Startups in Spain usually grow near business schools, many of them are among the firsts in international ranks, and near accelerators, which are usually related with investment funds. There are multiple success cases: TouristEye, La Nevera Roja, Tuenti, Milanuncios, Ticketbis. They all have in common an excellent execution, a validated business model and a great product.
However, we are still very far from other ecosystems. In Israel the per capita investment in startups is $140, in the US is $70 while in Spain is $1. Most people would blame the market size. “The US market is huge in comparison with the Spanish market”. However, Spanish and US startups should address the same market, the entire world. “Other ecosystems have more experience and maturity”. However, Israel has taken the lead in a very few years. “The Government does not support Spanish startups”. Well, that is true. There is little to say here. However, we have Inditex, the biggest fashion company in the world. To comfort ourselves we could say that it is more beautiful to start a company in Spain since it is more difficult.
My personal opinion of the issue is that we are simply forgetting the other half of the pie. We create companies of financiers and not companies of engineers. That is, we innovate in business and we do not innovate in technology.
Take a look at the biggest tech companies. Google with Larry Page and Sergey Brin (computer scientist and computer scientist), Tesla with Elon Musk (physicist), Apple with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (electronic engineer and electronic engineer) and Microsoft with Bill Gates (computer scientist). That is geek, geek, cool geek, mega-cool geek, odd geek and hippie-philanthropist geek. All of them have created really innovative products, both in terms of technology and business. Where do we see something like that in Spain? There are some companies like that but not many. Few investors would think that these people don’t know about business, they do know. And at the same time, they know about technology and product.
I could say that it is necessary for investors to go to some research lab at specific Universities to determine if there is any business opportunity. I could say that it is necessary for scientists to leave their caves and relate to the business people of our business schools to look for synergies. But it is needless to say because it is something that is going to happen and is happening anyway. When the market has a shortage there is always somebody that see the opportunity and covers it.
For me, the future of the Spanish ecosystem is very clear. Strong technical companies will appear, they will cover this shortage in the market and they will compete in technology with European and North American companies. At the same time, leaders with a strong technical background and not only business background will step forward. Finally, there will be more investment for projects that are innovative in technology and not only innovative in business.