Barcelona's rocking tech scene
Something exciting is happening in Barcelona and its not about football or Gaudi. It's about Tech Start-ups.....and they are popping up everywhere.
The city is showing signs that it is becoming one of Europe's most vibrant tech scenes, and while it has taken some time, it is built on very sound fundamentals, which bring together Entrepreneurs, Investors and Advisors. Combine this with the Catalan entrepreneurial ethos, a cosmopolitan population and you have the makings of a truly great ecosystem.
An interesting leading indicator here is the number of people I have met who moved to Barcelona to either start a company or join a start-up...it is astounding and reflects Barcelona's Joker: the city's "joie de vivre". An amazing intangible asset and one that Entrepreneurs use frequently in their recruiting processes.
A first Unicorn in Letgo and recent exits of Privalia ($550 million) and Social Point ($250 million) have powered the Barcelona eco-system to self- belief. After all, nothing like success to drive more success, and nowhere is this better illustrated than the recent exit of bio-tech company STAT-Dx, which was sold for near $200 million.
The next wave of successes is virtually guaranteed when you consider the astounding volume of truly promising stars. Companies like Glovo, Wallapop, Travelperk, Redpoints, Holaluz, Badi, and Safe365 are growing fast, attracting talent and investors from around the world and delivering on the "work-life balance" that start-up employees crave and that Barcelona has become famous for.
I witnessed the energy of the eco-system firsthand in November when I was invited to speak by BStartup at a gathering in the magnificent Convent dels Àngels. The energy and passion was palpable and self-belief high....all necessary ingredients for success. People are definitely drinking the start-up "Kool-Aid".
Our firm has also been drinking the "Kool-Aid" and over the past few years, we have become active investors in Barcelona and the quality of entrepreneurs is second to none. Our portfolio of companies includes Repoints, Wallapop, Badi and Letgo.
While exits and Unicorns matter, it its the sheer volume of people making the entrepreneurial choice that pre-condintions lasting success and by that measure Barcelona has arrived. Over the next five to ten years we will witness a tsunami of companies like no other place in Europe as the eco-system reaches maturity. Its going to be a fun ride.
So go to Barcelona, meet some entrepreneurs, discover the next Unicorn and of course, try and catch a Barca game....
* For those interested here is a video of my interview at the Convent dels Àngels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHGC8HP4spo