It’s a new year for the tech industry in Barcelona, and we have high expectations for the future of our founders and our startups, but we wanted to hear the opinion from two people having their finger on the pulse of the city’s tech industry every day.

Aleix Valls, director of Mobile World Capital and CEO of 4YFN is organizing the fourth edition of the city’s biggest startup event, 4 Years From Now, that this year will attract 20.000 people from all over the world:

The biggest change in 2017 will be how the big corporates starts to interact with the startup scene. We’ll definitely see it at 4YFN, but also in general.

Scott Mackin, editor of Barcinno, Barcelona’s community driven tech blog agrees with Valls:

The giant corporates has awakened, and they recognize that they move too slowly, and that there’s new faster companies out there that can compliment their business. This will change the game in the years to come.

The Champions League of tech hubs

Both Mackin and Valls interact with Barcelona startups every single week.

Valls explains how he believe that the next 4–5 years Europe will establish several hubs for technology and innovation, each for their own sector or technology.

He tells itnig that the race to become a specialized tech hub in Europe has already started, and that Barcelona has positioned itself well for the e-commerce sector:

The next years will be the Champions League of becoming the main tech hubs on the continent. Because of this trend, I think we’ll see more and more local startups moving away from consumer facing products, and focus on B2B business models where they’ll get revenue in from day one.

Mackin says there has been many impressive B2B startups coming out of Barcelona the last year:

We’ve been needing the involvement of the corporate sector in Barcelona for a while, and hopefully it will attract more talent, and also raise salaries. To mention one of the startups bringing a lot of buzz to the B2B sector right now, I have to say Travelperk, aiming at changing corporate travel. I hope we see more of these companies, bringing in revenue from day one.

Desperately needs exits

As Valls compares Barcelona to other European startup hubs, one of the main needs he points to, is more exits.

Both London, and especially Berlin with Rocket Internet has these big tech companies both acquiring and exiting startups, and stimulates the whole tech ecosystem. We need that in Barcelona as well.

Valls also underlines that he thinks Barcelona needs more PR, not only to attract tourists, but to show the world how big and vibrant the tech ecosystem really is.

Mackin says that a lot of good things are happening in Barcelona right now, but there’s still a lot of unleashed potential:

We’re starting to build hubs, especially with Pier 01 with over 1.000 professionals gathered under the same roof. What we need now is more events, content and socializing to create an even stronger community

https://upscri.be/285782-2

The biggest challenges

Valls points to several things Barcelona needs to improve to foster more startups.

There’s tons of positive development in Spanish startup ecosystem, but there are also challenges.

Valls points to new tax regulations for business angels as something that could help attract more investment. Another thing is stock options, as you often can’t offer the best salaries in startups and stock options in the company is what keeps the talent in house for years:

In Spain you tax on stock options that hasn’t been cashed out yet, and that’s terrible for startups. A good idea could be to regulate stock options in technology startups differently than in regular businesses.

The 4YFN director also wants to see better VISA opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Editor Mackin, who is American, says he’s grateful for the entrepreneurial VISA that already exists in Spain, but says that it should be much easier to obtain, than it is today:

I think we need to learn from our European neighbors, France for instance has more incentives for startups and young companies than in Spain, and the same goes for other countries such as in the Nordics and in Germany.

As the last question of the podcast, the guys were to answer the question what Barcelona based startup they saw as most promising in 2017.

Valls looks to Typeform:

Through MWC we invest in many startups, but if I would say a company where I’m not biased, I would say Typeform is this kind of B2B company, that will do great things in 2017.

Mackin has his own favorite:

I would point to Kompyte, also a B2B company with a very impressive product. They’re growing fast, and now they’ve gotten into 500 Startups as well, so I think we’ll be hearing more from them in 2017.


If you missed our last podcast, take a look here:


This post and podcast was produced by @sindre hopland, media manager at itnig.

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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:

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. 

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)! 

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.

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. 

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!