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From startups to scaleups, how to resize the model

We find ourselves in a kind of golden age for startups, in which Spain is already the fourth European country with the most entrepreneurs, behind the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Last year there were more than 10,500, multiplying by 5 those that existed in 2015. In the same way the value of the ecosystem multiplied, from 10,000 million in 2015 to 46,000 million in 2021, according to data from the Spanish Tech Ecosystem.

In the unstoppable growth of entrepreneurship, the great leap that new companies seek is to scale the model, that is, achieve being the so-called scaleup. These are startups that have had some experience and want to take a more ambitious leap, in many cases through internationalization. This process is curiously simpler for startups than for SMEs, since they have more funding. According to ICE, Spanish startups received 659.4 million euros of financing last year, representing 83% more than what was received in the previous year. In addition, foreign investment increased by 152%.

An example of the strength of Spanish entrepreneurship is that in 2022 there are already nine unicorns (startups with a valuation of more than 1,000 million euros) in our country, as well as another 20 that could be in the near future.

To achieve a scaleup it is important have an internationalization project. For this reason, one of the strongest points in this process is the large investments that are made, both national and those from other countries, in order to subsequently carry out a practical analysis of the market to which it is going to be directed.

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In this context, Aticco held an event in Barcelona in which different managers discussed internationalization, focusing on the new opportunities and the greatest current challenges. The table consisted of Jordi Aguascadirector of Technological Transformation and Disruption at ACCIÓ; Oriol Pascual, CEO of Stage2; Y Montse Guardia, co-founder and CEO at Big Onion.

Oriol Pascual expressed that internationalizing is a strategic decision and a proactive activity for projects that aspire to have great growth, and that on the other hand implies ambition. Within that idea, he talked about how important it is for startups to have a global vision from the start: “The great challenge is explain the importance of internationalization, to have it from day one and not when ten years have passed, from day one to feel global and do it in a strategic way, in a planned way.”

For his part, Jordi Aguasca later explained a reflection and first step that startups can take to access the international market without the need to start with such a high investment: “What can you do from here? If your product can be sold through digital channels, it is not necessary to start testing new markets by installing yourself in those markets, but rather test through digital platforms if your product is well received by the consumer there first, and if you see that it is, later you will consider other costs.”

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