The Catalan Government identifies 1,500 startups in Catalonia, 38% more than three years ago

15 Jan 2020

The Minister for Business and Knowledge, Àngels Chacón, has announced that there are currently 1,500 startups in Catalonia (2019 data), 38% more than three years ago. This is one of the main conclusions of a study prepared by Catalonia Trade & Investment - the Catalan Government’s agency for business competitiveness- presented at a press conference this Wednesday.

The report collects the main data from the digital platform Barcelona&Catalonia Startup Hub created by Catalonia Trade & Investment, which acts as a meeting point for Catalan startups with the aim of positioning the Catalan ecosystem at an international level and encouraging investment attraction.


During the presentation of the study, it has been announced that 20 million euros will be allocated over the next three years (2020, 2021 and 2022) to boost the startup ecosystem in Catalonia. In this sense, the main strategic pillars for the coming years of the Startup Catalonia program, a Governmental initiative promoted by Catalonia Trade & Investment, are to increase support for pre-seed startups and technology-intensive startups (high-risk projects and having a harder access to private equity) by expanding support lines and strengthening their international connection by accompanying these startups to other ecosystems as Silicon Valley, New York, Singapore or South Korea, among others. The aim is to foster the creation of more startups, more scaleups and a more technological base.

It will also intensify collaboration between startups and consolidated companies to promote open innovation, will attract talent and generate talent, as well as public-private collaboration to promote new piers, innovation spaces that become shared platforms between universities, SMEs, large companies and startups.

More presence in the United States

In addition, the Minister explained that, as part of an expansion process to increase the presence of Catalonia Trade & Investment in the United States and specifically, in Austin (Texas) during 2020. Catalonia Trade & Investment currently has offices in the United States in Silicon Valley, Miami, New York and Washington D.C.

Texas is the second state with the highest GDP in the country -and the tenth largest region in the world by GDP- and with more than 28 million people, the second with the largest population, behind California. With a strong technological, creative and innovative culture and home to the University of Texas, Austin has over a hundred incubators, accelerators and coworking spaces. The American city is emerging as one of the largest startup capitals in the country, and in fact 6,500 technology companies have already relocated to the city.

Analysis of startups in Catalonia

Chacón presented these strategic lines as part of the presentation of Catalonia Trade & Investment’s study that identifies 1,500 startups in Catalonia (a 38.5% increase compared with 2016) which employ 16,900 employees.

Ecosystem maturity, presence of women and international profile

The study shows that, on average, each startup has 16 employees, a figure that has grown in recent years (in 2016, each startup had an average of 9 employees, while in 2017 it was 14). Moreover, 39% of startup founders in Catalonia had previously set up a startup.

The study also highlights the presence of women in 21.8% of the founding teams of startups in Catalonia. This is a higher percentage than the average for the European Union (17.6%) and for countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom or Germany. It also says that 19% of the employees of the 1,500 Catalan startups are foreigners, 15% in the case of the founders of these companies. In fact, Barcelona is considered the 3rd startup hub in Europe preferred by startup founders if they were to set up a company again, behind London and Berlin (Startup Heatmap Europe, 2019).

Sectors and technologies

The report also highlights that 64% of Catalan startups work with technologies linked to industry 4.0, especially in the fields of cloud computing, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence. and integrated systems.

In terms of sectors, Catalan startups are mainly dedicated to ICT, leisure and health. Specifically, they specialize in business services and productivity (10.3%), healthtech and medtech (10.3%), biotechnology and pharmacy (7.1%), leisure and traveltech (6.8%) and ICT and telecommunications (6%). In addition, 43% of Catalan startups say that e-commerce and marketplace are their main business models.


The study presented by Minister Chacón also analyzes the funding that Catalan startups receive. 3 out of 4 Catalan startups get financing and 20% of startups have invested more than one million euros (series A and B).

In terms of investment volume, the document collects Dealroom data, according to which Barcelona has been ranked as the fifth European hub with 2.748 billion euros in investment in 2015-2019, behind London , Berlin, Paris and Stockholm and ahead of Munich and Amsterdam. The study also says that the technologies that have attracted more investors in Catalonia are ICTs (which account for 21% of the number of financing transactions), big data (16%) and cloud computing.



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