The individual entrepreneur ‘solopreneur’ bursts into the Spanish ecosystem
- The figure of the individual entrepreneur emerges in the US and in the Spanish ecosystem is already present in 6% of startups.
- The serial entrepreneur is a constant, with 62% of entrepreneurs who have founded more than one project, 2% more than in 2021, which shows how the ecosystem itself is a source of talent.
- The robot portrait of the Spanish entrepreneur remains stable and responds mostly to a man (80%), 33 years old, highly qualified.
- The incorporation of women into the ecosystem continues to be a pending issue at a global level, with a percentage of around 20%, a figure that has practically not changed in the last 8 years.
- • Spanish startups are already 3 years old on average, with a positive evolution compared to previous years (2.7 in 2021, 2.5 in 2020 and 2.2 in 2019), which demonstrates the maturity of the ecosystem.
The ‘solopreneur’ phenomenon bursts into the ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in Spain. The ‘solopreneur’ represents 6% of the startups in Spain, since the most common thing continues to be entrepreneurship in a team, normally small and male: 60% of the startups have between 2 and 3 founders, while 35% have more of 4. Likewise, 6 out of 10 are founded solely by men and only 6% by women. Startups with a mixed founding team account for 35%.
These are some of the main conclusions of the ‘2022 Entrepreneurship Map’, carried out by South Summit, powered by IE University. This report analyzes the situation of the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem compared to other regions and allows us to see the evolution of its behavior in recent years, based on the more than 3,600 projects registered in the Startup Competition of the latest edition of South Summit Madrid 2022, from which 75% are international.
María Benjumea, founder and president of South Summit, and Salvador Aragón, general director of Innovation and professor at IE University, presented the conclusions of this report at IE Tower, the new headquarters of IE University in Madrid. Javier Fernández-Lasquetty, Minister of Economy, Finance and Employment of the Community of Madrid, and Begoña Villacís, Deputy Mayor of Madrid, also participated in this event. During this day, the motto of South Summit Madrid 2023 was announced: Today 2030, which will have the institutional support of the Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence, the Community of Madrid and the Madrid City Council.
As a balance, María Benjumea, founder and president of South Summit, has assured that the data of the Entrepreneurship Map is the verification of the professionalization and growth of the Innovation Ecosystem in our country. “The maturity of the Ecosystem is evidence, an unstoppable phenomenon and very good news because it is key to the growth of our economy.”
In this year’s study, the figure of the “solopreneur” bursts in, an entrepreneur who creates, leads and develops his startup alone, without a founding team, a ‘freelancer 3.0’. This trend, originating in the United States, arises mainly in businesses in the digital field.
According to Salvador Aragón, General Director of Innovation and professor at IE University, “although the team continues to be the constant in the ecosystem, in recent years we have seen how the figure of the ‘solopreneur’ has grown, which shows us the great capacity for democratization of the ecosystem, which has a wide diversity of professionals”.
In line with previous editions, the serial entrepreneur is also a constant in the ecosystem, with 62% of startupers who have founded more than one project, 2% more than in 2021, which shows how the ecosystem itself is a source of talent.
To a greater extent than novice entrepreneurs, the main reasons why serial entrepreneurs launch a startup is because they always had a clear idea of starting a business and because they had detected an opportunity in the market.
The probability of success of a startup also increases the greater the experience of its founders. While the percentage of sales of a project created by new entrepreneurs is less than 20%, this rate exceeds 70% among those who have created more than four startups.
Regarding the robot portrait of the Spanish entrepreneur, it has remained stable in recent years. Thus, it responds mostly to a man (80%), 33 years old, highly qualified (the majority have a university degree, 70% have a master’s degree and 16% are entrepreneurs with a PHD). In addition to being profiles with significant previous professional experience: more than half worked in a company before starting their startup, 24% already had an entrepreneurial project and 7% were employed in a startup, while less than 1% were unemployed.
The incorporation of women into the ecosystem continues to be a pending issue at a global level. In Spain, female entrepreneurs represent 20%, slightly above Europe as a whole (17%) and below North America (21%) or Latam (24%).
Mature and diversified ecosystem
The data from South Summit’s ‘2022 Entrepreneurship Map’ confirms the maturity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Spain. Spanish startups now have an average life of 3 years, with a positive evolution compared to previous years (2.7 years of average life in 2021, 2.5 in 2020 and 2.2 in 2019). This is an average slightly below that of startups in North America (3.04 years of life), Europe (3.19) and Latam (4.47). In addition, 7 out of 10 startups (70%) in Spain have already launched their product and it is generating traction, almost 10% more than last year.
The main fields of training for entrepreneurs are Engineering and Social Sciences. The Spanish ecosystem is increasingly knowledge-intensive and increasingly diversified, not only in technologies, but also in sectors. Fintech, Education and Health represent the top 3 industries, followed by: software development, e-commerce, social impact, agroTech, data and analytics. Two new areas complete the top 10: productivity services and media.
According to the South Summit report, there is great potential for growth in the area of Artificial Intelligence. AI projects represent 16.8% in Spain, compared to 18.8% in Latam or 22.4% in Europe.
The maturity of the ecosystem is also measured by the capacity to generate job opportunities: 69% of Spanish projects have between 2 and 10 employees, while 26% (9 percentage points more than last year) have between 10 and 50 professionals in your team. Hiring expectations for 2023 are positive in an economic environment conditioned by inflation.
Regarding the level of income, 6 out of 10 startups in Spain are already generating it, 11% more than in 2021. 11% of startups exceed 500,000 euros per year and 18% have positive EBITDA, which means six points more than in 2021 and 5% more than in the rest of Europe. In addition, 32% of startups expect to achieve a positive EBITDA in one year.
This edition of the ‘Map of Entrepreneurship’ highlights that there has been a significant change in trend in funding sources. We are moving towards an increasingly professional and balanced model, as private funds go from representing 11% in 2018 to 32% in 2022, while own funds have fallen from 60% to 46% in the same period.
Startups in Spain not only seek more financing (19%), gain greater visibility (19%) or achieve strategic agreements (18%), they also demand in all regions improvements in taxation for their creation and the attraction of investors, as well as greater flexibility in contracting.