Monday, October 17, 2016

Sage advice from Spain's 'mastermind of startups'

Antai Venture Builder nurtures startups. Photo by Caterina Barjau, in El Pais.
Miguel Vicente was an industrial engineer with a hefty salary when he decided to throw it all overboard nine years ago and launch a coupon site.

He gave some memorable quotes that should be heeded by any entrepreneur during an interview with Daniel Verdu of Spain's prestige daily newspaper, El Pais.

"It's like the two pills in Matrix, you have two options: the blue one is for a secure paycheck at the end of the month, the support of a big group that will help you, nice vacations and weekends. And the red pill is the one for entrepreneurs: you won't have anything you had before and you won't even know if you will be around the next day. But you will be the owner of your destiny. That feeling, plus the notion that you cannot fail, makes you pull out the best of what you have inside." 
His first startup was called Lets-Bonus. He sold that and eventually he and two partners launched Wallapop, a mobile app with location technology for buying and selling second-hand goods with nearby users. It is similar to a CraigsList for Spain and has reportedly attracted more than $100 million in investment. Some speculate that its market value might be $1 billion, unicorn territory.

He and his partners are investing in other startups in Antai Venture Builder, a business incubator based in Barcelona, traditionally one of Spain's economic powerhouses, which the article depicts as a hotbed of digital innovation.
"I don't bet on whether an idea is good or bad but in the people who develop them," says Vicente, in describing how he makes investment decisions. "You have to look for teams that complement each other, with different visions of the world. Don't come to me with a powerpoint that took you three hours to make. Bring me the numbers and tell me about your idea."

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