One would be hard pressed to find a more enjoyable place to work from than Barcelona. The city’s enviable weather and climate, along with its affordable cost of living makes it a magnet for expats from all over the world. When combined with the presence of talented engineers and excellent universities, Barcelona becomes a very logical choice for those seeking a healthy work-life balance. The ecosystem has made significant headway in smart city technology as well as mobile-related startups. As any local would state, seed stage capital in Barcelona is not very difficult to obtain. Nevertheless, startups typically find difficulty in acquiring post-seed financing and generally leave Barcelona once they begin to scale. Through Barcelona Activa, the local government has been very active in supporting startups; however, there is still a significant amount of red tape that entrepreneurs must overcome in order to be successful. Despite these challenges, the startup scene is becoming increasingly more active, and once more successful entrepreneurs begin recycling capital into the ecosystem, fewer scaling startups will leave.

In This Market

These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.


  • The presence of a very talented workforce, due to excellent universities, that is available at a very affordable cost.
  • Through Barcelona Activa, the local government has had success in supporting the local ecosystem, by providing resources such as legal help, finding funding, and hosting events.
  • Many entrepreneurs claim that they usually don’t have trouble finding seed stage capital during the early stages of their company.
  • An extremely multicultural, cosmopolitan city with fabulous weather, and low cost of living (when compared to other European metro areas) has encouraged international expats, who are often the driving force of innovation in any city, to make Barcelona their new home.
  • Promising sectors include biopharma, smart cities, and mobile applications.

Risk Factors

  • The national government has a larger presence in Madrid, where it can serve as a customer and partner for growing startups.
  • Barcelona does not have nearly as many large multinational corporations as Madrid does, and as a result, the avenues for an exit are much more difficult.
  • Startups struggle to raise post-seed capital, and often must leave the city once they are in the process of scaling.
  • Government bureaucracy and high taxes makes it challenging for early stage startups to grow. Although it is being changed, the tax regimen is not friendly for startups who often have to pay burdensome amounts of tax monthly.
  • The local mindset makes it difficult to grow a globally-oriented company, as most entrepreneurs are more concerned with the smaller domestic market.

Market Indicators

Notable Success Stories


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Market timeline

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