Spain – a startup ecosystem flying under the radar

The rapidly growing startup ecosystem in Spain is raising record investment, and building household name market leaders. But is this an ecosystem that is still flying under the international radar? This new report in partnership with leading players in the Spanish tech ecosystem including Ascri, Endeavor Spain, ENISA, Kibo Ventures and the High Commissioner for Spain Entrepreneurial Nation, looks to shine a light on the growth dynamics and challenges for the burgeoning tech ecosystems of Spain.

Report - The Spanish tech ecosystem 2021

Barcelona and Madrid lead VC charge 

VC investment in Spain has grown 2.8x year on year in 2021, to an all-time high of €1.9B invested in the first six months of the year. More investment has been raised in H1 2021 than in all of 2020. 

Spanish funding

"The evolution of this "ecosystem" has been growing rapidly and at an exponential rate. The 2008 crisis weighed down the initially hesitant increase. However, today Spain has an outstanding number of players who bring tremendous value, ideas, and resources to the sector. This progress has not passed unnoticed by the international funds, which are also more active every day in Spain. And this is only the beginning.”

Ignacio Fonts, Inveready

Excluding megarounds, it is one of the fastest-growing ecosystems in Europe for VC investment.

Madrid and Barcelona are now established, attractive startup hubs, each home to nine future unicorns. But many other towns and cities are now fostering startup activity and attracting investor attention.

Chart showing most valuable tech hubs in Europe

"This report, which has been made possible thanks to public-private collaboration, is essential to deepen a key sector of the Spanish economy such as innovative entrepreneurship. The report’s main conclusion is excellent news for our ecosystem and country as a whole: Spain has a strong potential to become a key European leader in innovative entrepreneurship. Thus Spain is ready to be an Entrepreneurial Nation”.

Francisco Polo, the High Commissioner for Spain Entrepreneurial Nation

5x since 2015

The combined value of the Spanish startup ecosystem has reached €46B, up from €10B in 2015. The growth is driven by the emergence of homegrown Spanish unicorns like Glovo, Wallbox and Flywire.

Ecosystem value

“We think that by creating a big and sustainable company, we are showing that Spain is a place you can build global category winners.”

Juan Urdiales, Co-founder & Co-CEO, Jobandtalent

Capacity for growth

Excluding outlier megarounds, VC investment in Spanish startups grew faster than any other country in Europe besides the Netherlands in the first half of 2021. And Spain ranks 5th in Europe by the number of future unicorns (20), companies valued between $250M and $1B.

Yet there is still huge capacity for growth. Spain still raises less VC investment per capita than the European average. Spanish startup investment is also dominated by Spanish and European investors, just 15% of capital came from outside Europe in 2020. Unlocking more local and international capital, as well as addressing key challenges around talent could also unlock significant ecosystem growth.

“The Spanish ecosystem has evolved in many aspects: the quantity and quality of entrepreneurs, the number of investors and especially, the ambition”

Oscar Pierre, Co-Founder & CEO, Glovo

Report - The Spanish tech ecosystem 2021