StartupSpain II. Precursors

Startup support ecosystems date back to the middle of the last century, although at that time there was no such word as startups. It all began in 1950, when Stanford University decided to create its Industrial Park, which consisted of a series of small buildings for cheap rent for technical companies, which in many cases had been created by students, such as William Hewlett and David Packard.
In these spaces some successful entrepreneurs accompanied the companies, as a way to give back to the Society part of what they had received from it and, why not say it, to evaluate possible projects in which to invest.
Today, the San Francisco Bay Area in which it is located Silicon Valley has technology companies employing 387,000 people.
In the 1980s, that is, thirty years after Stanford University laid the seed for what is now Silicon Valley; Israel made a strategic bet on technology companies. Today, with only 7 million inhabitants and 60 years of history as a country, there are 63 Israeli companies listed on the North American NASDAQ index.
As a private initiative, Y-Combinator stands out, an incubator for light companies that has set the tone for what came later. It was created in 2005 by Paul Grahama programmer who became a successful entrepreneur and later an investor and essayist. Y-Combinator is an investment fund based in the same city as Google - Mountain View -, specialized in seed capital. This fund is complemented by mentoring from successful and well-connected entrepreneurs. The program lasts only three months and, in exchange for about 20,000$, requires 6% of the company's capital.
The first model of explicit political support for startups was StartupChile in 2010, an idea of Nicolas Sheaanother successful entrepreneur who convinced the Chilean Prime Minister to support him, and a small fund for early investment in companies of any nationality. Startup Chile offers funding of 40,000$ and a 6-month stay in the country without any further commitment. They are provided with an office and entrepreneurs are connected with investor mentors. Such a risky experiment has far exceeded expectations; so far Startup Chile has received 1,600 applications from 70 countries, mostly from the United States. Already 500 entrepreneurs have participated in the program and 220 foreign startups have settled in Chile and raised $8M, mainly from Argentinean, Brazilian, French and North American funds. But perhaps the most important result is the startup ecosystem that is being built in Santiago de Chile and the great speed at which it is growing.

Startup America is a program launched by the U.S. Government on March 11, 2011, which aims to support the creation and development of companies with high growth potential; and has four axes: access to financing for entrepreneurs, reform of the regulatory framework for new companies with high potential, mentoring program and reforms in the tax and incentive frameworks. It is currently co-directed by The Kauffman Foundation and The Case Foundation and is open to sponsorship by large corporations.

A few days later Startup BritainThe first of these was launched on March 30, 2011. In this case, it is a platform led by a series of successful British entrepreneurs and supported by their government, and is based on public-private collaboration.

With these public measures, governments are accompanying Civil Society. The startup is here to stay, it is not a passing fad but the closest thing we have today to what will be the company of the 21st century.

Do we have the seeds for such an initiative in Spain? Of course we do, but I will tell you about it in the next installment.


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