant round of funding raised in that time period (and I am sure none of you have time to read all of that). Therefore, we’ll do our best to at least mention some of the most remarkable deals, in our humble opinion.

To kick things off, we´ll start in the sub-500k section, highlighting companies that raised anything less than 500.000 euros. First, BrainSINS, the customer recommendations company, closed their first round of funding for 400K euros, about half coming from Inveready and the other half coming from several different business angels including Jordi Priu and other. Next, Barcelona-based e-commerce helper/online store creator The eTailers, also closed a round of 400K euros, including 300.000 from Caixa Capital Risc. In our last post we mentioned that Vitamina K had completed an investment with The Mad Video (very cool platform that makes videos clickable and monetizable) for an undisclosed amount. That amount has now been released, and was a round of 585.000! Well done, guys.

Other noteworthy funding in this money bracket include HoopTap for 500k from BBooster Seed Capital, IVF, and various business angels; Habitissimo for 300k from Cabiedes&Partners, Mola and more; SeedRocket backed Link To Media for 200k from business angels; Telefonica backed EverybodyCar for 150k; for 120k from business angels; and the aforementioned Change Your Flight received an undisclosed amount from la Fundación Jose Manuel Entrecanales.

Another special deal for us is the one landed by CEO Fernando Cabello-Astolfi (one of our dear mentors), who has secured 112k for Ibercheck, one of the most promising local startups offering risk reports about the people we want to do business with. The capital has been provided by Juan Leal, Fernando Buenhombre and other talent spotting business angels.

Moving up a notch to the 500k-1 million group, we´ve got three deals to mention. First, Catchoom, a visual recognition system, closed a 600k+ round that included backing from Inveready. Also, geolocation-based ad agency Smadex closed a round of 600k that included funding from HighGrowth Innovación as well as Be Capital, a new fund on the scene. Also worth mentioning in this category is Smithfield Case, an e-Commerce startup based in London who just closed a seed investment of 650.000 pounds from Edipresse and Privalia. You may be asking yourself, “Well if they´re based in London, why are you mentioning them?” And the answer is that the founders, Alex Valls and Jose Ojeda, are Spanish! Another prime example of Spanish entrepreneurial talent spreading around the world.

And now one more step up to the heavy-hitters of the last two months: companies that have raised more than 1 million €. The first mention is for Adtriboo, the creative crowd-sourcing site who raised 1 million € at the end of June from a collection of directors at big name companies including Jose Maria Dot from Liberty Seguros, Javier Juanco, former Director of Quality and Commercial Development at Telefonica, and many more. And second, we´ve got Yuilopwho we interviewed just a short bit ago here on StartupSpain – who had a huge series A funding round, coming away with 4.5 million € from Shortcut, Bright Capital, Bruno Ducharme and Nauta Capital. Yuilop, who provides mobile messaging/calling services, plans to use the newly raised capital to expand internationally and further expand their solutions.

Also worth noting in the 1 million+ category is Kuapay, a mobile payment application. The company, which is US-based, was funded by Joaquin Ayuso de Paul, whose name you probably recognize as the founder of Tuenti. Kuapay is his newest venture, and at the very end of June, they raised a $4 million fund from a single, private investor.

And finally we move to M&As, where there was also a considerable amount of action in the past two months. The biggest deal was most likely, the Spanish streaming startup (say that 5 times fast) who was acquired by Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten. The deal marks Rakuten’s first entrance into the Spanish market, so for that we would like to graciously welcome them. Next, Madrid-based IMASTE was acquired by webcasting service ON24 at the beginning of June for an undisclosed amount. IMASTE’s acquisition is reportedly going to help lead ON24´s expansion into Latin America. Finally, Nordic area bigshot Euroads acquired the Spanish affiliate marketing company Geazen. This move came shortly after Euroads entered the Spanish market at the end of 2011.

And that is all for this edition. With the amount of action and excitement happening here in Spain right now, it would not come as a surprise if we failed to mention a deal or a bit of exciting news that happened over the last two months. If you happen to know of one, feel free to mention it below in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

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 @StartSpainLike 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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