July 23, 2021

The startup fair in which investors are the protagonists

The startup fair in which investors are the protagonists


It was the year 2005. A social network caught the attention of the Accel Partners investment fund and he bet for it with about 12 million dollars. Today, that company that was then only a young promise has a market capitalization of more than 450,000 million. Your name: Facebook. The future of the platform would have been different without the support of a fund whose function is to capture the great opportunities. And, over the years, Accel arrived in Spain to stay. He did it in the hand of South Summit, the largest event for entrepreneurs and startups in the country – and an indisputable European reference – this week celebrated its fifth edition. These days, investors from all over the globe have searched for "their Facebook" at the Madrid fair, although only time will tell whether they made the right investment or not.

«The increase in funds has been spectacular. There has been a leveling, "he says. María Benjumea, CEO of Spain Startup, organizer of the fair. He even talks about the interest of large companies going "in crescendo": "You reiventas or die. Corporations have realized that they can not do it on their own, and startups are an incredible opportunity for them, "he says.

The focus during the 2018 South Summit was on the 100 startups that were competing for an opportunity in Silicon Valley, although not always what you see at first glance corresponds to reality. Entrepreneurs, investors and entrepreneurs melted their ideas in a large space and exchanged business cards, although the real businesses were removed from the marabunta. And not just between investors and startups, but between funds and other funds. «We want to know more about international investors. They come to know smaller funds that can then present companies and, occasionally, discover a project, but investors are not here, "he says. Iñaki Arrola, managing partner of the Spanish fund K Fund. So, things are clear on that mantra that in the South Summit "tab" entrepreneurs: «It's exceptional when you see an initiative and end up investing. The normal thing is that if you have the best project, you will have already put money, "he says, to continue with the positions at a fair like this" power more business with corporations and serve to attract users more than investment. "

A visitor trying virtual reality glasses at South Summit
A visitor trying out virtual reality glasses at South Summit – ERNESTO ACUTE

This same thesis is maintained by Atomico and Adaro Ventures, although with nuances. Representatives of both funds recognize that a good part of their work at South Summit is to find portfolios of interesting companies from their national counterparts, although they confirm that opportunities are found among startups. "Weave ties between investors and entrepreneurs", says Alexis Bonte, a venture partner of Atomic, while stressing that the effort of the funds lies also in designing a network of contacts. Such is the case that the investors consulted by this newspaper define their work as a first contact for future meetings.

«It is increasingly important to go out and get to know all the new ideas. It has become mandatory to attend these events, "says Alberto Gómez, managing partner of Adaro Ventures. In fact, the partner of this fund values ​​above all the work of "networking" that takes place in a fair like South Summit. However, it is not gold everything that shines. From the organization itself, María Benjumea launches a notice to the Government so that boost digital transformation and innovation becomes a priority. "When we get this to be a country bet, this will be everything. Since the South Summit was made, the change in the country has been brutal, "he says. Likewise, the entrepreneurs also stressed the need to strengthen this entrepreneurial branch in the various round tables organized during the three days of the event.

Presence of startup

While for investors this fair supposes facing the entrepreneurs and achieving telephones at an international level, for the startups themselves it has a capital importance. «Right now this is the best showcase. Investors who are dedicated to this are also known and, as in any event, here you are and you know people who also find it difficult to locate, "says Óscar Magro, commercial director of Tripsum, a young company of touroperation.

Juan Carlos Sesma, CEO of CO2 Revolution, a firm committed to the environment, points out that "here what you get is notoriety and support", something that, in most cases, can not achieve to be companies that have just hit the market. Despite this, not everyone is looking for that space to make themselves known: "It is a simple first contact to then seek a second meeting with investors", says Nacho Bautista, CEO of Fundeen, company of the energy sector.

Anyway, all agree on one thing: South Summit is already a European reference for both startups, large companies and investors. The reason, which is the ideal meeting point, as the organizer Benjumea says.


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