For the fourth consecutive year, Barcelona remains in the third position as one of the most attractive hubs in Europe for startups, according to Startup Heatmap Europe’s “The Power of the Ecosystem” report for 2021.

Every year, the company Deep Ecosystems surveys founder mobility. The report highlights that Barcelona has managed to attract 17% of founders, including a high proportion of foreign-born founders. Specifically, international founders represent 65% of startup founders in Barcelona. For this reason, the city also achieves the fourth position as Europe’s most international startup hub.

“Barcelona continues to thrive as one of the most diverse startup ecosystems”, this ecosystem is made up of more than 1,197 startups. Besides, it is also home to 7 international unicorns and 3 local unicorns (Glovo, Letgo, and eDreams). According to Dealroom, Barcelona startups raised more than €3.56 billion in investments between 2013 and 2020. The Catalan capital is the eighth largest investment hub measured by average investments per year in Europe. This data indicates that capital invested in Barcelona has almost doubled since 2016, demonstrating that the ecosystem is developing and becoming more mature.

The report also highlights a large number of incubators and accelerator programs with international mentors. These incubators and programs represent a great help for entrepreneurs who want to get their ideas off the ground. Examples include Conector, Wayra Barcelona, Seedrocket, CRAASH Barcelona, and D-Health Barcelona.

What is the report based on?

The survey asked founders to rank the ecosystem on 6 criteria from 1 to 5:

  • Availability of funding
  • Business regulations
  • Availability of talent
  • Industry connections
  • Startup ecosystem and culture
  • Value for money

Where Barcelona stands out and receives above-average scores is the startup ecosystem support (82%) and value for money (75%). “For the majority of European founders, the city resonates as a vibrant and growing hub of opportunity,” the report explains.

Barcelona’s technological community

The report also highlights the concentration of tech founders; Barcelona is the second city among the major tech hubs with investments of more than €500 million per year. Barcelona’s tech-savvy startup founders account for 32% of the total. “The city has a strong digital community with 77,000 professionals where 26% of digital professionals are women (Barcelona Digital Talent).”

On a European level, Barcelona has the seventh fastest-growing tech meeting center, with a 426% increase in meetups between 2014 and 2020. Moreover, not all the consequences of the pandemic have been negative, as most of the events have been held online, meetup attendees could join from all over the world. It is for this reason that participation in meetups in Barcelona increased by 21% in 2020, despite Covid-19. The report also highlights the importance of the Mobile World Congress or 4YFN for the startup ecosystem.

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