Creating added value, key to startup success, according to entrepreneurs and experts meeting at ESADE

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Creating added value, key to startup success, according to entrepreneurs and experts meeting at ESADE

For David S. Rose, entrepreneur and founder of NY Angels & Gust.com, ‘Any company that wants to be big has to be scalable from the start’

‘The digital revolution has been with us for 50 or 60 years now; there have been several waves, and they are coming faster and faster. Having the necessary understanding to create added value is thus what yields success’, said Bernardo Hernández, entrepreneur, investor and tech industry executive, speaking at ESADE Alumni Start-up Day. The annual event brought together entrepreneurs and business angels to discuss entrepreneurship and corporate venturing.

‘The value does not lie in creating the technology, but in knowing how to use it’, said Hernández, former CEO of Flickr and former Global Product Manager at Google, amongst other things, and currently General Partner at e.ventures. ‘Apple, Facebook and Google do not create technologies. They apply existing technologies in different ways and generate a lot of value’, he added.

In this regard, he noted, ‘The digital revolution is a reintermediation, not a disintermediation.’ He cited the examples of travel agencies and banking, amongst others. ‘No industry is protected. They will all be reintermediated, because people are becoming more and more digital. Competitive technical advantages are thus very important’, Hernández explained.

Sensors and context

Montse Guardia, Digital Challenge Director at Banco Sabadell, and Javier Megías, business angel and founder of the investment platform Startupxplore, also stressed the importance of creating added value, noting that ‘what matters is not the technology itself, but what we do with it’, because ‘technology is pointless outside the context in which it is useful’.

During the panel discussion on new technologies and how to apply them through profitable business models, Megías stressed, ‘Sensorisation is going to be one of the great revolutions. Everything will have sensors: wearables, fields, traffic lights’. He also underscored that ‘there are technologies, such as voice recognition or massive learning, that have been around for a long time that are going to make the leap once computers begin to understand context’. Guardia noted, ‘In future, it will be interesting to be able to pay with anything you have on you. The operation [paying] will not disappear, but it will save time when people are doing it, which could be an attractive option at events such as concerts, football matches, etc.’

Corporate venturing

At ESADE Alumni Start-up Day, several speakers also looked at the relationship between corporations and startups. Ignasi Casas, CEO of Eco-Sistems, Sergi Figueres, CEO of Worldcoo, and Fabian Roschig, CEO of Butlr, highlighted that being in large companies such as Fluidra Accelera, BStartup at Banco Sabadell, or Open Future Telefónica, respectively, ‘has allowed them to carry out processes together and provided them with high-level training, which is a key factor’. They all agreed that mentoring and the contacts such companies can offer startups are very valuable.

To this end, David S. Rose, entrepreneur, business angel and founder of NY Angels & Gust.com, one of the largest and most active companies of its kind in the US, explained the keys to founding a big company. ‘Any company that wants to be big has to be scalable from the start’, as well as ‘have investors, since they only put money into companies with growth prospects in order to earn a return’. For Rose, another secret is ‘to think big and globally’ and ‘to think mobile’.

Award to Signaturit

At the event, the ESADE Alumni & Banco Sabadell Award for the best startup in 2017 was given to Signaturit, a Spanish startup that allows companies and individuals to request legally binding e-signatures simply by sending an e-mail via any service or platform. Amongst the reasons cited for the award, attention was drawn to the path followed by the company and its rapid growth in a short time, as well as to the qualities of its entrepreneurial team, its efficient management of financial resources and its commercial strategy. The startup holds the record for investment by ESADE BAN, the ESADE Alumni business angel network, having attracted more investors from the network than any other company and raised a total of one million euros in two rounds.

The award was accepted by Juan Zamora, CEO and co-founder of Signaturit, from Xavier Sánchez, Director of ESADE Alumni, and Conxa Oliu, Chair of the Board of BStartup 10 at Banco Sabadell.