In Spain tech sector startups began to pop up some 20 years ago. With the founding of companies like Trade Inn, EDreams and Infojobs a growth trend began that would actually increase during the most severe years of the recession.

Today Spain’s technology sector has come to list 2,638 startups, distributed mainly between Barcelona (26%), Madrid (27%) and Valencia (14%). According to Adam Sedó, PR Manager at Amazon Spain, “There is an abundance of technological talent in Spain, but the most important thing is that it’s available.”

Another key element that has favoured the rise of startups in Spain is its capacity to attract international talent; entrepreneurs, employees and investors who decide to launch their projects from Spain, lured by the climate and lifestyle, and also the low cost of corporate structures. This is the case, for example, with Marek Fodor (Atrápalo, Kantox) Sacha Michaud (Glovo) and Conor O’Connor (Hot Hotels).

informe 2

2015, a banner year for Spanish startups

In 2015 Spanish startups received more than $500M in investments for the first time in history, an 87% increase over the 2014 figures. At this point startups have achieved a level of quality and maturity allowing them to compete in the same market as more traditional companies. Companies like Wallapop, Typeform, Cabify and Fever are part of the group of 13 startups that in 2015 benefitted from investment rounds of more than €10M, figures that almost double the combined results from 2013 and 2014.

If all this has been possible it is precisely thanks to the key involvement of business angels and venture capital funds, which in 2015 financed 70% of the projects. Of all the sources of capital invested in startups in 2015, 73% came from international agents. In 2015 there was only one investment round of more than €10M that did not feature foreign participation: that for jobandtalent. The main sectors attracting the investment of international capital were Mobile Market Places (Wallapop, Letgo, Fever), FinTech (Kantox, Novicap, peerTransfer, Digital Origin) and specialised software (CartoDB, Typeform, UserZoom).

Barcelona, a digital hub on the rise

Barcelona has become one of the main hubs in the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a total of over 10,000 tech-based companies. Founded 4.8 years ago on average, these startups offer products and services related to the media (13%), mobile tools (12%), business (11%) and marketing (6%). 52% of these projects were invested in by business angels, and 33% have participated in an acceleration process. Finally, 60% operate on the international market. Present in more than 50 countries, they are responsible for driving the global economy.

informe 3

There is no doubt that the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem is booming. However, despite the “Entrepreneurs Law” passed in 2013 to promote the creation of new companies, there is still much left to be done. There are still many taxes that entrepreneurs must pay at different stages of the process, which in many cases constitute an almost insurmountable barrier.

In any case, those who have succeeded have now become industry paragons worldwide, heralding bright prospects for the coming years.

Why are we talking about this?

Mobile World Capital Barcelona, in collaboration with Novobrief, has produced the Digital Startup Ecosystem Overview 2015, a study analysing the digital startup ecosystem in 2015 and examining its main achievements.