Life Sciences and Gaming Startups Bloom in Barcelona

In our newest member spotlight, see how Barcelona is working to expand its Startup Sub-Sectors.
Sofia Kousa
on July 16, 2019

Barcelona has some of the most fascinating architecture in the world, with landmarks like La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, and Parc Güell. This inspiring setting is also one of the largest entrepreneurial hubs in Southern Europe with local creative and technical talent graduating from schools like University of Barcelona.

With a startup ecosystem value of about $4.1 billion, Barcelona is seeing particular success in sub-sectors including Life Sciences and Gaming. In fact, our 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report places Barcelona in the Gaming global top 15. 

As the largest city in the region, Barcelona anchors Catalonia, which is home to over 130 gaming companies that total approximately $365 million in annual revenue. Even some large global players like Ubisoft and I Got Games have set up their European Headquarters in Barcelona. One notable Gaming company Social Point, specializing in free-to-play mobile and social network games, was acquired for $260 million in 2017.

Barcelona is also home to over 100 Life Sciences startups. In 2018, a clinical stage biotech company that is leading the development of therapies to rare diseases like X-ALD, Minoryx Therapeutics, raised $25 million. That same year STAT-DX, a patient testing solutions startup that aims to deliver fast, easy-to-use, and accurate testing, was acquired for $191 million.

Barcelona hosts many Life Sciences conferences like Eyeforpharma and Bio Europe Spring along with other international technology-centric events including Mobile World Congress (MWC Barcelona), the world's largest exhibition of the mobile industry and Smart City Expo, the leading international event on urban development. Both of these events bring together companies from all over the world, making Barcelona a focal point for innovation and connectedness.


In our 2019 assessment of the Barcelona startup ecosystem, we also highlighted:

  • Barcelona is top 15 global ecosystem for “Bang for Buck.”
  • The Output Growth Index in Barcelona is a 7 out of 10, showing fast growth in the ecosystem.
  • The Software Startup Output is around 1,100-1,400, higher than the global average.

Our local member in Barcelona is Catalonia Trade and Investment. They work to attract foreign direct investment, promoting the Barcelona and Catalonia area as an attractive business hub and offering services to international investors and corporations. Catalonia Trade and Investment also promotes innovation, internationalization, trade and funding of companies and startups within the area. The organization also supports scaling companies in all stages of the innovation process through guidance, training, and connections.

“Barcelona is one of the most competitive European startup hubs with lots of multinational enterprise innovation centers and access to local and international talent and VC investment,” said Jordi Aguasca, Manager at Startup Catalonia.

Would you like to become a startup ecosystem ambassador for Barcelona? Please get in touch with us.

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