Representatives of the winning companies and finalists of the twelfth edition of the awards gained first-hand experience of the day-to-day running of pioneering technology companies based in the mecca of enterprise, such as Google, while others particpated in an international course on business growth at the University of Cambridge.
Silicon Valley, considered to be the mecca of enterprise, is a unique ecosystem for entrepreneurs, a centre of worldwide innovation representing a melting pot of initiatives, projects and cutting-edge companies that lead the way in technology, and which are a true benchmark to follow.
A total of 12 winners and finalists of the twelfth edition of the EmprendedorXXI Awards, promoted by CaixaBank through DayOne, its specialised division for technology and innovation companies and their investors, have benefited from an international backing programme in Silicon Valley, organised by ESADE in collaboration with the Singularity University. During their stay, the representatives of the companies Triditive, Zeleros, Huub, PeekMed, Pro Drone, Seacliq, BeePlanet Factory, GlyCardial, Mitiga, Predictiva, Feelwood y Nido Robotics gained first-hand knowledge of the technologies with potential to change the rules of the game in different industries, and were given tools to help enable them to develop disruptive ideas.
Iván Bofarull, CIO at ESADE y director del programa formative, exaplains that, “this initiative aims to help Spanish entrepreneurs to be more ambitious with their projects and to think big, by using the Moonshot Thinking method”. For Pedro Araújo Manuel (Seacliq), “this programme offers business owners a highly interesting take on how to set out ambitious aims for their companies, without forgetting to hone in on what matters the most”. Furthermore, Judit Cubedo (GlyCardial), says that “it has helped me to become aware of the need to highlight the purpose and mission of our company, not only externally but also within the company”. Jon Asín (BeePlanet Factory), adds that “this experience has been very useful for better understanding my role as CEO and the next steps to take to enable our project to be a success”. Pablo Enciso (Predictiva) states that “the main goal of having taken part in this programme is to look at the big picture and try to view problems in a different way, with new approaches”. Furthermore, Roy Petter Torgersen (Nest Robotics), emphasises that “it has helped us to learn to undertake our mission more broadly and to think bigger”.
It also helps them conduct market research, analyse opportunities and, all in all, gain an understanding of a unique ecosystem such as Silicon Valley. As stated by Óscar Longares, (Feltwood), “there are many things that are applicable to our day-to-day running, such as team management and how to think about the goals we want to achieve”. According to David Pistoni (Zeleros), “thanks to this programme we have a better understanding of the rules we have to define from the outset in our company to reach the level of a major disruptor”. João Pedro Ribeiro (PeekMed), highlights that “a really important question that we must focus on is the customer, to understand their concerns and needs… in order to be able to build a better product”.
The activity is part of the backing programme developed by CaixaBank, the goal of which is to give to participants information in order to identify markets, sectors and people that can be crucial to their company's development. During their stay, the participants experienced the day-to-day running of Spanish companies that have landed in San Francisco to stay, learned the rules of the game for venture capital investors, as well as had the chance to gain first-hand knowledge of success stories, such as Google, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the worldwide capital of technology. For José Camero (Triditive), “it has been one of the most revealing experiences I have had. Moonshot Thinking was something I was unaware of and once you understand it, you completely change your view of enterprise”.
This programme is intended for companies that are at an advanced stage and aims to be a transformational, inspirational and exploratory course. One of the goals is to encourage a change of mentality, to transform their industry, think big and global and learn to anticipate future threats. In conclusion, André Moura, (Pro Drone), points out that “we really have to grow our ambitions on a worldwide scale”.
Business growth in Cambridge
Furthermore, 14 of the winners and finalists of these awards have taken part in an international course on business growth, Ignite Fast Track, by the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). For six days, the entrepreneurs from LOQR, Aquacorp, Svmac, Faromatics, Hustle Got Real, Power Track, Ficosterra, Titan Fire Systems, Activh2o, Nu-Rise, X-Net Software Solutions, Biometric Vox, Cherky y Global Cen attended an academic training programme intended for companies at the initial stages to support them to continue to grow and validate their projects. As set out by the Executive Director of The Entrepreneurship Centre of the University of Cambridge, Bruno Cotta, “Ignite combines practical teaching, mentor and advisory sessions, experienced support and advice shared by the main business owners and innovators, which offers participants the tools, contacts and confidence to turn their ideas into successful business projects or companies”.
As explained by Pedro Borges (LOQR), “attending Ignite Fast Track has been a wonderful opportunity, enabling us to make good use of the knowledge of highly experienced teachers and enterprises, in addition to gaining an understanding of the Cambridge innovation ecosystem”.
Furthermore, as stated by Pablo Pérez (Aquacorp), “it is a way of refreshing rusty concepts and sharing them with other start-ups as a way of internationally contrasting what we are doing”. This opinion is also shared by Rubén Sánchez (Svmac), who defines the experience as positive and rewarding. Furthermore, Daniel Rosés (Faromatics) highlights the contact with other enthusiastic entrepreneurs “with similar motivations, allowing them to share visions of how to move forward with different business models”.
The purpose of this course has been to support them in validating their business models and continue promoting the launch of their products and services in global markets. Miguel Pieras (Hustle Got Real) values “the ideas that can be applied to our business in the short term and improve the experience of our customers”. During the course, different business areas came under the spotlight: from defining the marketing strategy to building a great team, defining a value proposal, designing a business model, financial strategy, leadership, negotiation skills, etc. According to José Mendoza (Power Track), “this course has allowed me to apply my skills and refresh knowledge acquired, as well as make the most of my network of contacts and future collaborations, both nationwide and internationally”. Furthermore, Luis Lombana (Ficosterra) and Javier Escolano (Titan Fire) highlight the new ideas they have taken away to address challenges in the new economy and to promote and develop their companies. Bruno Pagalday (Activh2o) outlines “the proximity and availability of support from major business leaders and the entrepreneurial ecosystem” and Luis Mountinho (Nu-Rise) adds that “it is always brilliant and inspiring to interact with other entrepreneurs”.
Thanks to the shared knowledge, the training and support received from the mentors, the workshops carried out, project presentations, among other activities, some entrepreneurs underline that they will change the way of presenting their company to investors. Sergio Jordan (X-Net Software Solutions) points out that this programme has helped him to better determine his user segment and to implement tests that he must carry out and adds that “this course has been an opportunity to validate our project”. Another aspect of this international experience indicated by Roberto Font (Biometrix Vox) is the fact that he has been able to share a week “with unbelievable people, and that it is a highly useful course”. Carlos Camarero (Cherky), states that these training days “have enabled him to take a break from his day-to-day routine, to gain a new perspective and see that, when it comes to enterprise, nearly all of us have problems in common”. The course has provided José Martí (Global Cen) with tools to better define some strategies in terms of markets and work teams.
Benchmark consolidated awards
The EmprendedorXXI Awards, backed by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, through Enisa, are an established acknowledgement throughout Spain, the most prominent event for Spanish and Portuguese start-ups and a key initiative in championing the best innovative business projects.
Besides access to one of the international backing programmes, in this edition, the winning companies in the sectors received an economic grant of 25,000 euros and, furthermore, the companies with the greatest impact in their region received 5,000 euros.
In total, this latest edition distributed nearly 525,000 euros in prizes, which puts the EmprendedorXXI Awards among the highest in terms of financial prize-winnings for entrepreneurs in Spain and Portugal.