An Interview with Miguel Garcia on the company Zabala

March 5th, 2018
5 min read

As you may have read a thousand times data is the new oil. This data market today is mainly dominated by US based companies, with China on the rise. Beside a lot of regulatory like GDPR European startups and SMEs seem to have a hard time becoming a relevant player in this important field. Starting this March, the European Union challenges this status quo.

Supported by the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, the best European data-centric SMEs and startups will have access to free support services with the Data Market Services new initiative. We are very proud being a part of this Europe wide project, where SpinLab will provide free entrepreneurial trainings in the field of financing and sales. In addition, we will host up to two startups or SMEs per year for up to 4 weeks for free.

We talked with Miguel García, the project coordinator from the Spain based innovation consultant Zabala about the project and its goals.

Could you please give me a short introduction to yourself? What does Zabala stand for?

Miguel García (MG): I am a senior innovation consultant working at Zabala Innovation Consulting since 2009. I help startups, SMEs, research centers and corporation within their public fundraising strategy and coordinate a number of European programmes helping EU startups to grow. Those programmes include data-centric accelerators like EDI and FINODEX or blockchain technologies as Blockchers. In the past I worked for SAP as consultant and started my career as a developer. Zabala Innovation Consulting is an innovation consultancy with presence in 5 countries and over 230 employees making innovation the competitive factor of over 500 customers. We facilitate access to funding to research and innovation activities for research groups, corporations, SMEs and startups all over Europe.

How does the European datamarket look like? Did it change in the past years?

MG: According to the European Data Market study final report the estimate of the overall value of the data market in EU-28 had a growth rate of a 9.5% between 2015 and 2016, with a value of over €54b in 2016. Furthermore, the worldwide market in big – data technology and services, is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of about 23% between 2014 and 2019, and worldwide revenue for big data and business analytics has been forecast to increase more than 50% from almost US $122 billion in 2015 to more than US $187 billion in 2019.

What are the biggest hurdles for companies in the European Union?

MG: Despite of this growing market, there are some barriers and gaps in the European data industry that may inhibit future growth. These include: Europe’s slow adoption of big data, a prevalent data skills gap, a lack of coherent standardization practices and the privacy and personal data protection regulations.

What’s are your expectations of the program, especially from the entrepreneurial trainings?

MG: Top applicants will be selected for the program and will receive support by attending trainings of their choosing; data skills, legal advice, standardisation as well as entrepreneurial opportunities. These trainings will be on on B2B sales, product roadmapping, company validation, customer discovery, growth hacking, leadership, UX/UI, data security, business model canvas, lean startup, design sprints, etc. Also selected companies will have preferred access at incubation spaces like: Residency package at TQ.co in Amsterdam; Space in Lisbon or Porto at Bright Pixels’ premises; Preferred access to Spherik accelerator in Romania; Co-working space at Spinlab in Leipzig.

Why should startups apply for the program?

MG: Why to apply? You will be part of a pan-European ecosystem of data-centric companies supported by an outstanding team of experts in different fields like acceleration, fundraising, legal, IPR, marketing, data skills, business development, etc. The services will be delivered via online training, workshops, mentorship, invitations to top EU events (like Pixels Camp or The Next Web Conference) and exposure in the media. DMS will not take any equity, nor charge any hidden fees in exchange of the services.

About the author

After working for various startups in Leipzig where he focused on sales development and value selling, Dennis now supports the SpinLab. He studied Applied Media Science and wrote his bachelor thesis at IBM Germany about software based knowledge management and collaboration.