New capital allocation by Fond-ICO, BBVA invests in insurtech and Conector Barcelona’s latest batch

  • Jobs marketplace startup beWanted raised €600,000 from business angels. It’s not by any means the first Spanish company with the objective of making finding jobs easier, but the company claims to differentiate itself by focusing on entry level positions and internships.
  • Propel Venture Partners, the fund which counts BBVA as its main LP, led a €13 million Series B round in US-based company benefits startup Hixme.
  • Fond-ICO announced the results of it’s 9th call for applications. JME Ventures, Inveready and SeedRocket’s new investment vehicle will receive public money from the institution.
  • Interview with HundredRooms CEO Juan Luis Martínez. Hundredrooms is one of the bigger Spanish metasearch engines for apartment rentals, along with Apartum.
  • MasMovil to postpone its listing on the Spanish Stock Exchange. It currently floats on the MAB.
  • Azahara García is Crowdcube’s new COO in Spain.
  • El Confidencial looks at energy and battery systems for the home that will soon be available in Spain: Tesla, Nissan and Solar Rocket.
  • Spain’s AVE trains will start offering WiFi on November 3rd. This feature will be temporarily limited to trains connecting Madrid and Sevilla.
  • Spanish police authorities are upset with WhatsApp because it won’t deliver the messages received and sent by Diana Quer the night she disappeared. WhatsApp implemented end-to-end encryption a few months ago, so in theory they don’t have any kind of access to messages exchanged by its users.

Verse’s $8.3 million round, successful Spanish bootstrapped startups and more

  • Barcelona-based mobile payments startup Verse announced an $8.3 million round from Spark Capital, and Greycroft Partners. The company, co-founded by 20 year olds Dario Nieuwenhuis, Borja Rossell and Alex Lopera, had previously raised €1.8 million from business angels such as José María Fuster, Adeyemi Ajao and Bernardo Hernández, who recently joined as a partner.

Verse allows users to send money to each other, promising instant delivery and a high level of security. The app was built on top of the blockchain and has been downloaded 500,00 times.

Until proven wrong, it’s another app in the mobile payments space and probably won’t be the last. Venmo (today owned by PayPal), Square Cash, Twyp (ING), Bizum and many others provide similar value. It’s a volume game.

  • A FT study suggests that Spanish business schools are better for entrepreneurs than Stanford


Spain is the first country to fine BlaBlaCar and other Monday ramblings

As a country, we gotta be the first at doing something. How about sanctioning BlaBlaCar and some of its drivers for ilegally (according to Spanish laws) driving people around? Done.

Just as the company is awaiting a judicial ruling that could force BlaBlaCar to shut down in the country, news leaked that several drivers have received combined fines of up to €16,800 for driving users of the platform without a proper public transportation license while charging them more than €0.19 per km.

As it’s happened with many other technology companies disrupting existing, and regulated, markets, the key to the trial seems to lie in the definition of BlaBlaCar. The company itself claims that it’s just a social network that puts together drivers and users, while Confebus and other traditional bus transportation companies say that, as a proper transportation company, it needs to be regulated in the same way that they are.

The result of the trial will probably come out in a few weeks.

Other news today:

  • I don’t much to add about the whole Ingenius debacle, but El Confidencial has a good summary.
  • Adara VP, a Madrid-based VC firm that tends to invest in pure software businesses, announced late last week a €1.5 million investment in Seedtag. This is Adara’s third investment over the last few months, also featuring 4IQ (Julio Casal’s new startup) and Countercraft.
  • If you have a company that is in any way related to drone technology, you should check out this program in Galicia that has more than €110 million in funding commitments.
  • Martin Varsavsky fertility startup, Prelude, has raised €200 million in funding, according to El País.


Spain and the ‘The State of European Tech 2016’

Hey there! Remember me? I haven’t forgotten about Novobrief, it’s just that the first few weeks at K Fund have been pretty hectic. As a journalist, at times you might think you know a lot about the venture business, but once you’re in the inside you realize you’re pretty much clueless about a ton of things. At least that’s my case.

Anyway, my idea is to continue to publish over here on a weekly basis. I miss it. I really do. I obviously won’t be able to do it in the same way as before, because these days I have access to a lot of confidential information that could definitely affect my writing. So yeah, I won’t be breaking any stories or criticising startups and investors alike. However, I do think there’s a lot of stuff I can write about, including the first steps in my investment career. But I’ll leave that for another day.

This evening I’d like to tell you about ‘The State of European Tech 2016‘ a report that a bunch of guys and companies I really appreciate are currently putting together.

Atomico and Slush are behind it, and if you haven’t checked their 2015 edition, you should. My beloved and Dealroom are also pitching in and helping with the report and analysis, so you can be sure that it’s going to be as good as last year’s and probably even better.

However, very few Spanish entrepreneurs and investors have completed the survey. I have done it -but I’m not representative of anything in this case- and it only takes 5 minutes to do it.

If I may, I’d like to encourage my Spanish colleagues to go ahead and complete the survey, because it will help Atomico and the rest of the guys and it will allow them to have a better idea of what’s going on in Spain and the potential of the country’s tech ecosystem. Would you, please?

(Oh, and it’s powered by Barcelona-based Typeform, which has just been chosen by Accel Partners as one of Europe’s top-100 SaaS companies.)


Google Launchpad: myABCKit – The subtle interactions that make successful products

google launchpad In this Google Launchpad case study we took a different approach. Instead of sharing the lessons learned by a startup during the Google Launchpad week, we decided to focus on certain aspects that one of the participating startups shared with us.

We are talking about myABCKit and their approach in the development of an education product for kids of ages 3 to 7. As As myABCKit started to perform research on the sector they were about to tackle, they realised its nuances and the difficulties of approaching such a young clientele due to two main reasons: the kids’ specific demands in regards to how such a product should perform, and also on getting to work with them during the research.

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eBay compra Ticketbis por €165 millones

Ticketbis, la startup española de ticketing para el mercado secundario, ha sido comprada por €165 millones por eBay, el gigante americano de compraventa de productos de segunda mano, según fuentes cercanas a la empresa.

Fundada por Ander Michelena y Jon Uriarte en 2009, Ticketbis se ha convertido con el paso de los años en uno de los principales players en el mercado de compraventa de entradas para espectáculos y deportes.

La startup de origen vasco pero con sede en Madrid, tiene más de 400 empleados en plantilla y opera en varios países en el mercado europeo, latinoamericano y asiático.

En 2015 Ticketbis facturó €84 millones y, desde su fundación, ha crecido todos los años por encima del 60% en términos de negocio. Hasta la fecha había levantado €12.1 millones en varias rondas de financiación, que incluyeron la participación de VCs como Active Venture Partners y business angels como Eneko Knorr.

eBay es también propietaria de StubHub, líder de ticketing en el mercado secundario en Estados Unidos, y que además acaba de lanzar en México.

La compra de Ticketbis se produce pocas semanas después de la venta de Privalia por €500 millones. Buenas noticias para el ecosistema español de startups. Más información en el comunicado oficial de eBay.

La fusión de Wallapop y Letgo, contada por sus fundadores

wallapop letgo “Lo veo de puta madre. Ha sido un éxito y esto será el inicio de algo más poderoso”. El que habla al otro lado del teléfono es Agustín Gómez, consejero delegado en Wallapop y posiblemente uno de los CEOs españoles con menos presencia en los medios, al menos cuando dicha presencia se mide en relación al tamaño de la criatura.

Wallapop, entre rondas de financiación anunciadas y otras que parece que nunca lo serán, ha levantado entre $100 y $150 millones de financiación de numerosos fondos de capital riesgo (Fidelity, Northzone, Vostok New Ventures, Accel Partners, Insight Venture Partners, Bonsai Venture Capital, etc) y ha conseguido instalarse no solo en el móvil de millones de usuarios a ambos lados del atlántico, sino también en la mente de muchos consumidores (tecnológicos o no), traspasando lo que muchos llaman el umbral del mainstream.

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What impact can the ‘Civil UAVs Initiative’ have in Galicia?

This guest post was written by Alexandre Bastos, currently Product Consultant at ONTHEBUS innovation and co-founder of nomya. Prior to that, Alexandre founded and lead iQUBE research, an innovative aeronautical electronics company, acquired and integrated into CENTUM corporation as CENTUM Research & Technology.

On February 25, Galician president Alberto Nuñez Feijoo announced the final decision on the pre-commercial procurement process called Civil UAVs Initiative. INAER (Babcock group) and INDRA won the final round over aeronautical giants AIRBUS and BOEING with a joint offer of €75 million in private investment, combined withh a governmental contribution of €40 million.

Even with reasonable margin for opinion and criticism, the initiative led by GAIN innovation -which will be signed in the next few days- agency can already be considered as a big success for the regional Government. They were able to bring together some of the most important aeronautical companies in the world, in concurrence for a public funded research program designed to solve many of the existing challenges in using drones for government managed services. Moreover, they got a strong competence in the final tendering round with 4 extraordinaire bidding offers, which required increasing the public budget from €25 to €40 million.

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Privalia has been acquired by Vente-Privee

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the possibility of Paris-based Vente-Privee acquiring Privalia, one of the largest Spanish players in the e-commerce space.

Well, it seems that the acquisition is in fact taking place and will soon be announced by both companies. A couple of sources have told me that Vente-Privee’s employees were informed about the acquisition today, and the same will soon happen at Privalia’s headquarters in Barcelona.

No word about the price, but previous rumours said Vente-Privee would pay up to €500 million for Privalia. In any case, and even if the acquisition ends up being smaller than that, it could become one of the larger exits of the Spanish tech ecosystem in recent years, and the largest by a local non-telco company to date.

Privalia had sales of €415 million in 2014 with an EBITDA of just 4%. Vente-privee’s sales in 2014 reached €1.7 billion.

Privalia has raised more than €200 million from multiple European, American and Spanish investors, including Caixa Capital Risc, Nauta Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Index Ventures, Sofina, Insight Venture Partners and General Atlantic.

Google Launchpad: Geemba – creating a Minimum Viable Product for every challenge

google launchpad

Today we resume the publication of Google Launchpad’s case studies with the first one from Barcelona’s most recent edition, which took place in December 2015.

This case study is about Geemba‘s beginnings, a Catalan fitness startup that has a built a new type of subscription service for consumers. The report analyses how the company started with a very lean approach, left it behind as it started to grow, and later came back to it to become, once again, more agile.

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