Barcelona: The City of Startups

Barcelona: The City of Startups

Barcelona is a top European city for many things, including art, culture, and sports. But what makes it truly special is its thriving startup ecosystem.  According to Startup Heatmap Europe, Barcelona ranks third in the top 10 best startup cities in Europe—and it’s easy to see why. With over 1,800 unique startups across a number of industries, particularly in the tech sector, Barcelona offers a supportive and dynamic environment for any entrepreneur.


So what does Barcelona offer fledgling businesses that makes it stand out among other startup hubs?

One unique aspect is the collaborative nature of Barcelona’s startup culture. Barcelona Activa, the city council’s local development agency, seeks to improve local quality of life and promote the Catalan economy by supporting new enterprises and innovation. The list of accelerators, angel networks, and coworking spaces available to aspiring entrepreneurs is extensive, and the city thrums with opportunities to network and connect. It’s also an extremely friendly city for foreign-led startups, with 50-70% of startup founders being from abroad and 26% of the total workforce being international.

With Barcelona’s relatively low cost of living, its welcoming attitude towards foreign investment and its extensive support network stretching from the government down, it’s easy to see why the city is a fantastic home for innovative new business.

EU Alumni Startup Success Story

Most Succesful Startups in Barcelona


One of Barcelona’s top startups, Glovo was founded in 2015 and reached unicorn status in 2019, and is valued at over $1B. A delivery app that seeks to connect users with local businesses and ultimately make cities more accessible, Glovo boasts over 2,000 employees worldwide and over 3.5 million customers. Since 2015, Glovo has launched in 21 countries and over 875 cities and is currently the largest on-demand platform founded in mainland Europe.


The other unicorn to come out of Barcelona, Letgo is a secondhand market app valued at $1.5B. A free service that aims to make it easier for users to buy and sell locally, Letgo has had over 100 million downloads and has over 400 million listings. In addition, Letgo’s platform supports sustainability by making secondhand goods more accessible to the public at large. They currently have offices in both Barcelona and New York.


TravelPerk was formed in response to the unique pressures of booking business travel. The company seeks to improve the generally negative experience of business travel planning by providing a user-focused experience that permits significant freedom of choice. The company’s goal of user autonomy is reflected in its corporate culture, and it seems to be working—TravelPerk recently acquired Click Travel, the UK’s largest travel platform. They also offset 100% of carbon emissions generated by their users.


An online software as a service company, Typeform specializes in form- and survey-building technology. Since its founding in 2012, the company has raised more than €47M euros and has investment support from tech luminaries such as Anthony Casalena (CEO of Squarespace) and Javier Olivan (VP of Central Products at Facebook). The company’s goal is to help users create aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly survey tools to boost engagement, improve response quality, and raise completion rates.


Launched in 2017, Bnext is a neobank that allows users to use a bank card worldwide without incurring any foreign transaction fees. It was officially registered as a digital money entity by the Bank of Spain in 2020. Although Bnext offers users nearly the same services as a traditional bank, it also boasts a unique Marketplace function that allows customers to access a wide range of financial products and services from different banks and fintechs.


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