Who they are and how they are overcoming their business challenges
Watch out for FutureFunded, a crowdfunding platform focused on training the next generation of women in technology, Bwom, an intimate health coach on your mobile and brand protection partner Red Points — and especially their leaders Cecilia Tham, Helena Torras and Laura Urquizu.
As women are still heavily underrepresented in the startup world, we think it’s time to shed some light on all those amazing female entrepreneurs in Barcelona who are already crushing it. In the beginning of this year we therefore took a close look at the Barcelona startup scene to identify female entrepreneurs who are working on promising tech ventures. Below we’re introducing you to 10 women in tech who we think you should keep an eye on in 2018. Why? Because they are awesome, and working on exciting projects that have a great year/future ahead!
We also asked them to share with us what their biggest business challenge was in 2017 and how they eventually mastered it. Here is our list of promising female entrepreneurs from Barcelona, and some of their insights:
Cecilia Tham is known as an innovation activist in empowering individuals and organizations by building communities to innovate for impact with design and tech. She is the co-founder of multiple companies such as MOB, Makers of Barcelona, a collaborative co-working community, FabCafe, a new concept that brings digital fabrication tools to the everyday environment of a coffee shop. Her latest venture FutureFunded is a crowdfunding platform focused on training the next generation of women in technology. Cecilia is also the founder of MEAT — an agency that enables companies for corporate transformation to innovate with technology.
Regarding her biggest challenge in 2017 and how she mastered it, Cecilia stated: “2017 was a really tough year for us because of many unexpected obstacles and events, from the unbearable noise of the heavy renovation work of our neighbor to the lack of leadership from my own decision to take 3 months off work to attend Singularity University. There wasn’t one major event that was problematic, it was an accumulation of multiple events, one after another throughout the year that had made it difficult. I myself was overwhelmed, but my team of 14 pulled together, each took on different responsibilities and tasks and really tackled every single difficulty that we had to endure, many of which I wasn’t even aware of. There were times when the situation was tense and even conflictive, but the team manage to resolve the issue on their own, something I gleam with pride now looking back. It was a hard year, but it was also the year where we learnt the most and the lesson I came out of 2017 is that perhaps good businesses make money, but great businesses make leaders.”
Helena Torras is the co-founder and CEO of Bwom, which aims to change self-care for women. Prior to that, together with the entrepreneurial team, she lead Abiquo, which she joined in 2007 as shareholder. Abiquo raised more than $28 million in VC funding and established operations in US, UK and Spain. Helena has also invested in more than 8 tech startups through Paocapital, and she is board member and mentor of several startups.
Regarding her biggest challenge in 2017 and how she mastered it, Helena stated: “My biggest business challenge in 2017 was not only one, but 3. First of all, we pivoted from a pelvic floor trainer app to a digital coach. Second, we were just a B2C company and we started to do our first steps on the B2B2C. Third, we adjusted and consolidated our team for the next phase we were facing. We went through it having a full commitment of the team, and with the incredible support of our investors, who not only helped us financially in 2016, but advised us and oriented us regarding the business decisions we had to take. We validated everything and although having big challenges, we divided them in small ones, to keep moving and improving.”
Laura Urquizu is the CEO of Red Points — a technology company that provides a solution for brands and content owners to counterfeiting online and digital piracy. Red Points is the preferred brand protection partner in the sporting, entertainment, fashion, editorial, design and luxury industries, providing unique products across the entire digital spectrum. One of her prior career steps was Capital Semilla, were she was subsequently responsible for the venture capital investments area and a portfolio of 90 investments.
Regarding her biggest challenge in 2017 and how she mastered it, Laura stated: “2017 was a year of aggressive targets, and we at Red Points are super happy to have surpassed expectations! It wasn’t easy, as one would imagine: we managed to grow 350% while staying customer-success oriented (the reason why our a churn rate is still close to zero). And we did all this while hiring and onboarding new professionals that doubled our team to 75 employees. The explanation as to why we were able to master our challenges is simple, teamwork: it wouldn’t have been possible without the true commitment of all our departments. This dedication is the main reason why Red Points has managed to arrive to 2018 as the #1 technology solution in online brand protection.”
Mar Alarcon Batlle is the founder and CEO at SocialCar and Co-Founder at Social Energy. Founded in 2011, Social Car is an Internet based P2P platform where car owners can safely rent their car to their neighbours. It’s the first P2P carsharing player in Spain. Mar is also a board member of Barcelona Tech City, Adigital and a mentor at Conector Accelerator.
Regarding her biggest challenge in 2017 and how she mastered it, Mar stated: “From its origin SocialCar has been a model looking for real disruption on mobility habits. The challenge itself was to make it feasible. After some years of evangelization, the challenge turns into consolidating the business. 2017 has been an amazing year in terms of results. However, the highlight of last year was the shaking impact on the industry. The mobility and automobile industry is finally is shifting to a world of real connected mobility services. Cars are finally seen as a mere mobility tool and not a status asset. Achieving that is a question of patience and perseverance. A long way to run without losing focus. Personally, the biggest challenge is to keep always filled with energy to keep running to improve things.”
Laura Fernandez is the Co-Founder and CEO of FutureFunded. Officially launched earlier this year, the Barcelona-based startup aims to bring more women to tech, by helping them crowdfund their education in renown coding schools. FutureFunded recently completed its first crowdfunding campaign and has already two new campaigns up and running. Aside from running FutureFunded, Laura has more than 5 years of experience as COO of Makers of Barcelona. She’s also a mentor for young entrepreneurs and a tech curator.
Regarding her biggest challenge in 2017 and how she mastered it, Laura stated: “My biggest business challenge has been an inner challenge I would say. To understand and accept that I won’t have the power to have everything under control, that nothing will be perfectly set up and done because a startup is an experimental project 24/7 and this shouldn’t stop you from moving forward. You need goals and objectives, more for your mental health than for the growth of the project itself, because those metrics will probably change every week because of the organicity and the own life of the project, at this very early stage. A startup is not a sprint but a marathon, so you need to keep yourself hydrated and this water is your team, your mentors, your users and the drive that it took you to start this adventure. So you have to take very good care and awareness of this water and your own hydration, to keep running as far as you want to get and this is also up to you.”
Gemma Sorigue is the co-founder and CEO of Deliberry — the online grocery store that delivers your food to your doorstep within one hour. Last year, Deliberry has received about €3 million in funding. Gemma has over 13 years of experience in e-commerce companies. She’s taken part in the startup and growth stages of top online companies like Atrapalo, Emagister and LetsBonus participating in different management positions as General Manager in LetsBonus.
Regarding her biggest challenge in 2017 and how she mastered it, Gemma stated: “Our main challenge in 2017 was to grow in sales while achieving operational profitability. We closed 2017 with +60% in GMV. We have managed to reduce the cost per order by 24%, thanks to technological improvements that allow us to have a more efficient operative. And we have doubled the revenue per order thanks to the new Revenue Stream CPG that we offer to manufacturers. Thanks to this, since Q2 we are in a positive unit economic and growing in sales.”
Carlota Pi Amoros is the co-founder and Executive President of Holaluz — a new generation energy company solely for 100% renewable green energy. The Barcelona-based company was founded in 2010 and was able to raise more than €12 million in funding. At Holaluz, Carlota is focusing on Strategy, Marketing and Fundraising. Aside from that, she’s a professor at the Universidad de Barcelona and the mother of three girls.
Diana Moret is the CEO and founder at PANDORAHUB, a Barcelona-based company which is accelerating growth stage startups in villages and rural areas. She started as social entrepreneur at the age of 25 founding the NGO which organized the DJs Against Hunger Festival (a charity electronic music festival) and the PACAS courses (Cultural Activities Program for Social Action). As a social innovation consultant she also designed and created the amusement charity campaign for families One Red Nose Day.
Beatriz Amilibia is the COO of SocialPay, which operates the two payment solutions Marketpay.io and Lemonpay. Marketpay enables escrow payments in the sharing economy, and provides a safe, immutable, double ledger API for marketplaces and e-commerce. Lemonpay enables individuals to trade (buy/sell) safely with each other. Before focusing on SocialPay in 2016, Beatriz founded another company called tuMédico.es.
Cristina Galán is the Co Founder and Managing Director of LOYALTIO is a tech company that leads the digital transformation of businesses and public institutions, offering end-to-end products and solutions, provides development, and offers consultancy services. Founded in 2014, LOYALTIO aims to become the loyal tech partner you need to make your digital projects come true. Prior to LOYALTIO, Cristina co-founded other companies like Bitcarrier and Profitail.