After its launch in Spain and Mexico, BBVA Spark will establish itself and expand in 2023 as a leading player in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. From its managers, we learn how it provides support to entrepreneurs through a complete value proposition that includes financial products, connection with innovation hubs and access to leading investors.
When an entrepreneur starts out, they have to keep their feet on the ground and deal with the multiple challenges they face as the company grows. No matter what stage you are at: whether you are in the early stages, have managed to become a ‘scaleup’ (projects with proven growth trajectories) or have entered the unicorn club (startups with a valuation of over $1 billion before going public), there are challenges to address at every stage.
Attracting investors, raising other types of funding or establishing alliances with other ecosystem partners are the must-haves for any high-growth innovative company to move to the next level. Precisely, the lack of liquidity, the impossibility of raising capital or the difficulties in identifying market needs are the main reasons why startups do not prosper, according to a report by CB Insights.
Entrepreneurship is a complex puzzle in which it is necessary to fit several pieces together. To help solve this puzzle, BBVA Spark was launched on 12 July 2022. This business unit, led by Roberto Albaladejo, was created with a mission: to become the ally of technology-based companies with a scalable model that tackles the challenges of the future through innovative solutions.
BBVA Spark’s commitment coincides with the maturity phase of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Europe and Latin America.
As things stand, BBVA Spark is present in Spain and Mexico City. “We are on the same page as the startups, we understand them and accompany them by offering a wide range of services so that all their needs are covered,” says Verónica Ruiz, head of BBVA Spark in Spain.
Joe Naffah, head of this area in Mexico, agrees with Ruiz: “Companies are already seeing the value that BBVA Spark can bring as a ‘one-stop shop’.” In this way, entrepreneurs can find all the services they need to drive their growth in a single unit.
“We have built a 360° solution that addresses the main needs of ‘startups’, ‘scaleups’ and unicorns and, in addition, offers a specialised relationship,” says Ruiz. Thus, BBVA Spark’s value proposition is comprised of four pillars:
In addition, to support the innovative ecosystem, the department already collaborates with innovation hubs in Spain such as Startup Valencia, Barcelona Health Hub and the entrepreneurship centre B Accelerator Tower.
All these angles allow Spark to solidify its position as a leading player in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. In fact, their work is already receiving positive feedback from the startups that already collaborate with this area. “During the conversations we have had with our customers, they told us that a complete solution was needed, but at the same time one which was customised for each case. Now, they positively value the comprehensive support provided by BBVA Spark,” says Verónica Ruiz.
Mundimoto, a startup specialised in the second-hand sale of used motorcycles and scooters, which has recently teamed up with six of the main brands in the sector to sell electric motorcycles, is one of the companies already benefiting from the tools provided by this business unit. Josep Talavera, its co-founder and CEO, praises BBVA Spark’s support, which he says gave them “the opportunity to access financing for our growth and expansion in both the short and medium term.”
Talavera also highlights the personalised support offered by BBVA Spark. “They have been with us every step of the way and have allowed us to get to where we are now“, he says.
Another company working with BBVA Spark is Clikalia, a ‘proptech’, which focuses on the sale and purchase of real estate in a simple way. Its co-founder, Pablo Fernández, who participated in the Observatory ‘Challenges of the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem’, organised by BBVA, also acknowledged the support received by this unit. In his opinion, the entrepreneur appreciates that the unit shows its support when the startup needs it through, for example, risk teams that understand the challenges of their business models.
Since its launch in July, BBVA Spark has invested €200 million in venture capital funds and generated more than €100 million in financing between Spain and Mexico. In addition, it offers its products and services to almost 500 customers in both countries, yielding very positive results in only half a year since it was established. In Mexico, it already has a presence in Mexico City and will also be present in Guadalajara and Monterrey this year.
The approval of the so-called ‘startup law’ in Spain, the gallop of eight unicorns in Mexico and the presence of increasingly prominent companies in Latin America in general show that the flame of entrepreneurship will continue to be fanned in 2023.
In this scenario, BBVA Spark will contribute to growth by supporting the ecosystem from different angles. As advocated by Verónica Ruiz: “We are in an era of disruption and we are on a mission to help and accompany entrepreneurs who create ‘startups’, ‘scaleups’ and unicorns to grow and scale their business. We believe that high-growth companies contribute great value to society, not only because of the number of jobs they create, but also because they are committed to innovative and technology-based models. As a driving force, to a large extent, the evolution of the country depends on them.” In 2023, BBVA Spark will continue to work to make that mission a reality.