What is bootstrapping?

Commencing a professional career as an entrepreneur is often marked by seeking support from Startup Accelerators, Investors and Venture Capital Funding Rounds. However, this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, the beginnings of some of the world’s most successful companies have had nothing to do with this “rite of passage”. 

Coca-ColaAppleInditexMicrosoft and Hewlett Packard (HP) all started doing bootstrapping, which means launching an initiative with only the resources that one has at hand at a certain point in time. This implies drawing only capital from one’s own savings and the company’s operating revenue when starting a business.

The term began to catch formal use (within the innovation ecosystem) after the Global Financial Crisis, but the expression actually has an origin that is far more ancient. It dates back to the legend of Baron Münchausen, who supposedly managed to get out of water by pulling on his own bootstraps. If the Baron managed success without anyone’s help, then why couldn’t a Startup do the same?

But… attention entrepreneurs! If you decide to embark on this path, then you must be clear on this vital notion: Initial goals & expectations for your project must not be ambitious, and they should be achievable in the short-term. The most important thing is that the business idea flourishes, and the entrepreneur should be the one responsible for making this happen. Lastly, be sure to be endowed with sufficient funds – “Cash flow is king”.

Bootstrapping’s main advantage follows this simple logic: The entrepreneur who obtains success without initial investment, maintains total control of its affairs and thus becomes the primary owner & CEO of the company. But that’s not the only benefit. 

That person would have creative freedom to define the company’s identity. This proposed new identity could seem crazy at the beginning, but if the entrepreneur works towards it and is passionate about it, then it might still captivate others. It is often said that when resources are limited, creativity surges.

Regarding money, bootstrapping should force one to be more conscientious with it as it will prompt “smarter” spending habits. Since investments will be personal (as the entrepreneur would be spending his or her own personal capital), any venture should target a type of return.

The coined phrase “the customer is always right”, is even more fitting with bootstrapping. The entrepreneur will learn to value & cherish clients being that they will be the company’s primary source of revenue. One should aspire to satisfy their needs by focusing on what they truly want. 

Even so, there are still some cons to bootstrapping, since all financial risk gets assumed by the founder and growth can get stumped if demand exceeds the company’s capabilities.

But don’t get disheartened. HP was created in a garage by two university students, William Reddington Hewllet and David Packard, who invested a mere 538 dollars to give birth to their enterprise. Now, it sits as one of the biggest companies in the world.

Bootstrapping doesn’t sound all too bad, does it?

South Summit Health & Wellbeing Valencia and South Summit CDMX postponed

Due to the extraordinary nature of the current situation, Spain Startup is postponing the upcoming events South Summit Health & Wellbeing Valencia and South Summit Ciudad de Mexico, scheduled for April 28 and May 20 respectively. As organizers of both meetings, we follow the directives of governmental authorities and the WHO regarding prevention measures in the face of health emergencies due to COVID-19.

This is a measure of responsibility towards the ecosystem so that we can guarantee the safety and well-being of society. We would like to stress that under no circumstances we are talking about a cancellation; rather, both encounters are being postponed until further notice. When the outcome of this situation will be under control, we will communicate new dates for both.

We would also like to take this opportunity to clarify that this decision does not affect the celebration of South Summit 2020, which will take place from 6 to 8 October in La Nave in Madrid, where we hope to count on your presence.

Despite these measures of containment, from Spain Startup we would like to continue promoting the ecosystem of innovation. All the startups that are interested can register in our call for the South Summit 2020 Startup Competition. Registration will be available until May 31st through our website https://www.southsummit.co/en/register.

In addition, in view of these new challenges posed by the current situation, we want to take advantage of the opportunity to bring forward some projects we are working on and implement new actions as soon as possible thanks to the benefits of technology and the possibility of promoting digital connections.

We will inform you of all these new actions, as well as the new date for the two postponed encounters as soon as possible through our online channels.

Keys to succeed in a startup competition

Participating in a startup competition is a challenge but it can become an opportunity to test an entrepreneur’s project. Due to the fact that the call for the South Summit Startup Competition is now open, we have decided to share a series of tips that will help your startup get noticed. What should you do to succeed in these meetings? 😉

First of all, DO YOUR  HOMEWORK! You must prepare for the competition, study what it will consist of, collect all the information you can find, the assessment criteria, the jury, etc. You should not only investigate the competition but also your opponents, look for previous years’ winners, their projects and those that are going to be your competition in order to learn from their successes or mistakes and improve. However, another thing you must know perfectly to rock a startup competition is… your own project.

Now that you are ready, what do you do during the competition itself? The most important thing is to have a perfect pitch that leaves the public and potential investors speechless. The keys to a ‘perfect pitch’ are:

  • Be memorable: the speech must be clear, concise, complete and answer a series of basic questions: who you are, the problem, your solution, your target, your market… All this knowing you must show your uniqueness, so judges remember you.

  • Keep it simple: the most important thing is the first 30 seconds of your pitch. Then, you should always tell what the problem is and how you solve it. In addition, this discourse should be presented as naturally as possible, so avoid robotic messages loaded with figures. You should also leave aside technicalities, which dilute the interest of the listeners (having in mind your numbers are crucial and you’ll be asked about them)

  • Believe in your project: if you believe in your project and know how to sell it, everyone will trust what you transmit to them. The speech must be down to earth, have credibility, you can even add a comic or emotional point. It is important to look confident and dress professionally.

Competitions offer startups the possibility to contrast their proposal with other entrepreneurs, validate their project, meet potential investors, and corporations in search of innovation. Listen to the presentations of other projects, learn from how others do it and internalize what works best.

The learning that is achieved in these encounters is essential for any entrepreneur. Startup competitions are an excellent opportunity to network and contact relevant agents in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. So, the last key is to never give up because you never know in which startup competition you’ll find your perfect investor match.

Currently, we are looking for the 100 most innovative startups in the world, the next edition of its Startup Competition will be held within South Summit, which returns to Madrid from 6 to 8 October 2020, what are you waiting for to participate? 😉 You can do it until June 1 by hitting this link. See you at La Nave!

What are the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)?

Only 7% of Spanish startups reach more than five years of age, according to our latest Entrepreneurship report. A lack of organization may be behind this short life span of some projects. Planning and execution are not to be overlooked; while they may seem like an easy task, many times they are the key to success.

What are the OKRs?
The OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), a term invented by Andy Grove (former CEO of Intel in 1970) in order to explain a methodology to organize the daily work, can contribute to improving this planning. Although this term was born in the 70’s, it was not until the 90’s that it became popular in Silicon Valley, thanks to the book “Measure what matters” by the American investor John Doerr, considered the father of the OKRs.
As the acronym implies, the idea is to establish personal, measurable objectives focused on the company’s vision. These objectives should be public and their goal is to quantify growth at employee, team or organization level through results.
Here is Sofia Benjumea’s keynote from Google for Startups about OKRs in #SouthSummit19
How to implement this methodology?
To implement this methodology, the first step in implementing this methodology is to set the organization’s answer to “where do I have to go?”, “How do I get there”, and “how will I know that I have arrived?”.
Establishing objectives is a priority if we want to determine where to go. It is equally important to be ambitious as it is important to be realistic and not to set too many and too strict OKRs. In addition, they must be aligned and supported by the entire organization. Of course, these challenges can also be set at a personal level and do not have to be linked to a company.
How to measure results?
Once the challenges that we are going to face have been defined, the next step is to give them an answer, i.e., to define some measurable goals. How do we quantify them? With measurable data, limited in number and time.
For example, imagine that the goal is to get funding for a startup. In this case, a measurable way to achieve and measure the objectives would be to get new investors or raise a funding round of a certain amount in a year.
Now, how often should these objectives be reviewed? At Google, they are set every three months for short-term-goals and annually if they are more complex to achieve. Finally, when you have the final results, to understand the performance, there is a scoring method. At the end of the established period, each employee scores his or her results from 0 to 1, with an average of 0.7-0.8 being satisfactory.
Surrounding yourself with a good team is the key in a startup, but it is even more important to make the talent work effectively. As John Doerr said in his book ‘Measure what matters’: “Ideas are easy. Execution is everything”.
If you haven’t implemented this system, what are you waiting for?

BBVA and South Summit challenges Winners

We are glad to announce the winners of the BBVA and South Summit challenges. These two challenges were looking for solutions to BBVA’s needs. 

First one searched solutions to obtain new data sources in order to improve digital onboarding. The other one was looking for innovative solutions to implement a new banking system for SMEs.
It has been agreed to designate Innovative Assesments as the winner of the challenge “New data sources for improving digital onboarding”, given its commitment to promote financial inclusion through its advanced psychometric technology. Innovative Assesments use psychometrics to assess creditworthiness based on a borrower’s personal character. They help lenders from around the world approve more loans among the underbanked, and simultaneously help more good people qualify for the affordable credit they deserve.
For “New banking for SMEs through technology” challenge, it has been designed Loonfy as the winner. Loonfy is a service for companies that facilitates and automates the requests for salary advancement of employees, with the aim of empowering the employee in his payroll, and with it, offering a social benefit. The interesting solution they provide to achieve the direct debit of payrolls through the collaboration with paying companies has been decisive.
The winners had to meet three requirements: being an innovative solution, having a high quality team and its proposal had to be easy to implement in BBVA’s existing channels. These were the main criteria that defined the selection of the winners from among 75 applicants. 
South Summit challenges are one of the services offered by South Summit in addition to its international meetings. If you are interested in a service like this for your company, contact us at [email protected].

Must-Have Apps for an Entrepreneur’s Smartphone

Happy New Year!

Maybe it’s a little late to say it, but as this is the first post of 2020, you weren’t going to get away without it. Besides, we’re convinced it’s going to be a great and joyful year. Why? Well, one of the reasons is that we already have dates for the next edition of South Summit Madrid! It will be held from October 6th to 8th and, as we know you don’t want to miss out on the tickets, they are already available on our website.

We wanted to start this year with a necessary post that many entrepreneurs will appreciate: the essential apps in the smartphone of an entrepreneur. Mobile phones have become one of the most important work tools that exist, and much more for any startup, as their frantic pace of work forces them to be on the move. Thanks to many applications, one can learn in a second everything that happens in the world and in their company.

However, it is true that many times we do not know how to get the most out of our phones and instead download apps incessantly that end up taking up unnecessary space. For this reason, we are going to recommend five that every good entrepreneur should have:

1. Slack: This is the perfect app for those entrepreneurs who need to be in constant communication with their team but can’t do it physically. With Slack, you can organize conversations by topic, make calls or send messages to any teammate who is included in the project, as well as cross out pending items from a task list. It’s also available on all devices.

2. Adobe Scan: This application is the same as having a scanner in your pocket. Entrepreneurs handle a lot of important documents that they have to send by email. While taking a picture of them is not very professional, Adobe scan allows you to scan any document to convert it into a pdf with recognized text.

3. SignEasy: another common task an entrepreneur must do every day is to sign mountains of documents as if they were a pop star at a record signing. The problem? Most of them are online and not easy to print, sign and scan before resending. This app allows you to sign documents online and is so easy that even the most technologically challenged will know how to use it.

4. CamCard: how many times has it happened that an entrepreneur meets someone super interesting to do business with, gives them their card only for them to lose it. With this app it will never happen again, since it allows you to scan the contact of the cards and instantly upload them to the cloud so that you never lose a single contact.

5. Anfix: another major concern for entrepreneurs is accounts: balance sheets, keeping receipts up to date, etc. This app is an invoicing and accounting software that allows you to have all the information in real time and on a single platform.

Downloading these apps, can help you be much more efficient as an entrepreneur. But, remember, they are not a one trick pony! If you want to become the new unicorn in the ecosystem, you must work hard.

5 trends that have marked the innovation ecosystem in 2019

Some people
still doubt it, but 2020 is the year of the change of millennium, with it the
decade of innovation ends. But what about this year? What has happened in the
innovation ecosystem during 2019?


Far from
riding in flying cars as Doc assumed in ‘Back to the Future’, innovation has
been focused on improving and facilitating day-to-day lives for people and
companies. What have been the main trends in 2019?


The voice: this has been the year of the audio.
Households have been filled with voice assistants. Amazon Alexa, Google Home or
Siri remind thousands of appointments daily to their users or warn them if it’s
raining to get an umbrella before they go out. In 2019 we have also experienced
the ‘boom’ of the podcast, more than 50% of U.S. citizens over 12 years old
consume this format, according to the study
Infinite Dial Study 2019. In Spain it is still a bit
unknown, but it is starting to be a trend. In conclusion, in 2019, audio has become
an essential tool in our lives.


Strength comes in numbers: companies have realized that what
users are really looking for is not a brand, but the right option to choose. In
2019, the giants of the Spanish economy have put aside their egos and decided
to collaborate with each other. One example has emerged in the field of
Renfe has integrated train, taxi, Cabify and public
transport services in Madrid and Barcelona on a single platform. As the saying
goes: ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.


Recycle or die: the choice of Greta Thunberg, the young
Swedish activist against climate change, as the person of the year for ‘Time’
magazine gives us an idea of the importance that sustainability has acquired. Caring
for the environment is already the main concern, and companies are looking to
make the world a better place through their business. In this aspect,
Telefónica’s Sustainable Innovation initiative stands out. With it,
they seek innovative proposals with a social or environmental impact that
generate economic value.


Urbanite without leaving the countryside: some years ago, if you lived in the
countryside and wanted to develop an idea, you had to leave. But this situation
has changed and a lot. It has been the year of innovation in the countryside,
rural entrepreneurship and access to new technologies has reinvented life in
these areas. In Spain, the countryside has gained prominence and attracted the
attention of many companies. One of the first to position itself has been
Correos Market
by launching #Yomequedo (“I Stay” in
Spanish), a marketplace that allows rural entrepreneurs to distribute their
products throughout Spain without having to leave their homes.


The revolution in banking: the times when you were given a silverware
as a present for opening a new bank account are long gone. Now what bank users
are looking for is speed, convenience and efficiency. Banks have known well how
to adapt to it. Both, new digital banks the traditional ones, move digitally
and communicate with their clients via mail or through the app. 2019 has been
the year of consolidation, who hasn’t done a Bizum during the year?


These are
just some of the innovation trends we have experienced in 2019, a great year
for South Summit startups, 21 of the 100 most innovative startups in Spain
included in the report
‘The 100 Most Innovative Startups in
by “El Referente” and Startups4Real are
former finalists in our Startup Competition. Moreover, we started the year with
more than 1.7 billion dollars invested in our startups and closed it with more
than 3 billion
dollars, 70 rounds of funding, 13 of them exceeding
10 million!


Finally, we
would like to add a special mention for our 2016 finalist Glovo that has
become the second Spanish unicorn after its last round of 166 million.


What will 2020 bring?


Happy New Year!

South Summit 2019 Startup Competition Winners

On October 4th the winners of the new edition of South Summit were announced. There were 4 big awards: “Most Disruptive Startup”, “Most Scalable Product”, “Best Team” and the absolute “Startup Competition Winner”.

Startups of every industry participated and were divided in ten verticals. For each of these tracks, there was also a winner that pitched their project in the final that took place on October 3rd on our Arena Stage.
Watch the whole final of the Startup Competition here:
Keep reading to learn all about their projects, we will present you each track winner and the total winners of the Startup Competition:

South Summit 2019 Startup Competition Winners

    10 – IOMOB – Smart Mobility & Logistics Winner
        Spanish startup Iomob, offers a decentralized, open and interoperable turnkey MaaS solution for major transport and mobility industry players such as train and bus companies, airlines and airports, car manufacturers, auto clubs, mobility startups and public transit authorities. Iomob was selected by Newsweek in the top 25 blockchain project with social impact
    9 – 2EYES VISION – Healthcare & Biotech Winner
        2EYES VISION is a Spanish startup that develops devices for the ophthalmic industry, with special focus on providing customized solutions to treat presbyopia and cataracts.
    8 – EPICA – Cutting Edge Technologies
        United States based startup EPICA, empowers companies to make powerful decisions by capturing, processing and activating online data (web, applications, digital data-sources) and offline data (CRM, ERP, legacy systems, etc.) to accurately generate predictions yielding a significant impact on business results for retail, e-commerce, and CPG companies. Epica has received €1,5 millions in funding up to date.
    7 – WAGA ENERGY – Energy & Sustainability
        Waga Energy is a French startup that has developed breakthrough technology to upgrade landfill gas into grid-compliant biomethane (also called Renewable Natural Gas). WAGABOX is already adopted by major waste management companies in France (Suez, Veolia, Paprec) and by several public waste management authorities (Gers, Lorient). 
    6 – PRAXILABS – EnlightED Edtech
        PraxiLabs, based in Egypt, aims to provide equal opportunity for an enhanced STEM education for students everywhere by providing 3D interactive virtual simulations that are accessible, usable, and affordable for educational institutions and students alike. PraxiLabs won “The Next Billion EdTech Prize” Award in Dubai, March 2019.
    5 – LOCALYZE – Digital Business & Government
        Localyze is a German startup that has created a global mobility platform that takes the hassle out of relocation and makes it easier for the digital generation to work and study abroad, as well as for companies to hire international talent. Hanna Asmussen, their CEO, was selected for the “Top 100 Business Punk Ranking 2019”
    4 – JUBEL – “BEST TEAM” (Travel & Tourism)
        Jubel is a United States based startup that democratizes the luxury of affording an expert travel advisor by empowering any traveler with their vetted/ curated 1,000 destination database and personalization services for all price points. Jubel grew their revenues 600% in the last 24 months.
    3 – BDEO – “MOST DISRUPTIVE STARTUPS” (Fintech & Insurtech)
        Bdeo provides a complete pack of visual intelligence in order to avoid fraud for insurance companies. Bdeo was one of South Summit Mexico 2018 winners.
    2 – INFLUENCITY – “MOST SCALABLE PRODUCT” (Marketing & Content)
        Influencity has developed its own technology design for influencers using big data, machine learning and algorithms capable of indexing and analyzing audiences from any social network. Influencity has customers in 13 countries and had more than 1M € in revenues in the last 12 months 
        Streamloots monetizes e-sports and live streamer’s interactions to help them make money regardless their size. Streamloots received €1.3 million in funding till the date of the Summit. 
Which Project did you liked the most? Do you have a disruptive project that you would want as one of our finalist? South Summit Startup competition has already become a benchmark for Innovation. If you have a promising idea and team behind, join the #SouthSummit2020 startup competition NOW.

Workshop: Hands on Labs with IBM

If you are a developer and you are interested in programming, do not miss the opportunity to work with IBM Cloud technology in our Artificial Intelligence, IoT and Knative workshops. They will be 45mins each of the hand of our experts.

There will be sessions in the morning for beginners and in the afternoon for those who take an intermediate or more advanced level

At the end of the sessions, codes will be distributed, which will give access to the use of IBM’s technologies and software.


The workshop will be held on October 2 within the framework of the South Summit at the “Workshop Area“. Sign up for the workshop that interests you most, according to the level of difficulty. The first session will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the sessions will end at 5:30 p.m.

Agenda Hands on Labs

  • Learn how Kubernetes, the new Open Source project can help you with the use of serverless kubernetes and technologies. 

  •  How to extract value from the information generated by your business assets. AI 

  • Fairness: detecting and mitigating biases in Machine Learning models.

In a few day you will be notified about your participation in the labs! Don’t be left out!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity!


Workshop: First Steps on Machine Learning in the Cloud with Amazon Web Services

Amazon invites you to participate in their Machine Learning Workshop, using Amazon Web Services!

When you are starting in the world of Machine Learning, everything sounds too complicated. 

In this session, we will introduce the Amazon SageMaker platform to manage your Machine Learning models. 

It will be a practical session where we will combine a web console and some (very simple) code in Python to train and put into production Machine Learning models that can solve problems such as personalised recommendations or image recognition. 


Call: October 4 from 11:00 to 12:00hrs hours at stage “The Next Big Thing”


– Profiles with or without experience in Machine Learning
– Preferably with a little background using code (Python)
– A laptop, to be able to follow the session 

Important: Ensure that your laptop gives you access to the use of Amazon Web Services, configure security with your respective company. 

Profiles with or without previous Machine Learning experience that want to explore the possibilities of the cloud. Preferably with a little technical background, since we are going to use some code during the examples. We do not need you to know any particular programming language because, although the examples are in Python, all we are going to do is give value to a few variables and invoke some API methods in SageMaker. 

All attendees will receive a temporary AWS account that will be valid for the duration of the workshop. To be able to follow it, they will need their own laptop with an internet connection and a browser. If an assistant comes from corporate environments, it is advisable to ask your IT department, to make sure that the security settings of your laptop does not prevent you from working with Amazon Web Services.