Lessons from my Startup Journey

Escrito el 7 marzo 2017 por entrepreneurship en emprender


Agenda Social Venture Network, March 9th 2017

Escrito el 6 marzo 2017 por entrepreneurship en emprender


Agenda IE Venture Network Weeklies, March 2nd 2017

Escrito el 1 marzo 2017 por entrepreneurship en emprender


Premio ESA BIC Madrid Region para Canard Drones

Escrito el 28 febrero 2017 por entrepreneurship en emprender

CANARD Drones, the two award winner at IE Venture Day 2016 for best project and best alumni project, received on Feb 23rd the ESA BIC Madrid Region prize, awarded by the European Space Agency managing director Jan Wörner, and the President of the Community of Madrid Cristina Cifuentes. CANARD Drones provides calibration of aeronautical Navigational Aids in airports using self-guided drones, instead of manned aircraft.



CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Venture Lab 2017 (April-July)

Escrito el 24 febrero 2017 por entrepreneurship en emprender

We are now accepting applications from teams interested in applying to the next Venture Lab Accelerator, which will take place between April 18 and July 6, 2017.  Please go to this link for more information: http://bit.ly/2mlc7Hl


16 de marzo a las 13:00h
IE Business School, C/Serrano 99, aula S-201
Web de registro: clubs.ie.edu
La entrada incluye el almuerzo

Tenemos la suerte de poder contar con María Benjumea, Presidenta y Fundadora de Spain StartUp-South Summit. María ha logrado con este proyecto, recopilar el talento más significativo del Sur de Europa y Latinoamérica, y conectarles con los mayores inversores de la región. En menos de 4 años, South Summit se ha convertido en un acontecimiento de Startups referente en Europa y conocido a nivel mundial.


  • 13,00h-13,20h: María Benjumea: trayectoria profesional y experiencias
  • 13,20h-14,00h: Coloquio entre el ponente y los asistentes
  • 14,00h-15,00h: Almuerzo. Los asistentes tendrán la oportunidad de conocer y charlar en un ambiente distendido con otros Alumni en las mesas mientras sirven la comida.

iFeelonline.com: Epitomizing Entrepreneurship @ IE

Escrito el 22 febrero 2017 por entrepreneurship en emprender

How it all began: the MBA experience
I enrolled in my IMBA with the clear aim of starting something impactful with some like-minded peers; at the end I specifically decided to choose IE for its focus on entrepreneurship. I was lucky enough to find my two great co-founders within my very same IMBA section. We started the program together in April 2015; at that point we were just three friends – an Italian, a Mexican and an Israeli – who got along naturally together. We decided to team up together as we all joined the first “edition” of the Start-up Lab. Looking back that was one of the wisest decisions we could have taken. The Lab period was an extremely intense and formative period for us. At the end of the Start-up Lab we were awarded the Best Team Prize. We thought this could only be a good sign, therefore we decided to carry on with our project. During our fourth and last term of the MBA – the electives’ period – we successfully enrolled into the Venture Lab. There we had the chance to further develop our idea, leveraging on one side the knowledge and skills we were acquiring throughout the classes and on the other the support that the IE ecosystem was providing us through mentors, networking and tailored workshops. As a result we got accepted to compete at the IE Venture Day where we were awarded the best MBA project.

Making it Real: “Welcome to the Jungle”
The Venture Day essentially coincided with the end of our MBA. The experience and achievements gained during this period further motivated us to move beyond and bring our project to life. That is when ifeel was officially born. I have found the transition between school project and real business to be one of the most delicate processes. This is when you go from drafting your business canvas to actually putting it in place, from defining your value proposition to actually selling it to your stakeholders, from recognizing your values and motivations to actually instilling them in your employees. It is a long process that can take – especially for first-time entrepreneurs – several months, because of the infinite challenges that you will be experiencing in the day-to-day and that no school book will really teach you how to overcome.

Doing it our Way: ifeelonline.com
The upside of the process is that, if you work hard enough and with persistence, you will have the rare privilege of being able to create something that matters. At the end, this is what we wanted when we started ifeelonline.com: create something that matters, to us and to our customers. Our idea is simple: to give mental health the importance it really deserves in our society. And the necessary step to achieve this is by democratizing and making mental health treatments more accessible. That is why we offer access to professional psychological services in a more modern and affordable way, a way that better reflects how we live our lives and emotions today. It takes less than a minute for our customers to get from the registration on the website to the moment they start chatting with a licensed psychologist. By doing so, we have been honored to help the lives of many by working with an outstanding community of therapists that helped us out in turning our vision into a solid reality. A lot of things have changed in a very short amount of time. Today, less than one year after we finished our MBA, we moved into our very own office and are screening applications of candidates who are willing to join the team on our mission.

Looking For(back)wards: Note to Self
If I could single out a crucial lesson out of our whole experience so far, I would definitely mention the importance of having the right people onboard – with you and around you. In the end, nothing but great people make great companies. First of all you want to have great people with you because starting your company is an intense rollercoaster; therefore, you want to make sure you have the best company next to you during both the ups and the downs of the ride. Leveraging on the strong ethical values we believe in as a team and exploiting our cultural, professional and emotional diversity has always been one of our strongest assets. But, also, you want to be surrounded by the right people. They are not necessarily the most experienced or successful ones, but instead those who are more willing to share, support and advise you during the different stages of the company evolution. We have been fortunate enough to have around friends, colleagues, professors, mentors and especially investors who have always been there for us when needed and I am sure this will also be a crucial factor for our success in the future.

Amir Kaplan
IE IMBA 2016 alumnus
Co-founder & CEO



Agenda IE Venture Network Weeklies, February 23rd 2017

Escrito el 22 febrero 2017 por entrepreneurship en emprender



Escrito el 16 febrero 2017 por entrepreneurship en emprender

Area 31 interviewed Carlos Schmitz, one of Smitzy‘s partners in order to get know this clothing startup that is revolutionizing a piece of clothing as simple as chinos trousers. A cheerful, funny, close but also nonconformist brand has arrived. Their main goal? To create the perfect chinos. They manufacture in Europe and as far as possible in Spain. They want to contribute their grain of sand to the promotion and consolidation of the image of Spain in the world. Much more than just a trousers brand.
They have created a discount code for IE: IESMITZY17

The three partners that make up the company are Carlos Schmitz, Antonio Ortgea y Jose Manuel Rico Zorrilla. They all studied an MBA at IE between 2007/2008: Jose did the Spanish one, while Antonio and Carlos did the international one. Each of them come from different backgrounds. Carlos has formed part in various startups before starting Smitzy. At the moment, together with Antonio, they are also working on PayCui, a payment app for bars and restaurants.

Smitzy started up when they all got together and observed that there was a market niche for chinos trousers and dress pants for men. They did some research, and discovered that there was a market for what they wanted to create.There are other brands in the market that have chinos, however the style and the overall image has become a bit old fashioned and smitzy believes that they can fill that niche by introducing a modern, more up to date version of chino and with an online and customer centric approach. 

For the time being, Smitzy will be selling online, but they would like to start selling physically in Madrid and Barcelona. Their goal for the second stage of the business is to have their own stores, and once we get there they say that their concept might change a little bit.

“We know that buying trousers online is a challenge for the customers, given that it is a complicated piece of clothing to buy online without having tried it on before. How have we tackled this?  Firstly, by creating a single pattern for all trousers that we sell despite of the model -these days, we are only offering two models, one is worn out and the other one is rather classic-. Secondly, by offering customers a table that compares sizes from other brands with Smitzy’s sizes. “

The problem that they saw with many brands that were selling trousers, is that they offered different models with different patters, and this is confusing for the customer who is not able to know if the patter will suit him, given that there are different patterns for each model. In Smitzy, if one trouser suits you, all of them are going to suit you, because it is one pattern for all models. They have developed this strategy as a result on analyzing men’s clothing buying habits. Provided that men generally tend to dislike more going shopping, in comparison to women, because they like to go directly to what they already know that suits them. It is for that that once men find that one model of trousers that looks good on, they will buy the same model in every possible colour.

In order to ease the process of selecting the size of a pair of trousers without previously trying them, they have created a comparative table of all different sizes for some brands -they would like to extend the table to at least 10 brands-, in order to guide customers to select the appropriate size. For instance, a man who knows that he has a 36 in Zara’s trousers, is then able to see the corresponding size for Smitzy’s chinos. There are certain technologies that allow this process to be automated, and at the moment they are testing some of them. Creating the table has been one of the most difficult things that they have encountered with. However, as their main objective is to eliminate the fear of buying the first pair of trousers online, they had to get this right, and it seems that they are, as they have already had various repeated purchases.


“As an entrepreneur, you have to be really persistent. I remember when we started we would tell people that we were getting into fashion and they would go like: “Fashion?!?! You are crazy!”, but you have to believe in yourself and in your project.”

Another element that differentiates this brand is the customer service that they deliver, called “Servicio Jedi”. They way in which Smitzy is operating at the moment, is that whenever a new client orders for the first time, they text or call him. They want to know if clients have gotten the the size right thanks to the size comparative table. Most of the times, they get it right.

Moreover, Smitzy allocates 5% of each sale to Fundación Aladina for the reform of the Unit of Intensive Care of the Hospital Niño Jesus of Madrid. The idea is not focus on just one NGO, but rather on specific and diverse projects, so that their customers are able to see where their money is really going. Ideally, the client will be able to choose where they would like to allocate their money, but this remains to be developed.

“In terms of the life of an entrepreneur, you never get bored. I love it, is extremely fun and there is always new things that come along. There are generally new problems arising every day, but I enjoy new challenges. In the end, you can spend in this as many hours as you would send if you worked as a consultant, but this is not the same, because it is YOUR project, and that is what makes this different and special. Besides, what I like the most, is the fact that you do a bit of everything: finance, marketing, sales… In the end, if you do not do it yourself, no one is going to do it.”

Tess de Gregorio.

Madrid, Thursday, February 16th, 2017

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