Barcelona’s startup ecosystem is teeming with talented founders, all of whom have an insatiable appetite for entrepreneurship. International Women’s Day feels like an opportune moment to highlight the achievements of some of the most innovative and influential female founders in our city. Catalonia has a long history of producing empowered, fearless women. At the beginning of the 20th century, the city adopted popular protests for women’s suffrage far earlier than most of its contemporaries. This culture of fearlessness prevails, with many women opting to take on the risk of entrepreneurship today. In this article, we are going to be shining the spotlight on some of Barcelona’s most exciting and innovative female-run startups, and the founders who built them.
Former TV presenter Claudia de la Riva set up NannyfyTV in 2017. The Barcelona-based EdTech business was initially set up as a platform for finding childcare. However, with the onset of the pandemic, Claudia pivoted, and it became a virtual learning environment and video platform for children. Kids between the ages of 4 and 12 using the platform have access to thousands of instructional videos on learning science, foreign languages, among a range of other tangible skills. The videos are segmented, based on age and ability.
The company’s performance has remained strong during the pandemic. Sign-ups have increased by nearly 50% monthly, just as video views have increased by an estimated 111%. In January, the EdTech raised an undisclosed amount in a funding round led by Telefónica’s digital hub: Wayra X. The company also recently partnered with Airbnb Experiences and is seeing sustained market penetration in LATAM and the USA.
Experienced Barcelona-based fitness expert Montse Subirana is the CEO of Sports Tech startup SUIFF. The company has created an innovative wireless device enabling users to measure muscle strength. Their product also advises users on how to exercise safely without incurring muscular damage. Founded in 2014, SUIFF was developed by Innova, the well-known Catalan metallurgic company Estel S.L.’s technological research arm.
SUIFF’s adoption of innovative tech has enabled the company to remain resilient during the pandemic. They have been able to offer their clients personalized remote weight training programs that can be done remotely. The company has applied innovative digital solutions to tackle the challenges faced by the fitness industry during the pandemic.
3. Team EQ
Francesca Gabetti is the co-founder and CEO of Team EQ: the startup which attributes business success to emotional intelligence. The innovative, Barcelona-based HR startup helps you track the KPI’s behind your business’ performance. The company leverages advanced data analytics and AI to pinpoint both the factors affecting productivity, such as motivation and efficiency. They then offer their clients detailed, individualized reports with actionable advice about how they can improve performance.
Carlota Pi is Executive President of HolaLuz. She co-founded the Barcelona-based renewable energy company in 2010 along with Ferran Nogué and Oriol Vila. HolaLuz is committed to facilitating the energy transition by making greener energy sources accessible and affordable to consumers.
HolaLuz is well-funded, having raised €12.3M over 4 funding rounds – the most recent being in November 2019. In the same month, the company had its IPO on the Spanish Alternative Equity Market (MAB) stock exchange. The company has remained robust during the pandemic, and remains committed to its sustainability targets. In October 2020, the company ranked Number 1 on Sustainalytics’ list of the worlds most ESG-compliant electricity companies.
Lynette Kucsma is the CMO of Natural Machines, and has been named by CNN as one of 7 ‘tech superheroes’ to watch. She co-founded the Barcelona-based sustainable foodtech startup in 2012. Natural Machines’ main product is Foodini: a 3D food printing kitchen appliance, enabling consumers to prepare nutritious meals with minimal waste, efficiently and sustainably. The company is VC-backed and has had several successful funding rounds, raising a total of $5.4M. With sustainability firmly on the agenda, Natural Machines will no doubt see continued success for years to come.
Co-founder of Tinder Whitney Wolfe Herd’s Bumble is taking the dating world by storm. She founded the app in 2014, shortly after making an exit from Tinder. Austin TX-based Bumble, which allows female users to make the first move, raised $2.15B in its IPO last month and appears to be going from strength to strength. Bumble’s IPO is significant in that Herd is, thus far, the youngest ever woman to take her company public. The company is committed to reshaping courting conventions the world over, which Herd argues have been historically skewed against women. Bumble has recently opened a new ‘tech hub’ in Barcelona. This software office will house 600 employees, including software engineers and app developers.
Barcelona female entrepreneurship is on the rise
Our city has always had a palpable entrepreneurial spirit, which has fostered generations of creativity and innovation. It is great to see so many talented female founders staking their claim across multiple sectors in Barcelona’s current startup ecosystem.