Ways to Grow Your Startup and Success Stories to Motivate You: Day 2 of 4YFN Barcelona

One more fantastic day at 4YFN – one more chance to get acquainted with the new ideas and technologies that startups are bringing into the world within the event’s daily theme, this time the ‘Internet of Things‘. The highlights of the second day include Startupbootcamp’s Demo Day, with ambitious pitches from eight truly badass startups and a great motivational speech by Alden Mills; a number of inspiring talks by experts from all over the world who have been working with startups for years and came to 4YFN to share their insight; and a panel featuring the superstars of the Spanish startup scene, with an unbelievable 1BN dollars of exits on stage. Read on to find out more and see our exclusive photos from the second day of 4YFN.

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“All the great technology on the earth won’t replace the determination of the human spirit,” – Alden Mills, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Former Navy SEAL

We were absolutely blown away by all the excitement and the sense of team spirit that filled the Soracom Hall during Startupbootcamp Demo Day. Our favorite startup pitches were definitely those of Workkola and Combine – the former a platform that brings together startups looking for talent and students looking for professional experience, the latter an app that can help you calculate your expenses and manage your finances when moving to a foreign country. We had a chat with both of these teams after their pitches, and they seemed absolutely passionate about their projects but at the same time very down-to-earth and realistic. It is such a great feeling to see them find investors – through 4YFN and otherwise – and be able to grow their startups by the day. Alden Mills was absolutely right in his incredibly energetic (and at times, a little awkward and just a bit too loud) motivational speech – you gotta be all in, all the time.

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“Don’t follow your passion!” – Emily Becher, Samsung NEXT Start

By the second day, we’d discovered that some of the smaller, half-hour talks held at the Nestlé Stage actually proved to be even more insightful and educational than some of the panels or keynotes held at the bigger stages that were surrounded by a lot of hype and attracted much larger audiences. We had the pleasure to attend a very straightforward and rather unconventional talk by Emily Becher of Samsung NEXT Start. As she debunked myths about fast tracks to startup success, Emily pointed out a number of particularly sneaky misconceptions that she has discovered throughout her career of working with startups.

She reminded us, for instance, about the dangers of obsessing over competition and letting ourselves and our startup drown in paranoia: numbers show that most startups actually fail not because of strong competition, but due to internal blunders such as scaling too fast, not being able to deliver the product in time, and, most commonly of all, because of co-founder conflict. Emily also encouraged startups to listen instead of focusing on speed, find out if there is a market for their product and pivot before it’s too late.

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Her most inspiring remark and most unusual piece of advice, however, was not to follow our passion at all cost, but to think about what the world needs and how we can add value to the world. This is something that we rarely hear in the startup world, where we’re always told to stick to our dreams no matter what, because our passion is our key to success. It was refreshing to hear this myth debunked by someone who clearly knows what she’s talking about, and it was definitely one of the most important ideas for us to take away.

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“When you exit, invest in the ecosystem – and don’t just invest your money, also invest your time,” – Iñigo Juantegui, Founder of La Nevera Roja (currently: OnTruck)

Attending the panel of superstars was probably the best way to end the day. We left with so much motivation we felt like running around the Fira! The discussion titled How to Scale and Sell Tech Companies in Southern Europe featured everyone’s idols, the caesars of entrepreneurship, the ultimate champions of Spanish startups Iñaki Ecenarro, Iñigo Juantegui, Lucas Carné, Gonzalo Ortiz and Javier Rubio, who led the companies Trovit, La Nevera Roja, Privalia, Mitula and SocialPoint to unimaginable success, packing 1BN dollars of exits in total. Talk about motivation! What could be more motivating than seeing the example of those few who have actually, really made it?

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The most interesting question raised during the discussion was whether profit can actually impede growth. The participants all seemed to agree that it’s very hard to say no when you see a huge opportunity for profit looming on the horizon, even if it means that your company’s opportunities for growth may be compromised in some way.

We were happy to hear that after having sold their companies, the participants all find it important to keep investing in the ecosystem, and give back to the community that helped them grow, which Iñigo Juantegui phrased with spot-on accuracy at the end of the panel: “When you exit, invest in the ecosystem – and don’t just invest your money, also invest your time.”

Also read about the first day of 4YFN 2017, and stay tuned for several interviews with startup founders and a recap of the three-day event coming soon!

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