The Barcelona Ventures Silicon Valley Acceleration Program is presenting 6 startups with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get access to funding in the United States. The 6 companies planning to expand or raise capital in the US have completed the first 5 weeks of the acceleration program in Barcelona and are flying to San Francisco for an on-site immersive experience that will help them get their foot in the door and start building their future in Silicon Valley.
Disembarking in Silicon Valley
The Barcelona Ventures Silicon Valley Acceleration Program, backed by ACCIÓ, an agency of the Government of Catalonia, started on May 29. The teams are flying to San Francisco this week to start the Silicon Valley portion of the program on July 12, which will conclude with a Demo Day on July 25, where the teams will present their projects to US investors. During their stay, the teams will be hosted by the e-commerce and internet giant Rakuten at their Silicon Valley offices.
“Our goal is to break down the wall between investors in Silicon Valley and startups from Barcelona,” says Francesc Bach, Founder of Barcelona Ventures.
The first part of the program consisted of a preparation for the entry to the US market. With the help of mentors and through online one-on-one meetings, the teams have been working on their go-to-market strategy and US investment readiness. The mentors are well-established veterans of the US tech industry, and they will be the ones to aid the selected startups with gaining a foothold in the San Francisco Bay Area and establishing connections with clients, partners and investors.
The selected startups are all pre-series A and have been operating for at least 2 years. They come from different industries but they all have the potential to be disruptive in their own markets.
The 6 Barcelona startups taking part in the Silicon Valley Acceleration Program
Biogprognos is a pioneer in non-invasive cancer diagnosis. They’ve created blood test based biomarker solutions that help in detecting breast, lung, ovarian, prostate and unknown primary cancer. Their MBDAAs can replace standard of care technologies, are cheap, non-invasive and provide an accurate diagnosis, among other benefits.
Alife social believes that while no technology can replace a hug, it can help people who have lost a loved one. They’ve developed a platform where you can share memories – photos, videos, anecdotes – of someone you lost with your family and friends. It’s an online ceremony that facilitates communication in difficult times. And provides funeral homes with an excellent tool to communicate and engage with the families.
Herta Security is a leader in facial recognition. They develop security software, specializing in identifying crowds in real time via IP cameras. Their unique software detects, identifies and verifies the identity of a person and is characterized by its speed, accuracy and ease of use.
The Construct is a platform where users can learn ROS skills and become developers for robotics by programming online simulated robots. They provide a unique learning method based on learning the most important parts of ROS, progressing step-by-step, and practicing every step using simulated robots.
Sapenta provides enterprise smartworking software for flexible, collaborative and productive workplaces. Their all-in-one digital platform connects all the tools needed to work efficiently and collaborate in one place.
Ionic AI has developed a kernel that lets users make their phones become intelligent systems, adapt to them, run smoothly and perform the best that they can. Their goal is to bring the future of mobile computing to everyone.
Should all startups go to Silicon Valley?
In the last decade, the Barcelona startup ecosystem has been growing and evolving at an incredible rate. However, depending on the goals of a company and the nature of their business, the local ecosystem may still impose certain limits.
According to Francesc Bach, whether a startup should try their luck in Silicon Valley depends on two things. “First, the business model. If your business model needs a lot of money for fast scaling, you may need to go to Silicon Valley. Investors in Spain are hesitant to take big risks – they usually prefer investing in companies that are already closer to break even or making a profit. Secondly, it depends on the ambition of the entrepreneur. If you want to have a global company, you can not obtain all the necessary resources in Spain. Even though the ecosystem in Spain is growing, and you can scale more than before, there is still a limit,” he says.
Investors in Silicon Valley are open to speaking to European startups, but the connection has to be made.
“Investors are already interested, but we have to show them that in Barcelona, we’ve got amazing talent, entrepreneurs and projects that can compete with Silicon Valley companies. Our goal with Barcelona Ventures is to help our startups get a foothold in Silicon Valley, to connect with investors and, eventually, be invested in.”