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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O.

On sales leadership

These are some values that I learned that define a leader:

– A leader is somebody who reaches their goals and achieves beyond their individual abilities aligned with their own values and the organization’s values. A leader without a team is not a leader. A leader works for the team, not the other way around.

– Humbleness. Leaders must get to know themselves first, acknowledge their limitations. Acknowledge they have no recipe for success (no one does). They will succeed only by being curious and trying things faster, testing, changing things again, failing again, learning as fast as possible. In sales, everybody notices when things work well, success is measured in € vs budget. A leader must embrace results with no buts and take action to reach the goals.

– A leader works harder, a leader cares about the goals more than anybody else, they took full ownership of the goals. A leader does about anything to remove bottlenecks away on his team, they assist, train, support everybody, anything it takes. They are always the best resource for their team.

– A leader will always be available for everybody in their team, for personal and professional issues. They go the extra mile. They make sure everybody knows that. They earn the team’s trust.

– A leader makes everyone aware that teamwork is not negotiable. Without a cooperative team, there’s no leader. Lone wolves kill the growing/changing organization. Growth happens only WITH the team, not at their expense.

– Leaders communicate all the time, they don’t keep things to themselves, they are honest with their team. They share good and bad. They share the why’s. They trust their team. Trust precedes process and it is the only path to grow at a scale.

– Leaders learn fast and learn mostly from their team. The team has the most valuable knowledge a leader can get, it doesn’t come from books, blog posts, degrees or mentors. The team gets the real shit from the front line. A leader listens to their teams’ impressions and ideas, they explore them all and give feedback. Leaders generate a culture of idea generation and idea sharing. Leaders stay away from guru preaching.

– It’s important to understand people’s personal and professional ultimate goals and motivations. Leaders spend time asking them on their one on ones and they think about them. They write them down. Everybody is playing the movie of their lives, a leader must find out which one is it, they make sure each team member keeps being the hero of their movie.

– Leaders always lead by example, not by title. They show real bravery. Leaders go first to battle. They call leads and close customers. They apologize to customers when the company screws up. They take the shit first. They don’t leave anyone behind. They don’t show their rank, their status, their difference, their pedigree. Startups are flat meritocratic organizations. Leaders must understand well the company goals and they put them first, they are prepared to step down, or step aside, or leave the company at any moment if needed. Company goals are what matters most. Leaders show this to everyone. Company/collective oriented leaders always thrive.

– Leaders celebrate every victory. They visibly show the pain of every defeat. They take every opportunity to show they care. They analyze why/what/how and find out always changes to be made. Then they go and make the changes. They change anything or everything, but never keep on doing what doesn’t work. They shake the whole company inside out before/when goals are not met.

– Leaders set goals that are both ambitious and achievable. They work along the team to make sure they meet the goals. They are flexible when the goals are set wrong. They are implacable when goals are not met.

Most people will never be a leader. It takes time and patience, it takes survival skills, it takes real personal strength. But after committing to all these things, things start to work. Leaders are such when and only when they brought teams to make things work, nobody becomes a leader just by trying it. True leaders make sure they don’t leave the boat until things work (as they will work, ultimately!). They don’t leave the job undone.

– Bernat Farrero CEO at Itnig