Francisco Espinosa on the importance of Vocational Training for entrepreneurship
Francisco Espinosa, founder and CEO of INNVERTUUR stands out for the duality of his profile, he is not a typical investor. In addition to knowing the world of financing perfectly, he has a great vocation for startup entrepreneurship. He affirms that he fully believes in Vocational Training (VT) and the main thing is to be in continuous recycling. He assures that talent has no limits and affirms that the potential of the Canary Islands lies in making themselves known more internationally.
Q: As an introduction, what would you highlight the most from your profile?
A: Resilience, perseverance. I have more of an investor profile, but the reality is that I come with a character and a passionate vocation for entrepreneurship. I have set up and created many projects in my life, many companies in very diverse sectors. The ability to learn from those mistakes and resurface and take advantage of all the experience learned.
Q: Have you had any experience in the field of university incubation?
A: Not in the field of university incubation, no. I have had something similar in Denium, which is an incubator, where people with different profiles come and many of them are university students. In addition, I was teaching for a year in the master's degree in entrepreneurship at the University of Seville and I had the opportunity to meet very interesting people who had that gene with entrepreneurship.
Q: To a person who has just graduated from university, what advice would he give before setting up a startup?
A: You have to analyze the product well. You have to find the solution to some problem in the market. You have to benchmark and know all the competition. Market analysis is something constant and has to be updated.
You also have to have good financial planning. Many times the problem comes because the monetization is not well thought out. The financial plan should be the tool of your day and your life.
Q: Seeing that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find work in Spain, especially for young people, do you think it is a mistake to start a business out of necessity?
A: No, not at all. Look if we analyze it, many of the great projects have been born in times of crisis. The need is often that little push that one needs to take the leap into the void. There are many people who end up undertaking out of necessity and it ends up being their moment.
Q: Before setting up a startup/company, do you do any prior validation?
A: In these last two years we have been working on preparing our investment thesis and above all with a checklist of a series of ponderables that we analyze and with which we decide whether or not to continue with the project or to do more in-depth research on what what they are offering us.
For example, an important ponderable is the team itself, far beyond the project. It is very important and having a good team will often determine if the project works or not.
At Innventuur we have a highly trained team in all areas. We commit and get involved in the project that we participate in and we enter to help accelerate the project and try to minimize the risk of closing fall of those projects
Q: Have you had any experience in the field of startups arising from professional training?
A: I believe in VT 100%, in the end the entire educational field is undergoing some brutal changes. If you want data at a global level, analyze the sector and look at the number of companies and funds that are entering to buy companies and companies related to education.
More and more people are clear that the technical knowledge part, the educational training part is very important but really something that you studied five years ago is already obsolete, you have to be in a continuous recycling and technical training, for that reason The whole part of the skills that improve over time is so fashionable.
Talent has no barriers, much less geographical
Q: What do you think of international mixed teams of entrepreneurs?
A: They have always been viable but in these last two years we have accelerated with the pandemic in everything that has to do with work and especially teleworking. Talent has no barriers, much less geographical. In Latin America there is an absolutely brutal talent and perhaps we have that very important cultural, idiomatic link. In addition, Spain is your door to enter Europe and those bridges must be built and more and more. Since 2021 we have open roads a couple of hubs in Colombia. We have not yet made any investment in any project that comes from Latin America, but in all probability we will not do so for sure.
Q: Have you ever had experience with startups in the Canary Islands?
A: No, I haven't but we are always open to listen. Talent has no limits and there are sure to be spectacular projects. The Canary Islands have the geographical limitation of not being close to the peninsula, but now with all the teleworking issue of global communication that exists, it should not be.
Q: What potential would you see in a region like the Canary Islands and an island like La Palma?
A: The potential of the Canary Islands lies in making themselves known much more than what is currently done. But not being in Madrid or Barcelona is a great limitation. I also believe that the economic model in general must be changed and we must take advantage of all this talent to develop it and create jobs, which is essential in each region. And to unite the entrepreneurial ecosystem a lot, that in the end enriches.
The importance of the roadmap
Q: Do you think there is a tendency to invest in more and more early stage startups and how do you personally position yourself in these stages?
A: By definition of our project and our investment, we are already very focused on projects in very early stages, which is where we believe we can add more value. It is the moment where you can have the greatest risk and where there is a lower survival rate of the project, but for that there are those of us who can contribute previous experience that you have to reach third parties and help them grow.
Q: What should a startup have achieved before starting to seek investment in an ideation or pre-SEED phase?
A: It depends on many factors, on the sector. The important thing is to identify the milestones that you are reaching, trace them on a roadmap, define some goals and once you achieve them, make a new round of investment. What they have to achieve must be looked at project by project, what I do believe is that for an initial seed phase you do not need anything more than to have an idea, a good business plan and a good financial plan with a good analysis of the competition and some milestones marked along a roadmap and above all looking for people you trust.
Q: What experiences or perspectives do you have on the tokenization of startups as a means of financing?
A: Yes, I have a couple of experiences and they have not been positive, which does not mean that it is not another way of raising funds. I really like the concept of tokenization, but it must always be analyzed very carefully because it is not valid for any project (in fact, a very high percentage of tokenized posts die before being launched). All that glitters is not gold, you have to analyze it very well, they are very new things and without a doubt before taking steps like this you have to put yourself in the hands of people who are experts in these areas to see if it really makes sense or not.
Q: What advice would you give to a person who wants to start investing in startups in very early stages?
A: The team is undoubtedly the most important thing. Having someone on the team who knows their sector is essential for a balanced team: there should be people from marketing, technology, and business development. Because it is as important to be as it is to seem. It is not worth coming to the market with a product that does not exist or has anything like it.
Bet on projects that add value to the market that have a clear and defined monetization with a solid, prepared and resilient team. It is important to build a well-diversified portfolio to be sure that if someone does not arrive, always have a company that can arrive and obtain benefits.