Once again, we attended the NewCo event! I must say it was amazing, again. Our marketing department is quite active and we always attend events and conferences where we can learn more about our industry and meet the leading startups and big players in Barcelona. Last Thursday, on October the 27th, we got to visit some of the most inspiring leaders in Barcelona. In fact they opened the doors of their offices for us to assist to interesting sessions where they explained how they started and the strategic decisions that made them grow.
During this 1 hour session, people got the chance to ask questions, speak face-to-face with CEOs and executives of these successful fast growing companies.
What is great about NewCo is that you get to choose which companies to visit. You build your own agenda and instead of attending sessions that you don’t really think you would be interested in, you get the chance to choose for your own, and be surrounded by others that also had a particular interest for a company. This implies that the content of the session can only get better!
NewCo’s mission is to identify, celebrate, and connect the engines of positive change in our society. NewCo connects innovative businesses with tens of thousands of engaged festival goers. NewCo’s platform fosters trust, storytelling, and true connection between the people driving a new kind of global capitalism.
Launched in 2012 in San Francisco, NewCo’s festival products encourage participants to “Get out to get in.” Through intimate, founder-led sessions, a NewCo festival creates lasting engagement and deep connections.
So who did we visit this year?
Some leading startups in Barcelona
Ubisoft is a french video game development company that is quite successful and has studios in various cities on different continents! We visited their studio in Barcelona at the NewCo event and got the chance to meet Jordi Martín, the manager of the studio in Barcelona. He told us about the company and its beginnings and later on, he developed on the story of the studio itself. Actually, although there are few things where they need to follow certain rules from the HQ in France, each studio is self managed. Creativity is extremely important for them and they use agile methodologies, we even witnessed a daily meeting! We also got to know more about the challenges in the industry and how difficult it can be to develop a video game that will keep users engaged and how difficult it is to differentiate yourself in an industry that has so much competition!
ByHours is just an amazing new way of looking at the hospitality industry. The co-founders, Guillermo Gaspart & Christian Rodriguez Fornos found an opportunity 5 years ago and grabbed it. While Guillermo had always been working in the classic hospitality industry, Christian was wondering why people would have to pay for a full day in a hotel when they sometimes need to rent a room for a short period of time, let’s say for 4 hours. And that is how the idea came up! After realising that this option didn’t exist for business travelers, they directly went for it. And you can imagine how difficult it was to convince hotels that have such a rigid structure to offer something completely new & different. 5 years later, here they are. ByHours offers hotel renting options by hour (as its name says it) and has over 2,500 hotels of the best chains. Conclusions? If you have an idea and believe in it, just go for it. Oh and one last thing, the office is just amazing! Thank you NewCo for letting us visit so many great places.
Signaturit was a great discovery! Javier Martinez explained to us how they started and towards where they’re going! First of all I would like to mention that their office is in Barcelona Activa and it was nice to go back there as we also started our journey there! Going back to Signaturit, they developed a powerful and secure software that enables you to sign any document or contract and eliminating the classic signatures on paper with a pen. They actually got recruited by the Startup Bootcamp of Amsterdam and that’s how they really started to grow! Just amazing! And let’s be honest, it’s always great to meet other people in the tech industry that uses the same methodology that we use; agile, test driven development, continuous integration, etc.
Tiendeo is an online platform that revolutionised advertising in the retail world. Eva Martin, her sister Maria Martín and Jonathan Lemberger are engineers with the same background and they even studied together. They actually had nothing to do with the business industry and all had classic corporate jobs until they decided to build their own platform. What Tiendeo does is that it provides clients with online catalogs and brochures that retailers offer. It’s quite simple and it works! Today, after a lot of efforts on their content strategy, they are more than 100 employees, have 35 million visits per month and are present in 35 countries!
The Ulabox supermarket is 100% online. This is another cool company and I should admit that we regularly order products for our office from them and we are very happy because it saves us time and makes our lives much easier. You may ask what is so good about it? Well, if you think about going to the supermarket to buy 6 bottles of water or 12 cans of coke, etc. you will probably loose motivation to get there very quickly. So Ulabox does the shopping for you and delivers to the place you chose, putting quality in the center of their premise. Jaume Gomà – CEO of Ulabox explained us that they go far beyond the concept of just buying the products in the nearest shop and deliver it to your house. They know the suppliers, they know the market. For example, if we talk about seafood, they know at what time it will be in the port and what is the best time to buy it, they know how to measure the quality of the products and how to deliver it to your door in the best possible way. They care about the clients and they try to build a long-term relationship with them and believe that they have the highest quality in the market, always trying to be a better alternative to the traditional supermarket experience.
This new mobile bank is also 100% online. No offices, no papers. If you look at their logo, you might think that it is similar to La Caixa. That’s right. It is an initiative of La Caixa – number 1 bank in Spain in terms of Innovation. Imagine bank has only been 10 months in the market but has very good results. Why? Àngels Valls shared with us their key to success: Agile Methodology. It allows them to work with sprints and launch new functionalities on a regular base, but functionalities that are tested and that were approved to be demanded on the market. They believe in the power of UX design and in the statement “ Less is more”. Àngels told us that they have their internal team of designers but they also collaborate with startups and young professionals, just like their target is to be closer to the clients and understand them better. They constantly do researches and brainstormings, and sometimes, you can’t distinguish clients from the employees. That’s awesome because they are all on the same wave.
No more formal communication, the simpler the better! This year they heavily invested in Technology and communication. Push notifications, gamification, instant messaging, social networks, robots, etc. So far so good, let’s keep an eye on them!
A new alternative to traditional real estate rent business. PoPplaces is about finding venues for short term rental, commercial spaces for temporary projects, events, for product presentations, for meetings, for whatever that comes to your mind. The most important here is you rent a venue in terms of days. Karen Prats – CEO of PopPlaces said that with the rise of e-commerce, companies invest more in online shopping rather than offline and it means that the number of offices that are not rented is expected to grow. At the same, more and more events are organised and PopPlaces helps rent & find the right venue. It is an online market for renting commercial spaces by day, offering a wide range of venues so companies, artists, designers, and brands can find a perfect place that suits their need.
A P2P home exchange digital marketplace where travelers can host and be hosted for free. Mytwinplace members host in their homes when it’s available, in return for free accommodation when they travel. Unique points system and Axa assistance insurance makes it even more attractive. The concept is very nice because if we think about it, we pay for renting a flat or for mortgages, etc. Why should we pay for another flat in another country if we can just share experiences with others, meet new people, live like locals and all that for free. It is another shared economy company that thinks about sustainability of the cities and the overall economy. Jean Noel Saunier – CEO of Mytwinplace said that users really like the idea of hosting travelers in their home, earning points and keep on traveling themselves.
Letgo is the app that enables you to buy and sell secondhand stuff quickly and locally. They raised $100 Million and today the team has more than 100 people of 20 different nationalities in their offices in New York and Barcelona. They are focused on gaining traction in the U.S., Turkey and Norway. Even though they are in Barcelona, they are not focusing on Spanish market because of Wallapop, a main player here. Wallapop was the first one to enter Spanish market and Letgo decided to focus on other markets where they saw an opportunity, and I should say they made the right choice! They constantly win awards, they are always featured in the press, there is a buzz about letgo ads on social media. These guys are cool and creative. They are diverse but they all have similar values: agility, testing, customer feedback, user experience, technology, transparency and new ideas. Enrique Linares – co-founder of Letgo said that “if you wait until you are ready, you will be waiting the rest of your life”.
Nuclio is a new venture builder in Barcelona. Serial entrepreneur and the founder of the Conector accelerator, Carlos Blanco is the main player in this initiative. He explained how it works at Nuclio: after they detect an idea worth their time and money, they put together a team, grow it, and give the startup an investment between 50K and 150K euros if they reach a MVP. They also help with financial, PR and commercial management. They are really well connected. What Carlos said was very interesting – the amount of money investors have in Barcelona is way higher than what startups need, the main problem right now is that there are not so many promising startups in the market. Carlos also mentioned that good ideas is nothing if you don’t have a good team, in Nuclio the priority is to get companies with efficient teams. He strongly believes in Agile methodology and lean startup. He thinks it is very important for a healthy growth. They also organize Nuclio Weekends – twice-a-year event which is similar to Startup Weekend. The goal is to gather a group of entrepreneurs with an idea, and work intensively for three days until one or more winners are chosen to enter the Nuclio program and have their idea funded. In Barcelona, they have an office in the tech hub Palau de Mar. So both Nuclio and Antai, Barcelona’s other venture builder have offices in the same building.
A great dining option for the shared economy lovers. For people who enjoy sharing their experiences with others. This is an awesome opportunity to get to know the city better, to really dive into the local culture and see the city from the local’s perspective. Eat like them, live like them, speak like them, etc. The concept is really nice because it brings famous chefs, foodies and cooking lovers together. It is not necessary to go to a Michelin star restaurant to try the meal of a famous chef, you can actually visit his house, see his own kitchen, try his dishes and have a chat with him! Cool, isn’t it? It opens so many doors to discover the place you visit, you can practise the language, get some tips from the locals, ask for recipes, know the opinion of locals, etc, Each country has different traditions & habits and unfortunately not all of the restaurants keep them. Eatwith promotes this exclusive local’s atmosphere. Currently, Eatwith features 650 home chefs in 50 countries and 200 cities around the world. It all started in Tel Aviv, then expanding to Barcelona and San Francisco, where the headquarters are right now.
Like other shared economy companies, Eatwith has a system to safeguard both hosts and the diners. Not all of the chefs who apply to host are accepted. The team checks the place, the menu, the price and the level of the language of course. According to Leire – country manager of Spain, 50% of diners are locals and 50% are tourists. Also, what is interesting is that after accepting the candidate, they still go to the first dinner to see if everything goes well. They have a review system and they take it seriously. The average price is about 35 euros and the team constantly comes up with new ideas. An example is the launch of a foodie passport, the same concept as Camino de Santiago passport peregrines for Eatwith users in different countries & cities. I’m exited to see what will be implemented next!
Ofertia is a digital platform collecting shopping brochures together and bridging online and offline shopping world together. They also participated last year at the NewCo event and we had got the chance to meet them! The company was founded in 2012 and has already become a leader on the market. Jaume Betrian, the co-founder of Ofertia, told us about the company’s background and their latest news. First of all, Ofertia has expanded the company’s attendance. Since the merger with Bonial, Ofertia expanded in Sweden, Norway and Denmark as well as in Latin America that is one of the main markets for the company at the moment. Moreover, Ofertia & Bonial just launched a new Big Data technology, Geo-Spot, that is already used in their apps. The methodology takes advantages of location technologies to collect users daily data to determine daily variations, see new users. The collected data is fully private and is used for analysis. That is definitely a breakthrough that allows Ofertia to offer retailers the information they had always demanded on the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.
This accelerator was awarded in 2014 as the top 1 in Europe. And there is a reason for that. Barcelona’s program is opened for all the IoT and Data startups to participate in. It was the biggest inspiration to visit their campus, located in Barcelona Activa and surrounded by the special business atmosphere. Yearly, the accelerator receives thousands of requests, but only several of them get the chance. Startupbootcamp is really accurate in the selection process. From their point of view, the key success of a project is not just the bright and innovative idea, but a successful, working hard and unique team. They don’t only choose a project, they choose a team. Therefore, it was special to hear from Richard Lagrand, Program Director at Startupbootcamp, not only success stories of their Startups, but the challenged ones. Their detailed selection process is used for everything, even their mentors can be named as the real Rock Stars of their trade. Talking about their campus itself, it’s a really creative area, full of small notes, stickers and schemes on the walls. Once new startups arrive, even their windows are full of stickers-notes. Don’t miss a chance to see the selection day that will be next week! The next registration for the program will be next year.
Trovit is a vertical search engine company with a fantastic headquarter in Barcelona. The company is present in more than 40 countries with only 100 employees. During NewCo Barcelona, we had the chance to visit their offices and talk with the CMO Carol Murtra about how they are able to manage all that. So we got 5 key principles of their success: a unique software that only needs to be improved from time to time; same data platform in every market; They don’t stock anything on the website & have only 3 servers locations that is much easier to manage; Centralised sales team in Barcelona; Permanently seeking for new talent and believe that a talented team is key to success.
After the session we had a chance to meet CEO at Trovit, Mauricio Silber. All of us were surprised and truly inspired by their creative office space with breathtaking views of Barcelona. It’s worth it!
This is an independent brand of glasses and watches for young and active people who care about fashion, price and quality. Sergi Benet described their brand story and strategy; their strategy of online marketing and online selling with a minimum investments and maximum capacity shows that everything is possible. When it comes to investing 10000 euros in opening a new store or in promotion and ads, they chose the 2nd option. And that’s the right choice! They are already present on different sales platforms, have successful sales experience on facebook and their website, they are well-known for good prices and equal quality! Wonder about delivery? Meller Brand takes care of fast delivery and delivers directly from madrid within 24-48 hours. Could it be better? Meller showed themselves as strategic players, with a high knowledge of their customers and what they want. A good example of a successful ecommerce to follow.
Karlos Kubler is a real example of those who once believed in crowdfunding and made their dream come true. He is a CEO of successfully crowdfunded company – Unlimited Engineering, as well the creator of next-generation urban mobility, an electric vehicle. The main product is named EON, the first modular electric powertrain for light vehicles. You might ask why the company is named as ‘unlimited’? Mainly because there are unlimited possibilities for what their customer can create. They sell special Kits for longboards, that can be easily installed and later on you can be riding more than 1000 watts (per motor). The core advantage is in lithium ion batteries that can combine lightweight and incredible amounts of energy. Such ideas give hope; we are on the right way to make our world better and easier. Let’s believe in that!
Every year in June, Barcelona welcomes thousands of young people coming to Sonar Music Festival. For sure, you might know about it, Europe’s most well-known electronic festival that was launched in 1994. Sonar + D has opened its doors for NewCo Barcelona participants and we had the chance to talk about music, technologies and business with Ventura Barba, an executive director at Sonar and Enrique Nimo, head of marketing. Since 2013, the three-day festival is dedicated to creativity, technology and business: business & leisure event for the creative. It’s not just about music, it’s about congress, exhibition and of course networking! Sonar’s team creates an inspirational story to more than 100 000 participants. Barcelona is not the only location anymore for Sonar, since 4 years, it also takes place in Reykjavik, Iceland.