The initiative is the latest launch of a venture fund by business schools, and highlights how they are striving to cater to students and graduates who increasingly are shunning corporate jobs in favour of risky startups.
It is also the latest fund from IESE´s successful venture capital arm, Finaves, which invests in the business projects of students and alumni of the school. Since its launch in 2000, 40 companies have received funding totalling €12 million from the various funds managed by Finaves and helped create approximately 2,500 jobs. Companies helped by Finaves include Advance Medical, Cooltra, Worldsensing, Kubi Wireless and Nexenta, among others.
Timo Buetefisch founded Cooltra, a motorcycle rental start-up, in 2006. Since then, the company has grown to have a fleet of 5,000 and 100 employees. Turnover was €7 million in 2015, up 40% on 2014. Timo says IESE, based in Barcelona, supported the company in securing funding and customers. He earned an MBA there in 2004. “Immediately, they trusted me and my projects,” he said.
Finaves V will make investments of between €50,000 and €300,000 in promising business ventures. It also aims to finance and promote the growth of search funds, a promising form of entrepreneurship whereby entrepreneurs acquire existing companies to scale their growth.
The fund´s shareholders are investors linked to IESE who wish to support the entrepreneurial activity of the students and alumni of the school. They include Jan Borgonjon, founder and president of Interchina Consulting; Hermes Growth Partners, a tech-focused venture capital firm; and IESE professor Pedro Nueno.
Professor Alberto Fernández Terricabras will manage the fund and the president will be Spain’s former minister of science and technology, Anna Maria Birulés.
The fund comes as Spanish business schools “begin to buzz with entrepreneurship”.
According to a recent Financial Times ranking, 26% of MBA students from Spanish schools end up founding companies. That puts Spain ahead of every country, including the US.