Agenda IE Venture Network, 10th December

Escrito el 9 diciembre 2015 por entrepreneurship en emprender


Venture Lab Trip – October 2015

Escrito el 4 diciembre 2015 por entrepreneurship en emprender

By Anastasia Tohmé
International MBA – IE Business School

As part of an initiative from IE Business School Venture Lab, a couple of us went to the Empire City to explore the rise of the startup ecosystem. The city that was once known to be the global financial hub has now transformed itself to become home to over 10,000 startups. The spot has become so raging that not only American startups are basing themselves there, but also many Europeans startups are moving their operations and opening headquarters.

One of the main topics of discussion during the trip were the differences of establishing a startup in NYC versus it’s older, successful and tech-bubbly sister: Silicon Valley / The Bay. The two main advantages of having headquarters in NYC that came up several times were the diversity of business sectors in the city and the talent availability.

Dennis Crowley, co-founder and CEO of Foursquare, commented that because the city is full of artists, fashionistas, foodies, financiers, lawyers, etc., it is very easy to disconnect from the tech world, recharge oneself and find inspiration. In the Valley everything is all about tech and it can become overwhelming very fast.

Pat Phelan, co-founder and CEO of Trustev, highlighted the struggle Silicon Valley startups have to go through to find and retain talent. The war for talent and willingness to pay has drastically increased the competition, whether it’s in the function of engineering or sales – it’s any talent. He discussed more in depth the challenges in recruitment that I will cover throughout this post.
Let’ s talk recruitment…

Some numbers to put you in context:
Average CMO salary in NYC = USD 240K yearly
Average mid-level sales guy = USD 300K yearly (excluding in NYC bonuses)
Engineers are even more expensive.

If you find those numbers high, imagine the astronomical wages in Silicon Valley!

The advantages of surrounding yourself in the early stage of a startup with top talents:
Recruiting can be difficult, especially if you’re recruiting the best and if you’ re not recruiting the best, you’re in big trouble. It is very important to have the right people on board from the beginning because startups can’t afford making hiring mistakes as it can affect the launch of the business. Surround yourself with highly skilled talent as early as possible. An advantage in doing so is that you will be creating an attraction net as talent attracts more talent.

Pat Phelan from Trustev had a very interesting view on top talents, quoting: “´A´ player will want to work with ´A´ players, ´B´ player will attract ´C´ players and ´C´ players will practically attract anyone.” Startups need a robust base and this is acquired by surrounding oneself with fully self-sufficient people that take initiatives and positively impact the company. Moreover, not abiding by this will have an effect on the culture and the credibility of the startup that is being defined.

“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” — David Ogilvy

The importance of having a talent acquisition / recruitment manager on board early on:
External recruiters nowadays are very expensive, thus having a talent manager early on facilitates the hiring and ensures a proper fit with the startup’s culture that is being shaped. Silicon Valley Bank Director, Bonnie Ryan Arrante, stressed that point as being the key success for startups, saying that if there was something Silicon Valley Bank could have done differently, it would’ve been hiring a recruitment manager earlier on.

However, internal recruiters don’t come cheap, but the investment pays off and leads to higher efficiency on the long term, especially for tech companies making new hires. If you’re a startup looking to hire more than 20 employees in the coming year, it would be wise to consider hiring first an internal recruiter as part of the growth strategy as it can save you hundred of thousands of dollars when compared to the fee an external recruiter would charge (average fee varies between 20% and 30% of candidate’s first yearly salary).

Outsourcing R&D and engineering to other countries, specifically Europe, where the talent is cheaper and easier to find due to the absence of competition is a noticeable trend in NYC, due to its proximity to Europe in comparison with Silicon Valley. Another advantage in doing so is the stability of the workforce, which guarantees employee retention in comparison with the United Stated where talent is at war and is being pilfered from one startup to another. Startups such as Outbrain, CartoDB and Trustev all have part of their operations abroad and have all advised on considering this option.

Talent attraction:
Due to an increased bargaining talent power and a highly transparent market, the days of attracting talent simply by equity are long gone. In the United States, there is an overinflated idea about equity; talents now look for a full package of salary, equity and culture. Creating a family culture that increases performance and that serves as a “how to act” guide for the employees is very important for talent attraction and retention.

Difficulty finding a technical/engineering hand to join your team:
The best advice we received was from Miguel Arias, COO of CartoDB, who recommended looking for just one guy by attending events or looking deep within your network. When found, usually this guy will bring the rest.

Avoid hiring on projects/ short-term basis:
This type of hiring can backfire as it can interfere with the startup culture and usually comes with risks, particularly regarding information security. Moreover, it raises questions on the commitment of such a person. Full time hire is always better, especially at the take off of the startup, as you need stability and steadiness.

A rising trend of hiring remotely:
This is very common when a startup needs a local in a specific city or country. Additionally, the use of Slack, amongst others, has facilitated the coordination and execution of operations with remote employees. Technology has nowadays simplified the ancient practices, as most jobs require little calls or meetings except with the sales team.

As a recap, along with the creation of a culture that empowers an organization to attract and retain top talent, make sure you have the right recruitment strategies put in place early on, as human capital is the driving force behind a thriving and evolving business. It is not uncommon to see companies regarding employees as liabilities where, as a matter of fact, they are their biggest assets.

“When you’re in a start-up, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not. Each is 10 percent of the company. So why wouldn’t you take as much time as necessary to find all the A players? If three were not so great, why would you want a company where 30 percent of your people are not so great? A small company depends on great people much more than a big company does.” — Steve Jobs

Big thanks to Joe Haslam, co-founder of Hot Hotels and IE Business School Professor, for piloting us through the startups in the city and to all the entrepreneurs we had the opportunity to meet.

¡Hasta la próxima, Nueva York!


Agenda IE Venture Network, 3rd December

Escrito el 1 diciembre 2015 por entrepreneurship en emprender


Agenda IE Venture Network, 26th November

Escrito el 26 noviembre 2015 por entrepreneurship en emprender


Ennomotive is a global community that connects motivated engineers that provide innovative solutions for companies in the field of engineering. Area 31 interviewed its CEO Enrique Ramirez to gain insights into the extraordinary platform that they have created.


How does Ennomotive work?

Firstly, companies post their challenges and “solvers” start working on theconcept to solve the challenge. At this stage, creativity and experience are valued, and here is where users start competing among themselves. Once we know that the probability of solving the challenge is very high, we move on to a stage where designing and budgeting calculations are made. The majority of our prizes are monetary, however, we have other types of rewards. For instance, the reward from a social project with Acciona was a provision of authority to the engineer through social networks or the website due to the solving of the challenge. For the time being, we are providing employment to a lot of people. We want to create an ecosystem where everybody wins.Captura de pantalla 2015-11-24 a la(s) 14.34.47

How did you get the idea of Ennomotive?

We started developing Ennomotive in an unstructured way with a couple of friends. One of the first ideas that we came up with, was to connect companies with the right knowledge. Our first target was to provide companies with retired people´s knowledge.  Nevertheless, the idea later evolved into providing  companies with unlimited knowledge from all parts of the world in the form of challenging competitions; and thus Ennomotive was borned.

What have you achieved since you launched the product and what were the steps?

We already have 10 companies posting challenges since we launched, such as Indra, and some others who prefer not to be mentioned. First, we needed to sign up companies to the platform and sign contracts with them so that they began to publish innovative challenges in Ennomotive. Following that, what was needed was people that signed up to those challenges, so that we could connect the great talent with the companies.  At the moment we count with 2.000 “solvers” who are the ones that provide the innovative solutions. They may be freelancers, startups, or engineers that work full time in these projects. For moment, we have validated the concept and we have been able to create a sense of community while building solutions and providing a learning factor for our users. 

Who is your competition and what makes you different?

There is no competition as such in Spain, however there might be some alternative models such as the ones that search for new technology through patents. In an international level, there are other platforms that deal with other industries. For instance Innocentive (which stands for stimulated innovation) is one of them. They were born in pharmaceutical laboratories as a community of scientifics that innovate in the field of pharmacy and their projects are related with R+D. In terms of Crowdsourcing there are some such as Kaggle in the field of Big Data. Nonetheless, Ennomotive focuses on the industrial operations. At the moment we have 10 projects and we already have some companies that would like to repeat and  keep creating challenges with us, which greatly benefits our company. Our main objective is to have large clients who use Ennomotive in an ongoing basis.

 What would you say was the hardest thing?

It was probably to find the right people, at the required perseverance needed in order to succeed in building a company.

How do you see your company in 5 years?

Ennomotive has a local focus for the moment. However in five years time, we hope to have expanded globally and to be working with some international companies. Our first target for our international expansion is the US. We also hope to have increased the amount that is offered in our monetary prizes and to have around 100.000 engineers. Our goal is not to have 3 millions engineers, but rather a smaller group of bright and motivated engineers that our loyal to the platform. We aim to make the existent process faster and more efficient, in order to create something very different from what we have in the market.

What would you say is the biggest leasson you have learned while running Ennomotive?

Patience, and of course the knowledge of how to build a company from the very beginning. It is incredible to see that you are suddenly capable of doing anything that you set your mind to. You see that getting to all of the CEOs of large companies is feasible. 

What has Area 31 meant for you?

As we are a B2B, Area 31 has surrounded us with their recognized name. It is very difficult to create a valuable brand from scratch, so that companies are willing to take risks with you from the very beginning, therefore they have helped us to achieve a level of outside recognition. On the other hand, we could consider that we are a little bit grey, and Area 31 has provided us some color due to the young culture that characterizes the incubator. 
What are you most proud of?

Something very inspiring for me, is when you see a Swedish student competing with an American one on the same project when they  come from different fields, disciplines, cultures...When we pitch to large companies, they are surprised by the diversity and the sense of community that we have been able to create, we even have some startups on robotics from Egypt competing in Ennomotive! 






Pasion>ie ha supuesto todo un acelerón para INSULCLOCK

Escrito el 13 noviembre 2015 por entrepreneurship en emprender



Con motivo del lanzamiento de la 5ª edición de Pasion>ie, entrevistamos al ganador en la categoría de Sanidad del Futuro de la pasada edición, quien nos cuenta su experiencia tras su paso por el programa:

Jose Luis CEO de Insulclock

Insulock (www.insulclock.com) nace con José Luis López y su conocimiento de la diabetes puesto que padece de esta enfermedad desde hace 19 años, al igual que su hermana que desde los 9 años empezó a padecerla. Estando dispuesto a mejorar significativamente la vida de las personas insulinodependientes, diseña un dispositivo electrónico, muy ligero que se acopla al émbolo de las principales plumas del mercado. Este se conecta con el móvil a través de una APP, la cual almacena en la nube la hora exacta del pinchazo con el tipo de insulina y la cantidad que fue administrada. De este modo toda la información queda almacenada para consultarla y compartirla con el doctor.

Insulclock APPAunque la idea se forja en 2013 teniendo un primer prototipo, registrando la marca, la patente y sondeando el mercado a finales de dicho año, es  en Julio de 2014 cuando se deciden a buscar ayuda en la Asociación de Jóvenes Empresarios de Madrid así como en la Fundación Madrid encontrando los primeros profesionales que deciden acompañarles en la puesta en marcha de su proyecto.

Gracias a su visita al South Summit en 2014 conocen al equipo de Pasión>ie (pasionie.com) el cual los anima a participar en el programa y es así como comienza su trayectoria en el mismo. En este punto su equipo estaba compuesto por José Luis, como el CEO e impulsor de la idea y sus dos socios y CTO’s Jesús Arenas y Cesar Vicente, y tenían ya un segundo prototipo avanzado de lo que sería el dispositivo pero aún les quedaba mucho camino por recorrer.

Pasion>ie ha supuesto todo un acelerón para Insulock. El día de la graduación en Pasion>ie, gracias a uno de sus mentores, les presentó al que ahora es un nuevo socio y director comercial de Insulock, José María. Un profesional de un valor incalculable ya que es un gran conocedor del sector farmacéutico y en concreto de los fabricantes de insulina donde acumula más de 15 años de experiencia.  José María hoy en día, está abriendo puertas a nivel internacional al máximo nivel y gracias a él tendrán un ensayo clínico en breve.

Al siguiente mes de ganar Pasion>ie fueron también ganadores de la categoría Emprendes de los Premios Emprendedor XXI de La Caixa. El haber ido con mayor preparación y el apoyo del nuevo integrante del equipo les dio las tablas y seguridad para ganar.

El trayecto en Pasion>ie, tuvo un impacto significativo en la forma como su compañía evolucionó ya que al estar alojados en Área 31-la incubadora de IE Business School- tuvieron acceso a mentoring, contactos y contenido de calidad que los hacen caminar más seguros, así que están muy agradecidos por todo el apoyo e impulso que les ha supuesto.

De igual manera, dieron con buenos abogados para proteger su marca y patentarla a nivel internacional. Conocieron aspectos clave a la hora de buscar inversores y mejoraron mucho su pitch.

En 3 años sin duda, se ven vendiendo en todo el mundo, su vocación ha sido internacional desde el primer día y ya han avanzado en acuerdos comerciales con USA, Rusia, LATAM, Turquía e Israel.

Los mayores hitos hasta ahora, además de Pasion>ie y ganar la categoría Emprendes en Madrid de los Premios Emprendedor XXI, han sido:


– En octubre de 2015 fueron una de las 100 startups finalistas en el South Summit, el mayor evento de startups del sur de Europa.

– En octubre también han sido una de las 15 Startups seleccionadas por Google en su Concurso de Startups Innovadoras en Mobile y también finalistas como Pyme Innovadora por AMETIC en sus premios Innova eVIA2015.

– Hace apenas dos semanas ganaron dos accésit a la Innovación y al Impacto Social en los Premios Emprendedor XXI los más importantes a nivel nacional.

Según Insulock, hoy en día el ecosistema de las startups en España está en su mejor momento, tienen más apoyo que nunca, desde buenos mentores que se comprometen con los proyectos, un buen número de competiciones de Startups donde validan las idea de negocio así como varias incubadoras y aceleradoras. También hay un buen número de alternativas para financiarse tanto publica a nivel nacional y europeo, como privada por business angels y venture capital. Hay inversión para casi todos los sectores y para todos los tamaños y momentos de una startup.

Las fortalezas más claras de las startups son los equipos que están cada vez mejor preparados, hay talento  suficiente sin salir fuera a buscarlo, son innovadores como cualquier otro país. Sólo falta algo más de visión internacional desde el inicio, ser más ambiciosos.

Finalmente, como consejo para los futuros participantes del programa , Insulock recomienda aprovechar al 100 % todo el acompañamiento que es dado, es 100% útil y enfocado en hacer crecer a las Startups, Pasion>ie les ha dado mucha visibilidad y les ha permitido atraer mucho talento a su equipo.

Imagen de previsualización de YouTube





Meet the amazing Startup ezzingSolar!

Escrito el 12 noviembre 2015 por entrepreneurship en emprender

ezzingSolar_team[1] (1)

What is ezzingSolar?

ezzingSolar is a revolutionary cloud platform for solar PV (Photovoltaic) companies, which enables them to manage their commercial activity efficiently.
With ezzingSolar, solar Installers can generate a PV quote within 5 minutes drawing a layout on Google Maps. It is an online tool that also includes a free CRM system, an After Sales and Purchase module and many other features that help installers sell PV installations faster.

Who we are?

ezzingSolar team is being led by Alberto Cortes and Victor Sancho, its founders, who has accumulated extensive experience in solar industry for more than 10 years.
ezzingSolar is a young, creative and multidisciplinary team with an international perspective and the scope to facilitate the growth of the solar industry in every possible manner.

How did we get an idea to develop ezzingSolar?

ezzingSolar was created as a result of more than 10 years of experience in the photovoltaic sector. During all those years Alberto and Victor were analyzing the impact of solar industry in more than 10 different countries; were visiting and collaborating with more than 1000 different PV companies. They were working side-by-side with some of the best PV manufacturers across the globe and participating at the construction of systems from 3 kW residential installations to 14 MW PV parks. This experience helped to notice that the technology used to perform sales in the PV Sector has not been updated.
The technology used to perform sales in the PV Sector has not been updated. Nowadays, we can still find many companies using basic off-line tools to manage their PV operations. These tools allow companies to continue their business in the short term, but in the long term they are inefficient and harmful due to a lack of measurement capability, traceability and cost-analysis control.

What we do and where we are now?

Nowadays, where Internet access is prevalent and working “in the cloud” is the trend (where the biggest enterprises are already working with advanced online platform systems to manage their daily business routine) management technology plays a key role in achieving success. Our proficiency was gained after seeing many companies fail and succeed due to their working patterns. ezzingSolar is an online software solution as well as a successful business model for PV companies.
ezzingSolar is not just offering an online platform, but also delivering a successful approach to managing the daily business in a PV company.
The ezzingSolar team has developed its commercial activity in international markets. Our online software is already being used by companies in countries such as United Kingdom, Netherlands, Italy, USA, Mexico, Chile and Colombia.

ezzingSolar works on the cloud. What are the benefits of that?

First of all, to reduce fix costs in the organization. To have servers in the company is a situation from the past. Nowadays from small to large companies, all of them are using externalized servers to run their software and gather all the information from their companies. You can just pay to have the latest technology without expending the fix cost that this technology costs.
Secondly, pay according to ones needs. The cloud allows you to pay for the requirements that you need today not for the requirements that you expect to have in the future.
Moreover, there is no need to have IT people if you do not need them. Focus your company on your core business! If you are an expert in selling and installing renewables, do not invest in being also an IT expert, it is not worth it. There are companies out there which their core businesses are IT, they are going to be more updated and prepare for that than you. Furthermore, there is an availability of your data anywhere. This is one of the most important points about using cloud.

And the last but not least would be security matters. Companies that sell cloud services invest incredible amount of money every year to guarantee the security and availability of their services and your data, they are continuously improving their processes and hardware to accomplish this task, adding hardware redundancy, security processes, firewalls, etc. ezzingSolar works over a RAID1 structure, that means that all data is saved simultaneously in two hard discs so in case there is a failure in one of them the second one starts operating. It is impossible that both discs fail at the same time. Furthermore there are weekly backups so that all the information is saved. Always updated with the last software release.

What are our goals?

Alberto Cortes, the CEO of ezzingSolar commented: “The entry of an investor is a new step forward in the company’s desire to operate on an even more global scale. The goal is to continue offering our solutions to improve the effectiveness of sales team and optimize the business functions of PV companies.”
In this sense, ezzingSolar platform has been created to answer this technological demand within the PV Sector—to fill this niche and offer PV companies a new solution to streamline their business.

ezzing_Alberto_Victor[1] (1)

Why ezzing platform is interesting and advantageous?

ezzingSolar will enable your commercial forceto ease their daily routine and multiply their effectiveness effortlessly.
Centralize the information of all your clients in one place
– Access to the information wherever you are
– Design PV in just a few clicks
– Prepare profitability analysis in a moment
– Manage you activities and meetings with your clients
Analyze the evolution of the company with real statistics

EzzingSolar – a company created to answer technological demands in the Photovoltaic sector.


Agenda IE Venture Network, 12th November

Escrito el 12 noviembre 2015 por entrepreneurship en emprender



Escrito el 6 noviembre 2015 por entrepreneurship en emprender





On Oct 7th 2015, we invited an award-winning coach Reginald Lenney to IE Business School.

Reginald is especially well known in the US as his clients are royal families, corporate executives,
and Hollywood celebrities such as Britney Spears, Halle Berry, and Hugh Jackman.

Even though the event took place during the middle of week, more than 120 people joined the event.

In the event, he shared his experience: how he started everything from scratch to reach that level of clients.

He strongly emphasised the importance of doing things that you truly love to do regardless who you are.

One of his most memorable quotes is “Hell Yes or Hell No”. Very simple principal for the decision making.

If you cannot answer like “Of course! I want to do it”, think twice whether it is truly important matter to your life.

As the audience got inspired by him they became truly interactive that more than an hour was spent for an interactive conversation.

Some people even asked their personal issues and Reginald sincerely gave advice to them.

Thank you Reginald Lenney, all the participants, and the people who supported this event in IE Business School.



Escrito el 3 noviembre 2015 por entrepreneurship en emprender


The Business Angel market in the UK has raised over 1,000 million in investment for tech startups in just nine months, the number of exits is 5 times larger than Spain and it has an extensive network of organized investors now facing Europe to allocate part of their funds.

IE Business School has teamed up with Finanziaconnect that is determined to strengthen ties with the UK investment community and invites IE Spanish startups to participate in the evaluation process for FINANZIACONNECT INVESTMENT FORUM to be held on Thursday, 3rd March in London.

The Top 60 Speed Jury at Area 31 on Wednesday, December 2 will be the first evaluation event with 60 Spanish startups aiming to be one of the 10 chosen to present to UK investors at Google Campus London in March. Startups led by IE Business School students and alumni have a fast-track with 6 places guaranteed in the Top 60 Speed Jury.

You can start the evaluation process here.

Connecting the Business Angels of Spain with their UK counterparts, through co-investment in Spanish Startups is essential so that they can compete on a global stage with startups coming out of Silicon Valley or New York. That’s why FINANZIACONNECT was founded, an initiative led by Finanziapyme which will focus on facilitating initially on promoting investment of UK Business Angels in Spanish startups.

Sin título

FINANZIACONNECT’s mission is to stimulate crossborder investment. Create connections between Spanish and UK investors to encourage and make these crossborder investments a reality that strengthen the establishment of startups with global potential.

FINANZIACONNECT and bonds with UK investors, will allow Spanish startups to have:

  • Access to the largest Business Angel market in Europe.
  • The opportunity of increasing investment by UK Business Angels beyond their borders.
  • A natural link to British, US and other English speaking markets.
  • Increased access to possible exits. Higher returns for investors.
  • Increased international network of contacts and complementary expertise.
  • Better positioned to be a Global Startup.

This ambitious trans-European initiative will begin with the first FINANZIACONNECT INVESTMENT FORUM to be held in London in March 2016. This investment forum will present the 10 best Startups as a result of a thorough evaluation and selection process along the next two months.

IE Business School, always in favor of global entrepreneurship, participates in Finanziaconnect to help startups led by students and alumni to connect with the largest hub of entrepreneurship in Europe.

Learn more


PS: Finanziaconnect is a bilingual initiative and the events will be hosted in the native language of the corresponding event. However, presentations and conversations can be in either language.

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