Lately I’ve been hearing people talk more and more about international investors, and how they’re increasingly looking to Barcelona for interesting projects.

These rumors confirms a feeling I’ve been having for quite some time. It’s always scary to predict the future, but sometimes you just see a pattern so clear that you need to share it with people.

We’re all tired of comparing different tech hubs around the world, so I will focus on the elements inside the city, and not compare too much to other places.

There are four (probably more..) reasons why I think investors increasingly are looking to Barcelona for investment:

  1. Funding rounds are growing fast
  2. High degree of innovation
  3. City brand
  4. Successful entrepreneurs are giving back

(1) Money, money, money

One of the big challenges of fast-growing startup hubs in Europe are the lack of Venture Capital, and a couple of years ago, this was also a huge problem in Barcelona.

Investors was still licking their wounds from the 2008 financial meltdown, and few were willing to risk their money on new technology.

Last year Barcelona broke all records in terms of funding with €535 million invested in Catalunya. That’s an increase of 87% compared with the year before, according to numbers from Mobile World Capital Barcelona.

It was a also a record year when it comes to international VC’s investing in Spanish companies. Barcelona startup Typeform did a round of $15 million without a single Spanish investor.

Even though many of the big rounds of investment has been coming from abroad, there’s also a growing number of active investors in Spain.

Last year Barcelona ranked as number 8. in concentration of local business angels in Europe, according to the report; The State of European Tech 2015.

We’ve seen many, both big and huge investments in companies like Letgo ($100 million), Jobandtalent ($42 million), Typeform ($15 million). I think that 60% of the startups in Barcelona is operating abroad is one of the reasons why more and more international VC’s are coming to the region.

The FOMO is growing for every big startup getting funded in Barcelona.

(2) Top tier on innovation

According to a new report from European consultancy Science|Business, Barcelona ranks as one of Europe’s most innovative city’s and also one of the places in Europe where people are some of the earliest adopters of new technologies.

According to the study, Barcelona ranks as the fourth best city in Europe for scientific production. Only one year ago the city was ranked as the smartest city in the world in 2015 by Juniper Research.

Even though these types of reports doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a better environment for tech startups, Barcelona are home to several world famous universities and business schools, and also have Europe’s 5th biggest army of mobile developers.

For startups a big pool of developer talent and tech savvy early adopters are two vital keys in growing fast, and the city is providing both.

In other words, a VC investing in Barcelona knows that the startup aren’t dependent on outside talent, but can hire premium developers from the region, at a much lower cost than other European city’s.

(3) The city brand

The last decade Barcelona has built one of Europe’s strongest city brands, both among tourists and business people.

The last two years the city brand has been ranked as number 4. and 6. in the world, according to The Guardian and The Place Brand Observer,

Tourists come for the lifestyle, the food, beaches and other leisure activities. And professionals enjoys big conferences such as the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona Games World and 4YFN.

4 Years From Know is the annual startup conference that’s runs alongside the Mobile World Congress.

When you combine these two aspects and sprinkle it with the worlds best football club, the famous Modernista architectureand one of Europe’s biggest ports, you end up with an extremely strong brand both among professionals and tourists.

It’s no wonder why big tech companies like Amazon, HP and Telefónica I+D, (the research and development arm of the Telefónica Group), have big headquarters here with thousands of employees.

It’s actually one of the city’s in Europe with most technology oriented Meetups, as much as 13,500 people attended last years events, according to a report.

Investing in a city you don’t know anything about is scary, but the brand of Barcelona makes the city a safer choice for a VC who’s planning to risk millions of his fund on a local startup.

(4) Giving back

One of the most important thing a successful entrepreneur can do after selling his company or running it with profit, is to give back to the community he created the company in.

Without comparing, many of us know the Paypal or the Skype “Mafia”, and what kind of projects they have gone on to support or create.

That experienced entrepreneurs give back through funding new projects, like Bernat Farrero here, is essential for a startup ecosystem to grow.

Luckily we also have people like this in Barcelona (again, without comparing..): Miguel Vicente, Bernat Farrero, Carlos Blanco, and other alike who all have launched or still are running successful companies, but also have chosen to give back to the community through investing and supporting new projects.

However, giving back is an area where Barcelona have potential to grow, and hopefully we’ll see more examples of this the next years as more entrepreneurs succeed in their projects.

If VC’s see success stories, and then again see the same entrepreneurs involved in new interesting projects, they’ll be intrigued to invest.

If you can think of any other reasons, or disagree with some of mine, please let me know below!

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E.

Essential Podcasts for Entrepreneurs & Tech Lovers

Podcasts are a great way to discover new subjects and new people. Whether you are a tech lover or an entrepreneur, bellow you will discover podcasts for entrepreneurs you should – without a doubt – listen to. 

Itnig Podcast with César Migueláñez, Bernat Farrero and Carlos Pierre
Itnig Podcast with César Migueláñez, Bernat Farrero and Carlos Pierre

« Masters of Scale » 

with Reid Hoffman

The host: Reid Hoffman decides to turn to the corporate world instead of pursuing a university carrier. He worked for Apple, Fujitsu for then starting his own business: SocialNet and left it in 2000 to join Confinity. Confinity gives life to Paypal after fusionning. Finally, in 2003, Hoffman co-founds LinkedIn. He is Master of Scale’s host. 

About: The podcast welcomes some of the greatest entrepreneurs. You will discover throughout the talk how they managed to take their companies from 0 to a lot of zeros. You can listen to Masters of Scale’s special guests like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Selina Tobaccowalla (Evite), Brian Chesky (Airbnb) or Nancy Lublin (Crisis Text Line). Must-hear: one of the top tech podcasts for entrepreneurs.

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Youtube

The Team: Reid Hoffman, June Cohen, Deron Triff and Jai Punjabi

« Rocket » 

with Christina Warren, Simone de Rochefort and Brianna Wu

The hosts: Christina Warren started as a Freelance Writer. Then, she worked at Mashable as a Senior Tech Analyst and Tech Correspondent and ended the journey at Microsoft as a Senior Cloud Developer Advocate. About Simone de Rochefort, she is  Senior Video Producer and co-host of The Polygon Show. Brianna Wu founded her first startup at the age of 19, Giant Spacekat. She was Head of Development at the time. She is now running for US Congress. 

About: In this podcast, you will discover three passionate women and their “geek conversation” as they like to call it.  No guest speakers, but you will be able to listen to a panel of tech subjects from Apple to Comics, you will not be disappointed. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Castro

« This week in Startups »

with Jason Calacanis

The host: Jason Calacanis starts as an internet industry journalist in New-York. In 2003, he co-founded Weblogs, Inc and then a few years later he joined Sequoia Capital, launched the web directory Mahalo. He also founded ThisWeekIn.com. Furthermore, he created This Week in Startups podcast and a startup named Inside.com. Finally, he was part of the creation of the Sydney Launch Festival. 

About: Either you are looking to start your own company, or you are a successful entrepreneur, or you just love technology, this podcast will give you a peek to the entrepreneurship world. You will hear stories of all kinds! On his website, you will also find his events and some research on transportation, healthcare and more. This is one is part of the tech podcasts for entrepreneurs not to be missed.

Listen to the podcast: Apple Podcasts, Youtube, SoundCloud and RSS Feed

You can also subscribe to their newsletter in order to receive episodes directly. 

The Team: Jason Calacanis, Jacqui Deegan, and Tony Agapiou

« Recode / Decode » 

with Kara Swisher

The host: Kara Swisher is an American journalist specialized in the technology industry. She first started to work for an alternative newspaper in Washington for then working for the Washington Post. She wrote articles for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times and wrote her own books. Finally, in 2014, she created Recode, a website dedicated to the latest technology news. In 2015, she initiates Recode Decode. 

About: The weekly podcast welcomes tech experts and great entrepreneurs. They review how they got there, what’s on their mind about the current industry and what they would improve or create. Her recent guests were Elon Musk (Tesla CEO), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg. 

Listen to the podcast: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn

« K Fund PodKast »

with Jaime Novoa

The host: Jaime Novoa’s background is quite diverse. He is a writer and an investor, but he also worked in data analysis and social media analysis. In 2014, he founded Novobrief, a newsletter for startups. Then, in 2016, he becomes an investor at K Fund and he founds, in 2019, Dealflow, a weekly tech newsletter. 

About: The podcast discusses startups, entrepreneurs and Venture Capital. You will discover enterprises and their story. From data science, unicorns or digital platforms, you sure will find more than one interesting podcast. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website and Soundcloud

« Clockwise »

with Dan Moren and Mikah Sargent

The hosts: Dan Moren is an active author and writer as well as podcaster. He was a Senior Editor at Macworld. Today, he hosts two podcast shows: Clockwise and The Rebound. As for Mikah Sargent, he started as a Website Designer and Developer for then switching as a Senior Editor at Newsy. He now hosts few podcasts such as Clockwise on Replay FM or on TWiT.tv. 

About: The weekly podcast discusses technology and welcomes each time 2 special guests. For 30 minutes, they address 4 topics where all four speakers get to elaborate on the matter, highlight the issues and expose their thoughts. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Castro

« Itnig Podcast»

with Bernat Farrero

The host: Bernat Farrero starts his career as a Developer. In 2009, he founded Itnig, a startup ecosystem that organizes entrepreneurship events. They also have a coworking for startups, a podcast and a fund for early-stage projects. Furthermore, he is a Founder of Factorial, Quipu and Camaloon. He is also a Board Member of Playfullbet, GymForLess and Parkimeter. Finally, he hosts Itnig’s weekly Podcast. 

About: The podcast welcomes every week a new guest. If you wish to learn from successful entrepreneurs, you are on the right platform. The discussions turn around Technology and its industry. You will come across guests like Carlos Pierre (Badi), Vincent Rosso (BlaBlaCar) or Oscar Pierre (Glovo).

Listen to the podcast: Youtube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Ivoox, and Google Podcasts

You can subscribe to their newsletter if you want to receive the podcast’s link every Monday. 

Whether you are at an early stage of your project, an investor or you are just curious, these podcasts for entrepreneurs give you the opportunity to be updated on tech and business news. Also, you get to learn from successful international entrepreneurs, which can definitely be very useful for your business.