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Beamer raised $20m. Citibox acquires Celeritas. Telefonica and STC.

September 11, 2023 • Issue #384

From "growing at all costs" to "profitability & healthy growth": the startup ecosystem is undergoing a significant transformation due to the economic downturn and a growing preference for sustainable growth strategies.

The ability to adapt quickly in uncertain times prioritizing talent management, scalability, flexibility, and agility becomes paramount to startups’ success. Outsourcing specific activities can be an optimal solution for startups aiming to focus on their core business, optimize costs, and maintain high performance.

The Nest by Webhelp is the CX outsourcing partner of startups and scale-ups, designed to help them scale-up their team internationally and improve their CX operations, quickly and simply.

Put simply, we’re where you need us, when you need us. Our services:

- Omnichannel Customer Service - B2B & B2C Sales Support - Regulated, KYC & Payment Services - Platform Management & Digital Content Services.

Startup funding news 💸

  • Barcelona-based logistics company Paack raised €45m. €30m in equity led by Infravía Growth and €15m from BBVA
  • Barcelona-based Bound4blue, developers of wind-assisted propulsion systems, raised €22.4m
  • Customer engagement company Beamer, a company that was born in Barcelona (where it continues to have several employees and one of its co-founders), announced a $20m round from Camber Partners
  • Madrid-based recruiting and HR company The Wise Seeker raised €10m from Moira Capital Partners. As a result of the transaction, Moira owns a 37% stake in the company
  • Barcelona-based Cafler, a platform that provides services for anything a car needs, raised €7m led by Seaya. Wayra also participated in the round. I'm not sure if this is a new round or the one announced by the company in 2022
  • Madrid-based Correcto, developers of a product that helps users write better Spanish, raised $7m, led by international funds Octopus Ventures, Cayra Venture Partners and RiverPark Ventures
  • Barcelona-based insurance management platform Inari raised €4.85m. led by Caixa Capital Risc
  • Barcelona-based fintech startup Unibo raised €1.2m, led by DraperB1. The company builds fintech products for administradores de fincas
  • Vizcaya-based biotech company Mikrobiomik raised €1.1m
  • Other rounds of funding: Idoven

M&A activity 🎊

  • Smart mailbox company and last mile logistics player Citibox announced the acquisition of Celeritas, a large player that specializes in reverse logistics (return of products). The deal was closed at a price of €21m. The group resulting from the transaction will have 225 employees and €130m in annual sales
  • PE firm Qualitas acquired US data and AI company Lovelytics
  • Spanish company Smartvel, a travel content technology provider, acquired destination content specialist ArrivalGuides

Investor & accelerator news 🚀

  • If you were to invest in all of the SeedRocket winners of the past 15 years, what return would you get? 4.7x and an IRR of 29%. Jesus Monleon also wrote about it here and recorded a podcast on the topic. Also related to SeedRocket, applications for its 12th business angel course are now open
  • Lanzadera announced a new batch of 100 startups that have joined its various programs. The full list can be found here
  • Faraday Venture Partners invested in Belgian sustainability startup Dripl

Startup news 💡

  • Evaristo Babe, co-founder of fleet management company Pulpo, published an article with lessons learned while building the company: "Aprendizajes de un SaaS: Pulpo"
  • Roboadvisor Finizens announced that it has hit profitability. The company has €357m of AUM and 20k clients
  • Two articles published last week about the labour market and tech salaries in Spain. First, this one in which several anonymous tech companies complain about the fact that Spaniards can have higher salaries by working for foreign companies ("No podemos hacer nada". And this one, the most interesting one, which is the annual salary guide from talent agency Manfred, that includes a breakdown of Spanish salaries by role in 2023
  • Clibrain, developers of a Spanish focused LLM, explained in a blog post how they optimized of all their open-source models for use even with a smartphone
  • Viko announced the launch of Kaibos, an Amazon brand builder
  • Gretel, a startup building an intelligent marketing assistant, published an article explaining the lessons learned in the past 12 months while assisting marketing professionals, the area in which the company is currently focusing on: "Yes, we’re open for marketers!"
  • Jewelry shop Singularu could reach €20m in sales this year and plans its international expansion
  • Startup profiles:
  • Nästa: sustainable employee benefits platform

Big company news 🏦

  • Saudi Arabia's STC Group has amassed a 9.9% stake in Telefonica worth €2.1b, in a move to become the Spanish telecom giant's top shareholder. According to multiple news articles that appeared last week, Telefonica's top executives, including Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, and its main shareholders (Caixa, BBVA) were not aware of the transaction until a few hours before its official announcement. Here's an article on how the transaction came to be, and the legal firms that were involved
  • In April 2022 BBVA announced a $20m investment in sustainability and energy fund Lowercarbon Capital. Last week it was announced that the bank has invested an additional $25m in three other Lowercarbon funds
  • Sabadell Asabys invested €14m in French medtech company Gradient Denervation Technologies
  • Banco Santander participated in a €140m round of energy accelerator EIT InnoEnergy
  • Starlink Spain, the Spanish division of Elon Musks' satellite company, announced sales of more than €1m in Spain

Interesting reads 🤓

  • Simon Muñoz, platform PM at Voicemod, published "Should PMs also do QA?"
  • Javier Escribano, of Escuela Escribano, wrote "Creando una cultura de producto en Ingeniería. Os comparto cinco temas que son claves para conseguir crear esa cultura."
  • David Bonilla, of Manfred, published "¿Cómo se paga a los comerciales de una empresa tecnológica?"

El Instituto Tramontana lanza la cuarta edición del Programa presencial de Dirección de Producto que te ayudará a crear y dirigir una organización orientada a producto: modelos de negocio, valor empresarial, cultura, la medición… son algunos de los temas que aprenderás de la experiencia de más de 15 años liderando de José Ramón. Es bonificable por FUNDAE y empieza el 20 de octubre en su sede de Madrid.

Podcasts 🎧

  • Itnig interviewed Joaquim Lecha, CEO of Typeform
  • Kfund interviewed Nima Pourshasb, co-founder of Mexican fintech startup Minu
  • Historias de Crecimiento interviewed Andrea Di Palma, co-founder of
  • Product Hackers interviewed Timo Buetefisch, co-founder of Cooltra