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Horizons Optical acquired for €40-50m. Imperia raised €3m.

March 25, 2024 • Issue #411

Interested in diving deep on Generative AI for startups, the current investment trends, or looking for insights on how to scale your startup to +$100M revenue

Join AWS at the upcoming AWS Summit Madrid on June 5^th where thousands of people and the region’s top startups and investors will connect, learn, and engage in a day full of innovative sessions and networking. Stop by the Startup Loft to visit exhibiting startups, attend tech and business sessions, and have a coffee at the Founders Bar. Book your spot for free 👉🏼 here !

Startup funding news 💸

  • Valencia-based Imperia, a supply chain management SaaS company, raised €3m. The round was led by Samaipata and included participation from All Iron Ventures and previous investors
  • Madrid-based Filtroo closed its first funding round of €1m. The company offers financial rewards on social networks and has plans to integrate web3 technologies
  • Rounds lower than €1m:
  • - Imageryst: geospatial and satellite imagery, €700k
  • - Onconstellae: biotech, €500k+
  • - EZ Telecom: telco, €500k
  • - Weitec: agritech, €365k
  • Portuguese healthtech startup UpHill announced a €7m round, with plans to double down on its Spanish expansion. UpHill's software automates tasks and allows health professionals to track patients' healthcare journeys, with a focus on chronic disease management

M&A activity 🎊

  • UK-based investment firm Oakley Capital acquired Barcelona-based Horizons Optical from Spanish fund Sherpa Capital for between €40-€50m. Horizons, a spin-off from Indo Optical, specializes in progressive lens software. This marks Oakley's sixth investment in Spain (vLex, Seedtag, Alerce, Grupo Primavera (now Cegid), idealista). Horizons' management, led by CEO Santiago Soler, will reinvest in the company, retaining a minority stake. Horizons Optical did €10m in sales and €4m EBITDA. Info here and here

Investor & accelerator news 🚀

  • Pablo Isla, former CEO of Inditex, has become an investor and advisor for Mundimoto, an online platform for buying and selling motorcycles based in Barcelona. This marks Isla's first venture into the startup ecosystem
  • Two local funds announced investments in foreign companies:
  • - Seaya invested in German fintech NX Technologies. The €22m round was led by PayPal Ventures
  • - LifeX participated in the €15m round raised by French biotech Cure51. More info here
  • Two new hires or promotions:
  • - Pablo Lara, now Managing Partner of Zubi Labs and formerly of Grupo Planeta, is taking charge of leading the internationalization efforts of the venture builder, with the aim of turning it into a European impact powerhouse
  • - Pablo Ferreras, CFO of Samaipata, was promoted to partner

Startup news 💡

  • Overviews of the Spanish ecosystem or articles about specific cities:
  • - Spanish scaleups: El Referente put together an article to highlight the relevance of scaleups in the Spanish startup ecosystem. They claim that “scaleups represent 8% of the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem, generating 37,870 jobs. Although there was an increase in scaleup creation in 2021, the trend has decreased in 2022, 2023, and 2024”
  • - Barcelona: Two weeks ago it was the Financial Times that ran an article on the Barcelona startup ecosystem. Last week it was Forbes, featuring Rocío Alcocer (Norrsken House), Jorgi Romero (Factorial) and Avi Meir (TravelPerk). You can read it here
  • - Malaga: this one looked into funding activity in Malaga. According to data, Malaga-based startups have only raised a combined €40m since 2018. El Mundo goes on to say that “la llegada de multinacionales y los éxitos de VirusTotal, Freepik y RavenPack no ocultan la debilidad de la actividad inversora en la zona.”. Funding raised by startups is not the only way to measure the development of a startup ecosystem, but the data is indeed interesting
  • New companies and product announcements:
  • - Freepik has launched Reimagine, an AI tool that transforms images and generates creative variations. The tool allows users to upload an image, interact with a unique prompt, and apply design styles. More details here
  • - Magnific announced Style Transfer, a new feature within the company’s AI imaging product that allows users to “transform any image, controlling the amount of style transferred and the structural integrity”
  • - Albert Beltran, formerly of Amazon, announced the launch of a new company: Balance Phone, an app that promises to help users be more efficient with their smartphone use and recude, in essence, addiction. They claim that “Balance Phone gives access to tools and services such as Messaging, Music, Banking, Mobility and Health, while blocking all Social Media, Games, Streaming, Betting & Pornography apps and websites”
  • - CitizenX is a new company launched by some of the former people involved in blockchain company Aragon and others. The company claims to be the “the world's first platform to help you find and fund countries that welcome you as a citizen”
  • - Another company launch: Emilio, a product to help users organize and prioritize their email inbox. Two former employees from Glovo and Tesla have collaborated to develop a virtual assistant aimed at saving time spent on email management. Profile here
  • - Sergi Gomez, co-founder of Saivo, published a post to introduce the company to the world: “The Control Tower for your SaaS”. Sergi explains what Saivo is and the value prop: “SAIVO's Control Tower is designed to provide a snapshot of your startup's health across three crucial blocks: business performance, product engagement and Sales performance”
  • - BlackRock is teaming up with Securitize, the startup co-founded by Spaniard Carlos Domingo, to launch a digital asset fund, indicating a significant move towards blockchain investment. This venture marks another major financial institution exploring the tokenization of funds
  • Other news, profiles and interviews:
  • - Magnetics designed or provided by Spanish startup Frenetic are part of one of NASA and SpaceX’s latest projects, the launch of the 30th Commercial Resupply Mission to the International Space Station, carrying scientific research, supplies, and hardware
  • - Jeff, which is currently in bankruptcy proceedings, proposes debt write-offs of up to 50% to its creditors to avoid liquidation. The company has offered two options to creditors, both with a significant debt reduction. The viability plan projects that, if the most detrimental option for the company is implemented, Jeff would end 2024 with losses of approximately €30m
  • - Profile of Destinia, the Madrid-based online travel agency founded in 2001. In 2023, it achieved a 22% increase in revenue to €235m, emphasizing organic growth without external investment. The company has never raised funding from investors. Ricardo Fernandez, now CEO, said that “entre las compañías de nuestro tamaño y en nuestro sector, somos la web independiente más grande del mundo”
  • Also, Sergio Furio shares his entrepreneurial journey in creating Creditas, a fintech unicorn in Brazil. He transitioned from a corporate employee in New York to founding Creditas in Brazil, tackling high personal loan interest rates. Creditas, now valued at over $1 billion, has grown to employ 2,000 people and generate more than $400m in revenue. The platform offers micro-loans at lower interest rates, aiming for financial inclusion in Latin America

Big company news 🏦

  • A Spanish judge ordered on Friday a temporary block on Telegram in Spain following a lawsuit filed by Mediaset, Atresmedia, and Movistar Plus. The companies allege that Telegram facilitates the unauthorized distribution of their copyrighted content. So far, the block has not taken place and some even question if it’s possible
  • Google promotion: Fuencisla Clemares, former General Director of Google for Spain and Portugal, has been appointed as Vice President of go-to-market operations for EMEA
  • BBVA's Open Banking sector significantly accelerated its growth in 2023, securing 42 partnerships, nearly tripling the number from the previous year. These collaborations enable companies to offer financial services using BBVA's underlying products. The bank is also a relevant shareholder of German Banking-as-a-Service company Solaris, which just last week announced a €96m round
  • Indra’s Board of Directors approved the creation of its space subsidiary called Indra Espacio, which will bring together activities in the field of space business

Podcasts 🎧

  • Software Engineering Daily interviewed Adrian Mato, Design Director at GitHub Copilot
  • Itnig interviewed Hugo Rodríguez de la Prada, co-founder of restaurant chain Gross Napoletano
  • SeedRocket interviewed Eva Martín, co-founder of Tiendeo
  • Historias de Crecimiento interviewed Daniel del Río, of Hrider