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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