2021 ended with a cumulative investment in tech companies in excess of €4 billion and it was partly thanks to the mega rounds that took place over the past year. The 25 largest rounds of 2021 (over €60M) achieved more than 85% of the cumulative investment in Spain and led to two new companies, Jobandtalent and Idealista, being considered unicorns (companies with a valuation of over €1 billion). These companies join those that previously reached such valuations: Glovo, Cabify, Devo, Flywire, Wallbox and eDreams. The latest company to reach unicorn status was Travelperk, which announced this January that it had raised an additional €100 million on top of the €140 million raised in the April 2020 round, bringing its valuation to €1 billion.
This selection of companies valued at over €1 billion was checked and verified by various Spanish investment funds who have sent their selection to El Referente; this has been the case of Kibo Ventures, KFund, Encomenda, Swaanlab, JME Ventures, Fundación Bankinter, The Venture City, Alliron, BStartup and Samaipata together with the business angel Hugo Arévalo.
But the interesting thing about this report is not to verify and confirm which companies are already considered unicorns, but how many and which will be the ones that can exceed the valuation of one billion in the next two years. Aquilino Peña, Founding Partner of Kibo Ventures, states that “between 5 and 10 new scaleups could become unicorns during 2022 and 2023”. Carlos Blanco, Managing Partner of Encomenda Smart Capital, makes the same estimation: “I firmly believe that we will have between 5 and 10 new unicorns in Spain in the next two years, and possibly one or two of them are not those that are currently rumored to be going in that direction in the media. The most important thing is that we have a list of about 20 candidates to be Spanish unicorns in the next three or four years”. And a figure similar to the one mentioned by the business angel is what we at El Referente have prepared as the number of candidate companies to become unicorns in the coming years: 21.
The companies that are most likely to reach valuations in excess of €1 billion are companies that have raised significant amounts of capital in recent years, those that are preparing major rounds for 2022 or those that have a turnover in excess of €200 million per year, which makes them candidates. The selection includes Capchase, Copado, Wallapop, Userzoom, Clickalia, Factorial, Spotahome, Carto, Redpoints, Clarity, Paack, Colvin, Playtomic, Civitatis, TradeINN, Belvo, Typeform, Seedtag, Genially and Odilo.
Of the 21 candidates, Factorial received the most votes (7 out of 9), as the company founded by Jordi Romero, Pau Ramón and Bernat Farrero closed a €80m round in 2021 and is a very capital-efficient company. In addition, two of the startups on the list, TradeINN and Civitatis, have not yet made any public rounds, although it is expected that they may do so soon, but both companies have an annual turnover in excess of €200m, making them clear candidates to reach a high valuation in the coming years.
While there are very promising startups, such as Iriusrisk, Genially and Odilo, which despite not having accumulated more than €30M, their valuation is expected to soar in the coming years, as they have done their homework and are leading companies in their markets and have high turnovers.
Both Iñigo Laucirica, Investment Associate at Samaipata and Eduardo Solís, Investment Analyst at Swaanlab, believe that Spain can exceed the figure of 10 new unicorns and even reach 20 in the next two years. Eduardo states that “Just like in LATAM in 2021, 2022 and 2023 will be years where Spanish startups will make a big leap in terms of valuations, attracting more international investment. We would expect there to be more than 20 by 2023”; while Iñigo says that “in the current environment it takes 5-7 years for successful companies to reach unicorn status. Spain can reach 20 unicorns in the next two years as dozens of excellent companies founded in Spain in recent years mature.
If we look at France as a reference, a few days ago they reached 25 unicorns, the target Macron set for 2025 in September 2019. We believe we will see a similar trend in Spain”. Hugo Arévalo, a renowned business angel, points out a similar figure and predicts that in the next two years in Spain “there could be between 10 and 15 new unicorns”.
CURRENT AND FUTURE UNICORNS
IN SPAIN 2022 – 2023
|SPANISH UNICORNS UP TO 2022||FUTURE UNICORNS 2022-2023|
|€2.3 billion||€2 billion||€1.5 billion||€1.5 billion||€413.86 billion||€279 billion||€170 billion||€120 billion|
|€1.4 billion||€1.321 billion||€1.3 billion||€110 billion||€100 billion||€81.9 billion||€81 billion|
|€1 billion||€1 billion||€75.8 billion||€73 billion||€72.7 billion||€70 billion|
|€66.45 billion||€250 billion||€25 billion||€49.35 billion|
|€46 billion||€40.5 billion||€23.11 billion||€20.6 billion|