The entrepreneurship ecosystem, specifically for innovation and disruptive business models, is experiencing its best moment to date in Spain. While 2019 was already a landmark year in terms of the creation of new, technology-based startups, and the rise of VC investment accordingly, the ecosystem has continued to grow these last two years despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and it has even reached new heights. In the year 2020, amidst an economic landscape unlike any other in recent times, there were in Spain more investment deals involving startups than in any other year before, with a notable increase in early-stage rounds (pre-seed, seed, and series A).

Venture capital investment trends

The spectacular level of activity seen in early-stage investment has continued in 2021, but this year we have also registered later-stage rounds of very large sizes along with record investment volumes. There´s a new unicorn, and also a sizeable and growing cohort of scaleups that are becoming leaders in our country and internationally.

Source: Observatorio de startups

Advantages to investing in Spain’s

entrepreneurial ecosystem

Access to a domestic market of 46 million people and to the European market with 450 million people.  

Point of entry to the Latin American market for European startups, and to the European market for Latin American startups.

Highly-specialized talent from internationally renowned universities and business schools.

Spanish companies and Spanish society have one of the highest ICT usage and incorporation rates in the world.

A set of leading global multinationals with ambitious open innovation models.

A highly specialized industrial sector throughout Spain, with its own special programmes for startups.

More than 80 science and technology parks.

Events and meetings for  leading global entrepreneurs.

What we can do
for your startup

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the Starting up in Spain Guide

All you need to know about the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Spain.

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Programme

Rising UP in Spain

Rising UP in Spain is a program to help foreign startups set up in Spain, hand in hand with a local partner.

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Booming ecosystem

With approximately 7,150 active startups in 2020 -according to conservative estimates-, this number has virtually doubled in just one year. Together with the extraordinary investment numbers, the technological entrepreneurship ecosystem continues to accelerate its growth and strengthen its place among the most important in Europe. The ecosystem isn´t limited to Barcelona and Madrid, two hubs that rank among Europe´s top 6; cities such as Valencia, Bilbao or Malaga boast flourishing ecosystems too. The industries with the largest startup investment activity last year were mobility/logistics, health and wellbeing, fintech/insurtech, productivity-business, tourism, e-commerce, software and cybersecurity. For the last four years, over 50-60% of startups financing originates in investors outside Spain, which underscores the attractiveness of our country´s entrepreneurial ecosystem for foreign capital.

Barcelona and Madrid are among the “Top 6” startup ecosystem capitals in Europe.

Barcelona ranks fifth among the best startup cities in Europe, followed by Madrid. London, Paris, Berlin and Dublin hold the top positions.

Source: TBS Business School and El Referente.

Top 20 rounds (M€) – 2020

2020 stands out for the unprecedented number of deals closed in the earliest stages: pre-seed, seed and series A. Out of the total 313 deals, a remarkable 243 were closed in rounds of up to 1 M€.

Source: Observatorio de startups

More than 180 startup accelerators and incubators

Support in forming and establishing startups from both the public and private sectors is apparent from the start in business accelerators and incubators. There are over 180 infrastructures of this type throughout Spain that offer advice and support for entrepreneurs.





Source: StartupXplore

Spain is a fertile territory

for co-working

Spain ranks second in Europe in number of co-working spaces, only behind the United Kingdom.

 

According to a 2019 report by Mobile World Capital Barcelona, the ongoing growth in the number of co-working spaces suggests that the Spanish entrepreneurial system is booming and is recognized as a welcoming environment that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation.

Talent

and human capital

Three of the main Spanish business schools are among the top 20 in the Financial Times MBA ranking: IESE, Esade and IE. One more comes in at 21st, Eada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the same time, Spain is among the countries with the fastest increase in professional developers, a profession with a year-on-year growth rate of 15.1%.

 

Global MBA ranking 2021

| European Business School

Global MBA ranking 2021
Ranking European Business School Country
1 Insead France / Singapore
2 London Business School UK
3 IESE Business School Spain
4 HEC Paris France
5 SDA Bocconi Italy
6 University of Cambridge: Judge UK
7 University of Oxford: Saïd UK
8 IMD Switzerland
9 Esade Business School Spain
10 Alliance Manchester Business School UK
11 Warwick Business School UK
12 IE Business School Spain
... ... ...
21 Eada Business School Spain
Source: Financial Times

Top 10 fastest-growing countries

for professional developers (2019)

Source: Atomico.

Wage costs

As far as wage costs are concerned, Spain is still very competitive compared to other European countries and the rest of the world.

Spain also attracts foreign talent. It is the third destination for European tech talent and the fifth for international tech talent.

Strengths of the Spanish

entrepreneurship ecosystem

Systems engineer salary (€ per year)
Source: Startup Ecosystem Overview 2019. Mobile World Capital Barcelona
Source: Digital Startup Ecosystem 2017" Mobile World Capital 2018. Atomico, Startup Genome.

Climate
and quality of life

Spain's excellent climate and quality of life are other aspects that entrepreneurs take into account when choosing our country to set up their new businesses.  

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Rising Up in Spain

Testimonials
See all the testimonials

Biome Makers Inc.

Adrián Ferrero CEO & Co-Founder

After getting the support of the programme we were able to explain to our investor that it makes sense to put money and effort into Spain. The programme increased our visibility in the Spanish market because we were a completely new company, and so this programme has helped us a lot in building our reputation and in gaining a broad presence, which has an impact on clients and potential stakeholders.

Knok Healthcare Spain

Gonzalo Rodríguez Country Manager

The most important one [value added from the programme] was to understand what the main challenges are that we are going to face in the coming months in Spain, and to increase our visibility in Spain. Also, the opportunity to have the best mentors for our company and team was crucial for the development of Knok in Spain."

Events

VENTANA SUR 2021

ICEX-Invest in Spain will participate in the Ventana Sur event that will be held this year in a hybrid format between 29 November and 3 December.

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FOCUS 2021

ICEX-Invest in Spain will participate in the FOCUS 2021 professional meeting that will be held this year in a hybrid format (London and online) between 7 and 10 December. 

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More information
Setting up a company

The different ways in which a company can operate in Spain.

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Aids and incentives

System of funding and incentives for your project.

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Talent

Get to know the Spanish talent pool for your project.

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Visas

Visas and residence permits to live and work in Spain.