Within the television landscape of 10 years ago it was almost unthinkable that a TV series of success could be based on one of the most stigmatized guilds in recent years: informatics and technology. From outside the guild, the figure of the IT specialist has always been idealized as a lonely, strange, methodical, asocial and —let’s say it— ugly person. There, brutal honesty. I think the closest approximation would be the IT dude from Jurassic Park. But since the recent few years, this has changed and the prototypical IT-guy has become something else, from a winner to a social parasite, and everything in between. They can be a successful businessman or an Anonymous hacker, or both at once. The fact is that American TV channels have realized that these people are as interesting as any other (or more) and have changed enough to develop quality T.V. series. But are the IT series true to reality? Let’s compare. 1.- The IT Crow. English in origin, in this comedy we see how is the IT department of a large company: two guys working in a basement without any contact with the rest of the squad. They are last in the food chain but have created their own world in the basement and enjoy their own oddities. Reality: (Almost) no company marginalizes their IT department like that, because they depend directly on it. But it is true that some tech people like to have their well-defined way to organize their own space, being very fussy when it comes to others respecting it. 2.- Halt and Catch Fire Inspired by true events, this American series tells the story of the early days of the computer industry in Texas’ Silicon Prairie, based primarily in the development of the first personal computers back in 1983. Reality: this series shows how hard working in IT is. Hours and hours of development work without sleep, with lots of pressure to finish projects. Nothing new to us, who know the trade. But it also conveys the idea that success and being a pioneer in this world is relatively easy, when actually getting to the top and succeed in the world of computing is really complicated. Especially when you have less money than Rocky Balboa’s brother in law. 3.- Sillicon Valley This comedy narrates the adventures of a current informatics group in the world of startups from America’s most famous Valley. The social and economic difficulties of people not prepared at all for business but for computing are the backbone of this series that’s currently one of HBO’s staples. Reality: Not all IT guys are that much of social parasites nor have so many oddities like the ones who make up this group. The reality is that the vast majority of are not prepared to succeed on the scale you hope to succeed in Silicon Valley. Make an app, find funding and being a winner in San Francisco is a dream that many get. But also many are left behind because of their dire social skills and low empathy towards people who belong to their guild. 4.- Mr. Robot This great series is about the life of an IT specialist trapped working in tech support for a multinational. His work bores him, torments and disgusts him. But when he gets home his computer skills cross the dark side of the net to be seized on something more important than just hanging out in his room. Reality: Unfortunately many IT people get gradually isolated into their own world completely missing their chance of socializing. From their computer they’re able to do almost anything, but some choose to do well. Not all hackers are bad, as the people been thinking since forever; some are dedicated to screwing up ISIS scouting accounts or uncovering pedophiles and handing over their data to the police. 5.- Big Bang Theory We know that the main characters aren’t exactly 100% IT guys, but it’s just as if they were. Their geek world revolves entirely around internet, they dominate it, and staying offline for them is real torture. Reality: We depend on internet, more and more with each passing day. What happens to the geeks of the series happens to everyone. We can no longer live without Wi-Fi or 4G. Moreover this IT profile the series shows has a good side: your knowledge in technology can get you closer to the bombshell next-door. In short, the world of computing has changed a lot in very little. Now an IT specialist can have as much —or more— success than a rock star, be the cornerstone of a company and use their knowledge to improve their social status. That Jurassic Park IT guy has left for good.
"The Business Angels no longer invest in freemium, we must swing to generate more traction and go for another round." Have you ever heard phrases like this and you've gone completely mad? If yes, it’s because you are not fully familiar with the terms used in the world of startups, so we’ve created this dictionary of words and expressions to entrepreneurs: Accelerator It’s an organization that helps startups to start its activities and seek for investment. They usually have convokes, support programs with fixed term and have mentors who advise entrepreneurs. Actives Goods a startup owns and whose value can be quantified. B2B (Business to Business) Companies engaged in selling services to other companies and not to individuals. B2C (Business to Customers) The opposite of B2C, they are companies that sell to private consumers. Break even Also known as neutral, or breakeven. It’s the amount by which revenues are equal to the costs and from which benefits are obtained. Benchmark In Spanish, the translation is "punto de referencia". It is a parameter that is set to measure the growth of a startup. For example: annual profit, annual turnover, countries where it has a presence, etc. Board of directors The forever Board. The group of people who supervise the company's business and strategic decisions involved in it. Bootstrapping This concept is used when it is undertaken with very few resources, without large capital investments. In Spain we specialize in making bootstrapping. Bridge A quick loan to go pulling while getting the bulk of the funding. Business Angel A person who invests in a startup providing money, business experience and contacts that will help the growth of the company. Canvas Kind of summarized and simplified business plan where the business and the startup strategies are explained in a simple way easy to understand. Elevator Pitch It introduces a business idea in a Little time, it’s like the time a ride in an elevator lasts. Exit It’s the moment where you get out of the shareholding of a society. “Make an exit” is about selling your shares and, if possible, make money with it. Family & Friends It’s when the first round of financing is got through family and friends, which is very risky because if you screw it up, you may not be able to return to the neighborhood in a long time. Fundraising Raise a capital through donations or contributions from third parties. IPO (Initial Public Offering) It’s when the startup come out of the stock market by selling its shares publicly. In that moment it stop being a startup. Lead investor - Investor Leader The investor who puts more money in a round of financing for a startup. Lean Startup A startup is launched to the market quickly along with a basic product or service to test whether the idea works or not. Mentoring An expert person (mentor) helps and teaches an entrepreneur to launch his project. NDA - Non-Disclosure Agreement It’s a contract of confidentiality between two parties that protects the information handled in any agreement. Networking Expanding the network of contacts through meetings, events, parties or alike to generate new business opportunities. Outsourcing Outsource a service to another company or entity (as a freelance) rather than its own resources. For example, hiring another company to entrust a job instead of hiring employees. Pivoting To change the strategy of the company to adapt to changes according to the demands of the market. Proof of concept It’s a demonstration that the project can be carried out. It’s usually a functional prototype that resembles the final version as close as possible. ROI (Return of Investment) Amount of money that the investor makes after selling its stake. Everything has to do with this; you buy low and sell high, in order to obtain a ROI as high as possible. Seed - Seed Capital It’s the first round of funding that allows us to start the business from scratch. The money usually comes from near the entrepreneurial circles. Startup It’s an early-stage company with a big growth potential. Usually technology-related companies. Unicorn It’s a startup that without going public, it’s valued at over one billion dollars. The Unicorn Club is the list of these companies. Venture Capital - Venture Capital Investment by a company or private equity fund in a startup. These funds work with money from others that have put their money in the fund to try to make a profit of the same investments. And now, let’s go over a few words related to internet startups: Agile Software development methodology that aims to optimize the resources allocated to a project and accelerate its accomplishment. Big Data The branch of computer science that is responsible of managing and analyzing large volumes of information, normally in real time. Crowdfunding Financing a project through joint ventures and in a public way through websites created for this purpose. Normally rewards are delivered depending on the money contributed. Crowdsourcing Outsourcing a project to be developed by a community of persons or entities. It is usually done through an open call and the community makes contributions to it. Responsive web design Development method that allows the design change and adapt to the different types of screens on the market. For example, to display a form on a mobile and another on a monitor 27 "always optimizing for each screen size. Freemium Internet pricing model which offers you something for free and if you pay extra, you get the (Premium). For example, the typical directory that seems to be free but if you pay, it’s shown above others and with more information than the rest. Gamification The art of applying features of games like score, competition, prizes, etc. To another type of online business for engaging the user or client. Geomarketing To use geographic information to improve marketing. For example, knowing where a search is performed to provide closer results. Growth Hacking Techniques for growing a startup quickly based on creativity and analytics. To reiterate To repeat a business process by changing parameters until it works. Traction To generate real data to validate the demand for the product or service from a startup and demonstrate that it can grow very quickly and generate a great profit. Disruptive technology Technology that appears to change the rules of the market. Spin-off In a video game or a TV series is a spin off a derivative that is based on a minor character from the original stuff. For startups world is more or less the same, it is a company created by another company, often to save part of the business which operates or may operate and separate it from the one that is not working. So far, we’re done with the glossary on the startups world. If you're planning to undertake, take or maybe you have already done, we can only wish you good luck and a good tip we could give you is to watch the best Spanish startups of 2015, they can give you some keys to success.
Got a startup? That’s the million dollar question. In a country that promotes entrepreneurship, obstacles and difficulties are scarce, which is like music to the ears for those looking to launch a business. Despite the incorrect belief that we threw ourselves under the bus, Spain is, according to startupranking, the fifth ranked country in the world for creating new businesses, with a total of 454 on going startups. This is despite of an economic crisis that doesn’t seem to be stopping and a time when self-employment is frequent. So, we give you 10 startups that people are going to be talking about in 2015. First V1sion First V1sion is a Spanish startup that offers an integrated camera system in jerseys, allowing first person views of what’s happening on the field. The technology used to create these cameras means they can be used in “team sports”, where, because of safety, traditional cameras can’t be used like they are in motorsports. The company ran a pilot program with Córdoba CF. Though they are a little business, they are interested in a technology that could change the world of sports forever. www.firstvision.com Green Momit The so-called “Spanish Nest” is focused on a field that is sure to boom in coming years given the high price of electricity: energy efficiency. This startup specializes in the Internet of Things and offers an intelligent thermostat, winning them the last version of the Spanish IBM Smartcamp. www.momit.com Packlink Packlink offers businesses and individuals the opportunity to compare and contrast shipping services in an easy, reliable and cost-effective way, saving up to 70% on international shipments. You can compare prices from top level shipping companies in Spain, like UPS, SEUR, Correos, GLS, FedEx, Ochoa, TourlineExpress, Nacex, Envialia, Chronoexprés and MRW. The services includes shipments within Spain and to Europe and more than 250 countries around the world. www.packlink.es Mint Labs By processing imaging provided by MRI’s, Mint Labs has creates 3D maps of the brain that allow you to see the neural connections and structure of each brain. These images help doctors and faculty diagnose patients, prescribe treatment and complete surgery in a minimally invasive way. Some have called it “the Google Maps of the Brain”. www.mint-labs.com Coinffeine One the most serious places for Bitcoin gambling in Spain, and an open source, peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin exchange. Thanks to Coinffeince you can buy and sell Bitcoins securely and anonymously without having to rely on a centralized system. It’s like BitTorrent for your bitcoins. www.coinffeine.com Wonnova Wonnova is a company that specializes in digital innovation and has developed a technology solution which uses “gamification” to help companies retain, motivate, and create engagement with their customers and employees. Thanks to Wonnova, your customers will have a better user experience, promoting two-way communication, promoting the virality of your products while increasing brand loyalty. www.wonnova.com WeSmartPark WeSmartPark is the world’s first collaborative parking service. It allows drivers to park in private spaces when their owners aren’t using them. Drivers can reserve spaces from their smartphone and park for 60% cheaper, while owners get extra income without sacrificing the spots when they need them. This way, you create new spaces in the city without having to build new parking lots. Created by a young team of Spanish entrepreneurs, WeSmartPark, started in March of 2013 and now has more than 40 parking lots and 15,000 drivers. www.wesmartpark.com GetYourHero GetYourHero lets you contact home cleaning services at a schedule that’s most convenient for you, and then automatically picks the business that best fits your needs. www.getyourhero.com Alotofus Alotofus came about as a solution to many problems that arise during the hiring process and makes getting basic information from LinkedIn and Google+ easy, validating the candidate’s knowledge, gathering their soft skills and compiling a complete and reliable profile for the hiring company. www.alotofus.com Tyba Tyba is an alternative to LinkedIn that’s specifically aimed at students between 20 and 29 who haven’t yet been able to explore their talents. Large tools like LinkedIn or Infojobs aren’t looking for young people with aspiration but without experience. However, less global, smaller companies find these types of people cheaper to pick as candidates. www.tyba.com
The unicorn club is a startup community not quoted on the Stock Market with a total revenue of over 1 billion dollars in the last exercise. The amount of startups has increased since the beginning of the project, reaching 78 in January 2014. According to the Wall Street Journal & Dow Jones Venture Source the majority of these companies is based in the USA, whereas Asia follows up in the distance with 17 startups and Europe is last with a lame number of 7 corporations. Are we facing a new bubble? Here we have a wide variety of arguments. It is obvious that many members of this exclusive group will fall apart in the next few years, but maybe some other ones will end up with a commercial value of 2, 3 or even 100 times of their current value. This means that investors find extremely attractive to put effort on them even being aware of the risks involved in the process. Sometimes it looks like a pure kids’ board game, where commissions and speculation on every action are a must. At this point the good ol’ Goldman Sachs arrives, being able to sell the frozen hell to the very same Devil. Company Latest Valuation Total Equity Funding Last Valuation Xiaomi $46.0 billion $1.4 billion December 2014 Uber $41.2 billion $2.8 billion December 2014 Palantir $15.0 billion $1.0 billion September 2014 Snapchat $15.0 billion $815 million March 2015 SpaceX $12.0 billion $1.1 billion January 2015 Flipkart $11.0 billion $2.5 billion November 2014 Airbnb $10.0 billion $800 million April 2014 Dropbox $10.0 billion $607 million January 2014 Theranos $9.0 billion $400 million June 2014 Meituan $7.0 billion $1.1 billion January 2015 Square $6.0 billion $495 million August 2014 Pinterest $5.0 billion $764 million 01/05/14 WeWork $5.0 billion $569 million December 2014 Cloudera $4.1 billion $670 million March 2014 Spotify $4.0 billion $521 million November 2013 Stripe $3.5 billion $190 million December 2014 Didi Dache $3.5 billion $828 million December 2013 Jawbone $3.3 billion $531 million February 2014 Fanatics $3.1 billion $320 million June 2012 VANCL $3.0 billion $512 million December 2011 Legendary Entertainment $3.0 billion $900 million September 2014 Pure Storage $3.0 billion $470 million April 2014 Moderna $3.0 billion $675 million January 2015 Bloom Energy $2.9 billion $1.2 billion September 2011 Kuaidi Dache $2.8 billion $880 million January 2015 Powa $2.7 billion $156 million November 2014 InMobi $2.5 billion $216 million December 2014 Lyft $2.5 billion $860 million March 2015 Houzz $2.3 billion $215 million October 2014 Dianping $2.0 billion $569 million February 2014 trendy Group $2.0 billion $200 million February 2012 Nutanix $2.0 billion $312 million August 2014 Magic Leap $2.0 billion $592 million October 2014 Snapdeal $2.0 billion $1.0 billion October 2014 Coupang $2.0 billion $418 million December 2014 Instacart $2.0 billion $275 million December 2014 Delivery Hero $1.9 billion $1.2 billion February 2015 Intarcia Therapeutics $1.8 billion $598 million March 2014 MongoDB $1.6 billion $311 million December 2014 DocuSign $1.6 billion $237 million March 2014 Adyen $1.5 billion $500 million December 2014 Koudai Shopping $1.4 billion $364 million October 2014 Jasper Technologies $1.4 billion $204 million April 2014 Deem $1.4 billion $474 million September 2011 Social Finance $1.3 billion $399 million February 2015 Sunrun $1.3 billion $295 million March 2014 AppNexus $1.2 billion $251 million August 2014 Automattic $1.2 billion $190 million 01/05/14 Gilt Groupe $1.1 billion $275 million April 2011 Slack $1.1 billion $180 million October 2014 Actifio $1.1 billion $208 million March 2014 Proteus Digital Health $1.1 billion $354 million June 2014 AppDynamics $1.1 billion $177 million July 2014 IronSource $1.1 billion $103 million August 2014 Nextdoor $1.1 billion $215 million March 2015 Home24 $1.0 billion $20 million December 2014 Yello Mobile $1.0 billion $112 million December 2014 CloudFlare $1.0 billion $72 million December 2012 Evernote $1.0 billion $302 million 01/05/12 Good Technology $1.0 billion $388 million April 2013 Eventbrite $1.0 billion $200 million March 2014 Tango $1.0 billion $367 million March 2014 InsideSales.com $1.0 billion $139 million April 2014 Mogujie $1.0 billion $200 million June 2014 Kabam $1.0 billion $245 million August 2014 Lookout $1.0 billion $284 million August 2014 JustFab $1.0 billion $250 million August 2014 Honest Co. $1.0 billion $122 million August 2014 Credit Karma $1.0 billion $194 million March 2014 Qualtrics $1.0 billion $220 million September 2014 Razer $1.0 billion $50 million October 2014 Shopify $1.0 billion $122 million December 2013 Ola Cabs $1.0 billion $277 million October 2014 Shazam $1.0 billion $170 million January 2015 Beibei $1.0 billion $124 million January 2015 Grabtaxi $1.0 billion $340 million December 2014 SimpliVity $1.0 billion $276 million March 2015 Farfetch $1.0 billion $195 million March 2015 *1 USA billion equals 1.000 European millions. Besides the ones we find in psychedelic raves, we still have not seen any unicorns around in Spain, which should make us think whether things are being done correctly or not, both from a private and public point of view: Obviously NOT.