New ideas, new startups, new people. Less business, more networking.

Going to 4YFN (Four Years From Now) is kind of like going to the biggest water cooler in Barcelona — you always run into someone you know.

Outside of the many inspiring talks offered by the conference, the opportunity to network and get input from some of the heavier hitters in the startup scene really is one of the best aspects of the conference.


It’s easy to see why. With over 500 startups in attendance this year, and with the conference running in parallel with the MWC, 4YFN serves as a meeting point for anyone relevant to the startup ecosystem. Entrepreneurs, investors, accelerators… everyone is accounted for!

4YFN is a great atmosphere for meeting those people who sit at the edge of our industry too. Providing us with an infinite number of services that help our startups run — lawyers, couriers and banks, are just a few examples. These relationships are important ones to cultivate, and having the time to do so in person goes a long way.

But much like any good water cooler catch-up session, at 4YFN there’s often a lot of talk about making more concrete plans to talk in more detail, later. So expect to make a lot of first impressions at the conference but bank getting down to any real business afterwards.

One fairly apparent drawback to this year’s edition would have to be the many empty stands — there were a large number of them left free after being given away by accelerators, corporations and government institutions.

While people were requesting the openings, many startups just didn’t know what to do with their stand when they got one, either half assedly throwing something together or jumping ship altogether.

4YFN can be tricky in that respect. Since the conference is wide reaching, topics aren’t necessarily delved into in microscopic detail, it’s useful to have clear goals going in or else risk losing out on opportunities and time.

A special nod to Natural Machine’s 3D printer, Foodini, is also in order, after they completely floored us all with a demonstration that involved printing potato letters, a hamburger, and even ravioli.

With that in mind, here’s your 4YFN recap:

Day 1

4YFN chairman and VC Yossi Vardi opened the conference with Aleix Valls, head of the MWC, which started a conversation about mobile technologies that would go on to echo throughout the conference’s various talks and panels.

On everyone’s minds, the many ways in which mobile impacts the way we all do business — with productivity claiming the top spot as most elusive variable.

Between the 10+ workshops on day one alone, thoughts, opinions, and insights were served up from the likes of AirBnb, Indiegogo and Facebook, just to name a few.

The day’s winning pitch was won by London startup Thingthing, whose app allows users to access all their apps via their mobile keyboard.

Day 2

IoT claimed center stage on day two of the conference, with German startup Slock.it taking home the biggest win of the conference.

Their app combines the benefits of the Blockchain with real-world objects, allowing users to rent, sell and share pretty much anything the can think of without having to rely on a middleman.

Day two’s notable conversations include talks about what makes a city a startup hub and panel discussions on alternative financing mechanisms (of which there are an exciting and increasing number.)

But it was the conversation about the scope of IoT that got everyone talking. Contrary to what the general public and media might lead us to believe with their intense focus on wearables and the smart home, it appears that everyone’s in general agreement about how vast and untapped the scope of IoT actually is.

Day 3

The final day of the conference was all about new media, with the most interesting discussions happening around advertising, ad-blocking and how to manage either.

Of course, what edition of 4YFN would be complete without a look at the Spanish startup ecosystem? 500 million euros raised in 2015, but who’s counting? (Special nod to Wallapop and Letgo for bearing the brunt of that load.)

Finally, the day’s best pitch award was given to British/Isreali startup Pixoneye, a personalized marketing service promising unparalleled predictive accuracy and actionable clustering.

And that’s a wrap for the 2016 edition!

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W.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A COWORKING SPACE FOR YOUR STARTUP

Your home office or a coffee shop won’t be enough!

Yes, we all know the tale about the guy who starts a small company in their garage or basement, has a brilliant idea and becomes the next Steve Jobs. It’s true, most successes have very humble beginnings. It’s also true that not all garage or basements are going to magically get you a successful business. They might work in the very (veeeery) early stages of your startup, but you can’t always meet a client at coffee shops, not to say your basement. 

A great, if not the best, solution is to find a coworking space. Coworking spaces have become very popular all over the world, either for freelancers or entrepreneurs and startups. 

Coworking spaces are not just big rooms with desks and chairs with high-speed wifi. The areas are made to be exciting places to work and improve your productivity.

As a startup, you need to find resources fast and affordably. More importantly, you’ll need motivation. This is why you should consider a coworking space. 

Here are some basic but amazing benefits from coworking spaces:

  1. Community

Joining a coworking means joining a community.  Being surrounded by other entrepreneurs, freelancers and talented independent people is without doubt a one of the best features of a coworking.

Motivation is key when starting a new project and trying to develop your own business. The road will get though and you’ll appreciate other entrepreneurs’ vision and support! Other workers’ feedback can be very useful to improve your service/product before trying to sell it to the world. 

  1. Networking, networking and…networking!

As a startup, you’ll be looking for networking opportunities. Most coworkings host professionals from different kind of industries, which can open up many doors for you and your business. Not all coworking spaces are about networking, some of them prefer to have a quiet individual work environment, so as a startup you have to make sure to choose a coworking with networking opportunities.

At Itnig, for example, we love to share ideas and support other entrepreneurs. Don’t be shy, some of the other coworking tenants can bring great business opportunities, or even become new clients (and friends)! 

  1. Budgetfriendly

As entrepreneurs (or people for that matter) it’s very important to understand the importance of money, more specifically: budget. Tight budgets call for smart spending. Coworkings are usually budget friendly, most of them offer different membership options depending on your startup’s needs and budget.

  1. Amenities 

A coworking provides you with everything needed to be as productive as possible. High speed internet connection, printers, conference rooms and COFFEE. Some coworkings even plan afterwork activities and events to make it all more fun! As a startup, a coworking space is your best chance at having all the basic amenities but also the fun ones, like a ping pong table or a nice chill out terrace. 

  1. Happy clients

As you grow and have more clients, it can get messy if you keep meeting them in coffee shops. Coworking spaces offer office services such as conference rooms. That way your meetings will be more professional and comfortable for everyone. 

Barcelona is a city full of coworkings of every kind! Our Itnig community keeps growing, we now have up to 20 startups such as Andjoy, Classlife, Factorial and Freeverse, all under the same roof. We have afterwork activities and we also plan different kinds of events open to anyone interested in marketing, tech stuff, entrepreneurship and design. Our space is about 2.100m2 with up to 800m2 of conference rooms, events space, ping pong and fun activities. 

There’s also  wifi, endless coffee and talented people. Join us!