“At BStartup, we believe in the potential of technology and innovation to transform the economy, and also in the power of startups to create better products and services for people and businesses”.
The collaboration between 4YFN and Banco Sabadell’s BStartup dates back to 2013, when 4YFN’s founding team showed them a few slides unveiling a new initiative for startups during MWC.
Right from the start, Banco Sabadell realised the unique opportunity this idea held for Barcelona and Spain: the effort to leverage the multitude of business opportunities at MWC for the benefit of startups.
Based on years of experience in supporting startups, BStartup Banco Sabadell is the leading financial partner for startups and scaleups in Spain, providing them with specialised banking services and equity investment.
Today we would like to take a closer look at the investment arm of BStartup. With more than 65 investments made, BStartup is one of the largest investors in startups in Spain.
BStartup’s investments target early-stage digital and tech companies, with strong growth potential and scalable, innovative business models.
Additionally, Banco Sabadell provides follow-on investments to portfolio companies through Sabadell Venture Capital, and the Bank is committed to Open Innovation.
These companies are sector agnostic, although BStartup has launched two verticals: BStartupHealth and BStartupGreen.
In light of these two initiatives, we wanted to talk to Jose Carol, Operational Director at BStartup, about the value of impact investing in the ecosystem: “Although BStartup’s investment programme was not born with any specific amount of social impact investment, the fact is that the contribution of these projects to society is a relevant factor for us. And, without having set ourselves any targets, today 30% of our portfolio is made up of companies which are providing social returns”.
The COVID-19 crisis, far from putting sustainability on the back burner, has boosted impact investments.
The balance between obtaining an adequate return and the social benefit of the investment has been shown to be possible. And impact investing is set to add more and more startups to investors’ portfolios.
Undoubtedly, the launch of the annual BStartup Health call, now in its third edition, has given a boost to this. As Jose Carol states: “At BStartup Health, we invest in the phase where there is still a gap in the investment –the phase of leaping from the lab to the company, when uncertainty is greater”. This call focuses on supporting health projects at the pre-seed and seed funding stages, where investment is mainly aimed at validating the technology/research and the business itself. Many of the startups we have invested in through this programme are spin-offs from universities, hospitals or research centres. Providing all this science from research to society is one of the objectives of the programme.
BStartup has invested in 11 health startups to date:
• Admit Therapeutics: Development of a test for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.
• Renalyse: Medical device for fast, simple and low-cost diagnosis and monitoring of kidney diseases.
• Able Human Motion: Development of a lightweight, easy-to-use and affordable exoskeleton for people with spinal cord injuries that restores their ability to walk.
• Oxolife: Develops the first drug that acts on embryo implantation, improving female fertility rates.
• Doppli: Medical device to care for and support mothers-to-be through ongoing and personalised monitoring of their pregnancies, with a focus on early diagnosis of premature birth.
• Miwendo: Medical device that integrates microwave technology with colonoscopy with the aim of improving prevention, diagnosis and knowledge of colorectal cancer.
• Inbrain: Develops smart graphene devices for neuronal electronic modulation to treat brain disorders such as Parkinson’s and epilepsy, among others.
• Gate2Brain: Its technology aims to deliver drugs to the brain, increasing the efficacy and reducing the side effects of treatments for brain diseases.
• Dive Medical: Technology for visual function assessment and early diagnosis of visual problems, primarily for non-cooperative patients.
• Psious: Virtual reality platform that offers mental health professionals resources for the treatment of anxiety disorders, fears and phobias, as well as for the practice of mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
- Qida: Marketplace that offers families in dependency situations a comprehensive service (caregiver + services/products at home + tele-monitoring).
BStartup’s commitment to impact investment has been strengthened with the launch this year of the first BStartup Green call to invest in environmental sustainability startups with four lines of action: energy transition solutions, industry 4.0, smart cities and circular economy.
And as the Bank points out, sustainability has become part of Banco Sabadell’s purpose and business strategy. In the transformation process carried out in recent years, based on digitalisation and new information technologies, the changes involved in the transition towards a sustainable economy and sustainable development have been incorporated.
The First BStartup Green Call closed on 9 May with 136 projects registered, which are currently being assessed: circular economy tops the sector with most entries, followed in the same number by startups working in smart cities & mobility, industry 4.0 and energy transition.
The three projects that will receive the investment are expected to be selected in mid-June.
Banco Sabadell BStartup is supporting 4YFN and the startup ecosystem since 2014. See you 28/06-1/07 at 4YFN 2021!