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We promote networking among alumni to strengthen business connections, promote new ideas and advance your career.
On November 24th, the ESADE Alumni Barcelona International Chapter held a talk entitled ''The secrets of high-growth companies.'' During this event, Daniel Koppelkamm, an investor partner of Jadeberg Partners Zurich; Reinier Musters, founding partner of Orange Growth Capital; Jeroen Merchiers, Airbnb General Manager for Europe and Russia; and Oriol Sanleandro, Cabify General Manager for Barcelona, discussed high-growth companies and how they achieve it.
The chapter board member Saurabh Prakash Mishra (MBA 10) chaired the talk and the discussions between the speakers and asked them a series of questions about the costs, the results and the philosophy of both investors and entrepreneurs.
Reinier Musters explained that Orange Growth Capital, a fintech established in 2013 with offices in London and Amsterdam, prefers to be the first investor in a project. This enables them to work alongside the entrepreneurs from the early stages when the first returns of the project begin to appear. ''We use the experience of our team and our international network to help the founders scale their companies up,'' he said. They do so by giving companies access to a platform where they can quickly get information about the market, pilot their innovations and access potential customers. Musters believes that people often think that if you grow fast you create value, but is not always the case: ''You have to create a business that is sustainable, because otherwise, too much sacrifice may be needed in proportion to the size of the company. For us, it’s about having a business model that works. We invest in discovering it together.''
Jadeberg Partners, on the other hand, invests its growth capital in private high-growth companies in Europe. Its areas of interest include robotics, resource efficiency, energy efficiency and high-tech materials. It is also working hard on making in-roads in China, America, the Middle East and North Africa. Daniel Koppelkamm emphasized human resources: ''The team is very important, which is why we always look for the right partners for a project. We only invest in teams that have been working together for 5 years. We spend a lot of time giving advice, but if it is not with the right person, coaching doesn´t work.''
Jeroen Merchiers pointed out that sometimes, despite starting with a perfect experience, you then have to go backwards. This is what happened when Airbnb realized that the photos on the platform did not attract users because people were using their mobile-phone cameras to take photos of their places. Hosts can now hire a professional photographer. The markets in which Airbnb operates have two sides, i.e. they must grow both demand (travellers) and supply (hosts). It is much harder to grow the supply side because people take time to feel comfortable about opening their homes up to strangers. As Merchiers explains: ''We wanted to grow rather than be profitable, so we prioritized geographic expansion. Now we are going to create new services and products and we have a business unit that focuses solely on growth.''
As for the importance of its human resources, Merchiers thinks that Airbnb is a good place to work and that it attracts a lot of talent thanks to its specific work methodology and its open mind, which is willing to invest in its corporate culture.
Cabify is already one of the main forms of city transport in Peru, Mexico, Chile and Colombia. Founded in 2011 with Silicon Valley funds, Cabify has already raised more than US$ 140 million in several investment rounds. It is active in 13 countries and its managers plan to increase its turnover to US$ 200 million and continue growing throughout Latin America and Spain. Cabify’s success, according to Oriol Sanleandro, is due to its obsession to offer the best service: ''Security is very important, particularly in South America, and people trust us.'' As for finances, he has no doubt that ''If the numbers make sense, we’re happy.''
The ability to be passionate, to think about who is going to buy your goods and services, to learn from your mistakes, to find the right partners, to keep costs under control or to just do it were some of the final recommendations that the speakers shared with the audience.
Non-members: 40 euros
Don’t miss this event followed by a networking cocktail!
Please save the date and register to book your seat. Partners and business contacts are also welcome and you can register them as guests.
Hope to see you there!
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