Deep-dive into the Spanish ecosystem – South Summit

October 22, 2019

[Brussels, 22 October] Earlier this month, Allied for Startups participated in the South Summit in Madrid to meet, learn and exchange with stakeholders in the Spanish startup ecosystem. The South Summit brings together thousands of entrepreneurs working in blockchain, foodtech, insurtech, healthcare, smart mobility, and other cutting-edge topics, as well as ecosystem players ranging from corporate to investors, policymakers and students. 

London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, and Barcelona are the top 6 biggest startup hubs in Europe. Legal certainty as well as attracting and keeping talent are the predominant issues in these startup hubs. As Nadia Calviño, acting Spanish Minister of Economy, recalled, legal certainty is one of the most important things for startups when they settle their business somewhere. The revision of the E-Commerce Directive will be a fitting opportunity to give entrepreneurs legal clarity and certainty. With a strong intermediary liability exemption and the prohibition of general monitoring of content, it will be easier for startups to operate their services in the EU (see our position). Attracting and keeping talent is also vital for startups. During the Summit, the discussion focused on how to sell the lifestyle of the city to the employees you’re hiring and the added-value that a startup can offer them: a long term path, ownership, as well as the possibility to grow and manage teams quickly. 

The South Summit provided the chance to deep dive on the consumers’ impact on foodtech. Consumers push startups and incumbents to innovate in healthier and sustainable products. Consumers want to know what is in their food: ingredients, allergens, calories, additives etc. To meet consumers’ demands, the British takeaway platform Deliveroo will now indicate food descriptions and potential allergens of the meals sold on their website. Another example is the French scanning platform Yuka, which directly informs consumers by explaining the composition for the food & cosmetics products they use everyday. 20% of French population use the app and because of its impact, French food market chain Intermarché decided to change the recipe of 900 of their products to comply with the app criterias. The developers of these apps, like hundreds of others, think consumers first.

One of the characteristics of some startups is that they bring in customers even before they launch their business. Indeed, customers are a powerful tool to raise the necessary starting funds. Crowdfunding campaigns are increasingly used by startups. Not only can they help entrepreneurs raise funds but they can also create an active and engaged community. It’s a direct link to the consumers and a living test lab – entrepreneurs can test their products or services and recalibrate them if necessary before launching them on the market. Curve and Bnext are two startups that would not have launched and designed tailor-made services without the support of their community. Crowdfunding platforms can also be startups themselves, such as Ulule – the crowdfunding platform that has enabled many creative and independent projects to emerge.

In its advocacy work, Allied for Startups has already represented the voice of startups on many of these issues discussed in Madrid. Legal certainty, retaining talent, access to test markets and funding are all topics that are essential for startups. Allied for Startups works at the EU & global level for improved cross-border legal harmonisation and the creation of visa and stock options schemes for startups employees, amongst other things. Our mission is to make the voice of startups heard in politics and government by creating a dialogue between startup entrepreneurs and policymakers. This supports the move towards exponential startup policies that will support all ecosystems. 

The South Summit was a great moment to listen to great speakers and discover lots of diverse startups in an appealing surrounding. We look forward to the next edition! 

Allied for Startups