A Venture Builder is a company that specializes in launching new high-impact initiatives with the potential for exponential growth alongside people with an entrepreneurial spirit. The Venture Builder helps the entrepreneurial team by detecting business opportunities, offering human and technical support over the company’s first few years of life, and making an initial financial contribution.
How our Venture Builder program works
How does our Venture Builder work?
At Zubi Labs, our program is different due to three key aspects:
- Zubi Labs Impact Venture Builder specializes in creating companies with a triple impact: those seeking not only to generate economic profits but also seeking to create social and environmental value.
- We contribute up to one million euros in series A funding (in other words, for the idea validation period and the company’s pre-seed and seed financing phases).
- We offer a higher shareholding stake to the entrepreneurial team than is kept by the Venture Builder, even after the first two investment rounds.
What is a cofounder?
It’s a person with an entrepreneurial spirit who is interested in joining the founding team of a new company created under the protection of Zubi Labs Impact:
- A person who wants to create a company to reach unicorn status (€1 billion in value in just a few years and 1 billion people who benefit from a positive social or environmental impact).
- A person who joins the founding team of a new company with a business model that’s been tested for a prior period of 3 to 6 months and which can already provide metrics proving its feasibility. This founding team must be comprised by at least two people: a CEO and another officer whose role may vary depending on the business needs (CTO, COO, CMO…).
- A person who is never happy with the status quo, is optimist, is a fighter, is persuasive, rigorous and creative, and knows how to lead a team, attract and retain talent and has a vocation for creating a positive impact on the world.
What type of entrepreneur does Zubi Labs look for?
Our main requirement is that you must have an enterprising attitude, not an employee attitude. Ideally, you have already started some type of business in the past and/or have completed an MBA program at a prestigious renowned school or have worked for a leading consulting firm.
Ideally, we look for people who:
– Have a vital need to create their own company and want to do so in collaboration with other entrepreneurs.
– Have prior experience managing products and teams at startups / scale-ups or relevant experience at a leading consulting firm, investment bank or well-known venture capital fund.
– Have launched a startup before, meeting at least some of these requirements:
- Brought in at least 1 million euros in turnover
- Raised +2 million euros
- Created a team of +10 employees
– Have an analytical mind and “doer” attitude. They work in a structured, goals-based manner autonomously.
What are the phases in the Zubi Labs venture creation process?
The venture creation process is comprised of four phases:
– Phase 1: Idea / analysis and definition of opportunities:
The Zubi Group team identifies potential business opportunities (for good and for profit), generating a pool of potential projects. Ideally, we focus on native digital business models that are asset light (although not necessarily) and scalable. We try to leverage on Zubi Group assets and know-how to create synergies with the group’s other business divisions (Zubi Cities, Zubi Education, Hands-on Impact, Zubi Capital, other ventures…), meaning we’re particularly interested in these vertical areas:
- Climate – tech
- Construction – tech
- Sustainability Marketplaces
The people responsible for getting the opportunity in the idea phase to continue to the next phase are known as Managing Directors and they specialize in vertical areas.
– Phase 2: MVP / validation of the opportunity
MVP refers to “minimum viable product”. The aim of this validation phase is to test the new business activity or opportunity to ensure it can withstand a competitive market. To do so, there is a trial period of 3 to 6 months during which the Zubi Managing Director acts as the provisional CEO of the new venture. There are several aims for this phase:
- to meet certain business and impact KPIs (for example, a viable customer acquisition cost)
- to produce certain deliverables such as a product prototype or the first agreements with customers signed online with the CAC
- the first contacts with specialist VC funds to get feedback on the opportunity and any possible future interest.
… as well as other deliverables associated with the impact such as the Theory of Change, among others.
During this validation phase, Zubi Labs makes our shared teams (marketing, technology, finance, people…) and €40,000 per business opportunity (for ads, SEM, telemarketing, sales or other MVP-related expenses) available to the MD.
We know potential CEOs/cofounders value being able to already rely on a team that specializes in the business in question not to mention the fact that their knowledge is critical when it comes to validating certain business models. Therefore, when launching the MVP, the specialist sometimes joins the project during the project validation phase months.
– Phase 3: Company constitution, Pre-seed:
Once the first indications of a business opportunity are confirmed and at least two cofounders are available and ready to get started, the company is constituted. These people will take on the CEO role and another role which depends on the business (CMO, CTO, COO…). Ideally, they are two people with powerful business backgrounds so the operations are not affected when the company is in “funding” mode or when opening up to new markets.
As soon as the company is constituted, Zubi Labs invests €300,000 in the company. Public funding is also requested to complete the investment. Likewise, convertible loans may be requested from among our network of co-investors.
After this, the new company begins operating and the goals of this phase are mainly:
- to demonstrate traction with expected business KPIs to move on to the seed phase (CAC, client cohorts, LTV, eNPS, etc.)
- to demonstrate a positive environmental and/or social impact
- to build the complete basic team so the business will be fundable in the following round.
To do so, the cofounders receive support from our shared teams (who help make everything go must faster) and our Managing Directors who will help them with the day-to-day operations. This phase lasts approximately 12 to 15 months.
From the time the company is constituted, the cofounders will receive a salary allowing them financial autonomy in line with comparable salaries at other startups in the market.
– Phase 4: Seed, product-market fit
Once the business feasibility has been proven and the startup is clearly on the path towards a product-market fit, Zubi Labs offers a term sheet to lead a €2 million seed funding round with an investment of €700,000. Zubi Labs will help the founding team complete the round with its network of co-investors. The cofounders may also search for outside investors in the market who may offer better terms than Zubi Labs on its term sheet.
During this phase, you’ll still be able to rely on the Zubi Group shared teams and our Managing Directors to help you focus on what’s important: confirming you can set up a unicorn that makes a positive social and/or environmental impact. This phase lasts approximately 12 to 18 months. At the end of this phase, the founding team will continue to hold a majority of the equity.
– Phase 5: Series A
By this point, you’re ready to be independent. We’ll help you find finding, but we believe it’s now time for you to have the necessary teams onboard (we’ll help you through the transition from a shared team to your own teams), and for other investors to be able to lead the business development with more lung power… until you become a unicorn 😉
You’ll continue to receive support from our Managing Directors, yet with less dedication than before.
How does Zubi Labs help cofounders?
Zubi Labs supports the cofounders team in several ways:
- By identifying business opportunities: our strategy team is responsible for analyzing international trends in different industries, and will provide you with an opportunity that has already reached certain maturity since it has passed the MVP or validation phase.
- By providing support several hours a week from a Zubi Labs Managing Director (serial entrepreneur), who has worked as an “interim CEO” for the venture throughout months of idea validation: he/she knows the business well, the risks, the threats, and the key factors for success. He/she has experience previously launching startups and you may share all your concerns with him/her, debate new opportunities, attend meetings…
- By making our shared teams available to you to help you and easily get the work done: experts in digital marketing, technology, finance, people, design, communication and branding, public funding, investor relations and business development, legal affairs…
- With funding of up to 1 million euros to start up your business.
What exactly are these shared teams?
Our shared teams are made up of more than 30 Zubi Group specialists with expertise in different areas: digital marketing, technology, product, finance, people, design, operations, communication and branding, public funding, investor relations and business development, legal affairs, among others.
They are made available to the cofounders team to quickly grow and be able to rely on top talent from the very beginning.
Why does Zubi Labs offer shared teams?
According to data from GSSN (the largest Venture Builders international association), startups that come out of a Venture Builder (also known as a Startup Studio) have better success rates: more than double the return on investment, and they take less than half the time to reach series A than startups founded independently from scratch.
We’re convinced that providing shared teams can help you get your business to series A all while reducing the execution times and costs. We help you with top talent and best practices so you can focus on what matters most: achieving a product-market fit with the peace of mind of knowing that you are in good hands for everything else.
In addition to our shared teams, we have a network of quality collaborators to support you if you have a higher demand in a certain area until you can add specialists full-time to your team.
How much does Zubi Labs get involved with its startups?
Besides providing funding, the Zubi Labs Managing Directors team will dedicate at least one day a week to each startup. Nonetheless, this dedication varies based on the business needs at any given time. Additionally, all of our shared teams’ talent is focused on getting our startups up and running.
Do you follow any particular methodology?
Iker Marcaide, the founder of Zubi Group, was the first Spanish entrepreneur to take a startup to Nasdaq.
Our Managing Directors also have prior experience setting up and selling several startups. We follow business innovation and creation methods taught at the best international business schools which are followed by the most successful startups around the world.
Even still, we trust in you to lead your startup as you deem appropriate: we’re here to help.
Can a cofounder develop their own business idea or is Zubi Labs the one that suggests the opportunity detected?
We would prefer you come to us without a business proposal. However, we’re flexible and listen and will evaluate any opportunity that may fit with our Venture Builder model. If you have a team, idea and/or a product, you can present your opportunity here: firstname.lastname@example.org
How does the cofounder selection process work?
We like long-term relationships. That’s why we want to get to know each other for a few months before starting a company together. First off, you’ll have an interview with our People team and before adding you to the new venture, you’ll meet our Managing Directors, our CEO and Iker Marcaide. We’ll ask you to sign a confidentiality agreement. It can all be as streamlined as you need.
What type of startups does Zubi Labs launch?
Only startups with a positive social and/or environmental impact. In other words: startups “for good and for profit”.
For example, we wouldn’t launch a generic construction marketplace but we could launch a construction-tech SaaS that enhances sustainability, facilitating the circular economy of construction-generated waste. In fact, we have already launched one 😉
In which sectors are these startups?
Our startups must contribute to achieving one or more of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
What is an impact startup?
It’s one that not only creates value for its customers, but also for all stakeholders including society and the planet. That’s why its management is not only governed by economic metrics, but also social and environmental ones.
Why start a business with Zubi Labs?
Firstly, because you’re motivated by the social impact. We think we can help create a better world and fight for it. With social impact, we mean “for good and for profit”. Together, we want to launch companies making an impact which eventually become unicorns.
Secondly, because it’s the structure we would have liked when we started our first businesses: talent available from the very first day to support you and capital available in the initial phases in order to focus on the main goal: attaining a product-market fit.
Thirdly, because the capital structure we offer you makes it possible to grow and scale in future rounds, and we think it’s the fairest way: you continue to have more capital than us, and you can distribute a bit of that capital to us as the third cofounder knowing that our shared teams and Managing Directors are there from the beginning and not only as members of the board; they’re right there listening and supporting you throughout the process. We know just how hard it is to start a business.
Finally, because we think there are very few opportunities for you to share your business with an entrepreneur who has taken his company to the Nasdaq, and with other people who have set up, scaled and sold their companies in the past.
Who is behind Zubi Labs?
Zubi Labs was created by Iker Marcaide. Iker founded Flywire after finishing his MBA at MIT in Boston. Flywire was first listed on Nasdaq in 2021, with a value of USD 3.3 billion.
Upon returning to his native Valencia, he couldn’t find a school he liked for his children so he diced to open the Imagine Montessori School. Then, he decided to design a sustainable neighborhood. Afterwards, a construction waste management company and then Zubi Labs: our Venture Builder for companies making a positive impact. Finally, he consolidated all of his impact investments in a holding company known as Zubi Group.
Nowadays, the group has more than 200 employees. You can read about us at www.zubi.group.
How is Zubi Labs different from other Venture Builder programs?
As mentioned in greater detail under the question ‘Why start a business with Zubi Labs?’:
- the positive social and/or environmental impact
- the guidance all the way to series A from our shared teams and Managing Directors
- the higher capital we contribute to the entrepreneurial team
- the fact that two entrepreneurs are on our team who have both taken their companies to the Nasdaq
How is Zubi Labs different from other venture capital funds?
Zubi Labs could actually be considered a venture capital fund since it leads the first two investment rounds with up to a total of 1 million euros.
Besides that, we offer:
- the initial business opportunity
- a team to support and accompany you each day all the way to series A
- our network of co-investors
- a series of perks and credits for your business (server credit, software discounts, etc.)
What is the Zubi Labs culture like?
Our mission and vision: To make positive contributions to solve social and environmental challenges through local action, mobilizing talent and investment to create and invest in companies and help our community and our customers continue along the path towards sustainability so that, together, we may achieve a better future.
Our corporate values:
- Purpose and commitment as a lifestyle
- Constructive non-conformism that is action and impact-oriented
- An open and integrating people-centered ecosystem
- We take charge of our destiny as proactive, self-learning people with resolve. We’re daring and frugal, achieving more with less.
If you’d like to get to know us better, you can find our manifesto here.
What does a Zubi Labs Managing Director do?
The Zubi Labs Managing Director is a key figure in the launch of our Venture Builder startups. His/her role and dedication vary based on the startup phase:
- During the idea phase, he/she works with the Zubi Group Head of Strategy to identify business opportunities. Together, they prepare the first business opportunity deliverables (investors deck, a first financial plan, a rough draft of the customer discovery…) and an impact analysis.
- During the MVP phase, the MD acts as the full-time interim CEO for the venture for at least 3 months. During this period, he/she will work to reach certain business and impact KPIs as the arguments for validating the opportunity and move on to the next phase (constitution of the limited liability company), and produce certain deliverables (product prototype, first agreements with customers) as well as the first contacts with VC funds. Their role is also key when hiring the initial team.
- During the pre-seed and seed phases, he/she will dedicate at least one day a week to each startup depending on the phase in which each startup is in and their needs. Their support is equivalent to that of just another cofounder as they can provide support with the customer discovery, value proposition, business strategy, sales support, funding round support, company scaling, support with negotiations with suppliers, customers and investors…
Does Zubi Labs have an investment fund?
The Zubi Group has a seed venture capital fund and a venture debt fund, which are part of Zubi Capital. These two funds are, however, independent of Zubi Labs, and they do not invest in Zubi Labs companies.
Zubi Labs investment in your future startup
How is the capital of a Zubi Labs startup distributed?
Upon constituting the company, Zubi Labs invests €300,000 meaning it receives shares as if an investor or venture capital fund.
In addition to this, Zubi Labs takes on the role of cofounder meaning full support and backing prior to the company’s constitution and for a minimum of the first 2 years (during the pre-seed and seed phase) until it reaches series A.
This cofounder role is justified by:
- the initial contribution of business opportunities and the work done by the Head of Strategy during the business validation phase
- the monetary contribution prior to the constitution of the company, the Managing Director and shared teams during the MVP phase (up to €40,000 per business opportunity)
- the contributions by the shared teams involved during the pre-seed and seed phase
- a network of contacts and co-investors as well as a clear capitalist guidance roadmap for the first 2 years
- weekly guidance by a Managing Director, a series entrepreneur who has already been through the different phases of a startup
The entrepreneurial team will still have the majority share of the initial capital plus the Zubi Labs capital until it reaches series A.
How much does Zubi Labs invest in each round?
- €40,000 in the validation phase
- €300,000 upon constituting the company
- €700,000 in the seed round, leading a €2 million round
Why not seek direct investment from Business Angels or Venture Capital?
Working with Zubi Labs and raising investor capital are not compatible. In fact, you will need outside funding to complete the investment round as of the Seed series. However, we believe that starting out with Zubi Labs offers major advantages as it allows greater flexibility between investment rounds, there are more possibilities of success, you receive guidance from the very beginning and you have guaranteed funding in the initial phases when it’s harder to find investors to lead the funding rounds.
Plus, it will allow you to focus on the business and your customers from the early phases instead of having to be worried about raising funds.
I have investors interested. Can they invest from the very beginning?
We offer the opportunity for them to enter with a convertible note from the beginning with a discount on the seed round, which should be closed some 12-15 months after the company is constituted.
What conditions are applied in the partnership agreement?
Upon constituting the company, the cofounders are the company directors. There is certain account control and the typical clauses you find in investment contracts to prevent poor practices (for example, a progressive salary is agreed based on the capital increase rounds and there is an expenditure cap above which approval from Zubi Labs is needed). But the success of the company will depend on the team of cofounders, who lead the company and hold the majority of the capital.
A board of directors is formed during the seed round with Zubi Labs represented. We only want to reserve a portion of the capital allocated to the promotion team for key employees the company may need. Even still, the promotion team will have more equity than Zubi Labs after the seed round.
When is the funding provided by Zubi Labs disbursed?
The first €40,000 for the validation phase is disbursed from the Zubi Labs parent company.
Upon constituting the company, Zubi Labs automatically invests €300,000 in the company. Zubi Labs will exercise certain periodical control over the company as would any venture capital fund.
Upon constituting the company, we’ll help you request the same sum through public funding. These funds can nonetheless take several months to enter a bank account depending on the application date and process. In addition to all of this, we have a network of co-investors who may be interested in contributing a convertible loan with some type of discount on the following round. For all of this, we estimate you could have up to €700,000 in this first phase of the company.
Of this €300,000 in initial capital we contribute, up to €5,000/month per cofounder must be earmarked for the entrepreneurial team’s salaries.
If the metrics are good, we’ll lead the €2 million seed round with €700,000. Several of our co-investors may accompany us in this round and it may be possible to apply for more public aid as mentioned above.
After that, the entrepreneurial team must search for the rest of the company’s funding. However, we’ll always be there willing to help and accompany you throughout the process.