In March, the company I founded, during my recently finished IESE MBA: Treeveo was selected by www.wayra.org, one of Spain’s most prestigious incubator programs. Let me give you an inside scoop on what it’s like inside an incubator in Spain and what advantages it has had. We started in our new office May 2nd 2013.
Incubator life is great. I cannot imagine us being in a single office where we meet no one else but the people that work with us. We are having intensive contact with the start-ups that are in the incubator. We share experiences, tools used and advice. We also share in each other’s victories (sales and investment mostly). The Wayra academy (as it’s called) offers an amazing office including breathtaking views and all the top-notch facilities from Telefonica. There is something to a shared physical space that is hard to describe. It is the atmosphere of start-ups each doing amazing things. It is contagious to be around amazing start-ups each booking successes, which leads me to the following point:
The entrepreneur with a boss
The incubator does something special that I believe entrepreneurs need: it gives deadlines. Every 2 weeks we present our progress on KPIs that we set ourselves. We rank each other each week to see who has scored the best. This motivates us to do more and to seek after concrete results or good explanations if we don’t meet our objectives. We would have done this anyway, but the added competition between startups makes for a much more stimulating process. For me it gives the perfect balance between running my own company but at the same time having some kind of accountability, a kind of “boss”. Julian, the director of Wayra Barcelona does not behave like a boss, but having him around certainly has a very positive influence on me personally.
Ever since we started in Wayra we’ve met many people. Regularly the incubator organizes meetings with people from the Barcelona start-up scene. Wayra is also inter-mediating between several universities and helping us find talent. Waya’s network is extensive and growing. Frequently the academy is visited by groups of executives, universities, VIPs etc.
Launching Treeveo in the Wayra incubator has been accompanied by numerous pitches. Regularly, we as startups are asked to present our project to people that come and visit Wayra. These pitches are very helpful as it allows us as entrepreneurs to sharpen our pitch and receive feedback. The more you pitch your project, the better your pitch becomes, the better you will be able to explain your company, even in 30 sec. I cannot imagine practicing our pitch this often outside of an incubator.
Since 1 month we have our magnificent mentors attributed to us. We have an investor mentor: Blair Maclaren from ActiveVP, an entrepreneur mentor: Helena Torras from Abiquo and a director from Telefonica. We treat them as an investors / advisory board and attempt to be as professional as possible in our communications / materials etc. Our first meeting has already given us tremendous added-value. Immediately they have jumped in and started giving us feedback on all kinds of things like: pricing, corporate identity, executive summary, partnership proposals, they’ve helped us with contacts etc etc. We first met one of our mentors during the Wayra boot-camp.
As part of our acceleration we will have 2 boot-camps. The first boot-camp really saw all of the start-ups growing. It is very valuable to be taken out of your context and forced to reflect on some aspects of your start-up. Without exception I saw each of the start-ups grow in different areas during this boot-camp that we had in Madrid each on in their own way.
So our “Incubator Inception” has been amazing and it has just begun. If you ever have the opportunity to get incubated, then go for it!
Based on original blog post at the Treeveo blog, http://treeveo.com/the-incubator-inception/