Spain Funding Ecosystem

Analysis by: Aitor Almendros, Investment Analyst at Cardumen Capital Tel Aviv Office.

Foreword by: Gonzalo Martínez de Azagra, Co-founder and General Partner at Cardumen Capital Tel Aviv Office.

Following the success of our Israeli funding ecosystem report, the research and analysis team of Cardumen Capital has created a map of the Funding Ecosystem in Spain.

Foreword

One of the key market drivers has been the launch of FOND-ICO Global in 2014, initially promoted by Cardumen Capital’s chairman, Gil Gidron. FOND-ICO Global was the first public venture capital Fund of Funds created in Spain. Endowed with €1.2B, it is aimed at promoting the creation of privately- managed venture capital funds. This great initiative took as a reference the Israeli Yozma, a programme of similar characteristics launched in 1993 by the government of Israel that revolutionized the Israeli venture capital sector. In 1993, before launching the Yozma programme, investment in venture capital was around $63M, in 2020 it reached $9.93B, positioning Israel as the leading country in investment per capita worldwide.

In Spain, six years after FOND-ICO was established, investment, funds, accelerators, corporate investment teams, and entrepreneurship subsidies have grown significantly. The purpose of this report and map is to provide a useful tool for entrepreneurs in search of funding.

Spanish Funding Ecosystem

You can get a high-resolution copy of the landscape by clicking here.

Here are the top highlights:

  • Investment in Spanish startups reached €1.3B in 2018 mainly thanks to an increasing number of later stage rounds. The year 2019 closed with €1.25B, very close to the amount raised in 2018. In 2020, €1.1B were raised and the number of deals soared to a new record — 335.
  • Both investments and deals in early stages (Pre-Seed/Seed) and series A and B rose in 2020, while they fell in series C and beyond. To understand the significant drop in capital raised in Series C and beyond we must note that 2019 includes two large rounds from Glovo for a total of €300M in Series E and D, accounting for nearly half of the total capital raised. These megarounds also explain the drop in the average deal amount from €5.06M in 2019 to €3.29M in 2020.
  • The activity of foreign VCs and foreign corporates in Spain is focused on rounds A and beyond, which local funds find more difficult to complete due to their smaller size. In 2020, foreign investors participated in 64 deals (19.1% of the total) compared to 40 in 2019 (16.3% of the total). Nevertheless, the amount of capital invested fell, accounting for 45.4% of the total in 2020 compared to 50.6% in 2019.
  • More than 70 business angels, 7 crowd equity platforms, several business angels networks, investment clubs and super angel vehicles are a reflection of the great interest for early stage investment at local level. StartupXplore and CrowdCube are the most active crowd equity platforms, together with vehicles such as Faraday, BigBan and the IESE and ESADE investor networks.

Corporate impact

The map includes 30 Spanish corporates that actively invest in startups, some with more than one investment vehicle. Among them, the following stand out:

  • Sabadell Bank: With three distinct vehicles, Innocells, Sabadell Venture Capital, and BStartup, it covers the entire startup maturity spectrum and is also one of the few players in Spain in the venture debt sector. With a total of 41 investments among its different vehicles, it is the most active corporate in the country.
  • Repsol Corporate Venturing: Repsol launched an €85M fund for worldwide investments in startups. Since its launch, the Repsol team has made over 15 investments at a national and international level.
  • Elewitt (Red Eléctrica Group). Launched in 2019 to promote innovation in Red Eléctrica. Elewit has invested in VC funds such as Cardumen Capital and Adara, in specific startups such as Countercraft and Zeleros, and provides a platform for collaboration with Red Eléctrica business units.
  • Telefónica: Telefónica has two corporate venture vehicles. Wayra, for investments of up to €250K in seed or series A startups and Telefónica Ventures for investments from €250K in Series A, B and C startups and other VC funds.
  • Logifruit: The Valencian logistics services company maintains an active and collaborative approach with startups providing them with technology and innovation in different verticals.
  • Enagas: Enagas: Enagás Emprende is the Corporate Venturing and Open Innovation Initiative of Enagás which invests and accelerates startups in the energy transition sector. They have a portfolio of 14 companies including Gas2move and Vira Gas Imaging, among others.
  • Go:hub: The open innovation hub by Global Omnium is well known for its firm commitment to innovation and the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Valencia.
  • Bankia Fintech Caixabank: After several years collaborating in the ecosystem as an accelerator, it has started to deploy investments lately. Notable investments include Nemuru and Finweg.
  • Mouro Capital (formerly Santander Innoventures): Banco Santander has recently renewed its commitment to its investment vehicle, providing it with more capital and independence.
  • Media companies: Capital is not the only way to invest in startups. Several media companies such as Atresmedia and Mediaset contribute with their advertising space in exchange for equity in startups.

Despite a global pandemic, the year ended with a record level of deal activity and came very close to the investment levels of 2019. Spain has a relatively young but thriving startup landscape that continues to mature with a growing participation of venture investment, from both local and foreign funds. With top investors betting on Spanish startups the future outlook is promising.

About Cardumen Capital

Cardumen Capital is an independent European Alternative Investment Management Company. Its technology fund focuses on deep tech early stage startups in Israel. Get in touch with us here.

About Gonzalo Martínez de Azagra

Gonzalo has 17 years of experience in technology and venture capital. He is Co-Founder and General Partner of Cardumen Capital working out of the Tel Aviv Office.

About Aitor Almendros

Aitor holds a degree in Law and Business from Francisco de Vitoria University and an MBA by the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade, ICEX. He is an analyst at Cardumen Capital working out of the Tel Aviv Office.

Cardumen Capital is a European Venture Capital and Private Equity Management Company.

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