At time when most of the country begins winding down for summer holidays, Offerum, the collective buying site for local daily deals, has been making some big moves. This week they announced the purchase of Destinity, the private discount travel club, and sold a 15% equity stake to PRISA to execute the acquisition of Planeo.
Offerum was founded in December 2009 by Christian and Sacha Fuentes and SeedRocket founders Vicente Arias and Jesus Monleon. Within SeedRocket, they worked with mentors to validate their business model, ramp up to 1 million users and raise a €2M investment with Cabiedes & Partners and Bonsai Capital by the Spring of 2011. Read more
Looking over the square of Placa Catalunya, CAPSiDE is innovating the digital society. Not alone, but with everyone that shares their vision. On Wednesday, they held their first Capside Open Day telling the story of their evolution and how to nurture creativity & innovation across the organization.
Capside Open Day
On the third floor above the FNAC center, you enter the Capside premises, a bright, open office with each meeting room labeled with an IT twist, “/lib”, “/tmp” or “/home” to name a few, introducing architects to the world of digital. This is where 25 young and enthusiastic employers combine different technologies and online services that interact in an efficient way. Capside protects the core digital services of their 350 worldwide clients. How? By having a 24/7 team available to tackle any problems their clients may face (see their movie). Read more
In what may be remembered as a historic occasion, the first Firefox OS smartphones go on sale today in Spain to rival the market-leading Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems. For the first time, consumers will have the option to support a philosophy of open web standards, free of closed ecosystems and overcrowded app stores. Perhaps more importantly, today’s launch of the Firefox powered, app-free ZTE Open is priced at an extremely reasonable €69 which includes €30 of prepaid data and voice usage, making it readily accessible for first-time smartphone buyers.
For more than a decade, Mozilla, the not-for-profit organization committed to web openness, has been the favorite web browser for HTML5 purists. What’s ironic in this announcement is that Mozilla is bank-rolled largely by Google, the owner of the now competing Android OS. Google pays Mozilla upwards of $300 million per year to ensure Google remains the search engine of choice located directly in Firefox’s browser window. Now, they may be unwittingly backing the early editions of what could become Android’s main operating system rival in the low-cost smartphone category.
“The launch of Firefox OS marks an incredibly exciting time for the mobile industry. Firefox OS powers the first smartphones built entirely on Web technologies and will stimulate an inspiring new wave of innovation for the Web,” says Jay Sullivan, Mozilla Chief Operating Officer. The Chinese manufacturer ZTE is the first launch a Firefox OS smartphone, however global manufacturers Huawei, LG, Alcatel One Touch, and Sony will join the party later this year. Read more
One of the world leaders in cab-hailing mobile applications has just arrived in Madrid and Barcelona to challenge the local leaders myTaxi in the battle for taxi app market share. Founded in London in 2011, Hailo is the self-proclaimed “taxi magnet” smartphone application that has operations in 11 global cities and claims to pick up a new passenger every 4 seconds. In NYC and London, they are the darlings of the venture scene raising more than $50 million in funding from likes of Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, Wellington Partners, Atomico Ventures, and the one and only Sir Richard Branson.
But gaining traction the Spanish taxi app marketplace may not be an easy task as Hamburg’s myTaxi team has been growing their user base in Barcelona since late 2011 and in Madrid since last fall. Like Hailo, myTaxi circumvents the pre-existing networks of local taxi fleets and targets individual drivers. In a down economy, many taxi drivers are actively seeking new channels to increase pickups and stabilize fluctuating daily revenues. In that sense, the market is perfect for a new technology startup to offer a mobile solution and myTaxi has seen considerable growth signing up thousands of taxi drivers in Barcelona and Madrid. Read more
The French National Commission on Computing and Freedom (CNIL) has given Google 3 months to add more transparency to the data they are collecting from European users or face privacy fines. Still reeling from recent backlash about handing over consumer data to the US government, Google now faces added pressure from European countries concerned about the exact nature of Google’s collection and use of personal data. According to CNIL, Spain has thrown their support behind the French agency with Great Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands to get onboard in the coming weeks.
In an effort to promote the Spanish startup ecosystem, a somewhat anonymous video produced by New York City’s IBL Studios has quietly been released on YouTube. Complete with a booming narrative and overly dramatic soundtrack, the 6 minute video reviews some of Spain’s recent entrepreneurial success stories.
The Australian fund Barwon Investment Partners specialized in investing in alternative investments, headquartered in Sydney, has acquired 11.78% of Dinamia, the Spanish Venture Capital Fund managed by the N+1 that is quoted on the “Mercado Continuo” in Madrid.
The investment from the Australian firm, that now controls close to 2 million shares of Dinamia, represents a cost of approximately €15 million and allows the firm to return as shareholders as they once were 4 years ago.
The Spanish fund, specialized in the acquisition of small to medium sized firms, is currently in the process of rotating their investment portfolio, of which they have recently incorporated the audiovisual production company Secuoya and the Portuguese company Probos, while last year they successfully exited ZIV for €150 Million.
Barwon Partners are acquiring two blocks of shares of just over 3% and 7% respectively, owned by shareholders of Dinamia. On one hand, the insurer Agrupació Mutual has reduced its original position of 7.5%, and La Caixa, which has liquidated all of its shares that were previosuly inherited from the former investment portfolio Civic Banking.
Original Source: El Confidencial
500 Startups, Inception Capital and a bunch of well known business angels have invested into BrandCont, the innovative marketplace for native advertising.
The Spanish startup, based out of Bilbao and Madrid, has just arrived to California where the online publicity platform will offer an innovative solution to brands and media channels to develop native publicity strategies or “branded content”.
The company, launched 2 months ago, has closed deals with various media outlets and has varios campaigns in production with Spanish and international companies.
BrandCont, with offices in Bilbao and Madrid has closed the first round of financing which is led by 500 Startups, Inception Capital and various business angles linked to the media indsurty. Read more
Every time a new, disruptive concept gains enough momentum to threaten the longstanding incumbents in any given industry we see situations like what happened yesterday in New York. New York City officials have decided that NYC resident Nigel Warren should pay $2,400 for violating the city’s hotel laws for hosting a traveler 3 days in his apartment using Airbnb last fall. The case cites a recent 2011 law that makes it illegal for NYC residents to rent out their homes for a period of less than 29 days.
Airbnb has been quick to get behind Nigel and released the following statement: “This decision runs contrary to the stated intention and the plain text of New York law, so obviously we are disappointed. But more importantly, this decision makes it even more critical that New York law be clarified to make sure regular New Yorkers can occasionally rent out their own homes.”
It’s not just New York that is struggling to appease all parties affected by the collaborative consumption revolution. Spain recently made headlines as they proposed a law that would restrict homeowners from renting out their properties as vacation rentals. Read more
Cuentis, an online publisher specializing in customizing illustrated books for both children and adults, has closed a €70.000 seed round using Bihoop’s equity crowdfunding platform. This is a major milestone for all parties involved as it marks the first successful exit on Bihoop and comes during a peak investment period for crowdfunding platforms worldwide.
Bihoop was created in 2011 by a team of five entrepreneurs in Barcelona with a multi-purpose mission: build an equity-driven, crowdfunding platform while developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. If that weren’t enough, Bihoop’s headquarters, located in Barcelona Activa’s Almogavers Business Factory, also acts as an incubator and launch pad for creating more startups in Barcelona.
Cuentis is the first startup to take advantage of all three. The project was co-founded by Meli Fernandez and Eduard Altarriba and was incubated in-house at Bihoop’s headquarters. The incubator’s mentor-driven services include helping to generate a business plan, incorporating the startup, and making contact with potential key partners in the Barcelona ecosystem such as lawyers, hosting platforms, and potential new team members. This gave Meli the opportunity to focus directly on her value proposition, her product, and securing her initial customers. Read more