The following is a guest post by Michel Francis, a Barcelona based entrepreneur and founder of Reloadly.
When selecting an environment in which our startup could grow and thrive, we were looking for a place with a strong mobile industry where we could accelerate our business in the best way. After careful consideration, we narrowed our list down to Paris, Lisbon, North Carolina and Barcelona. However, in the end, the Catalan capital ticked all the boxes, making the final decision fairly easy for us. With its talent, costs, creativity and thriving ecosystem along with key assets like accelerator programs, co-working spaces, and a booming startup ecosystem, it presented the perfect environment to launch our startup. In addition to its climate of innovation, the way of life Barcelona offers was a unique pull too: another key factor in our decision to relocate our startup, Reloadly, from Miami to the vibrant city of Barcelona.
The Mobile World Congress effect
I had been coming to Barcelona to attend the Mobile World Congress for a number of years. In fact, the Mobile World Congress was the stepping stone to our discovery of Barcelona, and all that it has to offer cutting-edge startups like us looking for a home. Previously based in the US, we were attracted by the possibility of being connected so instantly to other European cities and tech hubs thanks to Barcelona’s international airport and network of flight connections. We’re excited that our relocation to Barcelona not only generates new connections within the tech ecosystem here, but also opens opportunities for us in the EU market as a whole.
It’s not all about Silicon Valley
Though Silicon Valley and other tech hubs in the US are great places in which to base your startup, recent years have seen other cities like Barcelona challenge Silicon Valley’s reputation as the only place in which to found your startup. Silicon Valley offers extensive networks of talented tech individuals and organizations. However, this comes with extremely high competition to get your business in front of VCs and angels for funding, skyrocketing employee turnaround rates, and the costs of setting up in these original cities are soaring. We’ve discovered Barcelona to be the perfect incubator city for a startup like ours. Now more than ever before, startups are spreading their wings beyond traditional tech hubs and finding the perfect location to grow their vision in cities like Barcelona.
Better return on investment
Another key factor in our decision to relocate to Barcelona was costs. In comparison to the United States, the cost of living and business operations here is unmatched. Cost advantages of being based in Barcelona like renting an office or talent acquisition mean that we can allocate more funds to, for instance, product development and ensuring greater return on our marketing. Ultimately, this rechanneling of funds means we can help our company grow faster, and allow it to thrive within Barcelona’s exciting tech scene.
A bright future
Looking ahead, I think Barcelona will continue to grow as one of Europe’s top cities for tech startups. The region features a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a comprehensive ecosystem consisting of talent, investors and organisations that make it easy to launch and scale a startup. Moreover, it’s building a powerful brand in specific industries like mobile, smart cities, IoT which creates important hubs that are fertile breeding grounds for innovation. As we move into an ever more digital world and people can virtually work from any place they want, Barcelona will be a strong pull for entrepreneurs and digital nomads thanks to its outstanding lifestyle.
Reloadly aims to take an active role in the tech scene here, participating in many events and conferences. We also look forward to acquiring lots of talented employees as an ever-growing multinational company. Our Director of Sales, EMEA will be attending the Mobile World Congress this week and anyone interested to meet or learn more about our company can reach out to Xavier Pageaud.
About Michel Francis, author:
I started my career in the startup world. Straight out of college I co-founded a successful tech businesses Unitel, a telecommunications company that was an online / mobile app alternative to calling cards. I managed and grew the company for 12 years and sold it in 2016. I then launched Reloadly, an API platform designed for developers to connect with mobile operator services like airtime, mobile money, wifi, digital content and so on.
If you enjoyed this post, like, comment, or share it! Follow me on LinkedIn. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in hearing more about our technology. We are always looking for partners and to expand to new markets.