Catalonia-based startups attract business angels & venture capital

Catalonia is Spain’s most attractive region for investors

According to a report by Spain’s Association for Capital, Growth and Investment (ASCRI) Catalan startups received, in 2015, a total of €371m from both public funds as well as accelerators and incubators, venture capital funds and corporations. Catalonia attracted 56 % of the total investment volume in Spain (€659.4m) and 33 % of all operations. Moreover, on international VC investments Catalonia accounted for 53% of all deals and 71% of the amount invested in Spain (€277.2m).

Main deals in 2017 with local and international investors

  • Anaconda Biomed, a pre-clinical stage medical device company focused on the development of the next generation of neuro-thrombectomy systems for the treatment of Acute Ischemic Stroke (AIS), has closed a Series A financing of €15M. The leading investors include new investors Ysios Capital (Barcelona, Spain), Omega Funds (Boston, MA, USA), Banco Sabadell (Spain) as well as current investor Innogest Capital (Milan, Italy).
  • Devicare, a company specializing in innovative medical devices for chronic home care patients under Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), has closed out a seed round of €3M. This funding will be used to consolidate the launch of clinical studies of two of Devicare's main product lines on the Spanish market: Lit-Contro l® for prevention and self-management of recurring urinary diseases and Tao-Contro l® for self-management of patients who take oral anticoagulants. The round opened in 2016 with the entrance of the investment holding company EMESA Corporación Empresarial. Different Family Offices and corporate partners were later incorporated.
  • Peptomyc gained €4.2M from a group of investors led by Alta Life Sciences at Series A of fundraising. Peptomyc is part of the growing biotech hub in Barcelona, Spain. A spin-out was formed following research carried out at the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology and the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies.
  • Social payments app Verse has closed a €18.5M Series B round of funding from its existing investors. The round is led by Spark Capital, with eVentures and Greycroft Partners also participating. It raised its Series A in October last year, when it took in $8.3M. The new funding will be put towards pushing beyond that, with its first launches planned outside Europe — likely in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.
  • Worldsensing, the internet of things industrial and mobility solutions company created in 2008 in Barcelona, has closed its series B investment round for €8.3M. The company, which sells software and hardware solutions, has accumulated an investment of about €15M. This last round has been led by McRock Capital, specialized in the internet of things business and ETF Partners, a European fund specialized in sustainability. Cisco Investments, which had already invested in the company in 2015, has also participated in this round.
  • Typeform, the startup based out of Barcelona, has announced a Series B of €29.2M led by General Atlantic as it drives deeper into international markets, specifically the US; and expands its tools for developers with more analytics and artificial intelligence features. This round also included participation from Index Ventures, Point Nine, and Connect Ventures, all previous backers. Typeform is a cloud based application that is reinventing the way users create and respond to surveys and other types of forms, by making the process more user-friendly and engaging for both creators and end users.
  • The mobile job search platform, Corner Job, has raised €2.5M from Italian venture capital firm Innogest to strengthen the company in its main markets: France, Italy, Spain and Mexico. This operation is a second phase of the investment round that the company formalized in May. CornerJob at that time attracted €17M from a large group of investors, including Northzone, E. Ventures, Mediaset, Samaipata and Caixa Capital Risc.
  • The Catalan startup TribeScale, that has developed a web platform and an app for mobile devices aimed at creating virtual teams to minimize meetings and emails making communication within a company more efficient, has raised 150,00 € in a financing round through the Crowdcube alternative financing platform.
  • The online video patform Vilynx, founded in Barcelona with an office in Silicon Valley, has raised 3.5 million dollars in venture capital with Kibo Ventures and Caixa Capital Risc as an investors. The investment has count with the English fund, Ridgewood Capital.
  • The startup drone Hemav has ended its round of funding with 3 million euros, an operation in which has participated the Dutch firm Scranton Enterprises.
  • The fashion startup app 21 buttons increased its capital with 3 million euros, an operation leaded by the Spanish Samaipata Ventures and followed by Banc Sabadell and the international funds, both French, Breega Capital and 360 Capital Partners.
  • The Barcelona based company, Transplant Biomedicals, has closed a fund round with Caixa Capital Risc and Kereon Partners with an amount to 2.5 million euros.
  • The online used goods marketplace Letgo has managed to grab on to $175 million in new financing. The investor group includes original investor Naspers, and 2016 entrants Insight Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Eight Roads Ventures, Mangrove Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates and FJ Labs.
  • SOM Biotech, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specialized in drug repositioning to treat rare diseases of the nervous system based at the Barcelona Scientific Park, closed a €2M financing round. A total of eighteen super-business angels from various countries around the world have taken part in this round, including: Monaco, United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic, United States, South Korea, Hong Kong, India and Spain.

Main funding operations in 2016 include venture capital from La Caixa Capital Risc, Kennet, Nauta Capital, Ysisos Capital or Idinvest Partners, among other investors.

  • In November 2016, Job Today, a recruitment startup that specializes in matching candidates with employers within a 24-hour period, raised 18 million euros in a funding round led by Flint Capital, with participation from Accel Partners, Mangrove Capital, Felix Capital, Atresmedia, Channel 4 (UK), and German Media Pool VC.
  • In September 2016, Inbenta, specialised in natural language processing and semantic search, closed a round of investment of 10.6 million euros. This new round has been signed by the US Level Equity funds, Amasia and Scale Capital, a firm that in 2014 had signed the first investment round of Inbenta, 1.45 million euros.
  • In August 2016, Glovo, with its app home delivery services, closed a round of funding of 5 million euros, which will give the Catalan startup the cash needed to achieve profitability within two years. This operation led to the entry of Entreé Capital (which also participates in Snapchat, Postmates or Stripe), Seaya Ventures (Cabify, Hundredrooms or Ticketea), Antai Venture Builder (Wallapop, Cornerjob or Deliberry), Bonsai Venture Capital and Caixa Capital Risc.
  • In June 2016 Serena Capital, French equity fund specialised in tech companies, injected 6 million euros in iContainers, the platform on container shipping line based in Barcelona
  • In May 2016 ABA English closed the largest round of funding the Spanish technology sector so far this year. The mobile application specialised in learning English from short films captured 10.5 million euros in its second round of financing led by Kennet Partners, which was a shareholder of BuyVip and NTR Global. Along with the British fund, Nauta Capital has also invested in the company.
  • In April 2016 biotech company Stat-Diagnostica closed its third round of funding, 25 million euros, in the largest operation of the sector in Spain in 2016. The Barcelona-based company will use the funds raised in the market launch of its next diagnostic system DiagCORE patient. The fund Gilde Healthcare leads the round, which also involved Kurma Partners, Boehringer Ingelheim, Ysios Capital, Caixa Capital Risc, and Axis Idinvest Partners.
  • In March 2016, Barcelona-based Cornerjob, the startup that puts you in touch with an employer within 24 hours, closed a series A-round of 9.2 million euros from several business angels and VCs, such as Antai Business Angels and Mediaset España (Ad4Ventures), La Caixa Capital Risc, Media Digital Ventures, Banc Sabadell Capital, Cube Investments, Ithaca Investment, Samaipata Ventures and Bonsai Venture Capital.
  • In January 2016 Aelix Therapeutics, a spin-off of Hivacat, a public-private consortium, closed a round of funding of 11.5 million euros to develop treatments against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the operation, led by Ysios Capital fund, through Ysios BioFund II Innvierte. Caixa Capital Risc and Johnson & Johnson Innovation also participated in the operation.

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Techstars Investors in Europe map shows VCs investing in European startups. Barcelona is among the main cities for foreign investors.

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Dealroom’s European Venture Capital Report

Magnus Jern. President DMI International. Entrepreneur and Investor

Just 5 years ago there was very limited access to venture capital money in Barcelona. This has drastically changed with a record year of investments in 2015 and local and global funds eager to invest in the right start-ups based in Barcelona. Active Venture Partners, Nauta Capital, Bonsai and various angel networks are very active investing locally but there has also been an upswing in interest from the Silicon Valley based VC firms. There has never been better access to money in Barcelona.

Luís Martín Cabiedes. Partner at "Cabiedes & Partners SCR"

Why each region should have a Silicon Valley, if there is already one in Barcelona?