PREMIUM: 6 soon-to-become unicorns from Spain

Updated: 10 hours ago

- being acquired no longer the only exit-option?

Credit: Ariana Suárez & Rotiv Artic on Unsplash

"Spain + unicorn", this site gets a lot of traffic from people searching for that combination, maybe because they are unsure if Spanish unicorns indeed exist. Or, maybe because they have understood that Spain's tech startup and innovation ecosystem is now increasingly generating these types of elevated and magical valuations, compared to only a decade ago.


As we all know, the unicorn title is the reward for obtaining a valuation tag of over $1 billion. A term first coined by a venture capitalist in Palo Alto, California. For Spanish startup founders however, these valuations have been virtually impossible to obtain because of the lack of substantial, risk-willing capital from the home market to nurture unicorn ambitions. Forcing them to make every euro count, company building in the most cost-efficient way.


Foreign corporate acquisition only exit-option


The exit options for highly valued tech-companies made-in-Spain are changing. Not that long time ago, Glovo, one of Spain's most known, actual unicorns, with clear plans to become publicly traded in the next two years, had no choice but to try to raise expansion capital in London and other go-to-places for hefty venture cash.


Co-founder Oscar Pierre told the audience at Slush (Nov, 2019), that it wasn't exactly a smooth ride for them to raise series B money. They in fact got big NO's from 116 investors until they finally found interest from Japanese Rakuten, by then "only weeks from having to shut down".


During the last years, I have listened to many podcasts* in Spanish where seasoned Spanish founders have talked openly and generously about all the struggles and near-death experiences along their journeys, up until successfully being bought by a foreign corporate.


Though I sense a lack of choice, on the founders' part, of being able to have told the suitor: "No thank you, we will keep working and build the company". It seems that they in fact had no option but to sell, for different reasons, investor preferences being an obvious one.


..............................................................................................................................................................


THE REST OF THIS INSIGHT IS NOW ONLY AVAILABLE IN THIS REPORT FOR PURCHASE.