Press Release  | 

Startup investment in Spain exceeds one billion euros for the very first time

  • For the fourth year running, Mobile World Capital Barcelona has published the Startup Ecosystem Overview, which analyses the status of the Spanish startup ecosystem

  • According to the study, Spain ended 2018 with 4,115 new startups, most of them located in Madrid and Barcelona

  • Barcelona is ranked the third favourite city in Europe to establish new startups and, for the sixth consecutive year, is hosting a new edition of 4YFN, the leading world event aimed at the entrepreneurial community

Barcelona, 20 February 2019. For the fourth year running, Mobile World Capital Barcelona (MWCapital) has issued the Startup Ecosystem Overview 2019, which includes the main data on the startup ecosystem in Spain. The report concludes that Spain remains a pole of attraction for the establishing of new startups. In 2018, investment revenues for the sector increased by 63.7% in comparison with the previous year and exceeded the billion euro (€1.3 B) mark for the very first time, capitalised by Barcelona with €871 M and Madrid with €342 M.

The study was presented at a round table held to discuss the potential of entrepreneurship as an element for transforming society and business. Present at the meeting was Oscar Sala, Director of MWCapital The Collider programme, Pere Durán, Director of 4YFN, Carlos Pierre, founder of Badi, and Ignacio Fonts, CEO of Inveready.

According to the report, it should be noted that Barcelona amasses 65% of overall investment in Spain and has experienced more than 90% growth from €453 M in 2017 to €871 M, placing it as the fourth hub worldwide in terms of investment figures. This is partly due to the fact that 12 of the 29 investment rounds of over 10 million euros over the past year correspond to startups based in Barcelona. Furthermore, according to data from the report, the city is considered the third favourite hub in Europe for the creation of new startups.

Sector-wise, the new startups established are primarily platforms targeting consumers and e-commerce. Home industries -deemed as applications for personal use- (34%), health and wellbeing (29%) and transport -including mobility companies and last-mile delivery- (23%) have experienced greatest investment. Insofar as business models, the ranking is headed by marketplaces with 62%, followed by e-commerce with 43% and mobile apps with 42%.

In absolute figures, according to the report, 4,115 startups were registered in Spain last year. Most of them are located in Madrid (1,235) and in Barcelona (1,197), although Valencia and Bilbao are starting to develop as emerging capitals with 261 and 60 startups, respectively. The overall figure places the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem just behind London, the main European hub, which stands out with 8,974 startups. More specifically, Madrid and Barcelona are among the 10 European hubs in terms of the number of startups, standing in fifth and sixth place, respectively.

Heading the ranking of the startups to have invested most heavily in Spain are Letgo (€430 M), Cabify (€130 M) and Glovo (€115 M).

Spain continues to attract digital talent from inside and outside Europe

According to data from 2018, Spain is the sixth country in Europe with the highest number of digital profiles available in the employment market. The case of developers (analysts-programmers) is particularly relevant in Europe, increasing by 4.2% over the past year and experiencing a higher growth ratio in Spain at 15.1%. Barcelona is home to 72,500 developers, making it the second city in the Top 30 European cities with the greatest number of these professionals.

Spain has been considered the third country to attract most European talent, behind the United Kingdom and Germany, in Atomico’s latest State of European Tech ranking. It is also the fifth destination in Europe to be chosen by international talent, accounting for 6.7% of all non-European foreigners. In contrast, it is the fourth highest exporter of digital talent to countries in the old continent and fifth to non-European destinations.

4YFN, the benchmark event in the startup ecosystem

A great example of the maturity of the startup sector in Barcelona is the evolution of 4 Years From Now since it started in 2014. 4YFN is the MWC meeting that enables startups, entrepreneurs, investors, institutions and large companies to connect and exchange ideas, contacts or projects. Over the years, 4YFN has become a leading world event that is growing at a dizzy rate almost parallel to the evolution of the startup situation in Barcelona. “The growth we have experienced at 4YFN is also a reflection of the good health of the local startup scene. 4YFN cannot be comprehended without the commitment and joint work of all emerging companies, institutions, businesses and investors forming the startup network in Barcelona. But at the same time, the work done at 4YFN over this time has also helped promote and build the local ecosystem”, said Pere Duran, Director of 4YFN.

This year, from 25 to 27 February, 4YFN will remain true to this objective, with over 300 speakers and more than 750 exhibitors from around the world, with estimated attendance figures of 21,000 visitors. “Among us all, promoting connections, innovation and the exchange of ideas, we will continue to help Barcelona strengthen its position as a benchmark in the world startup ecosystem”, added Duran.

Download the Startup Ecosystem Overview 2019 report