At the recent VLC Startup Awards, Startup Valencia’s President Juan Luis Hortelano acknowledged the influx of fresh faces he had noticed at events such as the Valencia Digital Summit (VDS), a testament to the growth and success of the region’s entrepreneurial hub.

Hortelano reminisced on past events like Iniciador and Startup Weekend, where attendees were familiar faces, as a thing of the past. The protagonist of this interview was – and still is – a regular attendee of these early events, who played a key role in establishing the region as the third largest entrepreneurial hub in Spain.

David Ortega, CEO of Dekalabs and CIO of Bit2Me, begins the year with a major challenge, brought about by one of the most talked-about Valencian startup operations of 2022 aside from the investment rounds: the acquisition of Dekalabs by Bit2Me. In this interview, he shares his journey and how he arrived at this successful exit.


Who is David Ortega and how did he initially embark on his entrepreneurial journey?

“I have a background in IT. I started programming back in 2005, when I was selected by Business Booster (now Draper B1) to launch my first startup. Then, I was hired by a Swedish company with the possibility of working remotely from Valencia. This flexibility allowed me to attend many entrepreneurial events that were starting to take place here in Valencia and some of the attendees I met eventually asked me to do projects for them. This, combined with the closure of a company I had worked for previously that had many of their clients calling me for help, suddenly had me managing accounts such as Acciona, Telefonica, or Football Club Barcelona. In 2015 we decided to formalise these endeavours and established Dekalabs.”


Did you imagine that in just 7 years you were going to sell the company?

“No way. I lacked any business education, and the company was established almost out of inertia as we already had a solid portfolio of clients. However, a few years later in 2018, offers to invest in or acquire the company started to come in, and we began to see it as a viable option.”


When an opportunity like this presents itself unexpectedly, the temptation to “cash out” can be strong. How did you react in this situation?

“Every offer is unique. Some proposals were not in line with our vision for the company and we declined them. I recall a specific instance where accepting the offer would have transformed us into a large consultancy, but that wasn’t in line with our more specialised and team-focused approach. We have never wanted to grow for the sake of growing.”


However, in recent years you have given the ‘thumbs up’ to two very different partners, first Fermax and then Bit2Me. Why?

“Fermax approached us at a time when they were seeking to bolster their development team and our focus was centred on the industrial sector. Our pre-existing customer-supplier relationship made the partnership a natural fit. Meanwhile, our decision to join forces with Bit2Me was driven by Dekalab’s specialisation in blockchain and crypto developments, a shared culture with the company, and our familiarity with its founders.”


You have now become CIO at Bit2Me, although Dekalabs is not going away. What changes in your role and in the company you founded?

“The leaders at Dekalabs, Sandra García and Marcos Gabarda, have stepped up to the role of CEO and COO, respectively, overseeing the day-to-day operations. As for myself, I have taken on a new challenge to drive the Web3 and DeFi strategy at Bit2Me, but I continue to closely monitor Dekalabs, as it remains within my area of responsibility.”


The cryptocurrency world is marked by division between those who oppose and those who support it, beyond the potential uses and applications of blockchain technology and decentralised finance. How do you see it?

“With central banks exploring the possibility of issuing their own digital currencies, it’s clear that the cryptocurrencies are here to stay. While new markets always require proper regulation to thrive, I am confident in the immense potential of this sector.”


If time is what is needed, what is Bit2Me’s roadmap for the next few years?

“Our aim is to expand as the education and familiarity with the world of cryptocurrencies increases among users. To achieve this, we’re developing a range of products to help those interested in the sector to easily learn and take their first steps. In essence, we’re striving to grow the market.”


As an early entrepreneur, cryptocurrency was a relatively unknown concept. Many things have evolved since then, including the Valencian startup ecosystem. What a leap we’ve made, don’t you think?

“The growth of the Valencian startup ecosystem has been phenomenal and much of that success can be attributed to the efforts of Startup Valencia. At Dekalabs, we saw the potential from the beginning and were among the first partners of the association. Our commitment to supporting this growth is evident in our sponsorship of the Valencia Digital Summit, where Bit2Me not only supported the event but also had a dedicated stage. The key to continued growth in the ecosystem lies in all of us doing our part and supporting it to the best of our abilities.”



Working together
makes us stronger

Working together
makes us stronger