Updated: 5 days ago
This post is not about which Spanish startups to keep your eyes on, rather which tech verticals to - provided you agree with my line of thinking below- pay extra attention to within the massively interesting and mature Spanish startup ecosystem in 2020. Spoiler alert: National, Entrepreneurial DNA matters.
This graph (made by Jaime Novoa, K Fund), is interesting in so many ways. It not only tells us the sectors (or verticals to use correct startup lingo;) receiving the most amount of funding, it also tells us - I believe - which tech verticals in Spain will be getting a lot more Euros and Dollars from VC's, business angels and family offices, over the next couple of years.
More than just this graph though, my reasoning is based on what the Spanish startup ecosystem, as a a collective, has been chatting about over the last months and years, and of course the trends and debates going on in the whole world right now.
Globally, on various tech conferences, we hear a lot more about Emotional Intelligence paired with Artificial Intelligence, more about Climate change paired with Cleantech and more about Waste Reduction paired with both Foodtech and Fashiontech.
But most of all, my completely unscientific and intuitive guess, comes from believing that each country's Entrepreneurial DNA matters a great deal.
National legacy sectors likely to birth unicorns
In regards to the basic knowledge about the Spanish startup ecosystem, you have by now surely heard about the Unicorn darlings being Transportation star Cabify and Logistics ace Glovo. So why not think that even more of the risk capital in Spain would be placed there?
Well, most likely neither the Transportation sector nor a sector so clearly related to efficiency gains like Logistics will be starving for the cool cash anytime soon. And in regards to the clearly spotlighted Fintech sector, it is bound to be forever hot in most markets given its nature and for sure will keep collecting the large funding deals going forward as well.
But what could some forgotten Spanish startup verticals be? Those sectors not currently being given the amount of attention they deserve based on their legacy of producing world class, highly profitable Spanish companies?
My initial thinking is based on the fact that the first unicorns opening their rainbow colored eyes in Sweden, (I have lived in Sweden most of my life) were Skype (Telecom) and Spotify (Music). Sweden has a long and proud heritage from ruling the Telecommunications industry with Ericsson as a poster child and has an unusual amount* of music legends being Swedish. Names like Abba, Roxette, Avici and Swedish House mafia may ring some bells?
*It is a tiny country with 10 million people.
Spain's path to international brand fame comes from the likes of Fashion Retail successes Zara and Massimo Dutti, to name the biggest brands within the Inditex empire. Another famous Spanish household brand, especially within Spain, is Mercadona, the giant Food/ Supermarket chain first starting off in Valencia with selling local, fresh fish for good prices.
Continuing with the Energy sector, it's worth pointing out that Spain is one of the world leaders in renewable energies, both as a producer and as an exporter within CleanTech, with huge corporate Iberdrola being a main player. In fact, back in 2013, Spain became the first country ever in the world to have wind power as its main source of energy.
Again, I really don't want to go in to this "Top startups in Spain"- game but at this point I understand that you do want some examples so I will oblige. For 2020, I would invest my (still fictive) €millions in Spanish technology companies/startups, in the mentioned sectors, like:
Valencia based Jeanologia claims their technology, while producing jeans, can decrease energy usage by a third, chemical usage by two thirds, and water consumption by 71%. They started with jeans fabrics and are evolving into creating more energy smart, future-proof fabrics in the coming years. Oh, and they are financially backed by the mighty Carlyle group.
To make things interesting here is one (still) unknown Spanish startup to learn about; the startup Codesian Software Tech based in Castilla y León, develops precision farming systems, providing fruit producers with better decision-making data for crop predictions. They are just getting started on their fruitful journey (pun intended) with initial funding.
A lot more well-known is Holaluz, created in Barcelona 2010, trading and offering 100% renewable energy. They are one of few Spanish startups that has a public offering, listed on the Spanish Alternative Equity Market (MAB) since November 2019 under the ticker “HLZ”.
All of these 3 Made in Spain tech companies have in common that they all want to create a much better world which I think is both a noble and a profitable cause*.
--> If startups within these 3 verticals also have diversified founding teams, with at least one female founder steering the tech ship, than I predict my ROI to be 10x in a 5-year period.*
*NOTE: I am not an investor. My intention is to bring new perspectives to help promoting the Spanish startup ecosystem.
Did you find this interesting? Do you agree? Or disagree? I so love an interesting conversation and would love to hear your thoughts. Please do leave a comment!!
Crafted by Caroline Lagergren.
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