StartupBlink Blog

General overview

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Cantabria´s region has an incipient startup ecosystem, with a few small companies developing a variety of technological activities, mainly on the fields of electronic components, internet, and digital industry.

Cantabria has an ideal strategic location for the development of any economic activity. It is an Autonomous Community located in the north of Spain with infrastructures that allow considerable commercial expansion beyond its borders, both to the rest of the country and other European Union states. In StartupBlink’s 2019 report, Santander ranks 675th globally and 17th in Spain.

The historical links and close ties consolidated over the years with Latin America and Europe make Cantabria the ideal base from which to tackle these markets.

In addition to its natural capabilities, the region has strategic alliances through which it has created marketing networks that open up a vast amount of possibilities for the companies located Cantabria.

Cantabria has a privileged geographical situation, in the center of the Spanish north cost. Santander´s port has important commercial and touristic connections with Europe. The nearness and connections with Bilbao and Basque Country is a key advantage, due to its dynamic business ecosystem.

Santander has been selected as one of the main Smart Cities in Spain, forming part of the “Spanish Smart Cities Network”. “SmartSantander” proposes a unique in the world city-scale experimental research facility in support of typical applications and services for a smart city. This unique experimental facility will be sufficiently large, open and flexible to enable horizontal and vertical federation with other experimental facilities and stimulates the development of new applications by users of various types including experimental advanced research on IoT technologies and realistic assessment of users’ acceptability tests. The project envisions the deployment of 20,000 sensors in Belgrade, Guildford, Lübeck and Santander (12,000), exploiting a large variety of technologies.

If we have to point out the weakness of the city of Santander we should say it is of relatively small size and relevance compared to other Spanish city’s, moreover, the inhabitants of this region are particularly loath to associate, this two characteristic makes it hard to find coworking environments and people to form groups with. This added to the financial crisis which is hardening the growth of startups makes Santander lose inhabitants in what seems a steady pace.

Startup Case Studies

Some of Cantabria’s main success stories are TEDCAS, Offersalud, Iteisa, Cellulis, Gpmess, SoftCloudIT, etc.

The bigger and most recent success from this group is TEDCAS

TEDCAS was born as a spin-off from Cantabria´s University and has developed an advanced solution consisting of natural user interfaces based on a kinetic touchless mechanism. The startup has obtained investment in several venture rounds and is well known all over the world.

Our Coworking space Distrito Beta, has several key contacts between these new companies, which are being the main protagonists of a generational change inside the regional economy.


The University of Cantabria is the most important high-level education institution in the region; it shares its knowledge among its students and has its main campus in Santander.

Sodercan (society for the development of the Cantabria region) is a public institution with the mission of managing projects to support, create, and development of Cantabrian companies.

Bank Santander is the most important financial institution of the Region and one of the biggest banks of the world, it has its headquarters in Santander city and it is one of the main financing sources for the regional environment.

Cise, (International center Santander Entrepreneurship) develops educational projects and activities to stimulate the entrepreneurship and innovative culture with the aim of improving the social and economic progress of the region

Fab Lab Santander, a Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) is a production space for physical objects at a personal or local scale with computer controlled machines; Fab Lab Santander is the first research, technology, art, architecture and design lab in Cantabria that involves digital construction process.

The Author:  Luis Negrete is a digital entrepreneur proceeding from the financial sector. During his prior careers, he has worked in commercial and Private Banking with Banco Santander and CatalunyaCaixa organizations, with regional responsibilities.

Luis is the CEO and Founder of Distrito Beta, a coworking space sited at Santander, sharing journey and interests with a community of 20+ coworkers. Is currently developing an interactive design studio named Significancia, which is focused on developing innovative digital solutions and multimedia content for culture, education, and entertainment.

Neither Cantabria nor Santander currently has an active StartupBlink community leader. We would love for you to join us as one.