Speedinvest Blog

Spanish Tech Startups | A Look at Speedinvest's Portfolio in Spain

January 18, 2024

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Speedinvest

Since 2011, we've invested in more than 300 startups in more than 40 nations. Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, France, and Spain are currently the countries we've invested in most in Europe. Why and in what companies? Keep reading for a deep dive into our Spanish portfolio and exclusive market insights from our sector-focused investors. Click below for a breakdown of our other top European markets.

Austria | France | Germany | United Kingdom

Spanish Tech Startups: Flying Under the Radar

Spain’s startup ecosystem has long been flying under the radar as the country raised record levels of investment and built market leaders with household names, like unicorns TravelPerk, Glovo, and Cabify. But that’s quickly changing thanks to the country's nine unicorns and some crediting Spain’s startup ecosystem with reversing the country’s brain drain.

According to Technews 180, "Spain's impressive performance in the global startup scene continues to attract attention, as the country ranks 16th globally and 6th in Europe for total investment raised in 2022. The steady increase in pre-seed and seed funding is due, in part, to the prevalence of early-stage venture capital. Since 2018, at least $300 million has been raised annually, and in the past two years, pre-seed and seed activity has reached almost $500 million per year.” This positions the Spanish startup ecosystem as one of the frontrunners on the continent.

None of this is news to us. We’ve long been believers in the Spanish ecosystem with partnerships with Cobee, Seqera Labs, and Toqio––a fintech-as-a-service platform for financial and non-financial organizations that empowers their customers to quickly launch fintech propositions with their advanced and fully customizable digital bank-grade solution.

Nonetheless, this continues to be an underfunded market. Suffice it to say, we’re betting on the opportunity.

An Overview of our Spanish Startups

Despite already having 10 investments, we’ve only scratched the surface. No matter what the state of the market is,  our cross-sector investment teams actively partner with founders building Deep Tech, Fintech, and Health & Tech Bio to Climate Tech & Industrial Tech, Marketplaces & Consumer, and SaaS & Infra startups.

Below, our investors dive deep into our portfolio and explore the opportunities we see on the ground.

Pick a sector

Fintech

Cobee

In 2023, the pace of growth in the Spanish fintech sector has decelerated, mirroring the trend seen across Europe. Despite this, our optimism for the sector's future remains strong, and we anticipate a resurgence in 2024. We also foresee market consolidation and M&A activities, potentially prompting operators to embark on entrepreneurial ventures. Spanish banks, including BBVA, Santander, and CaixaBank, have been at the forefront of technological innovation, driving initiatives such as democratizing instant payments via the Bizum app. 

Our team continues to  intensify its focus on the Spanish market. We have been delighted with our investment Cobee, a disruptive employee benefits company challenging the traditional dominance of big legacy players in the market. Starting with a Seed investment, we continued to support Cobee through its Series A and €40 million Series B rounds as it emerged as a leader in its home market and expanded into Mexico.

Another noteworthy fintech investment is Toqio. Based in Madrid, it offers a low-code platform for companies to create and launch their own fully branded banking or finance solutions quickly and easily. Participating in a €20 million Series A round, we support Toqio's expansion efforts across the European continent. Additionally, we previously backed BNext, a neobank featuring an integrated marketplace for convenient financial and insurance service purchases within its app and their own token..

“Despite challenging macroeconomic conditions (e.g. high interest rates), the Spanish fintech ecosystem benefits from a wealth of talented entrepreneurs with deep expertise across various fintech domains like payment, lending, proptech, and vertical fintech. Also, we have yet to observe a flywheel effect generated by the emergence of tech "mafias" stemming from successful Spanish fintech scaleups like Capchase, a phenomenon that holds the potential to significantly amplify momentum within the space.” –– Julien Lézé, Associate at Speedinvest

Health & TechBio

Seqera Labs

Spain’s Healthech sector has been booming for a few years now, and we have every intention to continue looking for exciting opportunities that will increase our presence in this region.

We’ve made two health investments in Spain thus far. Seqera Labs is a Barcelona-based provider of open source data orchestration and workflow software for lifesciences. They have experienced phenomenal (400 percent year-on-year) growth, and recently raised a €22 million Series A. Another exciting Spanish healthtech startup we’ve backed is IOMED. The company  develops a suite of natural language processing tools for hospitals, with an ambition to become the worldwide reference in data access in healthcare. 

“We’ve seen many startups emerging from Spain that innovate on the intersection of health, technology, and life sciences. The scientific talent––combined with the rich health investor landscape and players, such as the Barcelona Health Hub––position Spain as one of the pioneers of digital health innovation. We will continue to partner with ambitious local founders shaping the future of healthcare. ” –– Daria Gherghelas, Associate at Speedinvest

SaaS & Infra

Genie

Another sector we’re actively investing among Spanish tech startups is in SaaS & Infra. We’ve partnered with Genie, an open source startup providing low/no-code tools for building data science applications. With Genie, data scientists and R&D engineers can quickly turn ML models and simulations into shareable web apps and data products that drive the business forward.

And then there’s our partnership with Wasmer. Together, we’re helping enterprises run ultra-lightweight containerized software with blazing-fast startup times, at near-native speeds anywhere, whether it’s on servers, edge, and IoT devices or in serverless environments. Wasmer’s new WASIX will even let apps like Bash, Curl, Hyper, Axum & more run fully in WebAssembly.  

“We’ve seen strong technical talent from Spain shaping and building large European unicorns across the board, encouraging us to double down on the Spanish ecosystem. We’re looking forward to finding the next category-defining B2B software or infrastructure company.” –– Yang Tran, Principal at Speedinvest

Climate Tech and Industrial Tech

Sunhero

Investing in Spanish industrial tech is a priority we’ve already begun with our partnership with Sunhero. The solar energy startup is leveraging digital technologies and service innovation to make it easy for people to install PV systems on their rooftops. 

But we can already see there’s more opportunity out there. According to our 2022 Industrial Tech Report, Spanish industrial tech received $271 million in investment in 2022. There’s been $570 million in investment between 2015 to 2022, meaning more than half of Spain’s industrial tech funding came just this year alone. 

“Taking a look at the Spanish renewable energy market alone, solar specifically, we observed a multi-year stall given regulatory bodies resulting in residential solutions being financially unattractive. In recent years, this has shifted completely and one of the biggest energy markets with highest price points in Europe is bound to see significant disruptions by digital players offering renewable and decentralized energy approaches.” –– Leonard Schmid, Associate at Speedinvest

Deep Tech 

Deep tech investors are well aware of the fact that Spain’s ecosystem is producing some impressive quantum computing startups on top of the considerable innovation happening in the photonics sphere. Alongside these technical niches, big raises by younger successes, such as Tinybird, are driving the popularity of the Iberian peninsula with European venture capitalists. The company turned heads and shined a spotlight on the ecosystem when they raised an impressive $37 million Series A to democratize building real-time data-products. 

“Spain’s deep tech ecosystem shines in a few hardware niches, such as quantum computing and photonics. More recently we’ve observed deep tech ecosystems developing beyond these, driven by spin-outs from academic institutions as commercializing cutting-edge research becomes both more viable and more popular. The most notable areas include Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia.” –– Evgeny Slavin, Associate

Marketplaces & Consumer

Home to the likes of Cabify, Glovo, and Paack, Spain is not only the leader of southern Europe’s tech scene, but also a competitive player across the continent.

The value of the Spanish ecosystem — measured as the total valuation of its startups — has grown nearly 40 percent on average each year over the last five years. The country closed the doors to 2021 with a blazing $500 million Series E for staffing marketplace Jobandtalent, and walked into 2022 with another €101 million Series E for Barcelona-based TravelPerk, adding up to its growing unicorn tally.

High hopes are set upon the fleet of exciting startups leading the way in the country. Sifted ranked the most promising amongst them — including big hits, household names and fast-growing wonders.

“We have seen category-defining marketplaces and platforms––both B2B and B2C––emerging from Spain and more are being created right now. We’re looking to identify the next wave early on and continue to partner up with founders to build the next generation of winners. We are convinced the Spanish ecosystem is in the right position to accelerate.” –– Julian Blessin, Partner at Speedinvest


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