Valencian Startups that attracted the most investment in 2022

As we reflect on the past year, it is clear that the macroeconomic landscape in January was really quite different to the one we are facing now at the end of the year. While energy costs and supply chain disruptions had already caused price hikes, the general sentiment at the time was one of recovery, growth, and a return to normalcy.

On the 24th of February, everything changed as Russian troops crossed the border into Ukraine. Startup funding, driven by fear and uncertainty, hit the brakes. Companies that had high hopes for the year revised their forecasts downward and even made staffing adjustments, particularly the FAANG companies. Additionally, inflation began a sharp and almost unprecedented rise.

However, not all innovation and entrepreneurship hubs followed this trend. In fact, some even performed better than in 2021, such as the Valencian Community, where investment in the startup ecosystem has surpassed €160 million. These numbers solidify Valencia’s position as the third largest hub in Spain in terms of investment volume. To top it off, the city has also gained recognition as an ideal place to live.

 

Ranking of startups in the Valencian Community by investment volume in 2022 (+€1M)

1. Recover. The Alicante startup specialising in the circular economy of textile cotton has raised the most funding of any tech startup in the Valencian region in 2022, thanks to the over €90 million it raised in a round led by Goldman Sachs.

2. Sales Layer. The SaaS for catalogue management in electronic sales, led by Álvaro Verdoy and Ibán Borrás from the GoHub Ventures headquarters in Valencia, is the Valencian startup with the second highest investment in 2022 thanks to its €24 million round announced last June. The company plans to use this capital to internationalise its activity, particularly in the US market.

3. Sesame HR. According to a recent article in Valencia Plaza, the human resources software startup of the Valencian group Zeus "seduces multinationals and investors". The startup, which counts IKEA, Puma and Balearia among its clients, announced a €10 million funding round in the first quarter of the year, led by the American fund PSG.

4. Embention. Once again, Alicante is represented at the top end of our ranking of the most funded companies of the year. The startup, which specialises in the design of autopilots and components for industrial drones (such as for package delivery, agriculture, and firefighting) and for transport (eVTOL), raised €7.5 million in July with Axon Partners and further increased its capital by an additional €7.5 million at the end of August.

5. ClimateTrade. Sustainability has become a key consideration for companies and brands as consumers increasingly demand environmentally-conscious products and practices. In this context, ClimateTrade has experienced significant growth with its API and Marketplace solutions that help reduce and offset carbon footprints. The company announced over €7 million in funding at the beginning of the year, which has helped to attract experienced professionals such as Kat O'Brien (formerly at Mastercard) and Diego Moya (formerly at Jeff and Entrenarme).

6. Bit2Me. Despite the fluctuations in the value of cryptocurrency in 2022, the adoption of blockchain technology is on the rise and the increasing regulation by financial institutions and governments is a clear indication of its unstoppable momentum. This cryptocurrency fintech from Elche recently completed a €5 million funding round, solidifying its position in this ranking.

7. iPronics. While photonic computing may not frequently make headlines, the Valencian Community is home to several successful companies in this sector. One such company, a spin-off from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, has earned a place on this ranking due to its €3.7 million funding round in 2022.

8. Tuvalum. The leading Valencian marketplace for buying and selling bicycles is looking to expand internationally, focusing on the German and Italian markets, as well as to bolster its presence in France. The company has received a boost in its journey towards success with the completion of a €3 million funding round, which included support from the IVF, Enisa, and Banco Sabadell.

9. Rosita Longevity. The startup, based in Cofrentes, aims to improve the quality of life for the elderly through its app, which offers personalised care and training. The company is looking to expand into the US market, where the concept of "active ageing" is becoming increasingly popular among seniors. The €2.4 million raised at the beginning of the year will provide a boost as they work towards achieving this goal.

10. Club Clínico. Without leaving the healthcare sector, although pivoting towards B2B in this case, this Valencian SaaS startup that digitalises the management of private clinics recently announced a €2.1 million funding round to improve its product, launch new services through partnerships, and begin international expansion.

11. Sheetgo. No-code start-ups are gaining significant investment, as demonstrated by this Valencian startup that has developed software for creating workflows that automate processes, a tool used daily by employees at Spotify, Booking.com, and Blablacar. With €1.8 million in funding, this company is poised to make a big splash in the near future.

12. Wenalyze. Data is the new oil and this Valencian startup uses it exceptionally well to improve the processing of commercial insurance. The company is now looking to expand into the European market and will allocate a significant portion of the €1.7 million in investment announced this year towards this goal.

13. Woodea. Sustainable construction is gaining popularity as more companies and individuals consider their environmental impact when conducting construction work. This digital construction company, which specialises in the use of technical wood and has been supported by Zubi Labs since its inception, recently announced a pre-seed funding round of €1.4 million.

14. Indya. This subscription-based personal nutrition service for athletes has attracted the attention of notable investors including Pau Gasol, Iker Casillas, and Rudy Fernández in a €1 million funding round led by Valencian VC Draper B1.

15. Fourvenues. With a turnover of €12 million in the first half of the year and projected to reach over €40 million by the end of 2022, this Valencian tech company specialising in management software for the leisure sector has made it into the ranking of most funded companies with a €1 million funding round led by Draper B1 and supported by Angels.

It is also worth mentioning in this compilation that Vivood, a hotel company that was accelerated by Lanzadera in 2013, is working on an expansion project that involves building a new sports tourism complex in the Spanish capital. This project is valued at around €30 million.

Pending any potential last-minute funding rounds, as seen with Criptan and Quibim in 2021 (two companies high on the all-time ranking of most funded Valencian startups), investment in the Valencian startup ecosystem has kept growing in 2022 and all signs indicate that it will continue to do so in 2023.

 

 

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Sofía Benjumea (Google for Startup)

Sofía Benjumea (Google for Startups): "Valencia has already put itself on the map of European entrepreneurship"

The roller coaster of entrepreneurship is moving at great speed, so fast that five years have already passed since Startup Valencia was founded. Although the main KPIs demonstrate the remarkable progress of the Valencian startup ecosystem and its consolidation as the third most important tech hub in the country, according to data from the Bankinter Innovation Foundation observatory and the 'Spanish Tech Ecosystem' report, it’s worth asking leading figures in the industry their opinion in order to complete the picture.

To get this feedback, there’s no one better than Sofía Benjumea, Head of Google for Startups in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a woman who’s used to seeing the birth, growth and consolidation of entrepreneurial environments all over the world and with whom we have been able to discuss the topic.

 

What is Google for Startups, how does it work and why should it be applied to your programmes?

"At Google for Startups our mission is to pave the way for anyone, regardless of their socio-economic profile, gender, race or place of origin, to have access to the resources they need to launch and grow their startup. Entrepreneurship is not an easy task, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Entrepreneurs, especially in the early stages, encounter a multitude of obstacles. 

We want to guide these people who embark on entrepreneurial ventures and who find themselves in these stages. That is why, since the inception of Google for Startups in Spain in 2015, our goal has always been to put the best of Google at the service of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including our products, best practices, experience and extensive network of industry experts. In fact, in 2020 we launched the Growth Academy programmes, designed specifically to train people in the tourism, health, E-commerce, digital transformation and sustainability sectors. We did this because although there is a common denominator in entrepreneurship, each sector poses different challenges and strategies

In addition to the purely educational aspect, having a common place to work, such as Google for Startups Campus Madrid, facilitates and encourages networking; something that entrepreneurs consider fundamental because the challenges that one company faces may have been previously faced by another, and seeking solutions together with the help of our experts is what the startups that have gone through our programmes over the last seven years value most. 

How it works is simple. At Google for Startups we are continuously generating programmes that all types of Spanish startups can apply for, wherever they are, and they can do so through our website". 

 

What changes have you observed in the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem since the beginning of Google for Startups and Google for Startups Campus Madrid?

"The ecosystem has matured exponentially since we opened the Campus doors in 2015. That year investment in startups in Spain broke records with €600 million; seven years later, we reached €4 billion invested in Spanish startups. In addition, there is growing interest from international funds, which now account for 80% of the value. 

We have also seen the ratio of female entrepreneurs grow. While it’s still a very low figure nationally (18% depending on which studies you look at), in the Google for Startups community 45% of startup founders are women, an increase from 40% in 2018".

 

What is your opinion of the Valencian startup ecosystem, what do you know about it and what would you say are its main challenges?

"The Valencian tech hub has greatly evolved in recent years and this is largely due to the efforts of organisations such as Startup Valencia and Lanzadera. In fact, it’s putting itself on the map of entrepreneurship in Spain and Europe. The creation of this type of organisations and of large, relevant companies that promote and support entrepreneurship means that, just as in other cities such as Madrid or Barcelona, startups find the support and resources they need to develop their projects.

One of Spain's competitive advantages in terms of its entrepreneurial ecosystem is its diversity. In other European countries, a large part of the ecosystem is centralised in the capital, but in Spain we have the very unique quality of boasting more than just one hub, as can be seen with Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga and Bilbao. The key now is to interconnect these ecosystems.

 

What can startups and entrepreneurs do at the local level to accelerate the growth of their ecosystems? Why is it crucial to have this involvement?

"If there is one thing we have shown at Google for Startups, it’s that entrepreneurs are a key part of a country's economy. Startups are an engine of growth and job creation, and these jobs are high quality jobs. In addition, they also play a fundamental role in helping many other companies go through their digital transformation, thanks to the tech aspect of most startups".

 

Talking about employment, finding talent is one of the toughest battles that startups face today: is there a lack of professionals, is there a better life in the corporate world or in other areas outside the startup? How can we attract more talent to reduce the gap between supply and demand?

"There is a general lack of tech talent today. One of the main drawbacks for entrepreneurs who want to hire this type of talent is that they cannot compete in terms of salary with large companies and corporations. However, they do so through other benefits which allow them to be competitive with regards to established companies. These opportunities relate to flexibility, mission, impact on one's own organisation, personal and professional development opportunities, and stock package for the future.

 

Why is the consolidation of tech events such as Valencia Digital Summit (5 years) or the recently held South Summit (10 years) important for entrepreneurs and startups?

"These tech events fulfil two key missions: they generate connections between the different players in the ecosystem and they are a way of demonstrating to the outside world the quality and quantity of startups that exist locally. They also serve to attract investors, talent and other companies that can help entrepreneurs and the ecosystem in general to grow. At these types of events, such as South Summit or Valencia Digital Summit, different actors of the ecosystem from different sectors and with different roles converge and all of this, without a doubt, is an added support to continue making it grow".

 

 

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Patricia Pastor (GoHub): "Valencia is the most powerful open innovation hub in Spain"

The trajectory and momentum of the Valencian startup ecosystem cannot be explained without the figure of Patricia Pastor, Managing Director at GoHub, Global Omnium's corporate investment fund specialising in deep tech. Before making it to Spain's leading deep tech hub, she worked at VIT Emprende in the Valencia City Council aligning public and private interests to cement one of the main assets that the Valencian startup scene has to offer: its community.

From Startup Valencia we have come to GoHub's headquarters in Pasaje de la Luz to discuss with her the present and future of the company and our ecosystem.

 

GoHub proposes a concept of business acceleration based on deep tech companies. Which startups can be considered deep tech?

"In our case, they are B2B startups with technology as the product and possessing an advanced engineering component, but with the ability to scale even though they’re not B2C. Like any startup, it has the nature of seeking to solve a problem, in this case with a deeper technological element. Equally, it can have an impact on the transformation of an industry all the way down to the ordinary citizen or end consumer. In addition to this, we are a fund with ESG metrics."

 

And what difficulties does a deep tech startup have compared to a more 'traditional' startup?

"They are companies with products based on cutting-edge technologies and whose markets are not yet mature. We are talking about aspects such as 'Edge Computing', 'Synthetic Data', 'Quantum Computing', etc. Traditionally, these startups don’t grow at the same speed and exits don’t come as fast as in B2C, but it is a trend that is changing because the problems that a 'B2B tech' startup solves are very profitable from a business perspective. Exits of this type of startups are usually in Big Tech integrations that prefer to acquire the technology rather than develop it themselves, often because they are late and the startup is much more agile".

 

If the deep tech startup has a more advanced innovation element and a deeper level of engineering, then the talent required by this type of company will be different from that of other startups. Do we have it in Valencia?

"Of course we do. The level of engineering in the Valencian Community is very high, but sales, marketing, and communication profiles are still just as necessary in deep tech startups. The problem is not that there is a lack of talent, but that we are immersed in a battle to attract and retain it and many startups are finding it difficult to hire. The emotional salary that a better quality of life can bring and the 'perks' like remote work help, but when it comes down to it, there is a big difference in the monetary salary; it's hard to retain talent, especially in the technical field".

 

If it is precisely technical talent that is key to deep tech but Venture Capital invests more money in B2C startups, how do you retain that talent?

"Those who want to take on greater challenges in terms of transforming the main axes, such as the economy, society and ultimately our well-being, will be more involved with the purpose of a deep tech startup. The challenge of deep tech is to scale as fast as a B2C startup and to be as attractive for investors, who often find it difficult to understand this type of technology. At GoHub we play the role of a strategic investor with great  knowledge in tech and we are good companions for the purely financial investors".

 

You are active in the main entrepreneurial ecosystems in Spain (with offices in Valencia, Barcelona, Seville, etc.). What is GoHub's roadmap?

"We are also entering Madrid and we have a presence in the Basque Country, as well as in New York as a gateway to the USA. It is important to be in these cities in order to get close to the local ecosystem, to be aware of what is happening, to know the institutional side and the investors, to detect new companies, and so on. This is how we have built our portfolio. Outside Spain, we have made our first investments in the United States and Latin America and we have a good understanding of the northern European ecosystem. What we are looking for is the best project that matches the fund we have. 

We are seeing more and more how the funds themselves sign talent that is put at the service of the startup to help it grow; it is a philosophy with which we are very much aligned at GoHub because we seek to be a strategic partner of the startups and get involved in their day-to-day work. 

As a corporate fund, we have the advantage that there are already people from the corporate group on the ground in different markets, providing feedback and experience to the startups in the portfolio. This knowledge is transformed into accelerated growth and detection of players that could be potential exits. If we take into account that 80% of our startups have mainly founders from the technical field, it's a perfect complement".

 

Since you have eyes in all these places and in your previous position at VIT Emprende your main task was to boost the Valencian entrepreneurial ecosystem, how do we fare compared to other environments and what can we improve?

"Valencia is the most powerful open innovation hub in Spain. We are getting more and more buzz because there is a specific type of talent that is looking to relocate to areas with a high quality of life, because we are doing a good job, and because we are expanding. The challenge is to make Valencia Digital Summit an important international event. It is still young if you compare it with other more established events such as 4YFN, but it is the perfect excuse to bring companies from abroad and international partners to Valencia to get to know the ecosystem, generate business and invest here. We have sown the seed and now we should have more resources to make the leap".

 

GoHub is one of the strategic partners of Startup Valencia. How do you value the work of the association?

"It is a facilitator because it involves us and other companies in everything that happens in the ecosystem. It encourages networking, it forces us to get out of our caves and away from our day-to-day lives, it lets us know if someone from outside comes along who is interesting to meet, and so on. If you are a Valencian startup or a corporation interested in digital transformation, you should be part of the association. Having an intermediary like Startup Valencia makes it much easier for us to get in touch with institutions and other entities".

 

About GoHub

Global Omnium's corporate investment fund specialises in investing in deep tech startups. Its current portfolio consists of 21 startups, 4 of which are part of the acceleration programme, with a valuation of over €200 million and a total investment of €12 million, as well as a combined turnover of around €30 million. GoHub's investments focus on applied AI, IoT platforms, augmented reality, edge computing, 5G, No Code, cybersecurity, digital twins and advanced virtual assistants.

 

 

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Eloi Gómez (Jeff): "Valencia is an incredible pole of attraction for talent; everyone likes living here"

With his suitcase packed and just a few hours away from embarking for Miami, Eloi Gómez (Santiago de Compostela, 1992), Founder and CEO of Jeff, shared with Startup Valencia the company's roadmap for 2022 and its synergies with the Valencian tech ecosystem, of which it is one of the key players in terms of volume of employees and investment, and to which it actively contributes as a Global Partner of the organisation.

 

Taking advantage of the fact that you are coming from one end of the world (the Middle East) just to fly to the other (the United States) and that visiting, doing business and settling down in other hubs is part of your job, how does Valencia fare in comparison to other ecosystems?

"I would say that we are a region with great potential. It’s true that there isn’t a consolidated network of scaleups that have reached figures of around 100 employees or more than €10 million in ARR (annual recurring revenue), but it has a lot of talent, boosted by the 'drag effect' of local accelerators and the relatively low cost of entrepreneurship. It definitely has a very promising future, partly due to the fact that it possesses key aspects that can't be bought, such as quality of life, warm climate, good balance between work and leisure, etc. If we add to this the battle for talent and the sudden shift towards remote work, we have a unique opportunity to position ourselves as one of the ecosystems people want to be a part of".

 

And this is coming from a Galician! If you look back to the moment when Jeff decided to set up its headquarters in Valencia, would you consider it a success?

"100%. None of Jeff's founders are Valencian, but we saw very clearly the city’s potential and we were also motivated by the fact that the ecosystem was in its early days, because that allowed us to position ourselves in it and become well-known. For a company and a team with an international vision such as ours, Valencia is an incredible pole of attraction for talent because everyone likes living here".

 

The decision you made back in the day to bet on Valencia is no longer so strange if we take into account that more and more companies are deciding to open headquarters here, in addition to those that are born in the city itself. Are you not worried that greater competition might lead to greater talent flight?

"On the contrary. The more powerful companies there are in a city, the better. It means there will be more people gaining experience. The challenge is to make the leap to having companies that have ARRs of up to €1 million, then up to €5 million, then €10 million, €100 million, and so on and so forth. To do this you need a mixture of local talent and senior talent with experience in scaling companies, which we aim to attract as an entrepreneurial region offering a good quality of life."

 

And how do we achieve this?

"The city and its companies need to use more English, it has to be the official language of the ecosystem and its companies. I acknowledge that this is something we haven't even achieved yet at Jeff, despite many efforts, but we desperately need to do so in order to attract international talent and for this talent to not feel excluded. Other aspects don’t depend so much on us as an ecosystem, such as infrastructure or air connections, but the issue of English most definitely does. On the other hand, we need more large exits, which are the ones that benefit not only the founders but also the C-Level executives and the company's first employees, turning them into micro angels that go on to support other startups in the consolidation phase or to set up new projects".

 

Let's talk about Jeff, what are your expectations for 2022?

"It's a year we're really looking forward to. We believe we have the opportunity to help redesign post-Covid cities. At Jeff we’re committed to providing services from the physical premises, at the moment in the laundry, beauty, fitness, coworking and soon cafeteria verticals. We maintain a focus on services because the experience requires physical contact, while the purchase of goods has moved to online channels. In addition, the pandemic has impacted us all on a personal level and we believe that many people have realised what they really want to do, hence our mission to democratise entrepreneurship by making it easy for anyone to start a physical business with as little capital and specific knowledge as possible".

 

Valencia is the European Capital of Smart Tourism for 2022. How would you describe this post-Covid city?

"Convenient and friendly. Convenient in terms of logistics and delivery; friendly as a synonym for human. Many daily activities and purchases will make the switch to delivery, but what we want to do in person will need plenty of personal contact because that is what defines us as a society".

 

Nationally, the numbers of investment rounds and exits are better than ever. There is also progress on a specific law for startups. Is now the best time for entrepreneurship?

"Many of the unicorns we see now are companies founded 10 years ago or more. Resilience is an entrepreneur's best virtue. However, we should not limit entrepreneurship to the Internet, competing online is tremendously difficult. Very similar tools are used, the cost of starting up is very low, it is very difficult to differentiate yourself in non-recurring products, etc. We see greater opportunity in offline entrepreneurship, evidently supported by technology when it comes to facilitating the booking of the service or its tracking, in which the service is consumed in a physical place".

 

If we apply this idea about the physical point of sale to Jeff's model, where the premises are managed by entrepreneurs who are allied with the brand but are external to the company, how do you ensure a uniform quality of service?

"The entrepreneur will always be the most concerned about getting it right because it's his business. Jeff is there to help, we don't aim for all franchises to be the same. We set guidelines for what we know is a service that works, but we are attentive to their suggestions because they know more about the local identity and can propose improvements."

 

Jeff's first service was laundromats. From there, how did you decide which areas to work in?

"We’re interested in day-to-day services without a clear leader, with fragmented markets and where technology can be a support for growth. If it meets these requirements and we see that Jeff can help the entrepreneur attract and retain users, then we go ahead.

 

You mentioned that Jeff is planning to launch café-related services in the near future. Where do you find the energy to keep expanding into different sectors and lead an ever-growing company?

"Our mission excites me. We democratise entrepreneurship, we want anyone who wants to open their own business to be able to do so and for them not to be limited by economic or knowledge barriers. We combine this with a vision in which the consumer wants everything easy, now and in one place. It's hard to find more motivating challenges; for me it's pure rocket fuel.

 

How do you value the work of Startup Valencia and the impact of having an international technology event like Valencia Digital Summit?

"Startup Valencia’s work in the last 5 years has been as good as it has been necessary, bringing together the needs of startups, investors, and public and private organisations. Listening to all parties to find common solutions for the ecosystem is what makes the Valencian Community truly position itself as what it is becoming: a true hub of innovation and attraction of technological talent. Valencia Digital Summit is proof that the Valencian entrepreneurial ecosystem has enormous potential to grow as it has done in recent years. Tech events such as this one demonstrate Valencia's ability to bring world-class people in their fields and create those much-needed relationships with our ecosystem. It's like planting seeds, which we will be harvesting to benefit all of us in the near future".

 

About Jeff 

Founded in 2015 under the name Mr Jeff, Jeff is a Valencian startup with an international presence that has managed, through a franchise model, to become the first omnichannel ecosystem of everyday services. Jeff offers entrepreneurs its own "Business in a box" system, with comprehensive solutions and unique technology to help establish their businesses under the expertise of the brand. At the same time, thanks to its "The Good Good Life" philosophy, end users can pay for laundry and dry cleaning services, use fitness and coworking spaces, and even order coffee according to their convenience and needs all through a single application, the Jeff App.

 

 

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In which sectors are venture capital firms looking for startups to invest in?

Let’s imagine the following situation. On one side of the Atlantic, analysts from the main North American venture capital firms analyse presentations and metrics from different startups that are looking for investment. On this side, the same scenario is taking place between local funds and companies. What criteria do these venture capital firms use to decide which are the best sectors to invest in technology?

The filters that venture capital funds apply on one side and the other correspond to a universal market logic, maximising profits. Even more so in a sector where the mortality of companies is very high and the winners have to make up for those that are left behind.

“We invest in things that, if they work, can become something huge, with a tremendous scalability”, notes Enrique Penichet, co-founder of Draper B1. “We prefer software to hardware, the latter curbs scalability and globalisation”, which would translate into a lower return if the solution were to prosper.

In addition to examples that show they can succeed, weaving a more interconnected entrepreneurial ecosystem which attracts foreign talent and awakens local talent, and has greater access to investment, is key to facilitating more success stories. Particularly if we bear in mind that “Spain is one of the 25 countries in the world with the most doctorates, but the majority of the talent continues to move abroad”, notes Patricia Pastor, director of GoHub.

 

Invest in the world of the future. Verticals that seduce venture capital

Identified as basic ingredients, it’s time to define which verticals can appear in large quantities and, therefore, maximise the possibilities of return and scalability. “Currently, we focus on solutions linked to blockchain, artificial intelligence, FinTech, DeFi, the so-called ‘passion economy’, and B2B Saas where there are great opportunities still to be taken”, comments Enrique Penichet from Draper B1.

In search of potentially higher profitability, “we also closely follow the world of cryptocurrencies as well as SpaceTech”, this latter niche is of particular interest to the founder of the parent firm Tim Draper. “He says that he invests in technologies that seem like science fiction”, Penichet notes.

Specifically due to the fact there is a permanent structure in the USA, he doesn’t just compare the investment criteria that the different funds may have, but also the material they analyse. In other words, the startups. “In Spain, we see lots of viable projects, that are highly likely to work and that are a good opportunity for entrepreneurs”, but not always for the fund which is looking for a large return. 

These are known as ‘copycat’ or ‘me too’ startups.  A startup that works in a foreign market and that doesn’t yet have a local presence. “They will find it difficult to be a global leading solution”, states the director of Draper B1. Moreover, we are looking for quite the opposite, “we love people to surprise us and to see things we have never dreamed of”, points out the Valencian investor.

Let’s look at two of his investees. “When we invested in Streamloots, who knew that people would buy virtual objects suggested by their favourite streamers? Or on Easy Virtual Fair, the global leading platform of virtual job fairs…”, ideas that initially seem like ‘science fiction’, but have ended up winning over more investors.

Penichet summarises “We like unique, innovative things that can be leaders in the most competitive market (United States) and, hence, the world”. Although, when it comes to analysing projects, the balance is not tipped towards this type of solution, in fact the ‘copycat’ approach predominates. This is why it is important that Valencian entrepreneurs have role models to take inspiration from as in the case of Flywire.

“We have improved a great deal, but we still need to believe in ourselves a little more that, from here, we can set up something that can be a global and leading solution”, concludes the expert from Draper B1.

 

Big problems require... great technological solutions. The boom of ‘deeptech’

If funds are looking for ‘innovative, unique solutions that can be leaders in more competitive markets’, ‘deeptech’ companies can be the answer, especially if they focus on solving big social problems, as Patricia Pastor from GoHub points out. “Monitoring consumption, patterns of behaviour, customer management, work relocation, simulation of operations, remote management of infrastructures...”, are some of the examples she cites.

Artificial intelligence, the internet of things, 5G connectivity, augmented reality, and cyber security encompass the technologies that help us to analyse, predict and make more effective decisions”, in the case of GoHub, for three very specific sectors: “Watertech, Industry 4.0, and Smart Cities”.

This is the ‘science fiction’ that Peter Draper was talking about and about which GoHub comes up with specific ideas such as “solutions that help with the fast detection of natural disasters; unique data capturing via satellite images or the IoT to create better irrigation models; predictive and prescriptive maintenance models in industry 4.0; or smart cities to improve people’s mobility in an efficient way”. Some of these are already present in the portfolio investees of the Valencian accelerator, which include Divirod or Fracttal.

sectors to invest in technology

 

In her analysis of the present time, Pastor points out that “here at GoHub, we see a huge opportunity in connecting top class universities, engineers and scientists with the private sector, but doing so requires a larger investment in companies with low TRLs”, referring to the level of technological readiness of some of these solutions that are still in the experimental phase.

“Many Spanish corporations are leaders in sectors such as energy, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, infrastructure and transport, water… and they understand how tedious it is to work and scale technology. Hence, if we are able to work with these startups, not only will we be able to increase the number of successful deeptechs, but we will also facilitate investment in a sector that requires much more time to scale, invoice and close contracts”, analyses the managing director of GoHub.

“We believe that traditional VCs will start to launch funds together with large corporations or they will want to have more investment opportunities for specific sectors to start to get their foot in the door of deeptech solutions”, she predicts.

Nacho Mas, CEO of Startup Valencia, spoke about this same issue in an article about entrepreneurship published recently in the El País newspaper. “Study centres, large companies and public administrations should take into account that a significant part of the future could be based on innovation and technology with projects and jobs with a high added value”, encouraging all of them to “firmly support the birth of new and disruptive startups as they are doing in other countries”, he concludes.

 

 

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