A lawyer, investor and mentor to startups, Carlos Guerrero is one of the earliest key figures in the Spanish tech ecosystem, providing both legal and financial support and direction.
Guerrero’s professional career started in 2001 in a boutique law firm that specialized in advising technology-based businesses, a debut that marked his career. Ten years later, in 2011, Guerrero started MAB Legal & Corporate, a boutique law firm dedicated to tech startups, offering legal advice and support on M&A, IP, cyber law and internationalization.
From 2001–2011, the Spanish tech ecosystem suffered from the dot-com crash, but the tide turned after 2011. Over the next five years, more than 40 successful exits were counted compared with just seven in the previous five years. The volume of operations almost tripled between 2013–2017, with nearly €780m invested in 2017.
Guerrero rode the wave during this period, providing emerging startups much-needed legal advice to navigate the regulatory landscape and helped them to set up and scale businesses efficiently from seed to growth stages. In 2013, he co-founded Sitka Capital, a network of Spanish angel investors and advisors. The fund finalized 10 investments in its first year of operations.
Guerrero's legal career grew rapidly during the post dot-com bubble phase as he continued to focus on advising tech startups and companies in the innovation field. In April 2018, Guerrero joined Ceca Magán Abogados’ Innovation and New Technologies department in Barcelona, where he is now Partner in the Corporate and M&A department. Within a year of Guerrero joining Ceca Magán, the firm recorded a 35% growth in turnover to €7.1m. The company now aims to become the national leader in legal services for emerging tech-businesses.
“Since 2013, IP intensive sectors dominated about 90% of European exports. Therefore, intellectual and industrial property are fundamental elements in economic innovation,” said Guerrero, who has a master's in Business Law from the Barcelona Bar Association and a master's in Taxation and Tax Management from EAE Business School.
The lack of clear regulation in the use and development of technologies like AI, robotics and blockchain means that lawyers must be equipped to deal with the needs of tech startups, to unlock their deep-tech potential while protecting the intellectual property of scientific and technological innovation.
“There are law firms experienced in innovation and entrepreneurship but lacking knowledge in new technologies and there are firms with good knowledge in new technologies but no experience in the startup ecosystems,” said Guerrero. He expected his team at Ceca Magán to “undoubtedly benefit” from their competitive advantage of possessing both such experience and expertise.
Guerrero also offers legal advisory services to the Numa and Conector startups’ accelerator programs and is teaching in the Startup Program at the IE Business School.
Akola Venture Builder; lawtech investment
Meanwhile, in 2016, Guerrero had co-founded Akola Venture Builder. Unlike accelerators and incubators that support startups in their early stage of development, venture builders form projects to build on the expertise of the in-house team. One of Akola's main objectives is to position itself as a benchmark in the creation of digital startups focussing on creative technology and science in Spain. It aims to launch two projects every year.
Akola’s first project, LexGoApp, is a marketplace of specialized lawyers. It connects those seeking legal advice with specialized lawyers. Upon receiving a request from a potential client, the LexGoApp team will contact the person for more details and, in about 24 hours, up to three lawyers will contact the person and offer their services and an obligation free quote.
According to Guerrero, LexGoApp was founded to do things differently: to focus on quality rather quantity, and to help democratize legal services, prioritizing the end user.
"LexGo App carries in its DNA the resolution of several endemic problems in legal services, that is, transparency with the final client, the closed price and easy access to the specialist lawyer," said Guerrero.
Since its launch, LexGoApp has provided over 5,000 legal advisory services from a database of more than 2,000 specialized lawyers from Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Colombia. It has already closed a first round financing of €330,000 and is planning a second round to support its growth toward 2020.