The Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem is increasingly consolidated and open to more and more fields, although it largely focuses on digital products and services. This is one of the conclusions from the 2019 Entrepreneurship Map, a report based on an analysis of 1,700 emerging companies from Spain and overseas that took part in the Startup Competition of the recent Spain Startup-South Summit, the largest annual event in Southern Europe for entrepreneurs and investors.
Within those fields, insurtech, the application of technology to the world of insurance, is historically well consolidated. It is one of the sectors, alongside fintech and tourism, which sees the most entrepreneurial activity.
According to this report, during the past year emerging companies have also made a strong entrance into industries related to health and the property market (proptech), as well as focusing on artificial intelligence solutions for other companies. Areas and technologies also associated with insurtech.
The profile of an entrepreneur
As the entrepreneurial ecosystem grows, business areas will diversify and so will their profiles. But who are Spain’s entrepreneurs? The data collected point to an entrepreneur with the following profile: 34 year old male with a university qualification (81% [74% have a masters]), who has always wanted to be an entrepreneur (63%) and decided to do so because they spotted an opportunity (61%). Only 5% became entrepreneurs by necessity and only 1% were unemployed before doing so.
Even though the entrepreneurial ecosystem is growing daily in Spain, the Entrepreneurship Map highlights two aspects in particular: the need for more senior founders – over 45 years old – and for more women. Increasing their presence in the entrepreneurial ecosystem “represents a golden opportunity to accelerate its growth,” according to Spain Startup.
Although only 30% of Spanish startups have at least one senior founder in their team, the best figures come from insurtech sector projects: most of the senior founders opt to work in insurance and technology, around 34% to be precise. According to Spain Startup, “senior founders are more numerous in tech sectors that are linked to a professional specialism”, which may indicate a relationship between experience and being able to spot business opportunities.
That is why the Spain Startup-South Summit seeks to promote entrepreneurship among professionals over the age of 45 and to attract them to this virtuous circle that is generating a positive return in Spanish entrepreneurship.
More entrepreneurial activity, more growth
The philosophy of entrepreneurship naturally involves the word failure, freeing it from its negative connotations, because when we make mistakes we learn to do better. Getting started in a garage, making mistakes, having to change the course of the business, starting over again and again, getting new ideas, engaging again.
Of the founders surveyed in this Spanish study, 46% had started just one business, and another 46%, two. However, only 4% had reached three. Feeling the itch to be an entrepreneur.
In any case, the Spanish map reveals that such endeavour will produce good results. According to the analysis, 34% of Spanish startups are in the early stage, an average of 2.2 years after being founded. 49% generate income and 17% make a profit (after deducting taxes and financial costs). Naturally, it is expected that the maturity figures for startups will continue to grow, and many such businesses are hopefully going to be in the insurtech sector.