It is already a classic to analyze how the year of investments in the world of startups is going. Coinciding with the presentation of results for the first quarter of 2022 of the big technology companies –some that leave a bittersweet touch with great falls and great successes–, the truth is that local startups are still on a roll. One that they have maintained since a record 2021, after a 2020 that came with a lot of uncertainty but that ended up being very good as far as entrepreneurs are concerned.
According to the Investment Trends report for the first quarter of the year by the Bankinter Innovation Foundation, the volume of investment captured by national startups is greater than what was achieved in the same period of the previous year. With a total of 115 operations, more than 1,220 million have already been achieved. Some funds that come, mainly, from the public area. Enisa and CDTI are the most active in terms of investments regards in a year in which European funds to revitalize the Community economy are leaving many millions in the entrepreneurial sector.
Something positive that, in any case, will have to be seen how it evolves once the public faucet is closed. Despite everything, they are not the ones that have contributed the most funds. It is the private sector, led by ThinkBigger, that has left the most capital in a year in which international private funds have already confirmed that Spain is a good place to find interesting startups.
Going for big investments, but without forgetting the small ones
It was an investment trend that we had been seeing for a couple of years. European, and also American, money was targeting the country. First with solo operations or with their own local partners –of their origin–, the trend, according to the Report, is that more synergies are already emerging with local money. Furthermore, even though 2022 it is being the year of Series B and even C, foreign capital is also investing in early stages. A point that, in fact, can be decisive for local funds. By tradition, American capital gives more for less. Or what is the same, fewer demands on the management of the company. The paternalism of some local funds could be affected by westerly winds and, after all, get infected with one of the points in favor of North American capital.
Despite everything, it is the early phases of investment that fall the most in this 2022 –despite the fact that they are covered by the public investment area–. With a few years in which the trend pointed to the growth of small rounds in the early stages, 2022 has marked a 20% drop in these operations. It’s something we’ve seen over the years. The small funds, which were born at the same time as the ecosystem of entrepreneurs flourished, have grown. Beside the arrival of the local unicorns –among which we already have eDreams, Glovo, Cabify, Devo, Idealista, Wallbox, JobandTalent, Flywire or the case of Travelperk–, these funds have also been financed to grow and finance the needs of a more demanding ecosystem.
The rounds that until a few years ago were measured in thousands, now go to bills of millions. What will happen when Enisa and CDTI slow down with those small rounds? It is a point to be analyzed in the coming years, but everything points to the private sector will have to resume its activity in those early stages. At least if they want to have a quarry for large operations.
Sectors and exits, resolving pending accounts
Something that, although it denotes the maturity of an entrepreneurial environment that already plays in the big league, can also sin by facing the problem of investment valuations above reality. Or operations that already reach more complicated figures. However, so far in 2022, it is still the Paack and Fever operation with 200 million euros for each that stand out in the sector. Transport and tourism, two of the sectors most affected during the pandemic that are resurging strongly. In fact, Traverpek with 101 million in a round at the beginning of the year, is proof that travel is back on track.
As well as the exits in Spain. Since that Red Refrigerator, one of the operations that drew attention almost 7 years ago, the purchase of large technology companies in Spain after large investments had gone into the background. After all, there weren’t any big names to trade on right now. But there were examples that were beginning to emerge. Wallapop, Cabify or Fever itself were some of the candidates for sale. It was Glovo, the delivery giant, the first to open the ban on sales on December 31. With them, a whole series of operations have begun that follow in their wake. With 54.5% more sales, for a value of 891 million euroswe already have the new record of the sector.