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IE Entrepreneurial Summit 2019: Search Funding and a Hub for Start-ups

IE Entrepreneurship Summit focuses on the attitude and approach young entrepreneurs should follow for investment and enterprise.

IE University’s first student-led Entrepreneurship Summit introduced the concept of search funding and gave IE community start-ups the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors in a competition format. A key topic throughout was on the right attitude and approach to today’s entrepreneurial challenges and current ecosystem.

Cleo co-founders IMBA alum Alex Kilajian and Juan Miguel Martinez del Rosal participated in both the Struggles of Early-Stage panel and the Start-Up Competition, advising start-up beginners to trust themselves and believe in the power of trial and error.

“You have to stay humble. Try to minimize mistakes, and find your daily motivation to keep going,” said Kilajian.

“Trust your instincts. Share your ideas, get their insights, and don’t be scared to fail. Failure prepares you for success.”

The Start-Up Competition judged by Patrick Juarez, Jorge Montes del Pino and Cristina Lopez gave the opportunity for eight startups from the IE Business School to pitch their ideas and get feedback from professionals in the field and investors.

The startups ranged from an expert networking app to electronic music festival productions, to personal in-home health care attention. The winner of the competition was a B2B model called Mamu, which focuses on reducing plastic waste while attending to local suppliers’ demands.

“We work on reducing organic waste by delivering premium quality year-round urban production of oyster mushrooms,” said one of the creators of Mamu.

Participants said the summit gave them some important takeaways like how to find financing and collaborate with co-workers.

“Entrepreneurship is changing. Now it’s more conscious, elevated, and comprehensive of situations and context. This is why our key messages to take away from the summit were search for funding, use big data, and teamwork,” said Gauri Gupt, Student Leadership Team, IMBA January 2019 intake.

The event, held at IE’s Madrid campus, powered by IE Student Leadership Team and co-hosted with the IE Big Data, Search Funds, and StartUp Clubs, featured renowned entrepreneurs like Jose Cabiedes, Alvaro Riviera, and Paula Almansa.

“When looking into recruitment and teams, I think skills is something you can develop but passion no,” said Paula Almansa, Co-Founder and CEO of Loom she explained. “Finding a passionate person is harder. Hence make sure to find a team that has that.”

Passion is a skill the organizing team considered essential to keep motivation levels constant, especially when organizing big events like the Entrepreneurship Summit.

“Passion is preliminary, it comes and goes. Therefore the aim is to maintain the initial impulses.”

“When I think of how to stay motivated to organize an event like this one I believe you first need the skills and knowledge and then your passion to use as the driver,” said Gauri Gupt and explained that this is because “Passion is preliminary, it comes and goes. Therefore the aim is to maintain the initial impulses.”

Participants said one of the highlights of the summit was introducing to the IE Community the term search funding. A fast-growing entrepreneurship model based on the search and acquisition of a small company by investing and later running and growing its value.

“An entrepreneur raises funds from a pool of investors to drive a 2-year search until the right company is found,” explained Eduardo Garassini, president of the Search Funding Club. “Then, second funding is raised for the acquisition by giving priority tickets to the initial investors. Once the company is acquired, the entrepreneur will run it as CEO and grow its value to meet the investor’s expectations within an agreed time frame, usually five to seven years.”

The Entrepreneurship through Acquisition panel, was composed of different stakeholders of the business industry and investors; Francisco Galiana – Investor JB46, Jose Cabiedes – Inversiones Cabiedes, entrepreneurs; Alvaro Riviera – Tilden Capital, Gerardo Montalti – Arista Partners, Joaquin Pardo – Syna, and legal advisor; Enrique Chamorro – DLA Piper. Giving the start-ups and students some hints on what to expect from the industry and business models.

“We don’t want anything fancy. This is not about growth; it’s about stability and, most importantly, cash generation. The first thing we look for is the cash generation to pay back the bank,” said investor Jose Cabiedes, and explained. “What we look at is a very safe return, stability and predictably. Typically more B2B than B2C.”

Students said another lesson learned came from the Big Data for Entrepreneurs panel, where the future of big data was called the next step for businesses– bringing a wealth of information and spurring creativity.

“We’ve never made decisions that compromised our data. You always have to look deeper, looking for proxies for data as not everything is public. We have to get creative,” said Miguel Gonzalez – Co-founder of FounderNest and JuntoSalimos.

“Data science is like golden unicorns, it is super valuable in today’s business spectrum.”

“Is about how you get the information and turn into data, Data science is like golden unicorns, it is super valuable in today’s business spectrum,” said Ramon Castro, Co-founder of Trucksters.

Alexandra Karl, President of the IE DACH Club and Coordinator of the IE Big Data & AI Club described big data as a natural resource. Closing the Entrepreneurship summit before the networking gathering, she described big data as a tool entrepreneur’s in today’s ecosystem need to adapt their business models.

“It can be an enabler for entrepreneurs, who can extract the value out of it and create a business around it,” said Karl. “The skill is in cleansing the data, defining the problem and finding the right unbiased criteria to receive insights.”