Technology
Business 04/01/2022

The year of the tech firms' huge securities offerings

2021 has been a record year for Spanish start-ups in terms of investment and IPOs

3 min
Eduard Castañeda and Enric Asunción, founders of Wallbox, to Wall Street.

BarcelonaThe year 2021 has been a year of records and big announcements for start-ups, literally until the last minute: shortly before midnight on December 31 Glovo revealed by surprise that the German-listed company Delivery Hero became its main shareholder in a deal that values the Catalan company at over €2bn. The final climax comes after a year in which there have been more mega securites offerings than ever before and the first listings of Spanish technology companies on the US stock market.

According to data from the Spanish tech ecosystem report, only in the first half of 2021 nearly €1.9bn were raised in investment, more than in the whole of the previous year. The sector broke all its records, largely thanks to operations wort over €100m. "International investors continue to bet on Spain, a fact that shows that, despite the uncertainty of this period, our country retains its attractiveness and the industry maintains part of the investment pattern that has characterized the years since the recovery," explains Aquilino Peña, president of the employer association of venture capital Ascri and founder of fund manager Kibo Ventures.

SIf in the first half of 2021 the securities offerings of Wallapop (€157m) and Glovo (€450m) were included in this record tally, in the second half of the year they were joined by Jobandtalent (€440m) and Clikalia (€400m in debt and €60m in equity). In fact, this proptech, not as well known as the home delivery platform, managed to surpass it and close the largest financing transaction in history for a While in the first half of 2021 the securities offerings of Wallapop (€157m) and Glovo (€450m) were included in this record tally, in the second half of the year they were joined by Jobandtalent (€440m) and Clikalia (€400m in debt and €60m in equity). In fact, this proptech, not as well known as the home delivery platform, managed to surpass it and close the largest financing transaction in history for a Spanish start-up. "This effect comes from two fundamental aspects: we had had a bad year and in 2021 investors were encouraged in response," says Ernest Sanchez, managing partner of the venture builder Nuclio. From his own experience, he claims that since the end of 2020 they have launched seven new companies and have achieved the investment needs "in a very adequate way".

According to the latest report by British fund Atomico, with data from September, Spain was already ranked as the sixth European country by volume of investment attracted and has surpassed Switzerland in this ranking. This same study also made it clear, however, that in 2021 investing euphoria will be spread throughout Europe. For the first time Europe will exceed $100bn in investment (more than €88.5bn) and begins to close the gap with the United States in terms of large operations. Europe is also generating unicorns (companies valued at over $1bn) at a rate never seen before: 98 companies achieved this status in the past year and there is already a total of 321.

First jumps to the Nasdaq

Precisely, 2021 has also been the year of the debut on the stock market of a new Catalan unicorn. Wallbox, a company that manufactures chargers for electric cars, began trading on Wall Street in October and since then its share price has increased by over 70%. Before the company from Sant Andreu de la Barca, in May Valencian company Flywire, a fintech company specializing in complex, high-volume payments such as university tuition fees, debuted on Nasdaq valued at over €3.5bn. "The fact that it has been confirmed for the first time that companies born here can go public in the U.S. and achieve liquidity is great news for the entire ecosystem," insists Sánchez.

In Spain, the sector has also managed to get a start-up law to reach the Council of Ministers. It includes measures such as tax reductions, new investment support instruments and a one-stop shop to streamline administrative procedures. "Initially, we were disappointed because it seemed to us that it was not enough, but with the latest changes it satisfies our aspirations more, despite the margin for improvement," adds Sanchez. After the public hearing process, changes were made to the bill, such as considering businesses started by a person who had already started one or two companies previously start-ups. The industry is optimistic about 2022: beyond the enthusiasm maintained by large international funds, several Spanish venture capital managers have raised more than €500m that they will distribute to grow new companies.

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