Sport can provide us with many benefits; including developing fitness, improving mental health, and helping the attainment of personal goals. So it comes as no surprise that the increasing popularity of sport and the acknowledgment of its perks is being capitalized on by many different sports ecosystems, especially Barcelona. In fact, the Catalan capital is the 4th most strongly sport associated city in the world and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona really helped to put the city on the map.
There is an abundance of innovation in the city’s startup ecosystem, and there are even multiple sports innovation hubs such as HUB23 and the Indescat Sports Cluster – both of which are non-profit organizations aiming to make their sports industry more competitive by helping raise capital, find talent and develop tech.
Of course, the city is also home to FC Barcelona, one of the greatest football teams and which boasts its own Barça Innovation Hub. The region’s ambition is clear: to expand sporting tech and innovation to make the Barcelona sports ecosystem as competitive as the famous football team that inhabits it.
In this article, we will take a look into 8 of the most interesting Barcelona sportstech startups, grouped by the size of the company based on employee number. We will also present two local sportstech accelerators & venture builders. This will give a rough indication of the success of the startups and the stage that they are in!
The Big Guy
Founded in 2016 by the combination David Huerva, Marc Bigas, and Victor Oliva, Skitude is a digital ecosystem for skiers and resorts. In the form of an application downloadable on the Apple App Store or the Google play store, Skitude allows you to book ski resort holidays, check real-time information on restaurant hours and weather updates, track your activity on the slopes, and even compete with the community, (and potentially even win prizes if you’re good enough!).
The platform has experienced continuous growth since it was founded and has been capitalizing on a total investment of $26.8M from 5 separate funding rounds from investors such as Barcelona-based ‘The Crowd Angel’ and Norway-based ‘Investinor’. After its initial startup in Barcelona, Skitude has expanded to having its Headquarters now based in Oslo, Norway, and even has major locations in the US, Switzerland, the UK, Spain, and Italy, showing the growth potential that Skitude has. So, if you consider yourself a skiing enthusiast or enjoy spending holidays in mountainous locations, Skitude is the app for you!
Oliver is revolutionizing football training through their platform developed to improve performance, evolve talent, and prevent injuries. The 3 elements to their advanced tech platform are; the Bluetooth component ‘Oli’, which is a small device to put in your sock to track distance covered, shot speed, etc; the mobile app, to synch and visualize data; and finally, the web portal, allowing you to have an in-depth analysis of club, team and players performance. Founded in Barcelona in 2017, by Agustin Rozadas and Jose Gonzalez Ruzo, their idea of introducing in-depth analysis through smart technology in order to maximize players’ training has led to $580K of funding across 3 different rounds. They have been able to expand to South America with them now having an office in Cordoba, Argentina, where the platform has also been adopted by various South American teams, as well as the AS Roma academy in Italy!
A-Champs is a sportstech startup founded in 2016, that has since been through 2 rounds of funding. The Barcelona-based startup provides exciting ways of promoting physical activity through a smart technological device, in their bid to prevent sedentary lifestyles from becoming even more of a problem among society. Their Roxpro device with unique and ideal features for the sporting environment is their main selling product in order to help you Enjoy your training, Crush your goals, and Train Like a Pro and their operations since their founding have expanded to them now having their Headquarters based in Menlo Park, California. As a measure of their success, their ‘Aerofloor’ rehab revolution product is also used by 80% of Premier League teams, not a bad way to show how they’re stamping their place in the market!
Whilst many sportstech devices are more based on cardio-based training, Suiff provides an option for building muscle to help you achieve your goals. The startup was founded in 2014, and proudly owns the only patented sensor that records data on your strength to personalize a training program that’s right for you. So, whether you are just starting out on your fitness journey, or if you consider yourself the Hulk’s understudy, Suiff can definitely expand your capabilities in the gym to ensure you stay motivated and reach your goals!
After the emergence of the pandemic and the high growth experienced in the cycling industry, Capsulebike provides a key option to those converted Bike enthusiasts. Founded in 2011, Capsulebike’s real selling point is its online configurator, permitting more than 5,000 possible options to cater to each individual’s requirements. Their mountain, road/sprint, and long-distance bikes are all fully customizable and created with the highest quality 3K carbon, ensuring you can enjoy your personal, premium bike and, at least look, like the next Eddy Merckx or Bradley Wiggins! So, if you’re one of many others who have taken up a profound love for cycling, personalize your new best friend with CapsuleBike!
Technology is always changing, and Wefitter is changing with it, with their adoptable sports-orientated API. Founded in 2015 by Alvaro Moya, Carlos Rodes, and Roger del Sol, they have developed and continue to develop their API platform that is able to connect users to promote a healthier world. With the help of 4 funding rounds worth $809.6K, their WeFitter API gives your platform easy access to today’s most used fitness apps and wearable connections, including Apple Health, Fitbit, and Garmin, and also have leaderboards, badges, and rewards from their gamification API. So, if you’re a tech-savvy sports entrepreneur or business, Wefitter is an option for you.
Based in the heart of the Startup Hub of Barcelona Activa, Racetick is the global platform for sports events of mass participation. After its founding in 2018 by Luis Genero, its goal is to make the connection to sports events for athletes much easier through its new model of registration. Their main sports offered are swimming, running, cycling and triathlon, and their option of search by location brings a whole host of options if you’re an eager athlete. This platform brings together participants and event organizations to meet the demands of both in a seamless manner.
4-Football is a platform founded in 2021, with aims of creating a better society in football, through collaboration with experts of the football ecosystem. Their aims are to improve women’s and youth football and are currently “leading +5 projects to bring innovation tools or services to both sectors”, as quoted by Albert Vallbona, the co-founder, and director at 4-Football. Vallbona also believes that Barcelona “has everything to become an international sports tech hub”, and that through 4-Football’s work with businesses and women’s football, there is lots of scope for opportunity in the future.
Notable Accelerators & Venture Builders
Having concerns your startup isn’t experiencing the growth that it deserves? Utilesport is there to help, with their commitment to helping entrepreneurs and startups improve their market value through their specialties in providing solutions to all areas of business including legal, logistical, marketing, and more. Founded in 2019, Utilesport is still in the early stages of development, but Administrator Eugenio Galyamin recognizes that the “sector of new technologies is constantly changing”, and their various operations department ensure high-quality market research and industry analysis to ensure your startup is getting what it deserves! So, if you’re interested in expanding your startup in a personalized, professional method, Utilesports can help!
This is possibly the most well-known organization on the list thanks to Barcelona football star Gerard Pique acting as CEO & president. Kosmos is a sports and entertainment platform integrating sports, media, and entertainment innovation to reimagine sport. The service is split between Kosmos Tennis, Kosmos Studios, and Kosmos Football, with the tennis option being the most successful. From the financial investment help of Caixa Bank and figures such as Lionel Messi and Larry Ellison, a total of $60 million has been raised to boost the tennis based subsidiary in their missions to develop and manage global tennis events, not to mention their historic agreement with the International Tennis Federation for the implementation of new innovative competitions over their 25-year agreement.
So, now that you know a little more about the sports startup ecosystem in Barcelona, it’s about time to get active! With lots of excitement around the sports industry shown by the startups gathered above, there are lots of options to help you get active, help you train, and explore new possibilities. This is not a complete list as the industry is ever-changing, so if you think there are any we’ve missed, let us know!
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