For the first time ever, Barcelona was host to Ouishare Fest, the global event dedicated exclusively to the sharing economy. Companies and global sectors such as mobility, tourism, education, finance and health were all present and accounted for to promote this emerging model of doing business and adding value.
Rodolfo Küstermann, CMO of Amovens, a car-sharing platform and BlaBlacars biggest competitor in Spain explain why he means Barcelona is a great place for companies as his own.
“The sharing economy is very developed in Barcelona, maybe more than in Madrid. The sharing community is very big and the city administration is very helpful here”, he tells Barcinno.
The Barcelona mind-set
Amovens, which offers both carsharing and peer-to-peer rentals, is growing rapidly in Spain and Barcelona and their five-year goal is to have three million users in Spain. Amovens and Küstermann was attending the Ouishare fest in Barcelona, and are actually thinking about having a larger presence in the city.
“Other cities in Spain has not yet embraced the idea of the shared economy as people in Barcelona, they have a particular mindset”, Küstermann explains.
Another peer-to-peer rental company, Drivy, which is the leading company of its kind in Europe, opened their first office in Barcelona this summer.
“The people in Barcelona are very international and flexible, they are perfect for the sharing economy. The startup ecosystem is also very well connected, which makes it easier to operate from Barcelona”, says Raquel Priego, The CCO of Drivy in Spain.
Drivy has over 35.000 cars all over Europe, and in Spain where they just started up, they now have 600 cars and growing every week.
The unicorns paved the way
Albert Cañigueral is the man behind Ouishare Fest in Barcelona, and has promoted and shared his enthusiasm for the sharing economy for years.
He thinks one of the many reasons for why shared economy startups often choose Barcelona, is that the pioneers of the sharing ecnonomy has a heavy presence in the city.
“Many of the huge companies like Airbnb, Wallapop, Socialcar etc have global or national headquarters here in Barcelona, and their presence is stimulating the eco-system making the city very attractive to these kind of startups”, Cañigueral tells Barcinno.
MyTwinPlace, a peer-to-peer home-sharing platform also have a heavy presence in Barcelona. With 30.000 travelers placed over 160 countries, they know a lot about the sharing economy. Maitane Rodrigo, marketing & communications manager at MyTwinPlace explains why they chose Barcelona.
“We are at the crossroads between home exchange, collaborative consumption and technology, so it was very relevant for us to be here. It has helped us stay connected with the sharing economy ecosystem on a daily basis”.
The entrepreneurs Barcinno spoke with explains how people years ago chose to launch their business in Barcelona because of the climate and the lifestyle. Now however people choose it because of its ecosystem, great accelerators and the constant success-stories coming from the city.
Room for more people
Barcelona is not perfect, and the shared economy has met challenges in Spain, taking examples from UBER, Cabify and BlablaCars clinch with the authorities.
One thing all three startups sited above agree on, is how friendly the Barcelona startup ecosystem is.
They all recommend entrepreneurs with an idea or a startup to come to Barcelona.
“Barcelona is home to leading accelerators, top tech events, senior entrepreneurs, human talent and big opportunities every day. Of course, I would recommend starting and growing in this environment”, says Rodrigo at MyTwinPlace.