WIDERPOOL, The Global Innovation Brokers GLOBAL INNOVATION BROKERS, Add Roberto Saint-Maló and Gonzalo Martínez de Azagra, To Their Global Investment Committee
Madrid, 25 September 2017
WiderPool, the global innovation brokerage, welcomes two new members to its newly formed Investment Committee. Roberto Sant-Maló and Gonzalo Martínez de Azagra will lead WiderPool team’s exploring investments in some of the world’s most innovative early growth-stage tech startups with a specific focus on their capabilities to collaborate with WiderPool’s growing list of innovation-seeking corporate partners. In addition to managing the growth of WiderPool’s portfolio of technology companies, the Investment Committee will build relationships with a global pool of angel investors and corporate co-investors to join WiderPool’s regulated fund of investments.
WiderPool CEO Juan Carlos Fouz mentioned a few key areas where the Investment Committee’s goals will be bolstered with the two additions to the team. “Both Roberto and Gonzalo bring unique experiences to WiderPool from some of the key core focus areas of the WiderPool model – corporate venturing and the startup ecosystem. Gonzalo Martínez de Azagra played a key role at Samsung Ventures and is extremely familiar with the processes and different approaches that major corporations take to exploring innovation through tech partnerships. Among many roles, Roberto Saint-Melo brings 20 years of VC investment experience with an emphasis on scaling tech companies from the early to growth stage. We feel that this is a huge step in our investment strategy as we are finalizing our next investments into a few tech companies that we’re currently in the final stages of selecting in collaboration with 2 major corporate entities in the US and EU”.
Touching on his experience at Samsung and the challenges that corporations face when trying to innovate, Gonzalo Martínez de Azagra commented “Open Innovation is an art. There is a delicate balance between doing too much and too little, especially when an organization is new to Open Innovation. Executive support to Open Innovation and long-term commitment are critical, but so is a specific cultural mindset that takes time to set into the organization. Many failures in corporate/startup partnerships are as a consequence of cultural differences or styles, not technical inability.”
With a view to WiderPool’s goal of matching growth-stage technology companies with much larger innovation-seeking corporates, Roberto Sant-Melo has keyed in on some of the biggest hurdles for tech companies in their efforts to scale and match up with corporations as customers. “One big hurdle I’ve seen many times is the different clock-speeds. Larger players tend to operate at slower places – many times with good reason. At Wider Pool we’ll hopefully be able to not only select good partners, but do so while committing to realistic value-creating commercial plans.”
WiderPool was founded in 2015 by serial entrepreneur Ignacio Macias, founder of Spain’s leading technology accelerator, Top Seeds Lab, and Adarsh Radia, a serial entrepreneur in a number of industries ranging from restaurants to telecommunications to wearable technology. They set about to address the inefficiencies facing key stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem. Technology startups generally face difficulties with business development and spend an inordinate amount of time and resources on securing funding. On the other end of the spectrum, larger more established corporations suffered when it came to innovating their existing business models or acquiring new technology. WiderPool came about as a new generation of enablers that address this supply/demand imbalance in the world of innovation. They act as a proactive VC investor to technology businesses providing funding as well as connecting them to customer bases (corporations) that are seeking their innovation. To the corporate, WiderPool acts very much like a corporate venturing or technology curation arm, working hand in hand to deliver new growth opportunities to an established business.
WiderPool has office presence in London, Madrid and New York and is supported by a global network of over 50 advisory board members, all of whom are leading industry and technology vertical experts.
Mr. Roberto Saint-Malo has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles in direct equity investment and company-building efforts. The 19 investments he has championed during this time – such as Eyesquad, the earlier opto-electronics venture by the Corephotonics founding team – have returned capital many times over. He founded BetaAngels in 2011 to invest in compelling venture opportunities and was one of Corephotonics’ initial investors in 2012.
Earlier, Roberto founded the Spanish venture capital firm Adara in 2002, where he served as Managing Partner until 2010. He has been a member of YPO (Young Presidents Organization) since 1992, and received an MBA degree from Harvard University and a BA in Computer Sciences from Dartmouth College (Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors).
Gonzalo Martínez de Azagra
Mr. Gonzalo Martínez de Azagra has over twelve years of technology and venture capital experience. His professional career started at the former Atomic Energy Authority in the United Kingdom as an Electronic Systems Design Engineer. This was followed by an advisory position at PriceWaterhouseCoopers focusing on strategy and investment appraisal. After business school, Gonzalo joined Samsung under the Chairman’s office in Seoul, Korea. After several successful audits and strategy projects he was invited to join Samsung Ventures. Gonzalo was named the Head of the Israel office for Samsung Ventures and led the opening and its successful establishment. His major deals include PrimeSense (Acquired by Apple), Corephotonics, StoreDot, Replay Technologies (Acquired by Intel), Cortica, EarlySense, Rounds (Acquired by Kik), Aveni, Imagry, Scylla. Gonzalo’s board positions included StoreDot, EarlySense, Giraffic, Aveni, Replay Technologies, Corephotonics, Imagry, Pitango VI, Pitango VII and Triventures (FoF).
He completed his MEng degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London and at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecommunications in Paris. He also holds a Bsc in Economics from University of London and complemented his studies with an MBA from University of California at Berkeley.
WiderPool is a global innovation broker that connects ambitious growth-stage tech companies with global corporates looking for innovative technology solutions.
We work with our advisory board and corporate network to identify key industry verticals, innovation challenges and opportunities for growth. Then we design and undertake a global call to growth-stage tech companies, attracting only the brightest thinkers and innovators. We screen and curate the result with a panel of technology experts, investors, corporate innovation specialists and M&A leaders. Then the winners of the global call are selected, before carrying out due diligence and negotiating business terms with each winner.
Finally, we provide integration services to help our winning tech companies and selected corporate partners deliver mutual revenue growth.
At the heart of this process is our scaling package. This provides tech companies with access to networking opportunities, industry experts and venture capital funding – all of which help tip the balance in their favor.
For any enquiries whether you are a corporation trying to access innovation or a technology business looking to scale through this opportunity contact Paul Ust at email@example.com