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INSIGHTS / MOVERS AND SHAKERS

Jorge Dobón of Demium Startups: Precocious founder who prizes risk and failure

Spain · Jun 11, 2019· By Emanuela Ferraro

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Thanks to its unique pre-incubation model, Jorge Dobón’s Demium Startups has supported hundreds of startups in less than six years, with a portfolio worth €130 million

It's a number well known in the startup world: 90% of startups fail. But since its founding in 2013, the Valencia-based incubator Demium Startups started by Jorge Dobón has managed to transform that overwhelming failure rate into a 78% survival rate.

Named Spain's youngest entrepreneur by the Association of Young Entrepreneurs, Dobón, who's also CEO of Demium, was just 20 when he set up his first business venture, Iberian Delights, to distribute Spanish products. At that time, however, Europe was in the midst of a financial crisis and the company closed two years later, with an accumulated debt of about €20,000.

The flop of Iberian Delights did not dissuade Dobón from entrepreneurship, but only served to strengthen his resolve. In 2012, he joined startup incubator Sonar Venture as its chief operations officer. For Dobón, the stint helped affirm his belief that young entrepreneurs and startup teams need continual strategic guidance and mentoring.  

After less than a year, Dobón left the Madrid-based incubator to create his own startup hub that he calls "a pre-idea and pre-team incubator." By 2013, the first Demium office had opened its doors in Valencia. In the first half of 2018 alone, Demium investees raised €6.5 million in 12 rounds of financing. The incubator's current portfolio includes 35 startups and 41 projects in early stages of development. 

“Entrepreneurship doesn’t mean that you need to have money saved, it means that you understand how to take risks and support yourself,” Dobón said.  

Edited by Celine Lim

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