If you are planning to find a stepping base for your startup in a sports-loving and business-friendly country, moving to Barcelona can do your entrepreneurship journey many favors. Spain’s economy has overcome the effects of the global recession and bounced back to its pre-recession size in recent years. The growing startup ecosystems in the country have played a significant role in helping Spain’s economy stabilize and start booming again.
Ranked as one of the top 25 countries by the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-18 for being a fertile country for businesses, Spain has a number of startup concentrated areas that are doing wonderfully. Barcelona has a growing startup ecosystem that is playing an essential role in shaping the economy of Spain and startup ecosystem players moving to Barcelona are finding an array of benefits to grow and help others develop as well.
The city has a GDP o $171 billion and is supported by a young and dynamic population of 5.4 million people. Home to more than 1000 startups and a wealthy community of investors, Barcelona’s startups are valued at an average $2.9 million.
What does Barcelona have in Store for Startups?
Moving to Barcelona offers startups and entrepreneurs with the right mix of incentives and initiatives that can help them scale the resources and the different markets. The startup ecosystem has seen a growth in the number of exits (IPOs and acquisitions) like never before since 2012 with five to 21 exits annually. Startups in Barcelona have witnessed at least one exit deal of $100 million each year since 2013. The company to add a feather to this cap in 2018 is STAT-DX, a patient testing solutions company that was acquired for $191 million by German QIAGEN. The Startup Heatmap 2017 puts the city as the third most attractive city for founders along with cities like Paris, Amsterdam, and London among the other cities in the top ten cities.
Entrepreneurs and startups with products and services that fall under the prominent startups’ niches in Barcelona should pick the city over the others to move to. The tech sector is the most important niche of the ecosystem that is driving the regional economy to a larger size.
Barcelona is a Wellspring of Wealthy Funders
Moving to Barcelona is undoubtedly worth the hype as the city has many funding sources that are on the lookout to be a part of disruptive business ventures. The angel investors’ community is made of more than 3000 active members and is an indispensable source of monetary capital for startups in Barcelona. There are a plethora of venture capital funding firms in this Spanish metro with some key players like Nauta Capital, La Caixa Capital Risk, and Ysios Capital among the others.
Startups in Barcelona have Access to the Right Guidance and Leadership
Barcelona already has a strong base of a thousand odd startups many of whose leaders are willing to guide others too with their experience and expertise. Startups in Barcelona can also grow immensely with the help of leading accelerator programs and incubators organizations within the city. These include both local and global names that are helping entrepreneurs launch their business idea successfully to create a high impact in the industry.
EADA, a leading business school in Europe, has set up a seed capital loan program in collaboration with an alumni startup, Bihoop. Budding entrepreneurs also get help in getting office space in Almogavers Business Factory of Barcelona as a part of this program.
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Move to Barcelona to Enjoy High Quality of Living and Working
Rent costs in Barcelona for commercial as well as residential properties do not even fall in the same range as other startup ecosystems like Paris or London as it is much lower. Human resource talent is affordable, and there is an array of resources that can help lower operations cost for businesses. Startups moving to Barcelona to set base can attract professionals from outside the city and the country with the high quality of personal life it has to offer.
Be a part of the football frenzy and choose from many picturesque places to relax on your weekends. The city offers spectacular wining and dining locations and numerous outdoor activities to ensure a high quality of personal
Barcelona’s Government loves Entrepreneurs
Strong support from the government can help startups in Barcelona in an unparalleled way. Countries with large startup ecosystems like the U.S do not have many policies or visas that encourage international entrepreneurs to move to the country, Spain, on the other hand, has a lot of doors open for the same. Ley de Emprendedores ( Entrepreneurs’ Law) is one of the key initiatives from the government. The program is aimed at helping international entrepreneurs and startups move to Barcelona by assisting them to attain visas and set up the legal base work.
The Rising Startups program is a one of a kind government initiative that offers 10,000 pounds in cash for international startups in Barcelona along with a host of other resources like workshops, mentoring sessions, and connections to key decision makers in important organizations.
Barcelona’s Rapidly Growing Tech and Healthcare Startup Sectors
The tech sector in Barcelona is helping the startup ecosystem grow at an unprecedented rate. Although the overall startup ecosystem may be in the infancy stage, the growth in the tech and healthcare sector makes it a promising tech and startup hub in the Catalan region. The tech sector comprises of various smaller niches that are propelling its growth like agtech, ICT, gaming, life sciences, and the innovations brought about in response to the initiative of a smart city. The sub-sector strengths of the startup ecosystem are:
Health and Life Sciences Startups in Barcelona
The health and life sciences sub-sector finds its strength from the region’s innovations and involvement since eons. Health and life sciences companies in Barcelona brought in 15% of the total venture capital funding in the region between the years 2012 and 2017. Biotech is also a key area within the health and life sciences sub-sector that is growing well. The niche is growing at a rate of 15-30% in the region and has a high concentration of Spanish biotech companies. Pharmaceuticals are another key niche within health and life sciences with five of the largest pharmaceutical companies located in Barcelona.
Many support organizations in Barcelona have helped fuel the growth of the health and life sciences sub-sector. These include the many universities, science & technology parks, over 100 research centers, and the various organizations that conduct events and activities related to biotech and pharma.
Gaming Startups in Barcelona
The growth of the gaming sub-sector in Barcelona’s startup ecosystems can be attributed to the seven universities in the region that offer courses and training in areas of visual effects, 3D games, and video game creation. Gaming startups in Barcelona shared 5.8% of the total regional venture capital funding from 2012 to 2017 and employ more than 2,500 people. Barcelona’s startup ecosystem comprises 125 gaming companies which include global gaming giants like Sony, Ubisoft, and Activision King. Take-Two acquired Social Point for $270 million in 2017 making it one of the crucial startups in Barcelona in the gaming niche. Students and professionals interested in gaming are moving to Barcelona in large numbers to make the most of the learning opportunities.
Smart City Startups in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the pioneer cities to adopt smart solutions for urban management. This has helped encourage innovation in the region and created business for several smart city startups. The Catalan region is home to more than 250 smart city firms that bring in annual revenue of $8.2 billion to the area helping the overall Spanish economy grow smoothly. Companies in the smart city segment also create a sustainable job market and employ over 116,000 people. Events like the annual Smart City Expo World Congress help lead the way for smart city innovations bringing together various organizations offering technological solutions for urban issues.
Catalonia Trade & Investment, a Startup Genome Member, is helping the startup ecosystem in Barcelona by creating trade missions and assisting startups to connect to different local and international resources with ease. Several other ecosystem partners are also playing an essential role in shaping a sharp and high impact startup culture in the region. These include Sabadell Ventures, Capital Cell, Connector, Delvy Law and Finance, and Inveready among the others.
Move to Barcelona and get the best of the Catalan metropolitan for your entrepreneurial dreams. From leading global accelerator programs to brilliant co-working spaces to a host of investors, startups in Barcelona do not have a shortage of any startup friendly resources. Barcelona’s startup ecosystem looks promising and has a government that supports and welcomes entrepreneurs wholeheartedly.
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