An interview with Laura Fernandez, Rails Girl + back end developer atCamaloon.

Rails Girls is a non-profit movement founded by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen in Helsinki, where the 1st workshop took place in 2010. Since then, this peer-run (and free!) workshop, that aims to “give tools for women to build their ideas”, has been organized by local teams in over than 200 cities, attracting more and more girls to the programming world.

In Spain, this Rails Girls movement is sparking. Their workshops have already taken place in Madrid (2012), Córdoba (2014) and Gran Canaria (2015). In Barcelona, the 1st one took place two years ago. And recently, a group of volunteers thought the time had arrived to organize a second one! And here we go with the 2nd free Rails Girls workshop in town, taking place on March 28 + 29 at FabLab.

One of those volunteers is Laura Fernández, backend developer at Camaloon and ruby on rails lover. We have interviewed her to have a look behind the scenes of the Rails Girls movement and the Barcelona group of volunteers.

itnig: Laura, can you explain a bit more what is Rails Girls, how it works and what is the ultimate motivation of this initiative?

Laura: The first time time I heard about Rails Girls, I loved the idea. A few months ago I met a group of girls who work on IT and ‘the question’ came up: why are so few girls in development, engineering and technology? Sadly, we don’t really know the reason. So, with this initiative we want to share our experience as tech-girls. We would like to teach all girls some basic things about our daily job as web developers and offer them help and support to those who are making their first steps in this world, or thinking on doing a career twist.

i: How many people are behind the Barcelona Rails Girls chapter? And can you explain us a bit more about your role?

L: This edition of Rails Girls Barcelona 2015 is being organized by a mixed group of volunteers. I say mixed because we are all girls but also we have a boy, Andreas! And I also say mixed because each of us is from a different country. So, it has been really inspiring and enriching every time we have spent together figuring out how this is going to be.

Not all of us are developers though, but we all love technology. Paulina was the first one who explained us the idea, because she collaborated a few times with the Rails Girls team in Poland. Andreas also has experience organizing previous Rails Girls’ events. María is our marketing person. She is full of ideas and deals with media & sponsors like a true ninja.

The rest of us, PiliSilvia and me, we are Rails developers and we all have done our best looking for coaches and sponsors.

i: I am a girl and I want to learn to code. What is Ruby on Rails and why should I start with this programming framework?

L: Ruby on Rails is an open source web application framework written in Ruby. It was first published in 2005 and new releases are published nearly each year. It is used in most startups and it is said that more than 600.000 sites all over the world are running in Ruby on Rails.

My background was software development, but anyone, from any background, who gives it a try finds it easy to learn and understand. There are no boring or confusing configuration files and the ruby syntax is really easy to get!

Rails Girls Barcelona · March 28 + 29

i: Any Rails Girls workshop lasts a weekend. Can you explain a bit more how is the weekend structured?

L: The installation party takes place the first. This means that we will help everyone setting up all software needed in their computers. After that, we will start with some theoretical explanations and coding, step by step. We would like to create a comfortable atmosphere in which everyone will be welcomed to ask any doubt. We will also have some enlightening talks from interesting people…sshhh…sorry I can’t tell you more 😉

i: What can someone with absolute zero knowledge about programming create something in less than 48h?

L: It is not so important what you are going to develop, but what you are going to learn. After the workshop you will understand how web development works, you will have the ability and the resources to start learning by your own. However, a lot of things can be done in 48hours, of course! A basic app will be deployed including some forms to interact with, a database, the application of some designs… All depends on you! Are you prepared? 😉

i: Can men also attend this workshop?

L: Yes, of course! The only requirement is that they have to attend with a girl. Unfortunately, there won’t be enough spots for everyone, so we are giving priority to girls.

i: A lot of women will be reading this post right now (I hope ^^). What would you tell them to encourage them to sign up?

L: Come on!!! Your are going to learn something new. This is your opportunity: everything you always wanted to know but you never dared to ask!!

Was Laura convincing enough?
Great! You can sign up here!
See you on Saturday, March 28 at FabLab!

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VCs come into action — Breakdown of Spanish investment activity of January 2018

January closes with €195.3 million investments in Spanish startups within 24 operations

  • The Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem is maturing thanks to investment rounds of more than €10 millions.
  • Barcelona and Madrid continue leading the Spanish ecosystem.

This is the first in a series of posts in which we will do an analysis of the Spanish startup investment landscape. We will look at the overall funding numbers and trends in the country month by month and compare it with data of the previous year.

What are the Spanish investment activities like on a month to month basis? What deals and volumes are we talking about? At what stages are startups prone to search investment and which regions in Spain attract the most funding?

The year 2017 brought us plenty in terms of innovation and investment activity within the area of technological startups, although Spain has been driven by political problems. The developments we have seen in 2018 so far are picking up at just the same fast pace.

January has closed with €195.3 million investments in Spanish startups within 24 operations. Of these funding rounds, highlights are the round of Cabify, Hawkers and Redpoints :

  • Cabify: The ride-hailing app that competes against Uber, has raised €143.3 million ($160) Series E funding round from a mix of previous and new investors, including Rakuten Capital, TheVentureCity, Endeavor Catalyst, GAT Investments, Liil Ventures and WTI, as well as prominent local investors from Spain and Latin America.

When analyzing the structure of financing deals, the increase in venture capital activity in Jan-18 is noticeable in comparison with Jan-17.

#Deals and volume in the Spanish startup investment landscape in January

In terms of the number of deals closed, we have seen a slight downward trend in the country. With a broad participation of Venture Capital, there have been less deals but more capital invested in each transaction. The reason for such a boost is mostly the gigantic financing round of Cabify with participation of giants’ VCs like Rakuten Capital, TheVentureCity and others.

The entry of European, American and Japanese funds investing in Spanish startups are accounting for a large percentage of the growth of the investments in Spain. At the same time, this global investment rise is making the average value of the financial rounds soar up to more than 1.5 times that of the previous year (without taking account of Cabify’s investment, that would turn this factor to more than 6 times the previous year)

The differences between January-2017 and January 2018 in terms of the increase in venture capital activity is shown below:

Startup investment deals by size of round

As we expected to see, the number of operations closed by investment size tends to a larger number in larger deals. While the number of deals of €500k or less have decreased considerably, the number of larger deals have gone up notably. This might be understood as an increasing number of companies maturing and reaching later stages of funding.

To properly ensure the aforementioned, in the following figure we show the breakdown of the investment activity by year of foundation of the company:

Startup investment activity (Jan-18) by year of foundation

Our previous statement is reinforced by this figure. The large transactions take place on established companies. In general, the more years a startup survives, the more established it is. As we observed, in average, the startups that were previously founded are those who raised more funding. That makes sense because normally an older startup has a bigger team and unless it has reached breakeven, it will need more funds to survive.

Startup investment deals by Region

Regarding the breakdown of startup investments by region, Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia bolster their position in the top of Spanish regions:

  • Cataluña (mostly in Barcelona) stands with 9 deals closed and an investment of €19 millions
  • Madrid gathers 7 deals and an investment of €148 million (€143 million in Cabify)
  • Valencia up to 3 deals and €23 million (€20 million in Hawkers)

Operations January 2018: