Monday, December 09, 2013

THE SPANISH VC INDUSTRY has one big problem: it doesn’t exist.

According to a recent report by Telefonica on the Accelerator and Incubator’s ecosystem, Spain has had a massive influx of new startup programs in the past few years.

To be precise, Spain has 38 programs (versus Germany’s 31 or France’s 35). Such a scale isn’t supported by the country’s GDP, pointing out a more-than-probable bubble.

Despite all the excitement and growth, one has to wonder whether the venture capital firms in Spain are up to the task, or lagging behind. I get asked this question quite often, and people get surprised when I tell them that there isn’t really a VC industry in Spain.

Yes, maybe I’m being too extreme, but it’s hard to argue with cold, hard data. The truth is, a quick glance at the 2012 numbers paints a pretty clear picture.

Spain saw 348 VC operations accounting for 158.8 million euros in 2012. Yeah, you read that right – that means an average operation of around 456,000 euros. Per deal. And that’s counting all industries, including foreign investments.

If we just stick to startups and exclude big deals in biotech, nanotech, etc. we’re talking about a mere 69.8 million euros. If we look at the deals tracked by Loogic, we get a similar number of 52 million euros in 2012.

If we compare the total volume achieved in 2012 with the ones reported in Q3 of 2013 across all European regions, the difference is astounding. The Nordic region moved the same amount of money in one quarter than was invested in Spain in all of 2012.

Keep reading.