What’s a typical day in the Demium office for you?
There are no typical days. There are always surprises, successes, failures, new activity… Together with my team we help to create valuable startups and investment networks behind them. If I had to find the closest thing to a typical day, it would be when entrepreneurs are working on their projects and every corner of the office has someone talking on the phone with potential customers.
Tell us about your personal experience in the startup world…
I have been fortunate enough to experience the creation and disappearance of many business projects over the years. I created the first business school in Spain that focused specifically on the creation of digital companies. I’ve also failed in undertaking immature technologies, like virtual reality, thinking that their acceptance in the market would be much faster. On the other hand, I knew how to enter the drone industry before others, which allowed my team to develop the largest company within this market in Spain and sell it in 2017.
How would you define your approach to supporting early stage startups?
The key in these early phases is to focus on the state of mind of the entrepreneurs. The business model is important, but the entrepreneurs must be aligned. I like to help in this phase because coaching their emotions is something I’m good at and that I think is essential for the company to get its first great results and launch itself into the market.
What can you tell us about Valencia’s startup ecosystem?
The Valencian Community is possibly the region that is growing most in Spain when it comes to entrepreneurial ecosystems. The low cost of living and warm climate attracts talent from outside the city. We have very good universities – the Polytechnic University of Valencia being the second in the world with regards to the number of patents it’s generated. Plus Valencians have a Phoenician character – we know how to sell anything. For these reasons, great entrepreneurs and well-known startups have been set up in the VC.
Describe the AllStartup Weekend in your city.
The AllStartup Weekend is one of the most interesting and special events I have experienced in my life. Each new event is a challenge for both the entrepreneurs and us. I’m fortunate to have Javier Torregrosa, Head of Talent, running this event in such a successful way. I often compare it to a reality show: when you see the best and worst of people. It’s like a social experiment that allows you to see the natural talent of entrepreneurs. A truly unique experience.
Are commonalities essential in co-founders?
Common traits among co-founders will be in attitude and passion. Searching for a co-founder is often difficult because it’s not easy to find someone aligned with your ability to self-motivate and generate positive input. But once found, the next things to look for are technical skills that are complementary to yours.
Name three characteristics that are essential for any budding entrepreneur.
Attitude is everything. Skill and technical knowledge in a subject always add up, and it’s something we measure and work on throughout the process, but for a budding entrepreneur, the key is their attitude. If you’re a person with a lot of self-motivation and a great deal of self-confidence, you’re over 50% of the way there.
Of all the misconceptions that first-time entrepreneurs have about startup life, what is the most common?
Many believe that by creating a brand and a “cool” project, they will get private investment easily and quickly. The key is to have good metrics as soon as possible and to be able to handle many customers and billing. If you have that, the money will come.
Statistics state that 90% of startups fail – is this true?
I agree with that statement – sooner or later startups die. That’s why Demium has so much value, because it minimises the big mistakes that everyone makes, achieving much higher success rates. Risk and insecurity will always exist. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, it is for those who know how to assume this as part of the game.
Who is the entrepreneur you most admire?
Elon Musk. He made himself and his conception of business goes beyond money. He’s managed to create companies of great value and revolutionise the sectors in which he’s been involved, and he doesn’t hesitate to go for it. I have a real admiration for this man.