The bank will contribute 67 million to the 100-million-euro fund it will create with Inveready Asset Management. The fund will be Spain’s biggest venture debt fund.

The bank will sign collaboration agreements with key agents, associations, innovation centres, incubators and investors, gaining access to 7,000 startups.

Santander will also have teams of expert managers at all Work Cafes, as well as representatives at its main entrepreneurship hubs in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Valencia and Bilbao.

Santander, 18 September 2023.
Banco Santander is launching a full suite of products and services for innovative, scalable startups and companies that show growth potential. On top of financial solutions adapted to each stage of the startup growth cycle, the bank will offer measures to support companies’ development, helping boost Spain's innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Initiatives include creating a 100-million-euro fund in partnership with Inveready, a large independent asset manager specializing in alternative assets and leading Spain’s market for venture debt, financing for fledgling startups in exchange for a small stake. Santander’s initial contribution to the fund will be 67 million euros. The remaining 33 million will come from Inveready and other investors, making it the biggest venture debt fund in Spain.

The fund will be for capital-efficient tech and high-growth enterprises that have already been through at least one round of financing and can reach a certain profit threshold in the medium term. Financing will range from 500,000 to 5 million euros, to fund growth flexibly and minimize share dilution.

Founded in 2008, Inveready is one of Spain’s leading private equity managers. With its HQ in San Sebastian and offices in Madrid and Barcelona, it has over 1 billion euros in AuM following diverse strategies. In its 12-year history, it has developed three successful venture debt funds and a portfolio of more than 100 companies.

Through Santander Corporate & Investment Banking (Santander CIB), the bank puts its global capacity at the service of companies that have raised over 5 million euros and are looking to scale their business or expand internationally. Its debt products tailors to the needs of startups and scaleups at various stages of maturity, with specialist advisory services in M&A, IPOs, debt structuring and the search for international strategic investors. Through Santander Growth, the bank is enhancing corporate services for SMEs, offering the same global capabilities and investment banking advice as offered to large companies, with teams of local experts in all its markets and artificial intelligence tools that enable them to make key decisions for growth.

For startups that are in the “seed” and “early” stages (most of which are yet to achieve a positive EBTIDA) have little collateral — but do have capital — and need financial support, the bank offers tailored credit lines to help them get off the ground, with a unique risk circuit and channel adapted to startups. The offer also includes account opening, online banking on the business customer website and app, and direct debits, remittances and transfers.

According to Ángel Rivera, CEO of Santander España: “We’re delighted with the launch of this proposition for startups. Entrepreneurs will have access to a range of solutions that help them not only get off the ground but also grow faster, which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on Spain's innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. With initiatives like this and Santander Growth, we’re reaffirming our position as a leader in helping companies, regardless of size or stage in their life cycle, with the most complete financial and non-financial proposition in the market”.

Beyond finance

Santander rounds off its startups proposition with non-financial items such as access to its 26 Work Cafés in Spain. Work Cafes are collaborative spaces where customers and non-customers can work, hold meetings, attend events, and get advice from startup specialists. The bank will also have leading figures in central services, at its 152 enterprise banking branches and in its main entrepreneurship hubs in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Valencia and Bilbao to coordinate the special startup teams.

The startups can also become members of Santander X, Banco Santander’s global social impact initiative to support entrepreneurs. Santander X helps entrepreneurs, startups, scaleups and SME find opportunity, strengthen and grow. It offers entrepreneurs high-quality training, advice and resources, financial prizes and global challenges for outstanding ventures, and access to a global community of mentors, investors, entrepreneurs and experts.

Santander X offers customers and non-customer entrepreneurs free services, from the initial stages of brainstorming and market launch, to growth and international expansion. It helps over 1,000 projects in Spain each year.

Companies also can use the online platform Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub. It is designed to support entrepreneurs and startups at all stages of development, with free access to technological resources and expert advice on product launch.

Banco Santander will also support startups with other tools that are already available to its corporate customers, such as a search, processing and management service for state aid and NextGenEU funds through the and Santander Trade platforms, to help with expansion outside Spain. 

As a show of its commitment to startups, the bank plans to sign collaboration agreements with key agents, associations, innovation centres, incubators and venture builders, with access to 7,000 startups.

Alternative financing for growth

Banco Santander has been reinforcing its commitment to the growth of companies at different stages of their life cycle for years. In 2014, it created Fondo Smart, a fund for companies at a more advanced stage than startups that offers long-term financing and support for strategic growth, sustainability, innovation, digitalization and job creation. Almost 10 years later, it has invested more than 800 million euros, helping 200 companies grow. Some companies, like Innovamat (innovative maths teaching), have scaled up at high rates. Some have even become listed, including Wallbox, a manufacturer and distributor of chargers for electric cars.

Another success story is Tresmares, a financing platform the bank launched in 2020. Tresmares also aims to support high-growth SMEs through capital and tailor-made financing (especially direct lending). Tresmares has a presence in Portugal, Spain and the UK.