Another organization just set up shop in Barcelona to promote knowledge-sharing and innovation. Barcelona Knowledge Hub was officially launched last week and is located in the beautiful cloister premises in the Carrer del Carmen. It is a collaboration between Academia Europaea and the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI): two organizations that have knowledge dissemination in their DNA.
The Barcelona Knowledge Hub will focus on the promotion of multidisciplinary scientific activities that include the perspective of the social sciences and the humanities. Their goal is to contribute to the consolidation of a genuine European area of innovation, research, and education. A beautiful ambition, but I do hope that this new organization will not reinvent the wheel. It would be of great added value if it would clearly define its added role in the vivid ecosystem of different entities pursuing a leading real for Barcelona as Innovation HUB. Just to name a few: Barcelona Growth, Barcelona Global, Barcelona KEY and the Barcelona Mediterranean Innovation HUB. Read more
Innovation does not occur by the individual. You need a team effort to push an idea through the innovation funnel and turn it, eventually, into an implemented product or service. The team does not necessarily have to be the same over the whole process, but a good balance in technological, business and user-insight skills are key.
Team up to innovate and stimulate business growth
Today’s innovators and entrepreneurs are more and more part of a growing community that is networked and connected in the on-and offline world to share knowledge, best practices and stories, as well as to meet potential employees, investors and clients. Having access to a local and global network is an important asset: it will help you to test assumptions, open doors and raise awareness for the change you have in store. Read more
This week Barcelona hosts the Smart City Expo, focusing on how smart cities can change the world. The word smart city is popping up all around us and is driving the urban innovation portfolio. Smart cities ask for clever and integrated solutions on urban complexity, traffic congestion, emission, public service coordination and energy efficiency challenges. Just to name a few. Hence, a wide and diverse audience was attracted to rethink smart city offerings and share knowledge.
An annual event gathering the world in Barcelona. An event around Smart Cities has the potential to have the same impact as the World Mobile Congress. Barcelona is internationally profiling itself as a model for smart cities* and at the same time calls itself the Mobile World Capital for 2012-2018. This directly shows the link between smart city and mobile technology opportunities, or in other words Big Data. A third topic is energy efficiency and sustainability. It’s for a reason that the Electric Vehicle Symposium was held at the same time, at the same venue. So what are we talking about? Imagine electric (zero-emission) self-driving cabs which aren’t owned, but shared by a community of citizens. We are talking about transforming cities today for sustainability tomorrow. Read more
For the third time this year, a Startupbootcamp Accelerator has chosen Barcelona as a prime startup-sourcing destination. The last time SBC Pitch Days came through town, Barcelona startups claimed three of the ten spots in the Eindhoven-based HighTechXL accelerator. On December 13th, 2013 Startupbootcamp Amsterdam will seek to repeat history as they arrive in Barcelona seeking top-notch startups for the next batch to enter their 3-month Accelerator program beginning in early 2014.
Startupbootcamp is Europe’s leading accelerator program for high-growth startups. Since 2009, the mentor-driven organization has accelerated nearly 100 ventures, of which more than 70% receive funding within 6 months of joining the program. Startupbootcamp now has programs in seven global cities, with plans for rapid expansion in 2014 including new programs located in the US, Europe and moving towards Asia. Read more
Innovation does not often occur by an individual acting on their own. You need a team effort to push an idea through the innovation funnel and turn it into an implemented product or service. The team does not necessarily have to be the same throughout the entire process, but a good balance in technological, business and user-experience skills are key.
Team up to innovate and stimulate business growth
Today’s innovators and entrepreneurs are increasingly part of a growing community that is networked and connected in the on- and offline world to share knowledge, best practices and stories, as well as to meet potential employees, investors and clients. Having access to a local and global network is an important asset: it will help you to test assumptions, open doors and raise awareness for the change you have in store.
The importance of the team can also be witnessed in investor’s criteria. Just to quote a few:
- “Early stage funding is even more about the team than the idea. A team needs to have what it takes to succeed, whether they understand their proposed customer, and whether they can pivot towards a scalable business model worthy of a follow-on investment. (Innosight)”
- “A superior technical team. (Techfarm)”
- “Track record and professional background of the team. (Active Venture Partners)”
- “Experienced management team with a thorough and credible execution plan. Ensure that your team includes people who are leaders in their field, have a customer focus and understand the specific sub-segments of your target market. (MaRS)”
- “We look for teams of high-quality entrepreneurs with a track record of leadership and performance – either in the company’s specific industry or in prior entrepreneurial ventures. We also look at your team’s passion for and commitment to the new business idea, and your ability to inspire confidence among future stakeholders, including employees, potential customers, and investors. (Cambridge Angels)”
You have detected a serious challenge and need solutions to solve it? Now what? Read more
“Good to start, bad to grow.” That’s becoming the unfortunate modus operandi of Spain, at least when it comes to building companies. Barcelona startup Teambox, a cloud-based collaboration and communications company, just closed a $5 million Series A round, and in the process moved their headquarters from Spain to the United States. As of this week, Teambox is officially a Delaware corporation.
The new round was led by Avalon Ventures (US-based), with the Data Collective Fund (US-based) also participating, and builds on previous angel funding since the company was launched in 2008. The $5 million Series A round brings the total company funds raised to $7 million, which also includes original investments from angel investors from Spain (Seedrocket and Keiretsu) and the United States (several individual executives from US tech firms).
While the move shouldn’t come as a surprise, it should serve as another painful reminder that dramatic changes have to be made if Spain plans on really harnessing the long-term economic power of entrepreneurship. Speaking off the cuff, the government needs to implement real, tangible incentives for companies to keep (or move) their headquarters in Spain. I’m talking corporate tax breaks and deferral options for startups, access to work visas to recruit talent, corporate-friendly hiring/firing practices to stay lean, and bankruptcy laws that don’t lead to permanent exile or worse. Fortunately, there is some recent movement on this front that will be rolled out in 2014 (hopefully).
Last week, Startupbootcamp HighTech XL held their final selection in Eindhoven with some fantastic startups from all over the world. Having to whittle a selection of 5000 startups down to 10 is no easy feat and with such high-caliber teams, they ultimately decided to make room for eleven. We are feeling proud as Barcelona is home to 3 of the 11 chosen finalists to enter the renowned accelerator in November.
Guus Frericks, CEO of Startupbootcamp HighTechXL says that he’s been amazed at high standards of these small disruptive startups.
“It was a very difficult choice for the 85 mentors who came to Eindhoven to help us select. 21 teams were invited from 9 countries. We realized early on that you have to actively search for teams if you want to find the best. It is no good just opening a website and hoping that people will turn up.” Read more
There’s something comforting when you first learn about the Kairos Society for young entrepreneurs. Perhaps it’s the fact that they’re building a global alliance of the smartest young minds all working towards solving the world’s largest problems. Even more encouraging is when you start reading about the caliber of the entrepreneurs within their ranks. Founded at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008, by then 18-year old undergrad Ankur Jain, the Kairos Society is the international nonprofit organization of entrepreneurs and innovators under the age of 25. In just 5 years, Kairos has spread to more than 100 universities in over 54 countries with the mission to advance the world through entrepreneurship and innovation.
The trend of urbanization will create more and more mega cities. By 2050 it is predicted that 64.1% and 85.9% of the developing and developed world respectively will be urbanized (Wikipedia). This creates a huge urgency for smarter cities to accommodate all the people and install the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of this growth. In order to bring the bright minds of 72 cities together, the Barcelona Fira will organize for the third edition of Smart Cities: Change the World expo from November 19th-21st. The Expo will focus on the main urban challenges, present available solutions and explore opportunities in our new globalized city-led world.
What comes to mind when talking about Smart Cities? IBM, with its big data expertise, is one of the leading companies in this area. They state:
“Smarter cities of the future will drive sustainable economic growth. Their leaders have the tools to analyze data for better decisions, anticipate problems to resolve them proactively and coordinate resources to operate effectively.
As demands grow and budgets tighten, solutions also have to be smarter, and address the city as a whole. By collecting and analyzing the extensive data generated every second of every day, tools such as the IBM Intelligent Operations Center coordinate and share data in a single view creating the big picture for the decision makers and responders who support the smarter city.”
An interesting example of smart city development and delta city resilience, the other important topic related to urbanization, can be found in Rotterdam. Here you see different initiatives like building on water, adaptive plazas and green roof tops emerge to lead the way for a sustainable future. CNN recently featured a nice article about it this modern city below sea level. Read more