The acquisition of Euskadi-based Erle Robotics, and interviews with Carlos Blanco and Jose del Barrio

–> Acutronic acquired Euskadi-based robotics tech startup Erle. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Erle’s current team will continue leading the company. If you want to know more about Erle, read the recap that Víctor and David Mayoral published on Medium: “How two brothers turned a 3K€ robotics startup into a multi-million Euro company”

–> Uber launched a service for the enterprise in Madrid, starting with Bemate.

–> Cinco Días interviewed Carlos Blanco about corporate startup accelerators. In the interview Blanco announced that Conector will launch a new program in Galicia “very soon”.

–> In-depth interview with Jose del Barrio of Samaipata Ventures.

–> Tesla chose Barcelona to open its headquarters in the Iberian Peninsula.

–> Gonzalo Ruiz (Canguro Rico) published an interesting review of Tendenzias Media SL, one of the first Spanish blog networks that’s still alive and kicking.

OnTruck raises €2 million from Point Nine Capital, LocalGlobe and Samaipata

  • Madrid-based Freight delivery startup OnTruck announced a €2 million round from Point Nine Capital (one of the first investors in Typeform), LocalGlobe (a London-based firm co-founded by Saul and Robin Klein) and Samaipata Ventures.

OnTruck is currently active in Madrid and Barcelona and plans to expand to other Spanish cities in coming months, as well as Germany and the UK. The company is led by Antonio Lu and Inigo Juantegui, the latter the co-founder of La Nevera Roja. This is LocalGlobe’s second investment in a Spanish startup, following its previous deal in TravelPerk.

  • Today was a slow news day in Spain, so just one additional link: Spanish taxi drivers are working on app to compete with the likes of Uber, MyTaxi or Cabify. Too little too late.


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.

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.)


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.

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.

Continue reading “What impact can the ‘Civil UAVs Initiative’ have in Galicia?”

Al calor de FondICO, todos se hicieron surfistas

En 2015 las startups españolas recibieron más de 500 millones de euros. Un año que ha sido record también para los propios fondos de capital riesgo.

españa venture capital

Por primera vez en la historia de España, en 2015 se invirtieron más de 500 millones de euros en empresas tecnológicas españolas. Lo que viene a ser en la mitología estartapil, un medio unicornio.

Sin más datos en la mano, es difícil afirmar que 2015 ha sido un año record en otros aspectos del panorama patrio de startups. Sin embargo, y ayudado en mi mala memoria, creo que no me cojo los dedos si digo que el año pasado fue también especialmente bueno para los inversores españoles.

Continue reading “Al calor de FondICO, todos se hicieron surfistas”

Aleix Valls & John Hoffman talk about MWC, mobility and Barcelona as a tech hub

Sponsored post: Mobile World Capital’s CEO, Aleix Valls, interviews GSMA’s head John Hoffman at a Barcelona Tech City lunch.


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article, which means that it’s financially supported by Barcelona Tech City.

The last Barcelona Tech City lunch of the year took place on December 11, at Ingracia. The occasion this time was special, since only a few days before the event Aleix Valls was named CEO of Mobile World Capital Barcelona.

In fact, Valls would become one of the main protagonists of the event as he conducted the interview with GSMA CEO John Hoffman on stage.

Continue reading “Aleix Valls & John Hoffman talk about MWC, mobility and Barcelona as a tech hub”

NYC-based but Spanish-founded Olapic raises $15M to power brands with user-generated photos

Olapic has closed a $15 million Series B round to continue to change how brands present their products by providing them with user-generated content.

olapic investment

Jose De Cabo, Pau Sabria and Luis Sanz met each other far from their respective homes, while studying at Columbia University in the heart of Manhattan. Despite the fact that they came from different backgrounds and cities, prior to joining Columbia they had all worked in big consulting firms. One year later, they would add something else to the list of things they had in common: Olapic.

“We met at Columbia while studying our masters”, says Luis in a conversation with Novobrief. “At the time we had similar work experiences and we soon started talking about building a company together”.

The result of those conversations was Olapic, a NYC-based company that helps brands increase their revenue and improve their marketing strategies by using user-generated images of their products.

The company’s software and its human editors help brands choose the best images posted by consumers on sites like Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram so that these can be then used by the brands themselves to showcase their own products. Something that, as Luis Sanz explains, makes a lot of sense in a time and age when we’re exposed to social media more than ever before.

“What we bring to brands is more authentic content”, he says. “Today’s consumers are often exposed to user-generated content. However, a lot of companies continue to use images that are taken in photoshoots and similar ambiances, which can take away the essence of their products and their brands. This wasn’t quite clear a few years ago, but right now we have data that supports this vision and the fact that consumers are more attracted by this kind of content”. To illustrate this, Luis points out Apple’s ‘shot on iPhone 6’ campaign.


Once a brand selects the images that they want to use, Olapic’s SaaS platform helps them choose on which channels they want to show them, manage users’ rights and, most importantly, measure the success of each campaign. The holy grail of marketing departments.

And so far, it seems as if what Olapic has built works for brands and has overall positive effects on their performance.

Although the company declined to reveal revenue figures, they did claim that brands who use the product see “very significant and high ROIs”. “Small increments in certain metrics can mean a whole lot of money for our clients”, Luis says. A list of clients that includes the likes of New Balance, Target, Vans, Carhartt or Timberland.

Update: Modaes claims that Olapic had sales of $50 million in 2013 and expects to reach $400 million in 2015.

Besides working directly with companies, Olapic also has in digital agencies some of its best allies, helping them reach new and bigger clients. As for the company’s business model, Luis explains that it’s a pure SaaS model. “We see ourselves as a pure product company”.

Felix Capital leads Olapic’s $15M Series B round

Despite its early success, the company has much bigger goals and wants to keep expanding, both geographically and in terms of business.

In order to do that Olapic has just closed a $15 million Series B round led by Felix Capital, the new London-based fund led by Frederic Court. The round was completed with the participation of Longworth Venture Partners, Fung Capital USA and Unilever Ventures, and brings the total raised by the company to more than $21 million since being founded in 2011.

“We have a real opportunity in front of us to continue growing and we’re going all in”, Luis says. “When you’re a SaaS company you can’t focus on expanding only one or two key areas, so we’re planning on using this cash to improve our product, team and sales and marketing teams”.

Interestingly, and probably wisely, Olapic doesn’t see this fundraising activity as a milestone. “Fundraising is a kind of a minor milestone, but a lot of people pay attention to it”, he says. “To me, our biggest milestones have been winning big clients and building a 117-person team. That’s what really satisfies us”.

As Google Maps Engine’s run comes to an end, CartoDB positions itself as the best mapping alternative

Madrid-based and mapping startup CartoDB launches CartoDB on Google Platform as the search giant plans to sunset Google Maps Engine.

cartodb google platform

Google announced this week the sunset of Google Maps Engine, the browser based application from the search giant that allows users to upload their own map data and have it displayed as layers above Google Maps. Many were surprised about this decision, but Madrid-based CartoDB probably wasn’t.

Just as rumours started flying about GME’s end, CartoDB announced that it has been working “closely” with Google to create CartoDB on Google Platform, a product that has positioned itself as one of the best alternatives to all of those developers and users who have relied on GME up until now.

While both products are very similar, CartoDB has published a blog post outlining the main differences between them.

It’s worth pointing out that, contrary to what many have said over the past few days, this announcement from Google does not mean that an end for Google’s Maps API is coming. It will stay intact and CartoDB even claims that “CartoDB for Google Cloud ensures that GME customers will have all the power of Google Maps API available on CartoDB”.

Users or developers that have a Google Maps Engine account and have built vizualisations using GME have until January 29, 2016 to find an alternative. CartoDB says that it will help migrate users’ data so that they can start using their tool right away, without losing any data.

This represents another milestone in CartoDB’s prominent career. After being bootstrapped for more than 5 years, the company raised its first round of financing in 2014 ($8 million, led by Berlin-based Earlybird VC) and it continues to push the gas pedal.