1. Spain, attractive to foreign investors. The capital invested in Spanish companies is growing year by year, as presented by María Jesús Fernández, Executive Director of ICEX-Invest in Spain during the Congress. In 2018, the venture capital industry invested more than €6 billion in Spanish companies. In the first half of 2019, foreign investment exceeded 4 billion, which indicates that the figures will be beaten again for this year. 77% of that amount comes from international investors who “are finding in Spain a large number of companies that, after having gone through a very hard crisis, are currently well internationalised and capitalised. They are assets that cannot be found in many other countries and make Spain play in this league with the big fishes,” said Fernández.
2. Early stage funds as a tool to foster regional development. Private investment is growing in Spain, which is excellent news, but public investment is also necessary “to encourage the creation and development of knowledge-intensive companies; those startups that are major contributors to job creation and for whom access to finance is more complicated,” as Francesca Natali, board member of META Group and ESIL trainer explained in Madrid. The Italian firm manages regional co-investment funds (Ingenium Funds) to support the creation of knowledge intensive start-ups within the Region and help to attract private investment.
3. Impact investing is becoming a new trend. Emilio Ayanz (Creas), Maite Fibla (SHIP2B Foundation) and Pedro Goizueta (Global Social Impact) participated in a roundtable moderated by Carlos Trenchs (DAYIX of CAIXABANK) in which they talked about the future of impact investing in Spain. The three concluded that social or impact investment will soon be indispensable. “Investors have to start investing in companies that are committed to social impact, new generations will not forgive negative impacts. That is the reality of the future,” said Maite Fibla. “Profit and impact must go hand in hand” she said, and it is also essential that the impact “can be measured with KPIs”. If it cannot be measured, it does not exist.
4. Didac Lee, investor of the year. Entrepreneur, investor and member of the Board of Directors of FC Barcelona as head of the Digital Area, Didac Lee was awarded as the best Business Angel of the year in Spain. “As a Business Angel, in addition to invest money, you often have to play a father, a friend, a cheerleader, a psychologist… You have to take many different roles, but I feel that I have to help entrepreneurs, just as they helped me in their day,” he said.
Investment Promotion Award: IESE WOMEN ANGELS
Best Operation Award: CervezasDougall’s
Best Business Angels Award: Didac Lee
Best Business Angels Network Award: Bizangels Barcelona
Personality of the Year Award: María Benjumea