Macroeconomic challenges impacted the entire world over the past year — including the startup and venture capital ecosystem. Consequently, startups have seen a lower volume of venture capital investment, among other challenges that directly affected startup investment in Spain, which fell by about two fifths.
According to the latest annual “State of European Tech 2023” report, the total investment received by Spanish startups during 2023 reached $1.6 billion, a decrease of more than 40% compared to 2022. The report did have some hopeful signs, however, such as Spain’s position in Europe as the fourth country with the highest number of startups to receive investment, as well as indicators that point to a potential turnaround for the funding landscape in 2024.
Although some funds reduced or stopped their investments in Spanish startups, some continued to bet on the country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. One of them is Samaipata, the pan-European venture capital firm co-founded by José del Barrio, who had earlier founded Spanish food-delivery startup La Nevera Roja. The firm invests in digital businesses with network effects, which maintained a solid pace of investment throughout 2023.
“We have managed to maintain a solid pace of investment in Spain and Europe even though the prevailing uncertainty has led some companies to postpone their go-to-market and others to readjust their business plan to present a coherent investment opportunity. We believe we have been able to take advantage of the environment to make exciting investments. We believe this is an attractive time to invest. The pulse of the ecosystem has not lost strength and there is less competition among funds and startups,” said del Barrio.
During 2023, Samaipata backed a total of seven new projects. In addition, it has increased its participation in some companies that are already part of its portfolio. The investments announced by the VC focused on the following startups:
- Embat: A startup based in Madrid which offers a cloud-based treasury management solution that allows companies to optimize cash reconciliation, forecasting, and analysis.
- Caravelo: A Barcelona-based technology startup focused on travel, offering subscription solutions to the travel industry. They help their clients increase revenue and market share, reduce seasonality, and create a better customer experience.
- Carbon Maps: A French startup based in Paris which offers the food and distribution industry software to assess the environmental impact of their products and identify ways to improve at all stages of the value chain.
- Nory: A Dublin-based SaaS platform that helps restaurants manage and optimize their internal operations with real-time forecasts of revenues and expenses.
In addition, Samaipata has invested in three other companies in Spain and Germany, which will be announced in “the coming weeks,” according to the statement.
A promise for Spain’s ecosystem
The VC noted that in 2024 they will be committed to domestic investment and highlighted artificial intelligence as an accelerator of digital transformation and a driver of entrepreneurial and investment activity in this space.
Analyzing the Spanish ecosystem, Samaipata considers Spain one of Europe’s most interesting markets thanks to the maturity achieved in recent years. “We have been exporting top entrepreneurs and professionals to the United States for decades, and now the new batch of founders have access to resources and opportunities without leaving Spain that were unthinkable a decade ago,” said the fund’s co-founder.
Finally, given the likelihood of interest rate cuts in the coming quarters, del Barrio pointed out that “this could have a positive impact on technology valuations, dragging the growth and IPO market in the coming quarters. This situation could reactivate early-stage activity, accelerating the investment dynamics of venture capital investors in 2024.”