Madrid: the door to Europe for Latin American startups

Oct 02, 2020 · 2 mins read
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Madrid. Entrepreneurship. Latin America. Three elements that converge in the form of startups. The nexus of all this? The Madrid Innovation Driven Ecosystem (MIDE) association, which seeks to exploit the capital’s strengths to attract innovative talent, while at the same time opening up the Spanish and European markets to Latin American projects. How? Through the ‘From Startup to Scaleup’ Bootcamp being held with Mexico this week via telematics. The objective: to connect the ecosystem and make Madrid “in place”.

Álvaro Bernad, CEO of this non-profit organization tells us how the initiative came about to take advantage of the entrepreneurial impact in the Madrid region. And how this has led them to squeeze the Madrid network as the “natural door” of connection that is between Spain (and Europe) and Latin America. “We have the infrastructure, the language, the culture, there are even family relationships. We have to take advantage of all this because, in the end, the world is about networks, about contacts,” says the expert in open innovation.

The path began with an analysis of the capital’s good ecosystem to understand its “little impact”. Bernad relates how they saw that, although Madrid has powerful initiatives, these walk in an “isolated” way. And that is what they want, without commercial interests or participation. The only thing they want is to bring together startups, corporations, investors, academics and the government. Something that already last year extended to the other side of the pond, and that this 2020 pandemic has not changed. Only the form.
Ideas for “exponential growth”.

The fund is the same as then: collaborate with Latin institutions, in this case with Mexico, to develop projects from there in the European market. From the beginning, the Mexican government showed “enormous interest in collaborating” with the MIDE initiative. Not surprisingly, Spain is the first country in which Mexico invests, and Madrid is the largest recipient of this investment in Europe, Bernad notes. Reduced to one week, the version of the previous bootcamp is replicated this year virtually to choose 11 startups.

From a total of 30 projects, six winners will be selected this Friday. Some of them fell from the first sieve because of COVID-19, something that Bernad regrets: “It is a shame to see how interesting projects with potential are impacted by the virus, something we also see a lot here in Spain”.

Bootcamp MIDEL posterThe selection criteria are clear: Bernad values the ideas as being innovative and applicable to the European regulatory framework (very different to the Mexican one). Also that they are viable, that they have a “committed” team behind them (“it’s the key”, he says) and that they are scalable. “That they can reach the good part of the curve: exponential growth.

During this week the 11 finalist projects have access to the virtual training program of the bootcamp with theoretical and practical sessions to transform the startup into scaleup. For this, MIDE has brought with TheCube experts from “companies, associations and administration”. Everything for the final presentation. Despite being focused on sectors such as foodtech, tourism, aerospace or, above all, mobility, Bernad assures that they are “open” to other ideas. “We have one for drones, another for 3D, robotics…

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