Barcelona’s thriving digital and technological ecosystem
This newsletter considers Barcelona’s thriving digital and technological ecosystem, one that has received over US$5.4 billion in VC funding since 2015. Last year, the number of start-ups rose by 6% to 2,022, helping Barcelona rank in Europe’s top five cities of most active start-up hubs. Catalonia is one of Europe’s top five regions for high tech industry jobs.
And the location for much of this start-up activity? Poblenou, a city district that has been imaginatively reinvented into Barcelona’s primary creative hub. It’s home to contemporary co-working spaces, industrial-inspired warehouse conversions and of course, Antares, our awe-inspiring residential tower on the Mediterranean Sea.
We take a tour of Poblenou and highlight some facts behind Barcelona’s flourishing investment ecosystem, outlining yet another compelling draw for this thrilling city.
The Antares team
In 2012, Barcelona’s visionary take on smart city technologies, backed by an extensive fibre network, established the city as a top tech destination. A decade on, it’s home to 7 unicorns (start-ups valued over US$1 billion) including Edreams, Glovo and Travelperk, with a further 15 companies primed to achieve that status. Its key role was endorsed by The Financial Times who placed it second only to London for an “effective tech ecosystem” while the wider region, Catalonia, is Europe’s first open 5G laboratory. Barcelona is a digital hub for Porsche and PepsiCo, has welcomed multinationals including Google and Microsoft and has a health tech ecosystem backed by giants including ROCHE and Bayer. International entrepreneurs and digital nomads alike are lured by the triple appeal of a skilled workforce, both international and local, golden business opportunities and a seafront lifestyle.
The reinvention of Poblenou
The 1992 Olympics, famous for the triumph of Michael Jordan’s Dream Team, transformed Barcelona in general and Poblenou in particular, as the city opened up to the sea. The extension of Barcelona’s prestigious Avenue Diagonal in 1999, stretching directly to the Mediterranean Sea, includes Diagonal Mar, home to Antares, and was immediately followed by @22, a 200-hectare innovation and technological district. Poblenou-Diagonal Mar is where ‘new’ Barcelona is unfolding, an innovative, contemporary and international neighbourhood with the work of star-architects including Herzog & de Meuron and our own Odile Decq whose design at Antares, the tallest residential tower in Barcelona, is a 21st Century landmark for the city.
In our next newsletter, we speak with Sara Puig Alsina, President of the Fundació Joan Miró here in Barcelona. Sara discusses Miró’s works, the history of the Fundació, promoting emerging artists, upcoming exhibits and Barcelona‘s cultural community.