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Key Players in Start-ups viii) Francois Derbaix

François Derbaix is a great example of a foreign entrepreneur who has thrived in Spain's start-up scene, and who now is a major investor in new internet ventures in that country.

Born in Belgium, Francois moved to Madrid in 2000 when he founded TopRural - the holiday accommodation site bought up last year by HomeAway. He didn't do so badly either with Toprural as he made it the sector leader in Europe with a presence across 10 countries and revenues of €4.5 million by 2009!

Other start-ups he has helped to found include Rentalia.com (formed in 2003, later sold to Idealista in 2012) and Soysuper.com, a supermarket comparison website formed in 2012.

His involvement in Spanish start-ups doesn't stop there, and he has acted as a business angel for many great prospects in the scene, such as Kantox, Deporvillage, Ducksboard or Mumumio. Other investments he has made include Zacatrus! (board games site), ReallyLateBooking (travel booking service), Reclamador.es (complaints services) and etece.com (the Spanish taskrabbit).

For anyone who wants to know more about developments in the Spanish tech and start-up scene, you could do a lot worse than follow Francois's tweeter account or blog - in fact they are highly recommended.

Read (and listen to) an interview with François Derbaix (in Spanish)

Interview (in Spanish) with François Derbaix, on creating a web company.