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LatAm Calling: Venture Capital’s Journey to the region

LatAm Calling: Venture Capital’s Journey to the region

A new expedition of discovery is underway. In the dynamic landscape of global venture capital, Latin America stands as an emerging frontier ripe with promise and potential. As investors increasingly seek new opportunities beyond traditional hubs, the allure of Latin America -named “New World” by first questers- has become undeniable.

In this article, we cover the driving forces, key players, and transformative potential that define LatAm’s startup ecosystem. A new ‘New World’ for VC’s and a region of special interest for GoHub Ventures, as explained below.

But, before introducing our regional portfolio and getting deeper on our initiatives, let’s learn more about LatAm Startup Scene.

 

LatAm Startup Scene: Particularities & Success Stories

At first sight, why considering ‘region of interest’ a whole continent?

For instance, that doesn’t happen in Europe where you can find subregions such as Nordics, DACH or South Europe that represent single markets with their own unicorns, specialised funds and other entities.

However, that doesn’t really need to happen in LatAm and it may be one of their peculiarities and strongest advantages. A capacity to expand at the speed of light thanks to a less fragmented cultural and linguistic diversity.

This may explain the success of B2C’s such as MercadoLibre and Rappi, two of LatAm startups success stories. On the contrary, the economical, political and geographic fragmentation may slow down expansion of B2B startups, although there are some exceptions like Gympass.

All in all, Latin America is a region where cross-border cooperation is deeply rooted both on social and professional matters, plus their proximity to North America and decades of economical collaboration makes it easier for LatAm startups to expand. Especially now with Miami rivalring Silicon Valley as a reference hub in the United States.

Access to capital remains a significant challenge for startups in the region, but this represents an opportunity for funds like GoHub Ventures since more entrepreneurs need investment to grow and scale.

Ultimately, education and production of tech talent is at the highest levels in the region. National programs to improve education and upskill the workforce in areas such as software development, increase of freelancing and work remote, renowned entities like ITESTM (Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey) form a tech talent pool that fosters innovation.

Considering these ingredients, here are some of the most famous startups from Latin America:

  • Nubank (Brazil): A fintech startup that offers digital banking services, including credit cards and banking accounts.
  • MercadoLibre (Argentina): One of the largest e-commerce platforms in Latin America, often referred to as “LatAm’s eBay”. Nasdaq admitted.
  • Rappi (Colombia): A delivery startup that offers a wide range of services, including food delivery, groceries, and pharmacy deliveries.
  • Globant (Argentina): A software development and IT consulting company that provides services such as digital transformation, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence solutions. Nasdaq admitted.
  • iFood (Brazil): A food delivery startup that connects consumers with restaurants and offers delivery services in various cities across Brazil.
  • Gympass (Brazil): A startup that offers a corporate wellness platform providing access to a network of gyms and fitness facilities.
  • Cornershop (Chile): An online grocery delivery service operating in various Latin American countries.
  • Ualá (Argentina): A fintech startup that offers a mobile banking app and prepaid Mastercard, providing financial services to individuals.
  • Creditas (Brazil): A fintech startup focused on providing secured loans, using assets such as real estate or vehicles as collateral.
  • VTEX (Brazil): A SaaS company providing an e-commerce platform for businesses to build and manage their online stores.

Some numbers and key facts about the Latin America startup scene include:

  • 9K+ funded startups which raised a combined $3.9B in VC investment in 2023.
  • Home of 64 unicorns.
  • Sao Paulo (Brazil) is LatAm’s Top Performing Ecosystem.
  • +143% increase in Series B+ amount in the period 2018–2022.
  • Fintech is particularly successful in this region, making up on average 37% of Series A deal count over the same period.

For more on LatAm’s startup scene, we recommend the following reports: The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2023 by Startup Genome, and Latin America by Dealroom.

 

GoHub Ventures in LatAm: Vozy, Fracttal, and Auravant

GoHub Ventures presence in LatAm Startup Scene is quite recent, with our first investments in the region starting at the beginning of this decade. From that first moment we’ve always felt that this is a land full of opportunities, so we aim to increase the number of LatAm startups in our portfolio sooner than later.

As of today, the three LatAm companies present at GoHub Ventures portfolio operate in fields such as Conversational AI, Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), and Data Analytics & Business Intelligence. All combined, represent over $30M in raised funding.

Get to know more about our champions from LatAm startup scene.

 

Fracttal

Fracttal is a predictive maintenance and asset management software (CMMS/GMAO/EAM), 100% mobile, IoT enabled and fully cloud-based. The Chilean platform helps organizations streamline maintenance operations, track assets, schedule preventive maintenance tasks, and manage work orders efficiently.

Fracttal’s software is designed to be user-friendly and scalable, catering to a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, utilities, healthcare, and facilities management. They focus on leveraging technology to improve asset performance, reduce downtime, and optimize maintenance processes for their clients.

Fracttal has raised around $20M in several rounds.

 

Vozy

Vozy provides a voice AI platform that helps evolve conversations at SCALE for the Enterprise. ​​The Colombian startup specializes in conversational AI solutions for businesses such as AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots that enable companies to automate customer service, sales, and support interactions through natural language processing technology.

Vozy has raised a total of $8.1M in funding, being the latest one ($5M in 2022) our entry to the company. The goal is to expand into the US market and Europe, with Spain as primary access, thanks to the applications across multiple industries that Vozy’s solutions have, including telecommunications, banking, retail, healthcare and more.

 

Auravant

Auravant helps improve the efficiency of the agricultural sector through the use of aerial monitoring platforms. The Argentinian company has raised a total of $5.8M in funding and GoHub Ventures was a lead investor at the most recent round.

Auravant targets one of the major markets in the area. Agriculture plays a significant role in Latin America’s economy and contributes significantly to the region’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

 

GoHub Ventures presence in LatAm is bigger than just a portfolio of investments. Our commitment to support the region goes beyond pure investment, this is why we’ve recently launched an initiative targeting B2B SaaS Solutions for Utilities in this region.

The project is led by BID Lab, the innovation laboratory of the BID Group, in collaboration with GoHub Ventures and Idrica. Thanks to this, we’ll be on tour across LatAm on a ‘Pitch Roadshow’ to explain the project and meet founders to promote the development and adoption of innovative solutions in the water, sanitation, and solid waste sectors to achieve intelligent, inclusive, and sustainable services, with special attention to service providers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Selected candidates will be able to run a pilot together with LatAm’s Utility leaders in order to validate problem-solution and test business models. A potential €4M funding awaits the most successful startups on this program.

This project is made possible thanks to the contribution of Fuente de Innovación, a partnership between the BID Group and external partners. Fuente de Innovación is funded by the Government of Switzerland, the FEMSA Foundation, the Government of Israel, the Republic of Korea, the Coca-Cola Foundation, and the Government of Spain.

Also, GoHub Ventures is partner with some of key players in the region such as AMEXCAP, ARCAP and LAVCA.

 

Expert’s Vision: Rafael Martín (VC Investor) Insights

Rafael Martín is a VC Investor at GoHub Ventures with focus on the Latin America region and the Digital Health sector. He’s been recently in LatAm to attend AMEXCAP Summit (CDMX, México) and VC LatAm Summit 2024 (Miami, USA) as well as the kickoff events of the above mentioned initiative ‘B2B SaaS Solutions for Utilities’ and was highly impressed. “We are meeting a lot of promising LatAm startups with innovative solutions for utilities and we hope that together with our support they can scale faster.

 

He has shared with us his vision and insights about the potential of the region for venture capitalists. “There’re not so many European VC’s actively investing in LatAm so we think there’s a big opportunity for funds like GoHub Ventures to support local startups seeking to expand to Europe and using Spain as an entry door”, speaks Martín about why GoHub Ventures has interest in LatAm market.

As mentioned above, Martín also spots ‘language’ as one of the particularities for this region. “In Europe we may have the EU, but at the end of the day countries have their languages, cultures, regulations… the speed of expansion is much faster in LatAm thanks to a common tongue. You may find interesting companies in smaller hubs and they could ‘easily’ jump into new countries, open markets and become regional leaders quite fast. However, since public infrastructure and support to startups is less developed, investors play a significant role to foster these movements.

Our expert highlights Fintech and Marketplaces as main verticals in the region but spots AI trend as a market changer.

Sara Sanjuan, Head of Marketing & Communicarions at GoHub Ventures
Apr 22 · 2024 Sara Sanjuan Head of Marketing & Comms

The Leading Edge: Top B2B SaaS Companies As Of Today

The Leading Edge: Top B2B SaaS Companies As Of Today

The B2B SaaS sector is buzzing like a hive, and for good reason. We’ve seen a seismic shift in how companies operate, thanks in part to these innovative platforms. Gone are the days of clunky software and tedious manual processes. In 2024, it’s all about streamlining, efficiency, and, let’s not forget, security.

One trend that’s impossible to ignore is the rise of AI and machine learning. These aren’t just buzzwords; they’re revolutionizing how businesses make decisions and understand their customers. And with the growing concerns around cybersecurity, SaaS solutions are stepping up, offering more robust protections than ever before. It’s a wild world out there, and these tools are our digital armor.

 

What are B2B SaaS Companies

B2B SaaS companies provide software solutions that are hosted in the cloud and made available to businesses over the Internet. “B2B” stands for business-to-business, indicating that these companies specifically cater to the needs of other businesses rather than individual consumers. “SaaS” stands for Software as a Service, highlighting the model of delivering software on a subscription basis.

These companies revolutionize how businesses operate by offering tools and platforms that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, without the need for traditional software installation or maintenance. From customer relationship management (CRM) systems to financial software, project management tools, and beyond, B2B SaaS companies cover a vast range of business functions.

 

Key Features of Leading B2B SaaS Solutions

When it comes to choosing the top B2B SaaS, it’s not just about having the shiniest new tools in the shed; it’s about having the right tools tailored to your business needs. But what makes a SaaS solution stand out among the myriad of options available? Let’s break down the key features that define leading B2B SaaS solutions, the kind that not only promise but deliver substantial value to businesses.

  • Scalability and Flexibility.
  • Seamless Integration.
  • User-Friendly Interface.
  • Exceptional Customer Support.
  • Pricing and Cost-Effectiveness.
  • Security and Compliance.
  • Customization Capabilities.
  • Analytics and Reporting.

 

Top B2B SaaS Companies as of 2024

Now, let’s venture into the heartland of innovation and digital excellence. The best B2B SaaS companies of 2024 are not just software providers; they’re visionaries reshaping industries.

They stand out not just for their groundbreaking technology but for how they understand and solve real-world business problems.

 

1. Shopify

Shopify has become a cornerstone for businesses looking to venture into or expand their e-commerce presence. By offering a comprehensive and user-friendly platform, Shopify enables businesses of all sizes to set up, manage, and grow their online stores with ease.

What makes them one of the best B2B SaaS companies:

  • All-in-One E-commerce Solution: From storefront design to payment processing, Shopify provides everything a business needs to run an online store.
  • Extensive App Marketplace: A vast selection of apps and plugins allows for extensive customization and functionality enhancements.
  • Scalability: Whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise, Shopify grows with your business, accommodating increased volume and complexity with ease.

 

2. Slack

Slack is revolutionizing internal communication for businesses, breaking down silos and fostering a culture of openness and collaboration. Its real-time messaging, file sharing, and integration capabilities make it an indispensable tool for teams.

What makes them one of the best B2B SaaS companies:

  • Streamlined Communication: Channels and direct messaging simplify conversations and keep them organized.
  • Integrations: Slack’s ability to integrate with a multitude of other tools and services enhances workflow and productivity.
  • Customization and Automation: Features like custom bots and automated reminders personalize the experience and improve efficiency.

 

3. Salesforce

As a leader in customer relationship management (CRM), Salesforce offers a suite of cloud-based applications focused on sales, customer service, marketing automation, analytics, and application development.

What makes them one of the best B2B SaaS companies:

  • Comprehensive CRM Tools: Salesforce provides an all-encompassing view of each customer, facilitating personalized interactions and better service.
  • Scalability and Customization: With a wide range of features and options for customization, Salesforce can be tailored to fit the needs of any business size or type.
  • Ecosystem and Community: Salesforce’s extensive ecosystem of apps and a strong community of developers and users support innovation and collaboration.

 

4. HubSpot

HubSpot specializes in inbound marketing, sales, and service software, helping businesses attract visitors, convert leads, and delight customers. Its integrated platform aims to provide tools for content management, social media marketing, web analytics, and search engine optimization.

What makes them one of the best B2B SaaS companies:

  • All-in-One Marketing Suite: HubSpot offers a comprehensive set of tools that work seamlessly together, from marketing automation to CRM and customer service.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Designed with usability in mind, HubSpot makes it easy for non-technical users to create, manage, and analyze marketing campaigns.
  • Extensive Resources and Support: HubSpot is known for its educational resources, including blogs, courses, and certifications that empower users to improve their marketing strategies.

 

5. Webflow

Webflow is transforming the way websites are designed and built, offering a visual web design platform, CMS, and hosting services. It empowers designers to build professional, custom websites without having to write code.

What makes them one of the best B2B SaaS companies:

  • Visual Design and Development: Webflow provides the tools for designers to visually create responsive websites, making the development process more intuitive and efficient.
  • CMS and Hosting: Integrated CMS and hosting solutions streamline the process of managing and publishing content, offering a complete package for website creation and maintenance.
  • Flexibility and Control: Users have the freedom to design custom layouts and interactions, providing the ability to create unique, sophisticated websites without the need for extensive coding knowledge.

 

6. ClickUp

ClickUp is quickly gaining popularity as a project management tool that promises to replace all other productivity tools with its all-in-one platform. It caters to teams of all sizes and industries, aiming to increase productivity by centralizing tasks, documents, goals, and chat.

What makes them one of the best B2B SaaS companies:

  • Versatility: ClickUp offers an incredibly versatile platform, with features that adapt to any kind of team or project, from software development to marketing.
  • Customizability: Almost every aspect of ClickUp can be customized to fit the specific needs and preferences of teams, ensuring a personalized workflow.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Despite its extensive features, ClickUp maintains a clean and intuitive interface, making navigation and task management straightforward.

 

7. Mailchimp

Mailchimp has evolved from a simple email marketing service to a full-fledged marketing platform designed for small businesses to grow on their terms. It offers tools for email campaigns, advertising, landing pages, and now even a CRM feature, making it a comprehensive solution for businesses looking to enhance their marketing efforts.

What makes them one of the best B2B SaaS companies:

  • Comprehensive Marketing Platform: Beyond email, Mailchimp now supports a wide range of marketing services, providing an all-in-one solution for small businesses.
  • User-Friendly Design: Known for its ease of use, Mailchimp allows users to create, execute, and track marketing campaigns without needing deep technical knowledge.
  • Scalability: Suitable for businesses of all sizes, Mailchimp’s platform grows with your business, from startup to enterprise level.

 

8. Notion

Notion is revolutionizing the way teams and individuals organize work and knowledge. It combines notes, tasks, wikis, and databases into one highly customizable space, aiming to be the all-in-one workspace for note-taking, project and task management, and knowledge sharing.

What makes them one of the best B2B SaaS companies:

  • Unified Workspace: Notion offers a cohesive platform for all types of content, from simple notes to complex databases, making information easily accessible and manageable.
  • High Customizability: Users can create their own templates and workflows, allowing for a highly personalized experience that suits various business needs.
  • Collaboration-Friendly: Notion’s collaborative features make it easy for teams to work together on documents and projects, enhancing teamwork and productivity.

 

9. Typeform

Typeform is redefining online forms and surveys by making them more human and engaging. With a focus on user experience, Typeform’s interface is designed to be conversational and interactive, encouraging higher response rates and better quality data collection for businesses.

What makes them one of the best B2B SaaS companies:

  • Engaging User Experience: Typeform’s unique design keeps users engaged, leading to higher completion rates for forms and surveys.
  • Customizability: Offers extensive customization options, allowing businesses to create forms that reflect their brand’s personality and meet their specific needs.
  • Integration Capabilities: Easily integrates with other tools, enhancing workflow automation and data management.

 

10. Deel

Deel is a global payroll and compliance platform designed to simplify the process of hiring and paying employees and contractors worldwide. It addresses the complexities of international labor laws, taxes, and payroll with a user-friendly platform that makes global expansion accessible for businesses of all sizes.

What makes them one of the best B2B SaaS companies:

  • Global Compliance: Deel navigates the intricacies of international hiring laws, ensuring businesses remain compliant without needing extensive legal knowledge.
  • Simplified Global Payroll: Automates the process of paying international teams in their preferred currency, simplifying the payroll process.
  • Flexible Hiring Solutions: Supports both full-time employees and contractors, providing flexible solutions for global team management.

 

Conclusion: Navigating the B2B SaaS Landscape

Starting your search in the fast-changing world of B2B SaaS can feel like sailing across a huge sea filled with lots of choices. But remember, the right SaaS solution for your business is the one that aligns with your unique needs, goals, and challenges. It’s not about picking the most popular tool or the one with the longest list of features; it’s about finding the perfect fit for your business puzzle.

When choosing a B2B SaaS platform, start by clearly defining your business requirements and objectives. Consider factors like scalability, integration capabilities, ease of use, support services, pricing, security, customization options, and the availability of analytics and reporting tools. Don’t shy away from taking advantage of free trials or demos; they’re your best chance to test the waters before making a commitment.

Mar 13 · 2024 Guillermo Flor VC Investor

Is Spatial Computing the Next Big Thing? Apple’s Vision Pro Have the Answer

Is Spatial Computing the Next Big Thing? Apple’s Vision Pro Have the Answer

Spatial Computing existed long before Apple released Vision Pro this 2024. However, the brand-new headset designed by the Cupertino visionaries has put the term in the spotlight again. But, what exactly is Spatial Computing?

 

What is Spatial Computing

Spatial Computing refers to a digital environment where virtual and physical worlds seamlessly blend together, enabling users to interact with digital content in the context of their physical surroundings. It involves technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) to overlay digital information onto the real world or create entirely immersive virtual environments.

In other words, Spatial Computing is like adding a layer of digital magic to the real world. Imagine wearing special glasses that can project virtual objects onto your surroundings or create entire new worlds that you can explore as if you’re really there. It’s a way of merging the digital world with the physical world around us, allowing us to interact with technology in more immersive and natural ways.

The uses for Spatial Computing are endless, although the technology and the devices have been available yet for a short time among us. Here is a combination of existing and future uses of Spatial Computing across different industries:

  • Retail. Interactive shopping experiences to visualize items before purchase, for example virtual clothing.
  • Education. Training simulation on multiple sectors to practice tasks at a more realistic (but virtual) environment, for example a surgery simulation.
  • Design. Visualize creations on 3D spaces to explore and modify effectively before production. For example, a great tool for architects and their designs.
  • Health. Probably one of the verticals embracing Spatial Computing more closely. Medical training, patient education, anatomy visualization…and many other cases.
  • Gaming. Together with Health, another niche going at the vanguard of Spatial Computing. Interaction between players and characters or objects jumps from fantasy to reality.
  • Industry. Installation guidance, maintenance and more situations in which Spatial Computing provides an improved and efficient experience for technicians.

 

Apple Vision Pro: Tipping Point for Spatial Computing?

Just like PC’s and Mac’s made personal computing available world-wide or iPhone’s started the smartphone era, is Apple’s Vision Pro the game-changer for Spatial Computing?

There are several reasons to think so and maybe just one that suggests the opposite, its price. The cost of Vision Pro is $3.499, three and half times more than the iPhone 15 Pro… a high entry barrier for the average user. However, motives for claiming that Vision Pro marks a new era on Spatial Computing are also strong:

  • Real Experience. Even Mark Zuckerberg has recognized that “Apple’s eye tracking is really nice”, said in a recent video after trying Vision Pro and comparing them to Meta’s Quest 3. A more precise mixed reality experience, an intuitive user interface that simplifies interaction with virtual content in physical space, would definitely make spatial computing more accessible to a wider audience.

  • Software Ecosystem. Tools, development kits, apps… the more software available for Vision Pro the bigger attraction from the audience.
  • Momentum. World’s most famous accelerator YCombinator has published its latest request for startups, a call for entrepreneurs and companies operating in different categories to apply for the incubator if they match the selection. Guess what, Spatial Computing is on that list. This suggests a consolidated interest from accelerators and investors on the topic.

 

GoHub Ventures’ Spatial Computing Portfolio: Onirix and Union Avatars

As a VC claiming to be ‘the believers behind the believers’, Spatial Computing is already present at GoHub Ventures’ portfolio. Onirix and Union Avatars are two of the startups backed by our fund that are exploring Spatial Computing solutions. Here is what their founders think of Vision Pro:

Is Vision Pro a game changer just like the iPhone was?

Pedro Javier Sáez (CEO at Onirix): “Yes, absolutely. None of the iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods or Apple Watch were first when they launched because computers, phones, earphones…already existed. However, they all introduced a new reality for consumers and it will happen the same with Vision Pro. Apple made over $600 million selling Vision Pro in a weekend, there’s still a long road ahead…but we’re on track for a massive adoption of a device that will replace smartphones. Necessity has been created.”

Cai Felip and Jordi Conejero (Founders of Union Avatars): “We believe Vision Pro will have a market impact on levels only seen with iPod or iPhone. There’s massive media coverage and hundreds of thousands of searches proving public interest in this new thing and the potential it has. It will change the way we interact with digital content and will integrate technology even more on many daily aspects of life.”

What’s the connection between Vision Pro and your startup or the industry you’re in? How could transform it? Do you work on any current solution involving Vision Pro?

Pedro Javier Sáez (CEO at Onirix): “We consider Vision Pro a tipping point and we’ve been waiting for it. The competition they generate with Meta Quest, Samsung… marks a new era for this technology from a ‘nice to have’ into a ‘must to have’. The glasses represent a new user experience mixing real world with digital information. A huge amount of websites will move from 2D to 3D which represents an enormous opportunity for companies like Onirix to help create experiences that work on different devices and put your company ahead of the competition in areas like user engagement.”

Víctor Javier Pérez (Revenue Manager at Onirix): “Each context requires a different level of immersion. Today’s headsets fight to replace tablets, computers or game consoles…but future glasses models may be a substitute for the smartphone. Starting to build Augmented or Mixed Reality experiences on multi devices helps bending the learning curve.”

Have a look at Onirix on Meta Quest 3, soon to be at Vision Pro as well. The company is an official partner of Meta and has secured early access to their devices as part of a mutual collaboration program.

Cai Felip and Jordi Conejero (Founders of Union Avatars): “Everything that helps make immersive experiences more realistic both in professional and personal environments goes in our favor, especially for entertainment use cases. We’re currently exploring how to integrate ourselves within Apple’s Spatial Computing ecosystem in order to expand our avatar creation technology.”

 

Startups Leading the Spatial Computing Transformation

Giants like Meta, Apple, Google, Samsung or Epson are some of the companies leading the Spatial Computing transformation. However, we want to highlight lesser-known disrupting at Spatial Computing, just like ours Onirix and Union Avatars:

  • Varjo. Extended Reality hardware for training, simulation and design.
  • Ultraleap. Hand tracking technology for a more natural interaction with virtual environments without the need for controllers.
  • 6D.ai. Spatial Computing platform for developers to create and share AR experiences.
  • Taqtile. Enterprise AR solutions that overlay digital instructions onto physical objects.
  • Tobii Pro. Eye tracking technology for research and analysis.Vuzix: Smart Glasses and AR Eyewear for enterprise and consumer markets.
  • Eonite. Software for 3D mapping and tracking.
  • Miraisens. 3D Haptics Technology that offers a real sensation of touch and texture by generating illusions.
  • Nreal. Lightweight, consumer-friendly AR glasses that offer high-quality visuals and immersive experiences.
  • Matterport. 3D scanning and spatial data solutions for creating immersive virtual tours and digital twins of physical spaces.
Sara Sanjuan, Head of Marketing & Communicarions at GoHub Ventures
Feb 22 · 2024 Sara Sanjuan Head of Marketing & Comms

Fundraising Strategies: Insights from Years in the VC Arena

Fundraising Strategies: Insights from Years in the VC Arena

Although these days it might seem that there are startups and funds just about everywhere, I would suggest that this is in fact a relatively recent development. If we look at Spain, it is only now that second and third cycle entrepreneurs are finally being identified, i.e., individuals who have founded a “technological” startup, have successfully sold it and have then returned with a new idea.

Tuenti, Social Point and Idealista, to name but three of the most high-profile cases, pushed startups to the center of the stage, showed the business community that tech entrepreneurship affords huge opportunities, and laid the foundations for what is now a country featuring several high-performance hubs (Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Bilbao), a law that brought improvements, and local funds able to lead decent-sized rounds.

As a venture capitalist and after eight years on the front line, first of all I would proffer a tip that may seem self-evident yet is anything but: founders need to measure the timing of funding very carefully. Raising a round in the middle of a venture capital winter is very different from doing so in times of absolute buzz, or at the peak of a technology’s hype or when that industry vertical is on the slide. This decision will set the startup’s value and future growth requirements in stone.

Once you take the decision to embark on this career, two things come into play. Firstly, funds greatly welcome the fact that the entrepreneur seeks them out. Rather than playing the quantity game, it is better to stress the qualitative dimension: I want you and I want you for these reasons. Express a genuine interest in the potential investors, emphasizing why you specifically want them on board.

Secondly, it is crucial that the startup knocks on the VC’s door with references, with a background, and with the endorsement of other proven entrepreneurs. The cornerstone of the founder-fund relationship is not the initial email or the subsequent video call: it is reputation. This prompts another question: are events essential to get good press? The best event (and the best networking) is a dinner at a serial entrepreneur’s home.

Besides, in the startup funding game, cultivating long-term relationships is a strategic win. Prioritize connections with proven colleagues and investors for a track record that speaks for itself. Beyond a one-time pitch, this approach builds trust and opens doors for ongoing support across various ventures. To delve deeper into understanding investors, prioritize exploring their portfolios as part of your journey. It’s not just about the immediate pitch; it’s about playing the long-term game and winning over investors with your proven history, talking with portfolio experience and even aligning your expertise with the fund thesis.

We always talk about the pitch and the deck, the obvious next steps in this fledgling relationship, and here I would emphasize not only eloquence and look (eloquence depends on the speaker; the look can be hired) but also keeping track of all the information made available to investors. Spending money in the look of the pitch deck is also advised, in a competitive landscape, the use of visuals becomes particularly valuable. A data room is indispensable and the most scalable way to get across a startup’s KPIs. It is also recommended to send a monthly update that really helps to generate transparency and builds trust with the VC.

As you embark on this journey, careful budget management is key. Manage your budget by not spending on expensive M&A advisories, consider prioritizing expenditures on valuable investor information and databases. Combining an in-depth understanding of VC portfolios with savvy resource allocation increases the likelihood of building meaningful connections with investors and optimizes fundraising efficiency. Sometimes, specially in advanced stages, a dedicated investor relations profile can be valuable, balancing this role is essential to avoid overwhelming the CEO. Traditionally, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has shouldered this responsibility, embodying a conventional corporate image. However, in the evolving VC landscape, bringing in a professional with diverse commercial skills can enhance the organization’s capacity to effectively pursue and secure funding from various sources.

As for the industry verticals and technologies that funds cherish most, we already know there are all kinds of investment theses. Leveraging the location in the world where you operate is arguably almost more germane. In Spain, an edtech will cash in on the language factor; if you are a fintech you will find enormous opportunities in the United Kingdom; in France there is a significant state aid framework.

Artificial intelligence is presently at the forefront of technological advancements. However, as always, there will be an 80-20 pattern: 20% of the players will grab 80% of the market. There will be business opportunities in that other 20% free from the stranglehold of a few, as there still are in SaaS (software as a service), cybersecurity, process management, and technology that supports traditional sectors amenable to speedy digital transformation (restaurants, fitness centers, etc.).

Venture capital fund and selection teams meticulously scrutinize potential investments, and certain red lines can act as obstacles. A founder’s first startup without a solid foundation of intellectual property or proprietary technology may give pause, signaling a potential lack of unique value or defensibility in the market. Additionally, unvalidated business models raise skepticism about the startup’s viability and market fit. Furthermore, seeking an excessive amount of funding or presenting an overly diluted cap table can be perceived as signs of financial mismanagement or an unrealistic understanding of the startup’s needs. While exceptions might exist, these elements can create hesitancy among investors.

In essence, entrepreneurship and venture capital are not bound by rigid formulas. Amidst the complexities of numbers, situational analyses, and business models, the underestimated force of common sense proves to be a formidable tool. Success transcends quantitative metrics, relying on intangibles like impeccable timing, unwavering transparency, a resilient team, collective expertise, and an ongoing readiness to respond to inquiries while sharing key performance indicators (KPIs). The intricate interplay of these elements defines the art of navigating the entrepreneurial landscape and securing venture capital. It’s the amalgamation of strategic insight and human dynamics that drives ventures towards enduring success.

Darío Villena
Feb 13 · 2024 Darío Villena Advisor

Challenges and Contrasts for AI-powered Startups Between Open Source Models and ChatGPT

Challenges and Contrasts for AI-powered Startups Between Open Source Models and ChatGPT

In today’s tech-driven world, Venture Capital firms investing in startups can’t simply stick to funding as their primary -and only- value. Not even ‘smart money’, the term that applies to funding plus access to a pro network, is enough. In order to run the extra mile there has to be a full collaboration between investors, founders and boards. We call it ​​commitment: one of GoHub Ventures’ values expressed in our previous article ‘Anatomy of a Rebranding’.

So, in order to put our money where our mouth is, GoHub Ventures hosted its inaugural edition of Tech Unpacked, a series of events designed to explore cutting-edge technologies, foster networking and build key alliances.

 

Tech Unpacked #1: Summary

On a show conducted by Guillermo Flor (GoHub Ventures) under the headline of ‘Open Source AI vs ChatGPT: How to Build Privacy Aware AI Apps’, attendees heard expert insights from Iván Martínez (PrivateGPT) and Rory McElearney (Valencia Codes) about the considerations in data privacy when deciding whether to build or buy an AI-based solution. After listening to the experts, participants got down to work on a hands-on hackathon that elevated the experience into an interactive evening that ended with pizza for everyone.

To kickoff Tech Unpacked #1, several startups from GoHub Ventures’ portfolio introduced real cases of AI-powered solutions they’re currently serving to clients:

  • David Purón (Barbara) explained how Spanish multinational Acciona (a conglomerate dedicated to the development and management of infrastructure and renewable energy) has implemented AI to predict in real time the amount of chemicals their plants need for operations. Thanks to this, the company is more efficient when it comes to operational costs and also improves safety levels at their facilities.
  • Felix Laumann (NeuralSpace) detailed how oil giant Aramco uses their DocAI solution to analyze complex documents and extract qualitative content, a process previously done 100% manually.
  • Fernando Pérez (Aunoa) told how their AI Chatbots improve customer experience by automating interactions and conversations on WhatsApp, Facebook or a website.

 

Build or Buy an AI-based solution

Expert’s panel with Iván Martínez (PrivateGPT) and Rory McElearney (Valencia Codes) discussed the convenience of building or buying an AI-based solution. As in many cases, the answer is… it depends!

According to the invitees, one must think first about the problem they’re trying to solve. If the problem is core to business, building your own AI-based solution is a road you may want to explore…as long as you have the knowledge and legal aspects covered. However, if the problem isn’t core to your activity, you may want to take advantage of existing AI-based solutions rather than building your own.

When building your own AI-based solutions, infrastructure and privacy are another two aspects to take in consideration. First, you’ll need to host your model locally or cloud and this might get expensive so… you may want to think twice and follow the golden rule of ‘just build when it’s core’. Second, you become responsible for what data and how safely you store it… and legislation is different depending on where you’re based.

Existing AI-based solutions are perfect for try and error, since you can create magic in a few hours…as hackathon attendees proved. Teams of tech and non-tech profiles were formed on the fly and they just needed a couple hours to transform these ideas into MVPs:

  • Summarization solution for notes taken during working meetings.
  • Git commits message improver and tests code generator.
  • Psychologist assistant trained with psychology books.
  • Sales sentiment analysis using sales calls as input.
  • Marketing content generator using past posts.
  • User interface for PrivateGPT with add-ons like sessions, history, login and more.

At the current stage of AI’s development and adoption, the experts highlighted a few scenarios when AI is a perfect partner for companies:

  • Document Analysis & Summarization.
  • Customer Support.
  • Content Creation.
  • Business Intelligence (take better decisions with more data gathered with AI support).

 

Future of AI: super customization, fakes and jobs threat

Tech Unpacked is also about expressing views and forecasting what’s next, so attendees also had the chance to hear from experts about the future of AI.

Three industries where AI is going to have a massive impact, according to Iván Martínez (PrivateGPT) and Rory McElearney (Valencia Codes) are LegalTech, Fintech and HealthTech.

To understand what degree of disruption and how this can impact our lives, the experts explained a case within the Health sector. According to their opinion, we are walking into an era of super customization thanks to AI.

If you think of two patients today who have been diagnosed with the same illness, they’re probably getting a very similar treatment. However, they’re two very completely different persons. With AI’s penetration on the Health industry, the treatments that are similar today will tend to a higher level of customization.

Based on economic history, experts also agreed that manual low value work will go away while AI’s adoption increases, as it has happened through decades with any revolution whether it’s mechanical or technological.

Last but not least, experts also expressed their concerns about AI created content. According to their opinion, we’re not yet ready to distinguish real content from an AI created one. They consider this a threat that may affect from a simple domestic cybercrime to a massive fraud.

However, as the winners of Tech Unpacked hackathon showed, AI could be also super helpful for content creation. The group created a solution that produces content for marketing purposes (blog posts, shareables, etc.) by running AI models through previously published texts. A big help for marketers that today spend tons of time selecting and creating bullet points and catchy phrases for their audiences.

Who knows if soon they’ll become a new GoHub Ventures portfolio member!

Feb 01 · 2024 Cynthia Martínez Operations Manager

GoHub Ventures: Anatomy of a Rebranding

GoHub Ventures: Anatomy of a Rebranding

New year, new brand. If you’re reading this article or you’ve landed recently on our website scouting through our portfolio, you may have noticed a different look and feel. Yes, we’ve been through a rebranding (and we want you to know why)!

 

Rebranding: What is it?

Let’s start with a little bit of theory. Rebranding is the process of transforming your brand to express a new identity. This includes creating a new company logo, colors scheme, naming, slogan… but also calling into question other fundamentals of the business such as mission, vision, philosophy, etc.

A good practice when kicking off a rebranding is establishing once again all these ‘spiritual’ aspects of the company in order to envision a new identity, which will be expressed by tangibles such as the logo, copy’s and so on.

For this reformulation, many marketers recommend Carl Jung’s archetypes as an exercise to mirror your brand with different personalities created by the famous psychologist: The Innocent, Everyman, Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester, and Sage. See the example below for a better understanding and try the exercise for your own brand!

Brand Archetypes

 

Our Reasons for Rebranding

Companies, and this includes VCs of course, rebrand for different reasons. It could be as a result of a merger and acquisition, to get away from a reputation crisis, to catch massive attention… Think of X -former Twitter-, perhaps the reason for the change includes a little bit of these three motives.

That is not the case for GoHub Ventures rebranding. We want to set the beginning of a new era on our fund and to accomplish this we evolved our brand. Here are the key points behind GoHub Ventures rebranding:

  • We were born within the water utility company Global Omnium Group and this caused the impression that we were only interested in water-related solutions, especially when having a logo that included a drop… Today, we want to tell the world that GoHub Ventures invests in B2B software startups with highly technological and differential solutions that help optimization and automation of cross-cutting processes to any type of industry, from Seed to Series A, all across Europe, North America and Latam.

GoHub Ventures Logos

  • We want to situate entrepreneurs and founders at the very front of our success. They are the leading figures and the reason why we exist, that’s why GoHub Ventures’ culture revolves around the motto ‘We don’t change the world, our founders do’. We like to call ourselves the believers behind the believers because at some point we all needed someone to believe in us when nobody else did. That is the image we want to transmit to our founders.
  • A renovated compromise with sustainability in the best way we know, through innovation. It’s soon to jump into details, but we’re working on a new cutting-edge space located in Benicassim (Castellón, Spain) where technology, innovation and sustainability coexist. Plus, GoHub Ventures is also keeping an eye on new verticals such as HealthTech and Oceans.

 

Our Values

  • Tech-Savvy. We have successfully developed and implemented technological solutions around the world, granting us a clear vision on how to make this happen and how to not make this happen too. We will pass on these insights to you, sparing you unnecessary hurdles. 
  • Trustful. We will equip you with the necessary tools, connections, know-how, and expertise to develop your business plan while keeping a very straightforward approach. We won’t tiptoe around delicate issues as our ultimate goal is to see you succeed, just as much as you do. 
  • Connected. As a fund originating from a corporate, we built an extensive network that reaches far beyond the venture capital ecosystem. Our aim is to assist you in cultivating strong partnerships with other corporations to create synergies that not only benefit our own relationship but also add strategic value to your business. 
  • Committed. We are surrounded by enablers. A handpicked group of tech-leading professionals at your disposal ready to assist you in forging key partnerships, expanding into international markets, and providing deep insights into the world of technology, business and investment on a global scale.
  • Forward-Thinking. We support startups using the latest technological trends such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning or Web3 for different sectors like Fintech, Insurtech, Climate Tech and soon to come, Healthtech.
  • Sustainable. We are conscious about the importance of working towards a more sustainable future, firmly believing that technology is the cornerstone to build a better world. That is why we actively consider startups that align with this mindset.

And what a better way to usher in this new era and these new values than during our most special annual event, GoHub Ventures Founders Day? On October 25th, we gathered our portfolio startups and some investor friends at Masia Bellver for a catch up session where they got a scoop on GoHub Ventures rebranding and our redefined focus going forward.

 

Our Fund

GoHub Ventures Fund II -already regulated by CNMV authorities- is fueled with €60M aimed at investing in B2B SaaS startups with highly technological and differential solutions that help optimization and automation of cross-cutting processes to any type of industry. 

When deciding whether to invest or to not invest in a startup, we pay special attention to the team, the commercial traction and the founders’ vision.

Regarding size and location of the startup applicants, we consider companies from Seed to Series A, all across Europe, North America and Latam. 

We kindly invite you to have a look at our new brand website, discover our approach, portfolio and encourage you to get in touch!

Sara Sanjuan, Head of Marketing & Communicarions at GoHub Ventures
Jan 11 · 2024 Sara Sanjuan Head of Marketing & Comms