To start-up or not to start-up, that is the question. Tips from entrepreneurs, and why we should listen to them

13 of October of 2016

Sometimes, even if you have a great idea, it’s difficult to go the extra mile and invest time, effort and money in your dream, your project. It could be claimed that the world of technology and the life stories of the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Kevin Systrom have inspired many of today’s entrepreneurs. With or without a garage, [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]many (technological) entrepreneurs have emerged all around the world, far from Silicon Valley.[/inlinetweet]

Large multinationals see cooperation with start-ups as an opportunity to open up innovation and engage dedicated project developers in a young, fresh and very geeky atmosphere.

Which is why participation of both multinationals and start-ups in events such as Hackathon, Pasión>ie or South Summit (the latter was held from 5th to 7th October in Madrid) is crucial for learning of new technologies and developments which boost relationships and business for both. But it also allows us to hear the stories behind the entrepreneurs closest to us. Perceived needs which act as a trigger for one person, or a small group of persons, to devise an app, a website or a device which will in turn help more people.

The stories of start-ups working with Ferrovial

In every innovation event it has attended, Ferrovial has identified exciting projects which can in some way or other revolutionise the traditional way of doing things, whether that’s work processes or the solution to specific problems. Many of these ideas which emerged from everyday situations have also been recognised by the juries of Pasión>ie or South Summit.

Madrid Smart Parking

No doubt you will more than once have had to drive around endlessly looking for a place to park the car. Ferrovial, together with Madrid Town Council and the start-up Apparcar (Spanish for parking: aparcar), piloted the revolutionary project Madrid Smart Parking, which allowed users to reserve a free parking space through the mobile app Apparcar. José Luis Leirós, CEO of the start-up, said in an interview that the idea came to him while thinking about parking problems and their consequences from a macro perspective.

“Every day hundreds of millions of drivers look for a parking space in a very inefficient manner. I researched solutions currently in the pipeline, such as sensors, but was convinced by none of them. I wondered if there was some way in which a driver could know whether there was a free space in a certain street without having to install hardware. This question led to the birth of Apparcar.” 


Did you know that a sprained ankle was what made Concha Chapa wonder whether cities were really accessible and adapted? That was how she came to develop Accitymaps, the app that aspires to be the “Google Maps” –i.e. a route planner– for people with disabilities, reduced mobility, or even parents pushing prams. After some time in the market, the founder stated in an interview that what makes her proud is

“knowing that you are making people’s lives easier. That’s what they’re telling us. We’re thrilled when they speak of the service provided by the App and say: ‘…this is something that was really needed’.”


Fed up of complaining about prices? Do you want to bargain and get somebody to accept your proposal? The solution: Acuerdalo.com, a website that allows you to fix the price of the product you want to buy. And the best thing is that it’s not an auction, an end-of-line product or second-hand articles, but new stuff with unlimited stock. When we asked the three founders of this start-up what the best part of being an entrepreneur was and what the most difficult situations were, their reply was that “the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur is learning to manage uncertainty. There are some incredible days, such as winning Pasión>ie, and there are days when things seem a lot more complicated. What matters is having a strong team behind you that you can rely on, and to be always looking to the future with your start-up.”


This is a technology that allows us to manage our comfort zone, i.e., that people who are more sensitive to heat and /or cold can enjoy their ideal temperature without this bothering others. In both summer and winter, one of the most recurring themes in the news is the struggle against the heat or against the cold, air conditioning and heating. And from such a normal, everyday situation came the idea. Lluc Martí, founder and creator of Plactherm, was inspired by those giant puzzles with which children play to develop his solution. “If each of the pieces had its own heating system, we could end up with a very efficient system, heating from the floor up, which is the most comfortable way,” he says.

The remarkable aspect here is the inside of each tile, which is made up of several layers. “A structure incorporating electronics, insulation, several sensors and a resistor element very close to the surface. This allows each tile to provide heat and communicate independently. The system is fitted with an algorithm which allows it to take its own decisions. Lluc Martí explains that

“The system gradually learns from its surroundings and other requirements, providing the most efficient way of reaching the desired parameters.”

South Summit, the most important event for entrepreneurs in the south of Europe

Ferrovial takes part as a Digital Hub partner in one of Europe’s most important events on innovation and entrepreneurs, South Summit, which was held in Madrid from 5th to 7th October 2016. Special guest this year will be Niklas Zennström, cofounder of Skype and founder of Atomico, a company which invests in technological enterprises. This massive event, considered one of the most important in the south of Europe, is organised by entrepreneur María Benjumea. She started off leading by example in the world of technological entrepreneurship back in the nineties, when she created Infoempleo, the first ever Spanish job search web portal. She is currently vicepresident of Círculo de Empresarios, vicepresident of SECOT and founding partner of International Women’s Forum Spain; in addition to president of this international event for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

In an interview during last year’s event, we asked her what had most impressed her about entrepreneurs, and what the common denominator in all of them was. Her reply was that

“Entrepreneurs don’t need to have the same profile at all. There are many different types of entrepreneurs. Not every entrepreneur is the one with the idea. To have a really successful project you need a team… The entrepreneur is not just the person with the idea, the idea is 1% and in order to be successful you need the other 99%, which comes from how it is executed”. And she added: “What really impresses me about entrepreneurs today is their generosity. They are highly collaborative.”

Do you have an idea, a team, and want to start your own business?

If you already have everything you need but are still debating whether to take the next step or not, do read the interviews with our entrepreneurs. We’re sure you’ll see everything in a new perspective and will be inspired to start your project. What they all have in common is trust in their team, and being aware of the importance of setting a target and an objective. They also stress that there are grants available to push your ideas through. Perseverance, patience, the will to succeed and enthusiasm are the defining characteristics of entrepreneurs.

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