Entrepreneurs in the Madrid shop window

Entrepreneurs in the Madrid shop window

Early October saw the third edition of the three day long South Summit in Madrid. The leading southern European conference of its kind, it attracts the most promising startups in the Mediterranean and Latin America. They were able to present themselves to leading international investors and corporations who were seeking to invest in the innovation of young companies.

The inaugural year of the Summit was 2012 and was the brainchild of Maria Benjumea, creator of the job search portal Infoempleo. She saw it as a potential meeting point between entrepreneurs and investors throughout Latin America. It has developed into one of the largest entrepreneur fairs in Europe with this year seeing more than 3000 entrepreneurs attend and around 450 investors. And according to the organizers, the investors represented around $20,000 million in potential capital.

This all comes on the back of news that foreign investment in Spanish startups is continuing to grow and that international investment in Spain is setting new records.

GETTING A FOOTHOLD

However, although it does represent an opportunity for firms trying to establish themselves on the corporate ladder, its main function is as a platform for networking with an eye on future partnerships rather than being a financial end in itself.

Itxaso del Palacio, head of fund investment arm Lepe Partners, explains this saying, ‘[It is] useful for entrepreneurs in seed stage to share ideas with the industry, but not to get funding. Investors generally do not perceive the conference as a place to find companies to invest in, but to have a first contact.’ If the first contact is encouraging, something of a professional relationship could develop. That could lead to evidence of results and projections changing hands which, in turn, could culminate in eventual hard financial support with the origins having been established right here.

Eden Shochat, a member of Israeli venture capital fund Aleph VC, adds his thoughts to the view that this isn’t the place to find solid investment while believing it still represents a real opportunity. ‘An investment is like a relationship. You need an extended knowledge,’ he says. ‘So I would be very surprised if someone got funding here. But it is a good starting point to meet someone. And who knows what can happen over time?’

SIMPLY THE BEST

It also gave emerging and developing companies a chance to shine and be noticed. Itxaso del Palacio is part of the panel in the annual competition to find the most innovative, best developed ideas, or the ideas with the most potential. Representatives of the participating companies have three minutes to explain, in English, their idea and their plans to develop it.

A full program of support awaits the winners, as well as the possibly of banishing the need to chase investment; combined, past finalists have received more than €330 million worth of funding. They are counted among some of the most outstanding Spanish startups and include CartoDB, JobAndTalent and Cabify.

This year’s award for best startup in the category of B2B (Business to Business) went to Madrid based company Geoblink founded just last year by Jaime Sanchez Laulhé. The company was chosen from over 3000 present at the event.

As the award may suggest, the startup has seen very fast growth since its inception and has attracted clients such as Granier, Toyota and BasicFit. And in March of this year, the company received investment of a million Euros from venture capital fund Nauta Capital.

Geoblink offers a geospatial business intelligence application. This is aimed at companies that have a network of outlets. The users are managers and heads of departments responsible for expansion, operations and marketing who wish to understand how external factors affect their sales and can help improve their expansion strategies. The company helps managers make decisions based on data and so reducing risk and uncertainty.

For more information, please contact corporate law firm Argali Abogados

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