Passion for entrepreneurship has inspired us to create Foundum. We believe in entrepreneurs as they have the greatest potential to drive, change and positively influence economies & societies.

February, 2011

Office Space available at the Foundum Office

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

A call to all entrepreneurs and office space seekers out there!

There is space available at our offices here in Barcelona in Calle Diputació 37-39

Why you should move in with us:

  • It’s a well lit loft style office over 2 floors!
  • We have Wi-Fi!
  • It’s close to Placa de España, the Airport and Sants train station!
  • We’re very nice neighbours ;-)

We have up to 5 large desks available. You can rent either all of them or just one.

If you’re interested just send us an email to

See you soon!

The Mobile World Congress as an example of a living ecosystem

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Starting the 14th and ending the 17th of February the famous Mobile World Congress (MWC) took place in Barcelona. This event is a “must attend” for anyone in the mobile world whether it’s a big company that wants to show new products or whether you are a start-up that has a little stand sponsored by your country. Foundum team members were present at the event absorbing the exciting atmosphere, discovering new trends and listening to interesting speakers. Below follows a brief insight into the ecosystem of the mobile industry and why it’s so important and worthwhile for stakeholders in the mobile sector to attend the congress.

The ecosystem in brief

As most industries, the mobile industry has a large variety of clients and providers. The devices are made out of hardware that needs to be produced by chip makers and battery producers, the content providers will need application solutions and the network operators need to license technologies to offer their services to customers. Everyone in the industry depends on each other to offer the customer the best experience possible. Therefore behind a phone call, a newspaper application that can be read thanks to a data package, there are many stakeholders providing and purchasing services and products from one another to “feed” the customer. They all need each other in order to survive, as they are all specialised in what they do.

Why attend the MWC?

Global Event – there are players from every corner of the world. Although technology allows us to communicate by voice and video relatively well across the globe there is no substitute to shaking someone’s hand and speaking face to face.

Sales – at the MWC companies set up meetings with prospect clients/providers and close important deals. Attending the MWC is a big expense for the companies so these meetings aim be transformed into sales.

Networking – individuals meet other individuals to chat about the industry and get to know each other. These are useful contacts for future sales or for personal careers as people tend to change companies within the same industry.

For Small Companies – it is a way to meet clients and show their professionalism. Beeweeb tells us that by attending continuously for many years they keep close and consistent contact with their clients, especially in such an industry where companies come and go.

For Big companies – bigger companies such as LG, Samsung and others receive great press attention by releasing new products at the congress. For example LG launched their 3D phone and the news was widespread.

For Countries – there were stands from Israel, Canada, France and other countries at the MWC. Many public entities decide to sponsor companies that might be in a start-up stage but have very innovative products/services to boost growth and maybe seek investment. Its in every country’s interest to help out these innovative start-ups.

For investors – whether an Angel Investor or a VC there are some great companies looking for funds. The MWC is surely a great way to get to know new companies and anyhow it’s a chance to keep up to date with an industry that is very fast pace and fast moving.

Learn and plan for the future – top executives and industry experts share their opinions and research in keynote speeches, as did Eric Schmidt outgoing CEO of Google and Chairman and Steve Ballmer CEO of Microsoft. There are also many panels and informal discussions where great insight is shared about markets and future prospects.

It’s a must – last but not least, if all the reasons above don’t convince, for most companies it’s a must to attend this event. Not attending the MWC would be like a country not going to the Olympics.

There are probably many more reasons why individuals and companies should attend the MWC and these reasons are all “symptoms” that the MWC is a global ecosystem that brings real value to all participants on many levels. Foundum has a similar concept, applied to the world of entrepreneurship online and probably one day also offline…

Mobile Advertising – Mobile Monday London at the MWC11

Friday, February 18th, 2011

At the Mobile World Congress of 2011 Mobile Monday London organised a panel session on mobile advertising. The session lasted about 2 hours with 4 different panels made up of industry experts such as Daniella Alpher, Head of Advertising at fringRogier van den Heuvel, Chief Commercial Officer for web and mobile messaging company eBuddy, John Roberts, co-founder at permission-based mobile marketing company Qustodian and many more. The event was co-sponsored by Sky, UK Technology and UK Trade & Investment.

Mobile advertising is a relatively new industry in the advertising world, therefore most models that are being tried out are not proven yet and are being tested. The panel sessions took an interesting twist on discussing where the industry should go, what variables need to be understood and taken into consideration to be successful at reaching consumers and what the new trends are. Below we share the top 10 insights shared by the panel.

1. Mobile is now!

After waiting for years and asking whether mobile was actually taking off and if it was worth the time the whole industry now has the answer; yes it is! There is no doubt that at the rate of growth of mobile penetration into new markets mobiles are the new PCs according to Eric Schmidt’s keynote speech. He states that the smart phone is the new direction for games, apps and networks.

2. Valuable Advertising ≠ Advertising

It has been agreed that advertising on mobile cannot be a simple banner or other forms of simple content and medium. Advertising on mobile must be engaging and highly specific to the user. The panelists didn’t have the exact answers on how to create such engaging advertising but they are aware of the direction that must be taken.

3. Incentives to the consumer

There was somewhat of a disagreement between John Roberts of Qustodian and Kirsten Trikalitis of Out There Media. John Roberts’ business model is about incentivizing the consumers to share information to get targeted advertising and receive 1/3 of the revenue for providing information. On the other hand Kirsten Trikalitis doesn’t think giving money to the consumer works, she believes targeted and valuable advertising is enough to engage the user. It isn’t really clear at this moment in time who has the right answer, but for sure the first necessity is the relevance of the ad; whether sharing of profits with the consumer is a nice extra or a must, industry experts still don’t know.

4. Churn Rates

The churn rate of a company’s customer base is the percentage of customers who decide to leave the company or opt out of a service. This is a way for many industries, including the mobile advertising industry, to understand if what they are doing actually works. There was a consensus amongst the panelists that in order to keep churn rates low advertisers need to keep the customer in control, the ads need to be navigational and fun as can be seen in this Audi application for the iPhone.

5. Active vs. Passive

Until now it is the customer who has the initiative and takes the action to check into places or searches for a term actively with the mobile phone. The trend seems to switch from the active to the passive mode, or at least this is where the industry would like to go. The passive mode, meaning receiving information before the customer asks for it, will occur with the adoption of technologies such as NFC (Near Field Communication) and/or RFID (Radio-frequency identification). By adding the geography dimension to passive mode the mobile user can automatically receive targeted advertising from close-by stores.

6. HTML5

The recent development of HTML5, an evolution of HTML (created in 1990) brings new possibilities to mobiles. HTML5 allows programmers to easily add rich content in applications. The novelty of HTML5 is that it can integrate video, something that HTML couldn’t do, and at the same time it can be supported by all mobile operating systems, as opposed to Flash that doesn’t function on iOS.

7. Overstock of advertising space

In the mobile industry most applications and mobile operating systems have some space capacity for advertising. There seems to be excessive ad space around, but this doesn’t mean that every app and OS should lower the prices and sell all of these spaces at a discount. A tactic used by some companies that sell advertising space is to leave some of this space empty. By doing this the supply of ad space decreases causing an increase in prices of the same space.

8. Who makes the mobile ads budget decisions?

Advertising budgets of companies have not increased by that much in the past years according to the panelists. For this reason if a company is to place resources into mobile advertising the budget of conventional advertising must be reduced. This is why when trying to sell advertising space it isn’t enough to speak to the executive responsible for mobile advertising, but it is necessary also to speak to the executives in charge of the other advertising channels to convince them that mobile makes sense.

9. New technology in mobile

4G/LTE technologies will allow navigation speeds of up to 1Gbit/Sec. The increase in speed of the mobile networks will allow advertisements to contain richer data. In addition to faster velocity, consumers in general will spend more time on their phones as they can accomplish more things with their devices and this will attract more companies to advertise on mobiles.

10. Mobile as a penetration tool for research

Mobiles are available all over the world and are more geographically diffused than PCs according to the panelists. These days it’s more likely for an African to have a mobile device rather than a desktop or laptop. That is why mobiles can be used as a great marketing research tool to get information in those markets where there is little and not up to date data.

These are the 10 major trends and insights that have been discussed in the Mobile Monday London panel organized by Helen Keegan at the MWC11.  It was a very interesting and dynamic panel that kept the audience focused as the speakers shared their valuable opinions.

Startup America Partnership – An example of a 360° Public-Private Collaboration

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Startup America Partnership is a US initiative and part of a general global movement (link to Davos post) to foster entrepreneurship. Techcrunch wrote a good explanatory article about this initiative and we will briefly explain it but most importantly look at what makes this initiative so special.

The idea of the initiative is to foster high-growth entrepreneurship in the USA. This administration is showing how serious they are through partnerships with important organizations (Kauffman Foundation and Case Foundations), technology companies (Intel, HP), internet companies (Facebook, Google), financial firms (The Blackstone Group) and more (link).

The partnership itself does not give financing or create new ventures, but it rather orchestrates the efforts of a variety of entities in order to collaborate with each other for the entrepreneurs that need financing, technology knowledge, business knowledge, communication channels and so on. The initiative will be able to assess the entrepreneurial playing field and improve it. It will also be responsible for identifying potential entrepreneurial projects to be funded by the funds made available by the government as well as the private partners. On the education side the partnership intends to expand entrepreneurship education and mentorship on the national territory.

The fact that this initiative was announced just when the World Economic Forum has terminated is no coincidence either. The Obama administration is committed, and wants to show it, in fostering entrepreneurship and can boast an energetic initiative with big brands behind it.

A strong and courageous effort as such deserves credit and should be copied in other countries. Entrepreneurship, as the word implies, should be left to entrepreneurs, but this doesn’t mean that the public entities and bigger companies cannot help in the process.

Entrepreneurship in Davos and the year ahead!

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Every year the World Economic Forum takes place in Davos. This global event was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab and has now become the global platform where business executives, political leaders, activists and thought leaders get together to improve the state of the world. Wide arrays of topics are discussed and this year entrepreneurship took the centre stage in many discussions. Below follows a synthesis of the role of entrepreneurship in 2011 and the future to improve the global economy and society.

Entrepreneurship in Medvedev’s Keynote speech

Entrepreneurship not only took the centre stage at the forum but has been mentioned from the beginning as Russia’s President Medvedev opened up the annual meeting with his keynote speech. His words made it clear that the private sector not only solves crisis in the short term but is the only way forward in the longer term. Russia is trying to develop innovative entrepreneurship by creating a “Russian Silicon Valley” called Skolkovo, previously mentioned in our blog. In addition new legislation is being drafted to foster entrepreneurship to allow new ventures to have “preferential treatment”.

From Russia to The Entrepreneurship Imperative

The Entrepreneurship Imperative has been the title of a panel where the importance of taught entrepreneurship was discussed. The panel argued that entrepreneurship needs to be taught not as a subject but as a state of mind on a global level. From primary education to business schools a model where risk taking is encouraged alongside sustainable development and the generation of entrepreneurs rather than managers.

Another key issue discussed was the idea that in order to be a sustainable entrepreneur one needs to be able to deal with failure understanding that the world’s success stories are the point of a much bigger iceberg. In addition role models are encouraged to take an active participation in fostering entrepreneurship and teaching that the importance of new ventures is not only money but job creation and the spread of certain values. An important fact from the panel is that SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) are the top employers in the world, not multinational corporations!

Entrepreneurship as the Pillar for the Middle-East growth

The Middle-East is “blessed” with a young and fast growing population, but this can be a double-edge sword if there is little job creation. Further this region has a climate that limits supply of water and food. Some countries are blessed with oil and gas fields, but these will not last forever. Innovative entrepreneurship in the fields of water and agriculture as well as in major tech and biotech industries are seen as a must for this region to increase employment and steer away from social unrest.

This panel of experts discussed the importance of teaching entrepreneurship related skills to foster this body of knowledge and parity of opportunities to both genders and all income groups. The panel also reinforced that the legal structures and institutions that are in place in these countries should shift to create a better environment for taking risks, creating new ventures and ease bankruptcy procedure.

Scaling-up Big Ideas & Social Entrepreneurship

Big ideas and social entrepreneurship are a hard match, but very possible according to this panel, what is needed is a pinch of help from multinationals and some willingness to give away some control. It’s a challenge to set up local social ventures and survive for long, so one can imagine the challenge it can be to scale existing social ventures to reach more people in dispersed geographic locations. The panel spoke of two examples where social entrepreneurs teamed up with corporations to implement social projects. The first example given was Coca-Cola producing the “Mango Haiti Hope Juice” while the second example was with Cemex selling concrete at cost to develop communities where the people put in their labour. The reality is that in both example the social entrepreneurs had to make the sacrifices to give away a lot of the power in order for the projects to be carried ahead. In order to scale in such a manner or by creating partnerships and franchises the social entrepreneur must give away some control and power for the good of the project.

Listed were some of the insights into entrepreneurship at Davos and what the world intellectual elite is thinking. Some ongoing themes appear that entrepreneurship is what keeps countries growing by providing jobs and in turns diminishes the chances of social unrest. In parallel, policies, decisions and actions that impede entrepreneurship are harmful on a short and long term perspective. The real issue though is not whether entrepreneurship is bad or good or if it should or shouldn’t be implemented. The question is how can entrepreneurship values be taught to increase the rate of entrepreneurship and the positive values around it?