Since launching in Valencia in 2013, Demium has founded 12 incubators in eight countries and, as of last weekend, hosted 100 AllStartup Weekends. That’s a whopping 2,343 entrepreneurs who have joined us for the ride, helping to make Demium one of the leading talent investors and startup builders in Europe.
Last year in particular was a big one for us, launching more new startups than ever before. We rapidly expanded our scope throughout Europe, growing from having only Spanish locations in 2018 to locations in Minsk, Lisbon, Kiev, Warsaw, Budapest, Athens and Benidorm by the end of 2019. Why? Because we believe there are talented people all over the world and we’re on a mission to find them and help them realise their entrepreneurial dreams.
Our portfolio so far includes some highly creative, innovative and essential startups, such as Citibox, a digital mailbox system that’s raised over €10m; Voicemod, a real-time vocal modulator app (with an Ebitda value of €2m); and Greyhounders, which is digitalising the designer spectacles sector.
On the less techy side of things there’s Cuidum, which deals in elderly care and pairs patients with in-home carers; Tuvalum, the second-hand bike marketplace; and Babyboo, which offers rental products for families travelling with children.
We’ve also been working hard to bridge the gender gap between male and female startup founders. According to the European Commission’s 2018 figures, women make up 51% of the population of the EU, yet only a third of the total number of those who are self-employed are female. This is despite the fact that startups set up by women performed 63% better than those founded solely by men, according to the EC’s Women in the Digital Age study (also 2018). So why is this?
At Demium we’re proud to have such passionate, successful women founders amongst our startup teams and we spoke to some of them — Patricia García Llop, founder of Pandabox, Babyboo CEO Elisabet Branchat Freixa, and Greyhounders co-founder Marta Frenna — to help make sense of the situation. Ultimately, it came down to four key aspects: a fear of failure, financial insecurities, battling stereotypes and juggling work with family life. In order to overcome these hurdles, however, we need to first make sure we’re supporting and promoting female entrepreneurs.
At the moment, just 20% of founders to come through Demium are female, but we’re actively encouraging women to join the programme. And our incubation teams are experts at helping people identify suitable, likeminded co-founders, so applicants can shake off any pre-existing fears with confidence before approaching startup life.
“COVID-19 changed everything, ” said Maurici Segu Sendra, Demium’s Marketing VP, “but we embraced that change and have risen to the challenge. In pre-COVID times our Demo days to investors were physical, connecting our startups with local investors. But our response now is dynamic, ambitious and virtual on global scale.”
We’ve also been impressed to see just how quickly entrepreneurs in the Demium programme have responded with solutions to the crisis. With our help, initiatives were launched to make life that little bit easier for families, individuals and businesses alike. These include FlexMyRoom, the Insurtech startup designed to restore confidence in the tourism sector post-lockdown; Homydesk, a free-to-use platform that helps people work remotely with ease; and HearMe, a Polish startup enabling companies to offer psychological support to employees.
All this and the year’s not even over. Here’s to the first 100 Demium AllStartup Weekends and hundreds more to come. We can’t wait to meet the wealth of talent to come.