From drawing board to reality: launch your business from scratch
“The difficult thing is not to have an idea. There are many people with very good ideas, the important thing is the development”, says Ignacio Pardo, strategy chief of Sonar Ventures, producer, incubator and accelerator of start-ups in Madrid.
The most complicated thing when making a new company work is to draw up a good business plan, to structure our project, to project its development and to carry it out. This is a complex job in which many entrepreneurs fail and to which we must also add the complexity of finding funding.
If you have an idea and don’t want to die in the attempt to carry it out, the best thing is to gain the support of an incubator or launch pad. This will depend on the state of your project. If it is in the initial phases, the best thing would be the first option, whereas if you have already taken your first steps, you must go for the second. Since the first start-up accelerator, Y Combinator, appeared in the United States in 2005, these centres have assessed the technical, financial and market feasibility of new ideas around the world. If you manage to form part of one of them, they will support you and guide you in starting up your business or continuing growing.
Having or not having the support of a tool like this can make the difference between making an enterprise work or not. In fact the Economy Secretary believes that taking part in a company incubator can increase the possibility of survival and growth of the business by up to 85%.
Generally all provide legal, marketing and communication advisory services, will teach you how to develop a market technique and sales plan, and will even give you a physical space and help you to gain funding and seed capital. But if you look at them in detail, they are all different in something. By principle, all help to develop new technologies, but many specialise in a certain sector.
This is the case of the Navarran Orizont, an accelerator that belongs to the company Sodena and drives projects related to the food sector. Others focus their efforts on tourism, education, mechanics or e-commerce. When addressing an incubator, you will also have to consider whether or not you want to be related to a company or university, or whether, on the other hand, you prefer to be independent. It is a difficult job to choose the right alternative, and here we present four possibilities.
"Taking part in a company incubator can increase the possibility of survival and growth of the business by up to 85%"
An accelerator located in Navarre belonging to the company Sodena and devoted to the food sector. If you get on its programme, you will receive 110,000 euros, with the essential condition of setting up the company in Navarre. Divided into 20,000 euros in the form of capital, in exchange for 9% of the shareholding, 80,000 euros as a participative loan and a bonus of 10,000 euros for contracting the necessary services (market analysis, marketing, accounting ….).
The start-ups getting on its exploration programme, based on Lean Startup, a methodology that seeks to reduce the development cycles by experimenting through hypothesis and product launch to achieve the opinion of the consumers, have the support of large companies of the sector like Coca Cola, Viscofan, Ebro Foods, Kaiku, Florette and Mahou-San Miguel, which are on Orizont’s advisory board and even open the doors to their companies to show the entrepreneurs how to develop their business. What’s more, all of the start-ups have one or two mentors, employees of the above companies who make a more continuous and personalised follow-up of their projects.
Cloud Incubator Hub
The incubator and accelerator has just reached first place on the world ranking of advanced company incubators of the analytical study The services given by company incubators in Spain. Ranking 2016/2017, drawn up by the Rey Juan Carlos University and the Savings Bank Foundation (FUNCAS) and focuses on accelerating projects related to the internet of things and information technologies.
From inside the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (Murcia), Andrés Camillo, the joint founder and organisational director, gives support, along with his team, to start-ups around the world, as they also have a system of unattended incubating. They do not follow any specific acceleration methodology, but programme activities in accordance with the characteristics of each of the start-ups it supports. “In Cloud Incubator Hub, we believe in the organic exploration of companies, we seek to promote entrepreneurial spirit through teams formed by people from different areas and mentors who are true gurus”, says Camillo.
Karel Escobar is the person responsible for running the space. He came to the management after participating in Banco Santander scholarship program and now, in his position, helps to launch technological start-ups developing fintech, software, marketplaces and applications.
Tetuan Valley offers a completely free programme in exchange for the commitment to form part of its community, as its launch programme is based on the collaboration of former entrepreneurs who, after finishing their acceleration programme, become mentors, support new projects, help to organise events and offer talks.
The system of collaboration does not end with the former participants on the programme, but the incubator rather has agreements with lawyers offices, marketing agencies and other companies giving the necessary services to launch a start-up.
Along with Astronout, it has created the accelerator Seed Rocket from where activities are carried out to attract investors in order to help companies seek external capital to continue developing their activity.
If you have an enterprising spirit but no great idea this is the option for you. “In Sonar Ventures we locate a need on the market and develop an idea to cover it. When we know that it works, we create the company and look for the workers and the entrepreneur who will be the future company director”, explains Ignacio Pardo, head of strategy in Sonar Ventures.
This producer, incubator and accelerator of start-ups in the Madrid holds at least 40% of the capital in the companies it creates. “Before starting up an idea, we develop it and check it on the market. Before anything else, it is primordial to listen to the customer. There must be no fear of their taking an idea from you, you have to test it because it might be very good but if the market does not need it or it is not well developed, the company is not going to work”, says Pardo.