THE TECH SPIRIT IS GOING STRONG IN ITS THIRD EDITION
The conference organized by Tech Barcelona in the Llotja de Mar reaches 8,500 registered, the highest number since its inception, which shows, according to Miquel Martí, "the desire of the technology and digital sector to grow and be global".
Cristina Martín Valbuena
December 1, 2022
Read the article in Spanish here ⬇️
On the Tech Spirit stage, entrepreneurs who have just one minute to convince the audience of the validity of their project coincide with those who already have the title of unicorn under their arm. The event, organized by Tech Barcelona, celebrates this week its third edition consolidated as a meeting point for local entrepreneurs, bringing together more than 150 speakers at the Llotja de Mar and managing to reach more public, with 8,500 registered, the highest attendance of the last two editions. A figure that for Miquel Martí, CEO of Tech Barcelona, "exemplifies the growth of Tech Spirit as a reference event to value the ecosystem of the city, as well as the desire of the technology and digital sector to grow and be global".
The first day started with thirty startups that participated in a pitch to find the best emerging company in Catalonia, organized by Acció. Among health, ICT and deeptech companies, there were those who wanted to seduce the audience with personal anecdotes, asking them questions such as whether they could live without cheese, taking off their earphones and throwing them on the floor, resorting to scenes from movies like The Big Bet, comparing themselves with Alexa... There were even some who stood with their backs to the audience to capture their attention. Also noteworthy was the low participation of female entrepreneurs, with only seven out of a total of 27 participants.
All of them only had one minute and there were some who were left blank, which earned them the applause of the audience to be able to recover. After each thematic block, attendees voted for the three best startups, through a QR, seeing who was part of the podium live. Of all the participants, the best placed were Real Deal Milk, VRPharma Immersive Technologies, Aortyx, Eagora, TalentFY, Brickbro, Process Talks, Bio2coat and Aqtiva (Aqtiva Data Technologies).
While waiting to find out who will be the Catalan startup of the year, which will be announced on the second day of Tech Spirit, the most incipient entrepreneurs have been able to participate in speed dating with 80 local and international investors, also organized by Acció, or have been entertained by listening to those who already know how to overcome the stage fright of a pitch. Valerie Vanhooren, co-founder and CEO of Ona Therapeutics, focused on ending metastasis, warned them that start-ups are "like a roller coaster", so it is always important to be surrounded by a team that accompanies you in the good times and in the bad times. "You have to think big and not give up," said the Belgian entrepreneur, who has lived in Barcelona for years.
"Before I started, if I had known everything that was coming, I wouldn't have done it," added Markus Wilhelms, in defense of preserving a certain ignorance, or innocence, when starting a business and not wanting to know everything so as not to stop trying to start up projects like his own, Mowoot, a company that has developed a belt to alleviate chronic constipation. For his part, Marc Martinell, CEO of Minoryx Therapeutics, advised young entrepreneurs not to rely only on the CVs of those who want to work with them and to prefer profiles they can trust. In this regard, Ana Maiques, CEO of Neuroelectrics, also advocated reviewing the track records of investors: "When I raised capital, I should have done my homework more”.
One talk later, it was the turn of Factorial, one of the most recent unicorns on the Barcelona scene. Jordi Romero, CEO of the company that has developed software to facilitate the daily life of SMEs, defended the need to create benchmarks to continue growing the ecosystem. For his part, the co-founder of Submer, Pol Valls, called for the need to have investors with more capacity so that local startups do not have to look for them outside to continue growing. "We need to scale to be able to play in the Champions League," remarked Maiques, who also participated in this talk, replacing Elisenda Bou-Balust, founder of Vilynx, a company bought by Apple in 2020, a last-minute withdrawal.
An ecosystem of 1,900 startups
Barcelona's entrepreneurial ecosystem is made up of 1,900 startups and captured 1.48 million euros in 2021, figures that strengthen the city's position as the first European technology hub in Southern Europe, according to the latest data made public by Acció. The startups as a whole have a turnover of 1.7 million euros and have generated some 19,300 jobs.
Local startups are also characterized by a strong international component. Some data that demonstrate this are that 26% of startup workers are foreigners and so are 17% of the founders. Another factor that also detects this trend, collected for the first time this year by Acció, is that 73% of the companies have international clients, which represent almost half of their turnover.