Why Valencia’s tech hub is the one to watch
Valencia's startups are filled to the brim with innovation and big ambitions. And the government is backing them all the way.
Barcelona and Madrid still grab the lion’s share of limelight when it comes to discussing Spain’s tech hubs. However, their days may be numbered as Valencia’s emerging tech ecosystem starts taking its rightful place as the one to watch.
In fact, Valencia’s tech hub is not as emerging as one may think.
Lots of evidence points to the fact that it has already, in fact, emerged.
At last count, the city registered more than 900 startups, 60+ coworking spaces and 33 investment funds - a fair few with ties to accelerators and venture capital incubators in Silicon Valley. Hardly the stuff of an embryonic tech community.
Dynamite comes in small packages
Located on Spain’s east coast, and affectionately known as the country’s third city, Valencia’s smaller size provides it with a few competitive advantages that Barcelona and Madrid can only dream of.
Chief among these is talent.
Two of Spain’s most esteemed universities are located in Valencia; the University of Valencia and the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
Both are primary sources of talent, especially in engineering.
The culture of entrepreneurship and innovation is palpable in the city. The startup buzz is a strong pull, and graduates are keen to explore opportunities in the tech hub.
When it comes to housing these young workers, neither Madrid nor Barcelona can compete with Valencia’s affordable rentals. This is not a small consideration when it comes to deciding on a location to set up your startup.
The city, and larger region, also offer a superior quality of life. This aspect will only gain more importance in the wake of the pandemic and recent lockdowns.
A focus on startup infrastructure
Local government has been quick to understand the role Valencia’s tech hub could play in providing valuable employment. It has responded by building partnerships with key stakeholders within the tech community and creating an infrastructure to help startups thrive.
This infrastructure has taken a variety of forms, but most notably has been expressed as mentoring support, encouraging networking opportunities and helping with preparation for securing investment.
Public/private collaborations are increasing too, and significant sums of money are being invested in the city’s tech hub. In late 2018, VIT Emprende, a local network in Valencia, announced a fund of €100 million, from public money, to be made available to the startup community.
Global markets beckon for Valencia’s startups
Valencia’s tech hub might be smaller than the ones located elsewhere in the country, but there is nothing bijou about its startups’ ambition.
A number of Valencian startups are already competing in global markets.
Just one prime example is Mr Jeff. This laundry and dry-cleaning app started off as a small team in Valencia. Now, according to Crunchbase, the firm has raised €27.8 million over two funding rounds and is operating in Asia, South America, North America and Europe.
Caroline Lagergren, founder of Expand To Spain, a strategic advisory firm and sounding board for businesses interested in establishing themselves in Spain, confirms the opportunity Valencia represents. And why Valencia is so special.
“When artists and scientists come together in a place that fosters well-being over profit, pure magic happens. Valencia is chosen as the World Design Capital 2022 and a former UPV student, (Universitat Politècnica de València), is the founder of Flywire, the first made in Spain tech company to be listed on Nasdaq. I think this is early proof of many more successful tech university spin-offs, as a result of being grown in this creative, uniquely blended "tierra", where the sun shines almost every day," she says.
For more details and market intelligence on Spain’s startups and innovation ecosystem, click on the link.