Any innovative region needs to have deep tech organizations at its core. For the uninitiated, these are organizations, typically startups, arising generally from scientific, technological, or engineering university and research systems that push the frontiers of innovation by developing pioneering knowledge and technology in response to global challenges.
Catalonia, according to the study Analysis of the deep tech startup ecosystem, currently has 320 deep techs operating here today, a strategically critical mass boosting the region’s pioneering capacity.
Behind cutting-edge technology
The same study revealed that in Catalonia these 320 deep tech startups represent 15.8% of the total startup ecosystem and generate over 2,340 highly qualified jobs plus a turnover of some 161 million euros.
The majority work mainly in tech development in biotechnology (40% of the total), artificial intelligence (25%), sustainable and frontier materials (11%) i.e., those materials designed or synthesized offering improvements in functionality or new properties compared to other conventional materials, robotics (8%) and photonics (5%).
Fueled by a consolidated science and tech ecosystem
For these deep techs to flourish in Catalonia, it is important to realize that the region has long been a cradle of science and technology, creating today’s consolidated foundation of renowned firms in all tech areas such as IBM, Grifols, Verse, Bayer, 3M, and Microsoft, to mention just a few.
This solid background is further enhanced by a number of public initiatives such as the regional 2022 National Pact for Industry and the National Pact for the Knowledge Society, as well as a number of different funding instruments, some specialized in deep techs specifically.
Southern Europe’s leading deep tech hub
The analysis shows that Barcelona is the first hub in Southern Europe regarding funds raised by deep tech startups, with 480 million euros in the 2018-2023 period. In Europe, the Catalan capital is ahead of Copenhagen, Madrid, and Milan, among others.
In this sense, 78.4% of Catalan deep tech startups have raised venture capital funding. Of these, 36% have raised more than one million euros in investment rounds.
Boosting the creation and attraction of new talent
The deep tech ecosystem is highly dynamic, with 55% of new companies created in the last five years. 43% of the deep techs in Catalonia are spin-offs: in other words, a new organization formed from an existing one, thus spreading talent into new areas.
Furthermore, 46% have developed a patent or information protection system. As regards the people behind them, it is noteworthy that, on average, 33% of deep tech startups have at least one foreign founder, 42% of the case employees, and more than one in three Catalan deep tech startups have women in management or were founded by women.
The Catalan deep tech ecosystem is made up of other agents besides startups, such as 44 spin-off generating centers (universities, research groups, hospitals), 12 incubators and accelerators, and 37 venture capital funds, among others.
Deep Tech in Catalonia
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