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Top early-stage investors in Spain

Sifted and Dealroom spotlight the top ranked funds in the country

By Tim Smith in Barcelona

All Iron Ventures

2021 was a bumper year for Spanish tech investment, with startups drawing in record investment and a host of new unicorns being minted in the process. As the country goes from being seen as a European backwater for ecommerce marketplaces to southern Europe’s natural leader in scaleable international businesses, early-stage investors from outside are now increasingly trying to get in on the act in Spain.

So which are the top early-stage investors in Spain you need to know about, where are they focusing their investments — and do they have any women on their investment teams? 

Using data from Dealroom, Sifted is spotlighting the top early-stage investors in Spain. You can find Dealroom’s full methodology here, but the rankings are based on the following data points:

  • Number of unicorns in portfolio
  • Number of “future” unicorns in portfolio
  • Number of rounds in the last 12 months

Dealroom has also weighted the rankings by a “dilution score”, so funds that invested in unicorns at seed stage are scored more highly than those that got in at a later stage.

The rankings are divided into seed and Series A funds, which needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as some funds listed are investing at both of those stages. 

So, which are the most active and successful early-stage investors in Spain?

Top Series A investors

1. Seaya Ventures

Seaya Ventures new VC fund gets Article 9 classification

Latest fund: Seaya recently launched Seaya Andromeda, a €300m fund to address global sustainability challenges.

Focus: Seaya Andromeda invests in tech companies focusing on climate tech, circular economy and agritech. The firm has another generalist fund, Seaya III, which focuses on high growth tech-enabled companies at Series A and B (writing cheques of €2m-15m).

Deal count in Europe in 2021: 18

Gender split of investment team: Partners: 75% men. The wider investment team: 53% men and 47% women.

Notable investments: 

  • Quick commerce and food delivery app Glovo (unicorn)
  • Ride hailing company Cabify (unicorn)
  • Electric vehicle charging company Wallbox (unicorn)
  • Mid-term rental platform Spotahome

The pitch to founders: It’s not a surprise to see Seaya top the list for Series A funds, with some of Spanish tech’s most notable names among its portfolio. Based out of Madrid and led by founder and managing partner Beatriz Gonzalez, the firm says it wants to be the first port of call for founders needing support, and prides itself on its scaling know-how.

2. Kibo Ventures

Latest fund: Kibo announced the final €120m close of its third fund in January 2022.

Focus: Investing across Europe in companies that “have a Spanish angle” or where the firm can add specific value by assisting with an expansion into Spain. The fund invests from late seed stage to Series A (writing cheques of €1m-5m).

Deal count in 2021: 9

Gender split: Partner level: one woman partner out of six. Wider investment team: two women investors out of a team of eight.

Notable investments:

  • NFT football trading game Sorare (unicorn)
  • Swedish escooter company Tier (unicorn)
  • Payments service Flywire (unicorn)
  • Last-mile delivery service Paack (unicorn)

Pitch to founders: Kibo is headed up by managing partners Javier Torremocha and Aquilino Peña, with the latter also serving as the president of Spain’s Association of Capital, Growth, and Investment (ASCRI). The fund has a track record of helping portfolio companies succeed in the US, and has a network of 20 experienced Spanish entrepreneurs as LPs who lend advice to portfolio companies. 

3. Mundi VenturesMundi Ventures is one of the top early-stage investors in Spain

Latest fund: Mundi announced the first close of a new €250m insurtech focused fund in February 2022. 

Focus: Investing globally in insurtech and “insurance-adjacent” companies, Series A and B (writing cheques of €500k-8m)

Deal count in Europe in 2021: 19

Gender split: Deal leads: all men. Wider investment team: six men, one woman.

Notable investments: 

  • Casual work platform Jobandtalent (unicorn)
  • Buy now, pay later scaleup Klarna (unicorn)
  • AI-powered software for sustainable business operating Clarity AI
  • Employee mental health platform Koa Health

The pitch to founders: Mundi prides itself on its well-developed networks around Europe and the US, which it says makes it a perfect partner for companies expanding internationally. The team claim to be hands-on board members, and say they strive for “American-style speed and flexibility”.

4. SamaipataSamaipata is one of the top early-stage investors in Spain

Latest fund: Samaipata launched its second fund in December 2021, a €110m vehicle.

Focus: Sector agnostic, investing into digital platforms with “network effects” across Europe at early stages (writing cheques of €500k-2m).

Deal count in 2021: Six

Gender split: Partner level: 50% female, 50% male. Wider investment team: 30% female and 70% male.

Notable investments:

The pitch to founders: Samaipata’s team is decentralised, with members of the team scattered across Europe. The fund also offers a service called The Hive, a “founder success platform” which gives entrepreneurs resources to make “better and faster business decisions”. 

5. All Iron Ventures

Latest fund: All Iron Ventures closed its first €66m fund in October 2020.

Focus: Spain and Europe more widely, with some opportunistic investments in the Americas. Sector agnostic, but not investing in deeptech or life sciences. Seed and Series A (writing cheques of €300k-3m). They also recently launched a fund of funds to invest in other European VCs.

Deal count in 2021: 12

Gender split: Partner level: 100% male. Wider investment team: two thirds mean, one third women.

Notable investments:

  • Mid-term rental platform Spotahome
  • Micromobility company Lime (unicorn)
  • Edtech platform Preply
  • Revenue-based financing provider Uncapped

The pitch to founders: All Iron Ventures are the new kids on the block in Spanish VC, but made a splash in 2020 by raising the country’s biggest ever debut fund of €66.5m. The team is made up of former founders, and the fund prides itself on being a fund by operators, for operators.

The best of the rest

6. Bonsai Partners
7. ECAPITAL
8.
Adara Ventures
9.
Alta Life Sciences
10. Bullnet Capital

👉 Read about the top early-stage investors in:

Top seed investors in Spain

1. JME Ventures

Latest fund: A €60m fund announced in early 2020.

Focus: Investing mostly in Spain, sector agnostic, looking for scalable ideas that can grow internationally (writing cheques of €500k-€2m).

Deal count in 2021: 15

Gender split: Partner level: one female partner, two males partners, one male CEO. Wider investment team: three men, one woman.

Notable investments:

  • Jobandtalent (unicorn)
  • Quantum computing startup Multiverse Computing
  • Gamified edtech for kids, Lingokids
  • Flywire (unicorn)

The pitch to founders: JME is one of Spain’s most established seed-stage firms, having been in business for more than a decade. Now deploying its third fund, the team says it can offer companies a wide network of contacts and experience to draw on, as well as clear dos and don’ts for getting an early-stage startup off the ground.

2. Encomenda Smart Capital

Latest fund: A €24m fund announced in 2018.

Focus: Spain, Portugal, LatAm. Pre-seed and seed (writing cheques of €150k-1m)

Deal count in 2021: 12

Gender split: Partner level: all male.

Notable investments:

  • Employee benefits startup Cobee
  • Investment and financial planning app Goin
  • Chatbot provider Landbot
  • Crypto investment platform Atani

The pitch to founders: Led by serial founder Carlos Blanco and former Carto CFO Oriol Juncosa, Encomenda is known for having a “roll your sleeves up” approach to investing. Blanco, in particular, is known for not being from the traditional business school and finance background. Since founding his first business in 1996, he also served as football scout for RCD Espanyol for four years.

3. Cabiedes & Partners

Of the top early-stage investors in Spain at seed stage, Cabiedes and Partners was third, but the team did not have time to provide data for this article. Instead we surveyed K Fund (below), which was ranked sixth on the Dealroom ranking.

4. Banco Sabadell Ventures

Latest fund: As a corporate venture arm of Spanish bank Sabadell, investment money comes from the bank’s reserves.

Focus: Tech-driven companies in Spain and Portugal. The fund offers equity for seed and Series A companies (writing cheques of €500k-1m) and venture debt for later stage startups (cheques of €500k-10m).

Deal count in 2021: 19

Gender split: No women on the investment team.

Notable investments:

  • Digital fraud prevention platform Red Points
  • Online travel agency Exoticca
  • Influencer marketing agency SamyRoad
  • Orthodontics provider Impress

The pitch to founders: The venture arm of Sabadell bank has been running since 2015 and has become a prominent fixture of early-stage funding in Spain. It recently received €20m from the European Investment Bank to help startups recover from the pandemic.

5. EnisaJordi Garcia Brustenga, director of operations and strategy for Enisa

Latest fund: Enisa is a public debt financing fund, attached to Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism. This year the fund has €125m to deploy.

Focus: Spanish SMEs and later-stage startups, loans ranging from €25k-€1m+.

Deal count in 2021: 560

Gender split: Did not respond.

Notable investments:

  • Solar energy provider Holaluz
  • Glovo (unicorn)
  • Cabify (unicorn)
  • Red Points

The pitch to founders: This public investment vehicle has been running since 1982 and is a go-to funding source for many of Spain’s early-stage founders. The fund is now actively seeking out entrepreneurs beyond Madrid and Barcelona, recognising the potential of places like Andalusia, the Canary Islands and the Basque Country as hubs of innovation, according to Jordi Garcia Brustenga, director of operations and strategy.

6. K FundK Fund is one of the top early-stage investors in Spain

Latest fund: A €250m fund announced in April 2022.

Focus: Spain, southern Europe and Latin America. Pre-seed, seed and Series A-B (writing cheques of €100k-10m).

Deal count in 2021: 15

Gender split: Partner level: five male partners, one female partner. Wider investment team: four men, one woman.

Notable investments:

  • HR Saas solution Factorial
  • Exoticca
  • Sexual wellbeing app for women Ferly
  • Financial planning startup Abacum

The pitch to founders: K Fund is led by coches.com founder Iñaki Arrola and former ING Spain and France CEO Carina Szpilka. The firm is one of few Spanish investors that invests from very early seed stages to cheques of up to €10m, and recently launched a new deeptech fund, Leadwind.

The best of the rest

7. Conexo Ventures
8. Big Sur Ventures
9. CEMEX Ventures
10. Kalonia Venture Partners

Tim Smith is Sifted’s Iberia correspondent. He tweets from @timmpsmith 

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