Barcelona is the sixth largest metropolitan area in Europe – known for its history, culture, iconic monuments, as a commercial centre, and a tourist destination. The city is also home to a burgeoning startup ecosystem, with events like MWC Barcelona and EU-Startups’ own annual Summit. The Spanish startup ecosystem is on the rise, and Barcelona is leading the country. In 2018, 130 investments were made in the city’s startups, for a total of €900 million in funding, and the city now ranks as the fifth most active startup hub in Europe.
Here are 10 innovative startups founded in Barcelona within the past two years that we think deserve your attention in 2019:
X1 Wind – With high wind speeds on the oceans, offshore wind is a more efficient source of renewable energy than onshore wind – but the problems associated with mounting windfarms on water also make the technology more complicated and expensive. Floating offshore platforms are nothing new, but X1 Wind’s technology is revolutionising the sector with lighter platforms, simplified installation, and improved scalability, with a concept conceived by co-founder Carlos Casanovas while at MIT in 2012. The estimated potential of deep water offshore wind in Europe, US and Japan is 7,000GW – 14x the current global installed capacity of onshore wind. Founded in 2017, the startup has already gained backing from Horizon 2020.
Polaroo is a Barcelona-based payments system. Users register their regular services (internet, water, gas and electricity, etc.) into the Polaroo app, and Polaroo manages all payments so the user only has to deal with one monthly bill. On the vendor side, Polaroo aggregates user data, helping service providers conduct market research and personalise their services to consumers. Finally, Polaroo handles canceling contracts and initiating new service contracts when, for example, Tenant A vacates a flat and Tenant B moves in. Founded in 2017, Polaroo is currently seeking €500k in angel funding against a pre-money valuation of €2 million.
Learnlife – By 2030, it’s estimated that 800 million people could be displaced by automation, and 65% of today’s youth will need to find or create work in areas that don’t even exist yet. Founded in 2017, this social impact edtech startup is on a mission to transform education with personal and purpose-inspired learning. Learnlife is building collaborative learning communities through its digital platform and physical hubs to empower individuals in a world where creativity and innovation will be needed to solve future challenges. This June, Learnlife raised a €3.1 million seed funding round.
Propcrowd is real estate crowdfunding platform seeking to democratise investment. Anyone can invest in real estate investment opportunities, starting with just €100, and build a diverse portfolio with properties selected by the startup’s network of 40 real estate experts. The real estate market in Spain has been growing since the crisis, and Propcrowd offers an easy way to get in on the growth. Founded in 2018, the proptech advertises a higher return on investment than IBEX, the Spanish stock exchange.
FriendZone – Moving to a new city? Find new friends with FriendZone, a new app that helps you find people who share your interests. Just launched in March 2019, the app is still in beta, but features over 100 interests with which you can find and connect with other people (which will hopefully be broadened further). First choose your interests, fill out your profile, find the best matches for you through the app’s algorithm, and then add and message your potential friends directly through the app. Founded in 2018, the startup is supported by the City of Barcelona and Amazon Web Services.
EMJOY is a sex tech startup for women founded in 2019. You can already sign up for the beta version of its app, which includes over 60 audio sessions for women written by a professional sex therapist. Before it starts charging for a subscription service, it wants to check and see what users like and don’t like, so now is your chance to enjoy all of its content for free. The app includes series on self-esteem, couples, increasing your libido and sex drive, pleasure techniques, science backed by research, and mindful sex techniques from Jessica Graham, the author of Good Sex: Getting Off Without Checking Out. So sign up now to improve your sexual pleasure at no cost.
Tradler – Many studies have shown that engaged employees are happier, more productive, and stay longer in organisations than disengaged employees. Without recognition, employees become disillusioned, and disengaged from companies’ goals and progress. Founded in 2017, Tradler aims to improve employee satisfaction and productivity by recognising them for the work they do. Tradler’s employee engagement platform assists companies in rewarding their team members, especially in large companies where employees have highly repetitive jobs, finding ways to reward and recognize their daily contributions. The platform helps employees feel valued by setting clear goals, identifying contributions, and providing feedback and rewards, thereby increasing loyalty and value for the entire organisation.
Remy Robitics – Advances in robotics and AI are beginning to change the food industry. Soon, many of the meals we eat will be prepared – chopped, cooked, and served – with the help of robots. The technology aims to lower costs, improve and standardise quality, and reduce food waste for restaurants. Founded in 2018, Remy Robotics is creating food robotics solutions for use in dark kitchens, kitchen factories, restaurants and other businesses, enabling consistent quality, adaptability to any recipe, and operational effectiveness.
Looking for an adventure on a budget? Barcelona-based FlyKube, a ‘surprise’ travel startup, offers travel packages starting from just €99 per person for a weekend getaway – including flight and hotel accommodations. The fun part? You don’t know where you’re going until just a few days beforehand. The surprise travel sector is growing, and FlyKube is differentiating itself from the competition with its large number of available destinations (more than 200 in Europe, Africa and the Middle East). Launched in 2017, FlyKube raised €400k in January.
Landbot.io – This startup uses a new ‘anti-AI’ chatbot to help companies create conversational experiences on their websites and boost customer engagement. Founded in 2017, Landbot uses a rich texting interface as a website navigation tool to help visitors find out where to click, and its interactive, adaptive messaging thread uses conversational choice prompts to give them the information they need. Landbot already has over 900 customers from over 50 countries, and raised a seed round of €1.9 million in 2018.
By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!