Two (Spanish) web companies to watch
During my recent trip to Spain, I got to know the executives/founders of a two interesting companies: Gonzalo Garcia and Ramon Leonato of GeoVirtual and Eduardo Arcos and Arturo Paniagua of Hipertextual. While they are under-the-radar now, I wouldn’t be surprised if they make it big in the future, especially as Internet penetration increases in Spain and Latin America. Currently, Internet penetration is 45% in Spain and 25% in Mexico. Even though those penetration rates are so low, Spanish represents the 3rd most used language on the Internet.
GeoVirtual, based in Barcelona and founded in 1990, develops 3D maps for governments, utilities, as well as energy and transportation companies. While they have been very focused on their B2B solutions, in the coming months they plan to roll out their consumer product to compete with Google Earth. You can download it from their site and use it on a PC now (but it is not available for the Mac yet). They plan on licensing their 3D mapping technology to media or yellow pages companies that want to offer classified listings in a virtual environment.
Hipertexutal, much like Weblogs or Gawker Media in English, is a network of 16 popular blogs in Spanish with 4 million readers per month. They are a prime example of the virtual corporation: the company is based in Madrid but their readers and bloggers hail from around the Spanish-speaking world. In addition to making money from the advertising sold across their network, they offer consulting services to businesses that want to start corporate blogs. While their most popular blog, ALT1040, was started in 2002, they incorporated the company in 2005. Martin Varsavsky, who founded FON and is an investor in a number of other Internet companies, invested in Hipertextual in November, 2007.
Check out this short video of Eduardo Arcos to learn a little more about Hipertextual: