Startupxplore’s interviews: what investors, accelerators and policy makers told us in 2014

Category: Interviews

The year comes to an end. 2014 was a great year for the European startup ecosystem and also for Startupxplore, as our platform was born right before the summer. Over the past few months we’ve been working hard on building one of the biggest startup funding communities in the world, launching the first syndicate in Spain and publishing interesting content on our blog.

Besides content aimed at startup founders and investors, we’ve also published a dozen of interviews with key players in the European tech ecosystem. Investors, entrepreneurs and policy makers have shared with us their thoughts on the ecosystem and how it can evolve -and improve- over in the long run.

To finish the year and highlight the most interesting interviews we’ve done, we’ve put together a set of quotes from our guests that are worth reading.

Investors and policy makers

Carlos Espinal: Seedcamp and Venture Capital in Europe

startupxplore interviews

Carlos was the first person we interviewed on Startupxplore. We talked to him right before Seedcamp announced the launch of a $30 million fund, but we still got to ask him a few questions about the transition of Seedcamp from an accelerator to an early-stage micro seed investment fund.

Here’s what he told us:

“At Seedcamp we focus on adapting what we do to support the needs of our founders. we are unlike many others accelerators in how we work.”

Iñaki Arrola: Vitamina K’s investment thesis

iñaki arrola

Besides being an entrepreneur ( and an angel investor (counting Startupxplore), Iñaki is also one of the co-founders of Vitamina K, a VC firm based in Madrid that has been quite active in recent months. We sat down with Iñaki to talk about Vitamina K’s investment thesis and also the evolution of the Spanish startup ecosystem. Here’s what he said:

“We won’t invest our own money in traditional companies. It’s not easy for us to give money to e-commerce startups”

Ciaran O’Leary: European focus from Germany

berlin startup ecosystem

Ciaran was one of the last people we interviewed on the blog in 2014. He’s a partner at Berlin-based-but-European-focused VC firm Earlybird Venture Capital. Ciaran offered a great analysis of Berlin’s status and the causes that have led the city to its current situation as one of the main tech hubs in Europe.

“The key to Berlin’s success is the ability to attract and retain talented and driven people”

Aquilino Peña: fintech and the role of corporates


Aquilino Peña has been involved in the technology world for quite some time. Now, as the co-founder of Spanish VC firm Kibo Ventures, he’s become one of the most active investors in the country. To know what moves him -and the firm- and what they’re looking for in startups we sat down with him in July.

“Almost one third of our portfolio companies are based in the US. But every single company we invest in has a ‘Spanish angle’“

Jon Bradford: accelerating and investing

how to get into techstars

As the Managing Director of Techstars London and previously as an entrepreneur and investor, Jon has worked alongside tens of startups in the last decade. We wanted to talk to Jon to hear his thoughts on the European accelerator ecosystem and here’s what he told us:

“Techstars’ core value is to “give first” and be proactive in supporting entrepreneurs and clusters. There is no other accelerator network which operates as many programmes in as many cities and verticals on an annual basis”

Isidro Laso: the role of legislators

isidro laso

Policy makers also play a key role in the development of startup ecosystems. Isidro has been working at the European Commission for 13 years and more recently he’s been involved in various key initiatives coming out of Brussels. In our interview we talked to him about the role of governments and also corporates and multinationals.

“The biggest challenge for European startups at the moment is in selling startups to bigger companies and corporates; there also needs to be a change in mentality in the corporate and startup worlds to increase exits”

This is only the first chapter. Next week we’ll share with you the best quotes from the entrepreneurs and journalists we interviewed in 2014. Stay tuned and…

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