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Santander all in on cybersec investing. Lots of €1M+ rounds. Unicorns and more.

October 24, 2022 • Issue #341

Con la que está cayendo, tener las finanzas de tu empresa bajo control es más importante que nunca.

Por eso los amigos de Pleo, la solución para gestión de gastos, han decidido crear un nuevo ebook gratuito con las lecciones aprendidas de CFOs, responsables financieros y otros profesionales a la hora de gestionar el flujo de caja de la mejor manera. Un recurso sencillo que reúne las principales ideas para apuntalar tu compañía en tiempos de crisis.

¿Te interesa? Solo tienes que descargártelo aquí.

Startup funding news 💸

  • Two Spanish biotech companies received significant grants from the European Innovation Council: Barcelona-based Methinks received a grant of €2.5M and up to €15M of co-investment capital, and Madrid-based Tucuvi got €5.5M. These grants are very powerful because they can reduce founder dilution significantly. I wrote about the case of RatedPower here
  • Madrid-based online and offline marketplace WOW in conversations to raise €20M
  • Barcelona-based deepull, a development-stage clinical diagnostics company focusing on direct from blood sepsis diagnostics, raised €13M, led by CDTI
  • Madrid-based fleet management company Pulpo raised €8M, led by Mexico-based VC Nazca Ventures
  • Madrid-based medtech company Nuubo raised €8M
  • Barcelona-based Olistic, a wellness brand treating hair loss and its causes, raised €6M from Iris Ventures. More info here
  • Madrid-based Ekonoke, a company that combines knowledge and technology to bring sustainable and reliable solutions for climate-resilient agriculture, raised €4.2M, led by Estrella Galicia
  • Madrid-based HR tech startup Viterbit raised €1.6M, led by 4Founders Capital
  • Barcelona-based Vermut, a platform that promotes activities for 55+ year olds, raised €1.5M, led by Bitkraft
  • Other rounds of funding: AirBiometrics, Alef

M&A activity 🎊

  • Barcelona-based hotel software company Amenitiz acquired French counterpart Ododo. Amenitiz recently raised €27M

Investor & accelerator news 🚀

  • Banco Santander and Forgepoint Capital announced a strategic alliance to advance cybersecurity investment. The alliance is based upon three initiatives: (i) the creation of Forgepoint Capital International (FPCI), a new VC fund to invest in cybersecurity startups mainly in Europe, Latin America and Israel, (ii) Santander's participation in Forgepoint's next North American fund, and (iii) a program for select co-investments. Altogether, these three initiatives could reach an investment by Santander of up to €300M
  • French dental tech startup Allisone enters Spanish market after raising €10M from Samaipata
  • Citi Ventures, the venture arm of the bank, explained in a post what led them to invest in API fintech company Belvo
  • Profile of corporate venture builder Byld, that specializes in helping corporates such as Porsche or Coca-Cola in incubating and launching companies
  • My colleague at K Fund, Pablo Ventura, wrote a post about the role of luck in investing, following his experience investing in unicorns Factorial, Jobandtalent and Flywire

Startup news 💡

  • We covered in the past the launch of We Are Knitters first retail store, in Madrid. In a new article, the company says that having a physical presence has helped them better understand (and serve) its customers. Prior to having retail presence -through pop ups- WAK assumed that most men shopping at their stores were buying products for their women partners. By talking to men entering its physical stores, the company realised that they were buying for themselves, which led WAK to launch more men-focused products and increase its male customers from 17% of all to 23%. WAK does €12M in sales per year
  • Spain could be the latest to offer digital nomad visas: What you need to know about this growing trend. Here's the gist of it when it comes to money and taxes: "Any non-EU citizen can apply for a special visa to work in the country as a digital nomad for up to five years. They will need to have lived outside Spain for at least five years to qualify. (...) Provided no more than a fifth of their income comes from organizations based in Spain, the normal 25% rate of income tax will be reduced to 15% for the first four years they are based in Spain".
  • Energy company Holaluz closed 2021 with €571M in sales and EBITDA of €1.1M. The company hopes to significantly increase its profitability by reaching €80M in 2024 (70X 2021's) while only increasing sales by 2X (€1B)
  • Four Spanish companies have become unicorns so far this year: Factorial*, Fever, Recover and Travelperk. Here's an overview of the evolution of those companies and other candidates to join the club
  • Profile of Exoticca, the Barcelona-based company led today by Pere Valles. We've been investors in Exoticca for more than four years and what they've done has been tremendous. The company has recovered very well from covid: last year it did €75M in sales and this year it expects to get to €120M
  • The founders of ecommerce company Deporvillage, Xavier Pladellorens and Ángel Corcuera, have left the company after more than 12 years at the helm. Xavier and Angel founded the company together and took it to €160M in sales in 2021. JD Sports acquired Deporvillage for around €160M
  • Repsol to sign a partnership with space exploration company PLD Space to co-develop biofuel
  • PlayFilm, a Valencia-based company that develops software for interactive video formats, said in an article that it expects to get to €5M in ARR this year
  • In 2015, the co-founders of were arrested, following complaints from film studios and publishers accusing the site of piracy. More than 7 years later, a judge has said that what they did -linking to torrents and other mechanisms for downloading movies, instead of hosting those files themselves- is not a felony
  • Last mile logistics startup Mox launched Riderist, a sort of subscription service of last mile delivery services for companies
  • Adigital, the Spanish association for the digital economy, plans to launch a certification of algorithm transparency for companies. First companies to participate are Holaluz, Cabify, Fintonic and Blablacar. More details here
  • Startup profiles:
  • Vivla: fractional home ownership
  • Uptodown: mobile app store
  • Vidext: AI video creation software for sales and marketing

Big company news 🏦

  • According to El Confidencial, Telefonica is not happy with the results of its 2019 strategy and has hired the services of McKinsey to come up with a new strategy for 2023-25. Telefonica's stock price has struggled in recent times
  • Spain’s competition watchdog (CNMC) has opened an investigation into potential anti-competitive behavior by the Dutch online travel agency giant,, following a couple of complaints lodged by the Spanish Association of Hotel Managers and the Regional Hotel Association of Madrid
  • Ignacio Tovar, head of innovation and digital transformation at Iberia, explained in an interview what the Spanish airline is up to in terms of innovation, including the potential use of facial recognition, drones and blockchain technology
  • Vodafone Spain has lost its most recent head of digital only six months after her hiring. Esther Colmenarejo has left to join Banco Sabadell with the same role. Also in the telco sector, the M&A landscape at a European level doesn't seem too bright, as more deals could get blocked by authorities due to competition concerns

Interesting reads 🤓

  • David Pardo, co-founder of Corunet (acquired by Sngular) published "Incentives and growth"
  • Toni Penya-Alba, engineering manager at fintech API company Belvo, published "Improving data categorization with machine learning"
  • Cristina Vila, co-founder of UK and Spanish fintech company Cledara, published a post on her lessons learned while fundraising in a downturn. The company has recently closed a $20M round
  • Felix Lopez, VP of Engineering at Tinybird, wrote a post on his experience implementing on-call processes at startups
  • Xavier Ferras, professor of innovation at ESADE, wrote an op-ed about the "quantum future"

Podcasts 🎧

  • Historias de Crecimiento interviewed Juan Luis Polo, co-founder of GoodRebels
  • K Fund interviewed Martin Garcia, managing partner and CFO of Bitkraft Ventures
  • Itnig published a conversation between Factorial co-founders Bernat Farrero and Jordi Romero, where they talk about Factorial's most recent round
  • Product Hacker interviewed Jose Gonzalez, country manager of Prestashop