Investment on the rise in early-stage Spanish technology companies

Over 1 billion euros by 2023 according to Gohub Ventures' Spanish Tech Ecosystem Report 2024

Venture capital investment growth in technology companies in Spain stabilised  in 2023 to return to the path marked before the pandemic. Thus, after the slowdown of the crisis in 2020 and the rebound effect caused by excess liquidity in the following two years –which took investment to record levels, it now stands above 2019, the last reference year if the above anomaly is taken into consideration.

This is reflected in the Spanish Tech Ecosystem Report 2024, prepared by Gohub Ventures in collaboration with Dealroom, Kfund, Wayra, SpainCap, Endeavor, BBVA Spark and Enisa. Spanish startups raised a total of 2.2 billion euros in the more than 850 funding rounds held in 2023.

Early-stage investments
Early rounds, which raise up to a maximum of 15 million euros, are consolidated as the ones that attract the most capital in our country, according to this annual report. Between the pre-seed (up to one million), seed (up to four million) and series A (up to fifteen million) rounds, they exceeded 1 billion euros last year, equalling 2021 and surpassing 2022.

Subsequent stages of financing slowed down the extraordinary growth of 2021 and 2022 to near 2019 levels. Series B (15 to 40 million) and C (40 to 100 million) rounds fell  from the 1 billion achieved in the last two years to 782 million, almost matching the 787 million in 2019. Large rounds also dropped from 1 billion to 405 million, slightly down from 514 million in 2019 but almost double the 260 million of 2018.

European ranking
The report includes a ranking to compare the Spanish technology ecosystem with those of other European countries. In terms of venture capital investment, Spain ranks seventh, behind the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In terms of early-stage investment, Spain ranks fourth on the continent.

Spain is also fourth in terms of the number of rounds held in 2023, behind the UK, France and Germany and followed by the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden. In terms of the number of exits of more than one billion dollars or, in other words, the number of companies that obtained unicorn status, Spain was seventh in Europe, with a total of eighteen operations.

The success of SaaS
No less than 47% of VC-backed investments in Spain in 2023 went to companies where the business model is software as a service (SaaS). This is not a local phenomenon, as the report points to a global trend that already places SaaS above marketplaces and e-commerce. This has been the case in Spain for the last two years, a fact that, according to the report, confirms the direction and maturity of  Spanish industry.

GoHub Ventures managing partner Inés Calabuig believes that this trend "confirms the interest of both national and international funds in Spanish software startups, in line with our investment thesis. As businesses continue to prioritise digital transformation, SaaS companies are becoming essential in providing innovative tools to streamline operations, boost productivity and automate processes.

Emerging industries
Two industries achieved their highest venture capital fundraising in 2023. Climate tech companies obtained 404 million euros, while digital health companies attracted 226 million euros.

Also notable, as a sign of maturity in the Spanish startup ecosystem, is the emergence of a new generation of founders who have previously gained valuable experience working in companies that have achieved unicorn status. In 2023, more than ninety entrepreneurs were involved in rounds after working with companies such as Glovo, Cabify, Jobandtalent, Fever, Wallbox TravelPerk and Factorial.

Photo: Gohub Ventures