5 minutes with… José Zudaire, managing director of SpainCap

by Silvia Saccardi 17 February 2023

The Drawdown (TDD): Can you tell me a little bit about SpainCap and its main objectives?

José Zudaire (JZ): SpainCap is the Spanish association of private equity and venture capital, made up of about 270 members. It aims to form a community of managers, investors and advisers. Our philosophy is that we are better together.

One of the association’s main objectives is to elevate the industry’s profile, which is essentially made up of our members, namely professionals who are involved in various parts of the industry. We hope that our presence will create more business opportunities, which in turn will translate to more deals with greater impact.

Our motto in Spanish is ‘capital por un futuro sostenible’, meaning ‘capital for a sustainable future’. This reflects our ambition to prioritise investments that can have the potential to have a positive impact on society. We also try to support the sustainable transformation of Spanish businesses, generating value for investors and society alike.

TDD: Can you tell us about the background of PE in Spain?

JZ: While in Europe the PE industry started to take shape in the mid-20th century, it emerged a little later in Spain in the 70s, specifically in Galicia.

The objective of the industry was to generate impact for unlisted companies by improving them and finding alternative methods of fundraising, which in turn would affect society in a positive way.

The industry has since grown and, today, it is made up of 3,000 portfolio companies, 90% of which are medium-sized companies. These companies employ approximately 500,000 professionals.

TDD: How does SpainCap aim to promote impact investment and create a more sustainable industry?

JZ: Our main focus when promoting impact investments is raising awareness to our members, both fund managers and investors. We also try to put things into practice rather than simply talk about pressing issues.

For me, impact is not just a philosophy, it’s a way of life. We like to think about the concept of economy with a purpose. This helps to promote our idea of PE with a sustainable future and we host webinars, organise courses and workshops, and conduct studies, all with the aim of benefiting the Spanish economy through meaningful investments.

The courses we offer focus on improving specialised knowledge. The topics vary from anti-money-laundering, MiFID II talks and our SpainCap M&A Academy. In addition, we have just published an impact survey that reflects the trend of our industry towards a more sustainable model.

TDD: How has the Spanish private equity industry combatted the macroeconomic challenges of the past year?

JZ: Despite all the challenges we have faced in the past year with regards to macroeconomic uncertainty, we acknowledge that Spain remains an attractive country not only in terms of investment, but in terms of culture too. There remains great appetite and appreciation for the country and what it has to offer investors and asset managers.

Overall, 2022 was still a record year for deals in the industry, with a total of €8.73bn invested. So, we can assume there is still a lot of dry powder available.

In the last two to three months, we have made more than half a dozen international partners. They are either operating or will operate in Spain, but we also help them to open offices and we believe Spain is still a great place to do deals. This is because we have great infrastructure, healthcare, professional services and quality of life, and we believe the country remains dynamic and attractive for GPs, investors and entrepreneurs.

TDD: Are there any key objectives for the year ahead?

JZ: Our mission is centred around business transformation, professional excellence, sustainability and a dialogue around the culture of investments. In doing this, we try to promote an open ecosystem that facilitates the development of an investment culture in society.

Internally, we are centred around several objectives. We value ESG and, in doing so, our work revolves around fostering an awareness of it through specialised training in the form of courses and webinars.

This year, we are also focused on promoting the new laws that will benefit Spanish startups and GPs, which include the Startup Act and the Create and Grow Act. The updated legislation should help to make the creation of businesses smoother, with less admin involved, while also providing substantial tax benefits to the startup and the GP firm.

Finally, SpainCap is intent on expanding its network for its members. We have an active LinkedIn page where we post our updates to an international audience. We hope to promote the success of our startups as this should help their business aims when it comes to growing on an international scale.

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