StartupBlink Blog

  1. Europe
  2. Research and Reports

Barcelona: A truly business-friendly place

StartupBlink has launched the Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report 2019 that now ranks 1,000 cities and 100 countries worldwide and is available for download here.

Barcelona is Southern Europe’s most dynamic startup ecosystem, being home to over 1,300 startups that mostly develop their activity in the fields of Industry 4.0 (17%), life sciences (13%) and mobile & software technologies (11%), being e-commerce & marketplace the main business model (45% of Catalan startups).

A strong commitment to research and innovation for many years already, together with a resolute and determined entrepreneurial attitude as well as a lot of individual and collective teamwork have brought Barcelona and Catalonia to this leading position.

The startup economy in Catalonia employs about 13,820 people. The international feel of the city translates into the figures: 26% of all employees are from abroad, mainly from Western Europe (46%) followed by South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. In addition, 15% of startup founders are international. Working in the field of technology (Barcelona ranks 4th in the top tech cities, by CITIE and NESTA, 2017) is what mostly attracts foreign talent. In fact, 27% of international employees develop their activity in this area, followed by sales (22%), management (20%) and operations (17%).

The city enjoys a university system that attracts talent from all over the world and it is considered a first-rate spot for business and executive studies which contribute to providing the needed workforce. In recent years, numerous coding bootcamps installed in it so that plenty of job-ready professionals are available.

Barcelona is strong at connecting people and projects. It houses over 200 coworking spaces, PIER01 being the iconic of them which contains many initiatives like Collider, Digital Talent, the Payment Innovation Hub, and the Seat Metropolis Lab. International coworking chains as WeWork and Spaces are also in the city. Barcelona houses hundreds of incubators, accelerators, venture builders and fab labs. Moreover, it is one of the cities with the most trade fairs, congresses and conventions in the world, like the Mobile World Congress, 4YFN, the Smart City World Congress and the IOT Solutions World Congress, among many others.

Financing is key for startup success and Barcelona keeps claiming its spot in the international sphere. Nowadays Barcelona lies 4th in the ranking of European cities (Atomico) by volume of investment received: the city raised €722M in 2017, being only behind London, Berlin, and Paris. Foreign investors are strongly involved in startups: 74% of the highest rounds, as in the cases of startups Let Go, Glovo or TravelPerk.

No wonder that startups and foreign companies feel at home in Catalonia, the land of Barcelona. Nowadays over 8,600 foreign companies are here, mostly from Germany, France, and the United States. In 2018 it reached the peak of most technological investments ever received, which came mainly from abroad. It is a truly business-friendly place.

Written by Catalonia Trade & Investment.