Jose María Castillejo, CEO, & Founder Zinkia MBA, Class of 1988
My entrepreneurial journey began when I was a kid watching my grandfather’s example of the daily life of an entrepreneur. By the time I finished my MBA, I already had my first company running. It was a great success during its first two years, but it went bankrupt in its third year! It was a good first lesson. Over the last 25 years, I’ve started and sold companies in different sectors: distribution, agricultural process and biotech, fashion and design, construction and energy, and now I’m extremely happy with Zinkia, the company we found in 2001 that created Pocoyó and many other animated characters for kids and preschoolers. We created a global company from scratch, which means that we are competing on a global stage against the “big guys” in the entertainment industry. Nonetheless, we have won many important awards, and we fight every day for the quality of our creations, for the smile of our clients, and of course, for growth. Within the next two years, 90% of our income will come from outside of Spain, and we will have two more great properties supporting Pocoyó, as we continue our expansion into becoming a global entertainment company.
Miguel Arias, CEO & Founder IMASTE Venture Lab Alumni & Mentor Part-time MBA, Class of 2005
I founded IMASTE in 2004 while still a part-time MBA candidate. Although IMASTE’s initial focus was on organizing live career fairs to bridge the gap between companies seeking talented employees and university graduates, we are now the European leader in the organization of virtual events and fairs, with more than 100 successful events delivered in more than 10 countries. I am a civil engineer by training, so before coming to IE Business School, I knew very little about marketing, human resources, strategy, etc. But my MBA experience prepared me to overcome the problems and challenges of a start-up’s initial phases by strengthening my capacity to analyze, execute and adapt the original business idea. Sharing ideas with other entrepreneurial students, teachers and mentors was essential to my evolution. IE Business School’s powerful investor and entrepreneur network also provided us with invaluable early feedback that both enhanced our company’s chances of early survival and eventually laid the groundwork for our successful expansion into Europe and the United States. As an active member of IE Business School’s entrepreneurial community, I also currently serve as a member of the Venture Lab’s Selection Committee and as a mentor to student entrepreneurs in the Venture Lab.
For more information about IMASTE, please go to: www.imaste-ips.com
Miguel Braz, Ignacio Garcia de Quevedo, Stephen Graziano & Sung Ha Lee, Founders Social Fish Venture Lab Alumni IMBA, Class of 2010
Since winning the Venture Lab competition in May 2010, we have been actively involved in first-round funding and prototype creation. Our project, Social-Fish, is a web application that allows users to create profiles and receive targeted ads as they surf the web. The proceeds from the online ads fund microfinance projects chosen by the Social-Fish user. It’s a great way for Internet users to receive discounts from advertisers and support social projects without actually donating their own money. Winning the Venture Lab competition brought much credibility -- and more importantly, investment opportunities -- to our project, both in Europe and in the USA. We attended IE Business School precisely because of its renowned entrepreneurial culture. The Venture Lab allowed us to bring our idea to life. When we present our business plan to investors, we know that finance professors who are active venture capitalists have vetted our financials and that field professionals have assessed our market research.
Gonzalo Castellano Benlloch & Philipp Hasskamp, Founders City Deal Iberia Venture Lab Mentor IMBA, Class of 2009
We are co-founders of CityDeal S.L.U., currently the fastest growing company in the Internet space. Our friendship and future partnership started after we studied in the same section. In February 2010, shortly after finishing the IMBA, the Samwer brothers (German serial entrepreneurs) offered us the chance to found the Spanish branch of CityDeal. A few months later, Groupon acquired CityDeal to form the world’s leading social commerce site, offering one great deal, everyday, in more than 170 cities across Europe, the US and Latin America. Our MBAs not only provided us with many concepts and experiences that we later used in starting up our company, but also allowed us to nourish ourselves within a strong entrepreneurial environment flourishing with innovative ideas. Moreover, it allowed us to establish ties with other students and teachers who then have supported us in our journey. Since graduating from IE, we have also gotten to know the larger entrepreneurial community thanks, in part, to networking events and speaker series sponsored by the Venture Lab. In our fast expansion, we count and will count on the support of many people thatw e met at IE Business School and that are now, in some way or another, part of our organization.
For more information about CityDeal - Groupon, please go to: www.groupon.es
Claus Biernoth, Ian Paterson, and Philippe Remise, Founders Respiro, Venture Lab Alumni IXMBA, Class of 2008
Respiro Car Sharing was born in the Venture Lab. During our MBA, we became increasingly interested in the commercialization of green technologies as an ingenious way of doing well by doing good. Respiro is the first car-sharing company in the center of Madrid. We offer an all-inclusive, e-based, pay-as-you-go service for 0,15 € per minute. Respiro empowers people to make smart economical and ecological transportation choices, and gives access without ownership, wheels when you want them. We are part of a global phenomenon of transforming modern cities into more sustainable environments.
For more information about Respiro Car Sharing, please go to: www.respiromadrid.es
Marino Giocondi, Suzanne O’Brien, Henry Okafor and Fabio Pisi Vitagliano, IMBA, Class of 2010
While we were students at IE Business School, we established the Foundation for African Leadership in Business, which creates MBA scholarships for African students, partnering with universities, corporations and other NGOs for funding. At IE Business School, entrepreneurial spirit is infused in every interaction among students, professors, staff and alumni, and that spirit inspired us to create our foundation. Gayle Allard, our economics professor, not only helped us develop the idea, but also put us in touch with world-famous foundations. Laura in the bookstore helped us to find a printer. Victoria in Alumni Relations introduced us to key alumni, and Dean Santiago Iñiguez invited us to a very private dinner with an important leader in the world of foundations. Thanks in large part to this continuing support, we have established partnerships with several organizations, including IE Business School, and have already created 2 scholarships for African citizens.
For more information about the ALB Foundation, please visit www.albfoundation.org
Teresa Gonzalo, CEO & Founder Ambiox Biotech Venture Lab Alumni IE Master in Biotechnology Management, class of 2009
My passion for medicine and my desire to continue learning led me to undertake the MBM in 2008, with the vision of founding a biotech company with colleagues at my research lab. Our product aims to help prevent the spread of HIV. IE Business School’s entrepreneurial spirit combined with the MBM’s integrative vision helped transform our scientific discoveries into a successful biotech venture, Ambiox Biotech. The MBM helped me develop my leadership, marketing and business management skills. This dual training is essential, given that biotech entrepreneurs must be fluent in the different languages expressed in the scientific and business worlds. In addition, because biotech start-ups need investors to survive, the training in finance and managing venture capital was key, as are the introductions and opportunities to present to biotech venture capitalists that we have received thanks to the Venture Lab.
Drury E. MacKenzie, CEO & Founder RenewEn Venture Lab Alumni IMBA, Class of 2009
I came to IE Business School because of the Venture Lab. My company, RenewEn, is a smart energy solutions provider, committed to providing everyone everywhere with cost-effective and technology-appropriate clean energy systems. At IE Business School, I was enveloped in an unbeatable entrepreneurial ecosystem formed by diverse and globally minded professors and students who helped me to transform my idea into a company. Without the support of my classmates (Kannan, Vitaliy Bubka, Ashutosh, Agrawal, Carlos Morodo, Ajibade Ogunbiyi and Andre Franciss), RenewEn might never have been born. My finance professor (and Venture Lab mentor), Paz Ambrosy, helped me to develop a partnership with one of the world’s largest renewable energy companies, and we are also about to engage two customers in Haiti for small-scale renewable energy systems and water-purification systems. IE Business School has helped me to make my dream – RenewEn – a reality.
Damià Tormo, Ph.D, CEO & Founder BiOncoTech Venture Lab Alumni Master in Biotechnology Management 2010
After intense research in various labs in Spain, Germany and the USA, I led a discovery on new molecular strategies to induce a targeted auto-degradation of malignant melanoma cells. Our results received international praise, because melanoma is almost incurable, and effective treatments have been elusive. We published our findings in prestigious scientific journals, and I was poised to continue accumulating theoretical knowledge. But I resolved that it was time to translate our data into clinical reality, and I joined IE Business School. I am still amazed that a part-time degree can provide so many tools and connections to prepare entrepreneurs to overcome leadership, marketing and business management challenges. We have launched BiOncotech, a start-up with international projection that targets melanoma and other (orphan) cancers. Through the Venture Academy, I have met investors specialized in biotech and I am working with a mentor to further develop our market objectives. Within just a few months, we have attracted public and private funds and are ready to embark on the clinical development of our product.
Entrepreneurship at IE
IE Business School shapes leaders who promote innovation and change in organizations, equipping directors with an entrepreneurial mindset that generates employment, wealth and social wellbeing. Since its inception, IE Business School has embraced the entrepreneurial spirit as a core value, and is now an international reference in the field of entrepreneurship. The School’s International Centre for Entrepreneurial Management serves as a hub for all activities related to the field, both academic and corporate.