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“We have seen extraordinary change over the last three years. Spanish teams are much more ambitious, valuations are higher, the teams are more complete. There is no longer any reason not be well prepared for a meeting with VC." Rodrigo Martínez, Early Stage Tech Investor of the venture capital fund Point Nine Capital, mentioned that Spanish entrepreneurship is experiencing a good phase. He was talking at the Hispanic Startup Day in July in Berlin.
"Investors are willing to invest their money in internationalizing Spanish companies. It's an extraordinary change," stressed Rodríguez. He added that "while Paris is known for its talent in B2B business and London is great with fintech, Spain is not linked to anything specific. The word is that there are entrepreneurs that are doing things very well."
As an example of the international prestige of Spanish entrepreneurs we only need to think of Pep Gómez from the semi-public fund NUMA Growth, a program promoted by mVenturesBcn, which belongs to Mobile World Capital Barcelona and NUMA (the French global innovation network).
This 24-year- old Spaniard has been chosen to head the first European acceleration program targeted at growth. Under the umbrella of NUMA Growth, 30 Spanish and international startups will be accelerated over the next three years with 4.8 million euros in public and private funds. The program aims to promote expansion in European markets and help attract funds.
Companies are also supporting entrepreneurs: BBVA received a European award for its support for startups. In February, BBVA expanded its fund for investing in financial startups to 250 million dollars. These funds are dedicated to supporting investments in startups working in the area of technology and finance in the initial or more advanced stages of funding. One of the latest ventures is the acquisition of the Finnish startup Holvi.
Back in Berlin, both Rodríguez and Carmen Bermejo (Vice-President of the Spanish Startup Association) stressed how important regulation is. The investor of Point Nine Capital said: "We tend to think that we need to get into the Mexican market while forgetting that Latin American markets are much more complicated. Thanks to regulation, it is a lot simpler to invest in Europe or the USA." Bermejo went a step farther – after mentioning that the manifesto for Spanish startups was released in 2015, she pointed out the importance of regulation to stop companies from leaving Spain.
And what tips should entrepreneurs follow to achieve success?
"There are no hard feelings in business. There is nothing more harmful than working for someone you do not believe in. Whether we're talking about your boss or the company. Corporate jobs will always be there. You can leave Google and then go back. There is no reason not to take risks: corporate jobs are always there. That's why it's so important to work for a startup . You learn a lot quicker than in large companies."
This was the opinion expressed by Freddy Vega, co-founder and CEO of the training platform Platzi. He went on to say: "The best companies do not look at your career. We only hire programmers with their own projects. If a programmer doesn't have personal projects or a portfolio, we're not interested in them."
He also mentioned the job opportunities: "There is a crisis in technology talent across the world. Our civilization runs on software. Technology is everywhere. You can't escape technology." And he encouraged everyone to start an enterprise. "Kill the monsters in your mind," he said.
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