EXPANSION: Spanish 2020 START UP Awards

The EXPANSIÓN ‘Start up’ Awards bring together more than a hundred representatives of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Barcelona and recognize 18 emerging companies that are positioning themselves among the most promising in Spain.

In one of the most difficult years for the economy, EXPANSIÓN has not wanted to forget about entrepreneurs. People who with talent, determination and many doses of patience have weathered the ravages of Covid-19 in recent months, sometimes without having their business models consolidated, without having sufficient funding to undertake their projects or with conflicts between the founders , something very common.

Last Friday, the Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel in Barcelona witnessed the delivery of the EXPANSIÓN ‘Start up’ Awards in its second edition. These awards seek to recognize the most innovative emerging companies that are having the most impact in their respective sectors. Following all health security protocols, the event brought together a hundred entrepreneurs, executives of large companies and other relevant members of the ecosystem.

With the collaboration of Leyton and the participation of Deusto Business School as an academic collaborator, the distinctions went to 18 companies, three for each of the six categories in the competition.

In Food and AgroTech, Vottun (1st), Ingredalia (2nd) and Nucaps (3rd) won. In FinTech, Libeen (1st), Balio (2nd) and Toqio (3rd). The podium for Health and Biotechnology, a category sponsored by Novartis-Sandoz, was dominated by AcceXible (1st), Aimentia (2nd) and Berdac (3rd), while in Environment and Energy, sponsored by Correos, Nantek (1st) , CO2 Revolution (2nd) and Byproductplace (3rd).

Mobility and Smart Cities, sponsored by Abertis, had Mooevo (1st), Velca (2nd) and Hoop Carpool (3rd) as winners. Finally, in Telecommunications, Industry 4.0 and Emerging Technologies, Aplanet (1st), Brave Corporation (2nd) and CheckToBuild (3rd) were recognized.

In total, 155 applications were received, which remained at 131 after a first filtering. On November 13, the jury for the awards deliberated and chose the winners from among 24 finalists chosen by Deusto. At the award ceremony, the director of EXPANSIÓN, Ana I. Pereda, defined entrepreneurs as «the other heroes of the pandemic» at a time when they had to bet on growth to consolidate.

«We reward innovation and tenacity, the enormous work of advancing the Covid crisis,» he stressed. Pereda made a profile of entrepreneurs in Spain: most have university and postgraduate degrees, there is hardly any gender gap between men and women, and nine out of ten companies that start up have less than five workers, despite the fact that » hiring in 2021 is expected to be positive, «he remarked. Iñaki Ortega, director of Deusto Business School, continued the speech delivered last year, in which he spoke about the relationship between elephants (large companies) and gazelles (start up). On this occasion, he named Nassim Taleb’s black swan, a highly unlikely event but with very serious consequences.

The coronavirus has been that black swan, which he also compared to a gray rhinoceros. «Every year he causes victims who underestimate him,» he warned. Ortega encouraged start-ups not to disappear from the public agenda because «they are the ones that are going to save the economy and the country.»

Antonio Durán, Abertis’ global head of innovation, deepened this idea, warning about the temptation to believe that emerging companies are «useful marketing tools.» Along the same lines, Clara Cano, Novartis’ head of digital transformation, assured that «we are eager to meet and learn from start-ups»

MOBILITY AND ‘SMART CITIES’ Mooevo / The effective reinvention of the wheel Go rolling anywhere. It is, broadly speaking, what Mooevo proposes, a firm born in 2018 that manufactures a system that grants mobility to cars, wheelchairs, logistics and transport cages, such as those used by Post office deliverymen and other vehicles, through coupling of an electric platform.

The purpose of this device, patented worldwide, is to achieve comfortable, efficient and economical mobility that also transports the person who handles it. Giving mechanical propulsion to a conventional wheelchair is one of the many uses that can be given to the Mooevo system, which contributed its grain of sand during the Covid health crisis. The partners of the firm gave 30 devices to the field hospital built in the Ifema site, with the aim of facilitating the mobility of health workers and patients over long distances within the pavilions.

Velca / Electric motorcycles for everyone At a time when urban mobility is undergoing a total revolution, Velca aspires to make electric motorcycles available to everyone, a goal that would translate into improved traffic in cities and a positive impact on the health of citizens, since they are zero emission vehicles.

The ‘start up’, which was founded by Emilio Froján at the end of last year, has already opened its first physical store in Madrid and has gained notoriety thanks to its collaboration strategy with ‘influencers’ on social networks. In September, Velca broke a national record by obtaining 750,000 euros of financing in just four hours through the Crowdcube platform.

Hoop Carpool / shared clean transportation Paloma Martín, Carlos Alonso, Andrea García, Nathan Lehoucq and Daniel Sánchez are the founders of Hoop Carpool, a platform that connects people who live, work or study nearby, so they can share a car with each other on their daily commutes. It’s about sharing transportation costs and saving money, travel time and emissions to the environment.

Today Hoop is a community of more than 5,000 users, 11 employees, more than 25 collaborating companies, and that has saved a ton of CO2 to the atmosphere in its first 12 months of life, thanks to the transformation of a collaborative individual mentality and habits . TELECOMMUNICATIONS, INDUSTRY 4.0 AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES Aplanet / Taking social responsibility to the next level Climate change, economic and health crisis, inequality between men and women …

The challenges that companies face in terms of social responsibility are growing. With the aim of helping them in this field, Aplanet has created a platform that facilitates the management and analysis of all social responsibility and corporate sustainability actions in an agile and precise way.

The tool, which is already being used by about 50 clients, is specially designed for companies, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. Its two founders, Johanna Gallo and Ciryl Pierre, have more than ten years of experience leading marketing and product teams at companies such as MakeMyTrip or Ticketbis.

Brave Corporation / Artificial Intelligence and Facial Biometrics Brave Corporation, based in Vitoria, is an artificial intelligence company whose declared objective is «to protect human beings from new dangers in a highly connected world.» Among its product portfolio, ‘Shield’ stands out, a system that analyzes facial biometric information through the camera of the mobile or computer and anonymously and instantly estimates the user’s age, granting or rejecting access to adult content.

This tool has multiple applications in physical stores, electronic commerce, video games, vending machines or video streaming platforms. Brave, which joined the Unicef ​​Lab acceleration program in February, has just opened a round to raise 350,000 euros. CheckToBuild / The ‘hawk’s eye’ of works and infrastructures

CheckToBuild uses drones integrated with ‘building information modeling’ and artificial intelligence models for the inspection of construction, industry and infrastructure projects. Its objective is to reduce the cost overruns and delays that usually occur in this type of works. First, the drones perform a 3D modeling flying over the area under construction and, later, this reality-based pattern is compared with the previously planned BIM model. In this way, deviations and progress of the work can be analyzed more easily.

CheckToBuild, led by the entrepreneur Alejandro Ruiz, was born in May of this year, has received an investment of 150,000 euros and has sponsors such as Enisa or FCC.