More than 600 startups gather together in the eighth edition of 4YFN, with BStartup as Platinum Sponsor

From 28 February to 3 March, Barcelona was once again the epicentre of innovation by hosting the Mobile World Congress and its platform to connect startups, investors and enterprises, 4YFN, which for the second year in a row returned to the heart of this fantastic technological fair.

Another component of Banco Sabadell’s commitment to the entrepreneurial ecosystem is the presence for the eighth year in a row of BStartup as main sponsor of 4YFN. Banco Sabadell’s BStartup already has around 4,000 startups as its customers. The programme, which provides specialised banking services and equity investment, has made of Banco Sabadell one of the main investors in Spain in seed-stage startups.

At 4YFN-MWC, we build the future. Many of the startups we will see in this edition will become big companies, just like in previous editions, and we collaborate with them, mainly from our expertise as a bank. Our goal is to pay attention to them and provide them with the range of specialised financial products they need and support them in their journey to growth”, Carlos Ventura, General Manager and Business Banking and Network Director of Banco Sabadell.

More details on BStartup at 4YFN

In this eighth edition of 4YFN, 20 of the most promising seed-stage startups have joined BStartup at its stand. These startups are already part of the investment portfolio. Moreover, Banco Sabadell has co-organised its own programming at the stand with presentations by various directors of areas related to the bank’s investment and innovation, as well as with the collaboration of other institutions in the startup ecosystem that have presented topics as diverse as innovation in the health field, legaltech, agrotech, success stories, how to sell more, how to attract talent, etc.

As part of the conference’s official sessions, two panels on growth and financing stood out. The panel that Jose Carol, Director of Operations of BStartup, moderated: “What VCs are looking for in 2022?” at the Banco Sabadell Stage, in which three internationally renown funds shared investment trends and forecasts for 2022.

Miguel Kindelan, Head of Spain and Portugal at GP Bullhound, Pauline Roux Partner at Elaia and Sia Houchangnia, Partner at Seedcamp, shared the main trends in the VC world during a panel moderated by José Manuel Carol, Director of Operations of Banco Sabadell’s BStartup.

Kindelan pointed out emerging tech companies’ ability to overcome countercyclical episodes thanks to their disruptive propositions. “We seek to support tech entrepreneurs with ambition and capabilities to go global”.

All speakers agreed on the increased competition due to the growth of more international funds, which means it is more expensive to invest in emerging companies than a few years ago. As regards the popularity of sectors such as NFTs or the metaverse, the representatives of the three funds indicated that they are cautious when investing, but confirmed their interest in understanding the technologies behind these sectors and their progress. “We must understand them”, Roux pointed out. Climate and mobility were some of the sectors that are becoming more relevant for investment funds in the future, as Sia Houchangnia indicated.

Also at the Banco Sabadell Stage, Yolanda Pérez, BStartup Director, led the round table “How I sold my startup”, in which the process and keys to sell a startup were discussed from the perspective of three big Spanish startups sold in 2021, for between 130 and 230 million euros: Chartboost, Deporvillage and Holded. The founders were there to tell their experiences.

During the sale process, there are people involved with differing opinions. We learned so much during the sale process. For me, the key to success is to face the world with the certainty that there is still so much to learn”, explained María Alegre, co-founder of Chartboost.

Selling was not in our plans, but the ideal opportunity presented itself for the team, our investors and customers. We had to consider it. After seven months of an intense sale process, we are delighted. We work with complete freedom and the advantage of having a partner that understands what we do”, Javier Fontevilla, co-founder and co-CEO of Holded.

One of the keys of the successful sale of Deporvillage was the execution and determination that we had during the company’s entire growth process. We had the ambition of going step by step, but also of being proactive in the sale process”, says Xavier Pladellorens, founder and CEO of Deporvillage.

Banco Sabadell’s BStartup was also present in the other stages of the innovation fair. The Beta Lab Stage held the session “Startup Funding Roadmap” with Laurent Arens, Investment Analyst at BStartup; Sergio Pérez, Managing Director at Sabadell Venture Capital and Elena García, BStartup Advisor.

Furthermore, Incapto, Napptive, Qbeast, Qida, Wegaw and Cafler, leading startups of the BStartup portfolio, pitched their innovative propositions to investors at the Discovery Stage.

Activities at our stand

During the four days, the BStartup stand was filled with our own activities and key players of the ecosystem such as Barcelona Health Hub, Barcelona Global, Valencia Activa, Startup Valencia, Global Legal Tech Hub, Roca Salvatella and EIT Food. Up to twenty investees were present at the stand, sharing with attendees their latest news and innovative proposals.

The space also brought together some of the leading Spanish VCs during the panel “In the shoes of a VC investor pt.II”. During this session, Lourdes Álvarez de Toledo, Partner at JME Venture; Marta Antúnez, Director of Wayra Barcelona; Yolanda Pérez, Banco Sabadell BStartup Director; Helena Torras, Managing Partner at Pao Capital and Elena García, BStartup Advisor, shared their experiences and forecasts for the sector.

Carlos Sánchez, Marketing Director of Paycomet by Banco Sabadell, took to the stage to deliver his keynote speech “Online payment trends for digital businesses”, which was well received. During the session, attendees could delve into the payment platform solutions, such as TPV Virtual, Pay By Link, Call TPV, Pay by QR, Marketplace, Escrow, among others. “Biometric factors help us minimise these payment frictions. Solutions are already being considered, for example, to identify that the person typing is an identified user”.

The Mobile World Congress closed this edition with 60,000 attendees from around 200 countries, and with the eighth edition of 4YFN, which has demonstrated the power of the national and international entrepreneurial ecosystem. It was an honour to contribute to this flagship event with our own programming and support as Platinum Sponsor. Carlos Ventura, General Manager and Business Banking and Network Director of Banco Sabadell, said: “4YFN is a hotbed of ideas, talent and companies. Here we build the future. Many of the startups present at #4YFN22 are or will be big companies”.

See you next year!

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