16 brilliant Barcelona start-ups to watch in 2018

3 Nov 2017881 Shares

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Barcelona city at night. Image: Kanuman/Shutterstock

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Barcelona is the jewel of the Mediterranean when it comes to a robust and diverse start-up ecosystem.

Barcelona is a city close to my heart. For much of my professional career, I have been visiting Barcelona. Hardly a year goes by where I don’t get to attend the pivotal Mobile World Congress, where close to 100,000 mobile professionals congregate to define the future of communications.

As well as Mobile World Congress, the city is fostering its own international start-up event in the form of 4YFN (4 Years From Now) at the Fira de Barcelona-Montjuïc where, over three days, more than 13,000 investors and start-ups plot the future.

An elegant city of wide boulevards that stretch down to the sea, home to a lively night-time scene, bustling restaurants, avant-garde art galleries and beautiful buildings designed by Gaudí, Barcelona has something for everyone.

As well as a cultural hotspot, Barcelona is a business magnet, and organisations such as Barcelona Activa are focused on developing the city’s innovation economy.

For start-ups, the city has a lively networking scene with its own Startup Grind chapter as well as a start-up events series and regular weekly Silicon Drinkabout meet-ups.

Failed entrepreneurs can be candid at Fuckup Nights while platforms such as Barcinno and Barcelona Loves Entrepreneurs keep the city’s community of entrepreneurs in the know.

Here are the start-ups to watch in the year ahead.

Glovo

“Anything you want, delivered in minutes.” That’s the promise of Glovo, a platform that connects independent couriers, or ‘Glovers’, with people and businesses. The company, founded by Oscar Pierre and Sacha Michaud in 2015, recently landed a €30m investment from Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, which incidentally happens to be a sponsor of FC Barcelona.

Futura VR Studio

Founded by filmmakers, producers, sound engineers and developers, Futura VR Studio aims to tell cinematic stories within virtual reality and describes itself as a “laboratory on the lookout for telling stories beyond the visual”.

ID Finance

A fast-growing fintech company, ID Finance specialises in online lending in emerging and growing markets. Founded by Boris Batine and Alexander Dunaev in 2013, the company also provides credit scoring and digital finance services. Already issuing more than 50,000 loans a month in regions such as Latin America, ID Finance raised $50m earlier this year in debt financing from several sources, including TransKapitalBank, For Bank and Russian food magnate Vadim Dymov.

Letgo

“It’s time to snap, post, chat and sell. It’s time to Letgo!” is the warcry of Letgo, a start-up that applies a geolocation layer to classifieds and the selling of secondhand goods. Founded by Alec Oxenford, Enrique Linares and Jordi Castello in 2015, the Barcelona start-up also has offices in New York. Two years ago, it raised $100m in a Series D round led by South African media entity Naspers.

Cl3ver

Cl3ver is a SaaS platform that enables engineers, architects and design professionals to create 3D presentations for clients on any device. Founded by Daniel Iborra and Viktor Nordstrom in 2011, the company has raised €2.49m to date.

Anaconda Biomed

Pre-clinical stage medical device company Anaconda Biomed develops neurothrombectomy systems for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. The start-up was founded in 2015 by Ofir Arad and recently raised €15m in Series A financing led by investors Innogest Capital, Ysios Capital, Banco Sabadell and Omega Funds.

Coverfy

Launched only last year, Coverfy is a mobile-based insurance broker that allow users to browse and compare all insurance policies in one handy app. Founded by Vicente Arias, it recently raised €3.5m from K Fund, Seaya Ventures and Sabadell Venture Capital. Prior to this, it raised €750,000 in seed funding.

21 Buttons

A social commerce app that enables fashion influencers to share their wardrobe, 21 Buttons has ambitious expansion plans for the UK, Spain and Italy. 21 Buttons is tapping into the influencer trend that has seen social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest add shop-the-look tools. Founded by Marc Soler and Jaime Farres, the Barcelona-based start-up recently raised $10m in Series A funding in a round led by Kibo Ventures and JME Venture Capital.

Worldsensing

Internet of things (IoT) platform Worldsensing is recognised as a global IoT pioneer, delivering operational intelligence to traditional industries and cities in more than 50 countries. Founded by Xavier Vilajosana, Jordi Llosa and Ignasi Vilajosana, the company raised €8.3m in funding in July from investors including ETF Partners, Telefónica Ventures, McRock Capital and Finaves.

Signaturit

Signaturit provides an electronic signature and document management platform for the sending and signing of important documents. With more than 10,000 clients worldwide, Signaturit is one of two Spanish companies to receive support from the European Horizon 2020 programme for high-potential companies. Founded in 2013 by Juan Zamora, Salvador Severich and Javier Martinez, the company raised €2.8m in a funding round during the summer.

Travisy

Travisy applies artificial intelligence (AI) to the trip-planning process. Founded in 2016 by Sergi Vila, Albert Vila and Albert Cuartiella, Travisy has raised €35,000 in angel investment.

Cliventa

Real-estate start-up Cliventa provides all of the services of a real-estate agent for a fixed fee. The start-up is currently preparing for a new funding round to finance its expansion across Spain, following on from a €375,000 funding round in August. Founded in 2016 by Alejandro Briceño and Ignacio González, Cliventa counts RtV Capital, Grupo BR and Aldicer among its investors.

TravelPerk

TravelPerk is a tool for business travellers designed to change how they budget, book and manage travel by offering a budgeting algorithm, reporting dashboard, flexible payments and incentives for employees to save. Founded in 2015 by Javier Suarez, Ron Levin and Avi Meir, TravelPerk raised $7m last year in a Series A round led by Spark Capital.

Hutoma

AI start-up Hutoma helps companies to scale and automate customer-facing roles by deploying AI programmes that act and behave like their human counterparts. Founded two years ago by Maurizio Cibelli and Andrea Cibelli, Hutoma has raised more than $1m to date in three seed rounds.

Datumize

Datumize discovers unexplored data from networks and devices for the purpose of making informed business decisions. Established in 2014 by Manel Casasús, Nacho Lafuente and Albert Pradell, Datumize has raised more than €1m in funding to date.

Badi

Tapping into the flat-sharing economy, Badi is a peer-to-peer marketplace using intelligently verifiable profiles to find suitable flatmates. Founded in 2015 by Carlos Pierre Trias de Bes, the company has raised $4m to date in funding rounds led by Mangrove Capital Partners.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com