It’s time for our annual 20 Barcelona startups to watch list!
Just like last year, we used our own criteria – and a bit of good old intuition – to select the 20 Barcelona startups that we think will make the news in 2020.
Some might close large funding rounds, reach valuations beyond belief and join the elite group of Catalan unicorns of which Glovo just became the first member. Others might pivot to a completely different business model, release a new product, hire hundreds of people or successfully break into new markets.
These are the 20 Barcelona startups we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on in 2020!
Unnax, launched in 2016, provides open banking API solutions through a complex banking-as-a-service platform. Riding the wave of the PSD2, they help companies in various sectors take all their financial process online, from identifying users to aggregating accounts and initiating payments. Unnax is one of the most promising players to watch in the Barcelona fintech space. We’ll definitely hear more about them as they expand beyond the Iberian Peninsula and gear up for their series A round.
Hubtype is a tool that allows developers to go beyond chatbots and create conversational experiences. Their solution lets companies engage with their customers in messaging apps using a combination of text, carousels, buttons and other graphic elements. This fusion of GUI and chat interfaces creates an automated messaging experience far superior to a regular old chatbot. Hubtype is one of a select few Official WhatsSapp Solution Providers and works with illustrious clients like Bankia, HP and MAPFRE. Having raised a seed round of $1.1M in the Spring of 2019, the SaaS startup is growing its team and scaling rapidly.
Brand protection company Red Points hit the headlines in April after raising $38M in a series C round. A SaaS platform that helps companies fights online counterfeiting and digital copyright infringement, Red Points automatically detects and deletes fake products from online marketplaces. Their powerful Machine Learning and Image Recognition technologies have allowed them to grow extremely fast and start solving the global counterfeiting problem at scale. The company’s clients are in fashion, design, electronics and other verticals – a base that will no doubt expand in 2020.
One of Barcelona’s most innovative healthcare startups, Psious deals in Virtual Reality Therapy for mental health. The company’s VR platform is for therapists and healthcare professionals who want to use state-of-the-art technology in psychotherapy. Psious works with several health institutions around the world and it’s rapidly expading in Europe and globally. In May, the startup raised €8M to further develop its platform which can be used to treat anxiety disorders as well as manage stress, ADHD, autism and psychotic disorders.
Reby is the first electric kickscooter-sharing startup that seems to have gained a steady foothold in Barcelona, a city where such services historically haven’t been the most welcome. The Spain-focused company provides kickscooters on demand with a commitment to sustainability, innovation and social change. Users can unlock the scooters with an app on their phones, use them for €0.15 and lock them anywhere in the city without having to search for docking stations. We’re excited to see what the future holds for local pioneer Reby!
When we visited Onna earlier this year, they had just closed a funding round of $11M. The company built an enterprise search engine that lets companies search and recover files wherever their data may be stored. Onna integrates with all commonly-used web-based applications – such as Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox and Zendesk – and counts with a list of big names for clients, with Facebook, Electronic Arts, Dropbox and Fitbit among them. The startup, based in Barcelona and New York City, uses Machine Learning and Image Recognition to make everything searchable, including audio and video files.
In the year since we did a story on them, the TravelPerk team has been busy growing, opening offices and adding features to their platform. The Barcelona-based traveltech company provides an all-in-one SaaS platform for booking business travel. They cover ground and air transport as well as accommodation and car rentals. In 2019, TravelPerk hired over 300 new employees and was named the fastest-growing SaaS startup in the world. In July, the company added $60M to its series C round, bringing it to a total of $104M.
WeFitter works with companies to help them encourage their employees to lead a more active lifestyle through gamification. Their API uses data from health and fitness trackers to understand the user’s health status. Besides enabling corporate wellness, they also work with insurance providers to reduce healthcare costs. A rapidly growing startup in the competitive health and wellness industry, WeFitter’s journey should be an exciting one to watch in the coming year.
Rentals United is a global leader in the vacation rental tech space. Their enterprise-level channel management solution allows large property managers to efficiently distribute their listings to more than 60 travel websites. In 2019, Rentals United became the first SaaS platform of its kind to have premier or preferred partnerships with the top booking sites: Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia, Tripadvisor and Agoda. Connecting vacation rentals and travelers, Rentals United aims to use its recent $4.25M funding round to build more tools for property managers to improve their business.
Carts Guru is a lesser-known but all the more meritable player in the Barcelona B2B SaaS space. After raising a seed round of $1M earlier this year, the company launched its new product: an all-in-one marketing automation platform for ecommerce businesses that goes beyond recovering abandoned carts. Clients can send personalized, automated campaigns to multiple marketing channels including email, text message and Facebook Messenger. Carts Guru moved into a new office in Barcelona since we last reported on it and is working hard to gain traction in a crowded market.
Every year, we like to make a point of putting a few startups with a social or environmental mission on our list, and this year is no different. TAPP Water is determined to cut the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans by producing a biodegradable water filter that can help households replace bottled water with tap water. Their filters have smart functionalities that empower users to monitor water quality via a Bluetooth connection. With a successful crowdfunding campaign, an angel round and a few prestigious grants to back them, TAPP Water is on the right track.
Foods for Tomorrow
Foods for Tomorrow is leading Spain towards a plantbased revolution by bringing healthier and more sustainable and ethical choices to our tables. The company’s main product, Heura, is a soy-based meat alternative that comes in different shapes, sizes and flavors. 2019 was a big year for Foods for Tomorrow. They added meatballs and burgers to their line of faux chicken products, ran a massive nation-wide marketing campaign that involved billboards and TV commercials, launched a new website and stroke up several important partnerships (including fast-food chain Pans & Company and supermarket giant Carrefour). 2020 looks promising!
Barcelona-based SaaS startup Typeform seemed to make every best-of list in the few years after its launch in 2012. The online form and survey builder went through some significant changes this year under the direction of CEO Joaquim Lecha. After re-redesigning its website and changing its messaging to better reflect its values, Typeform seems to have found its voice. Things have been quiet around the scale-up lately: will 2020 be the year Typeform hits the headlines again?
Just under a year ago, Badi bagged $30M to grow its room rental platform. The startup is solving the shortage of living space in cities by offering an app that connects room-seekers with those looking to share their homes with flatmates. One of the fastest-growing proptech startups in Spain, Badi has ballooned into a team of over 100 people and plans to further expand to 200 employees in 2020. We look forward to seeing them grow their team and their scope of services.
Signaturit offers electronic signature solutions and other trust services for digital transactions. The champions of legal security and compliance work with thousands of high-profile clients in industries such as financial services, insurance, healthcare and real estate. The company seems to have mastered corporate sales (despite the immaturity of the B2B sales space in Barcelona) and is positioning itself as a global expert in secure digital transactions. As privacy regulations within the EU continue to tighten, we’re excited to see what the future holds.
Marfeel built a platform for publishers to help them optimize the mobile reading experience. They increase traffic and engagement for their clients and offer hundreds of integrations and widgets. The adtech company has worked together with several tech giants such as Google and Facebook and was awarded the 2019 Innovation Award by Google in November 2019. We think they’re going to be a defining force in the future of digital publishing.
One of the smaller startups on our list, Mr Noow is helping time-conscious people optimize their lunch breaks by allowing them to book tables at restaurants and order their food in advance, so it’s hot and ready upon arrival. The mobile app, which offers a new channel for restaurants to attract business, is currently available in Madrid and Barcelona. Mr Noow is launching a crowdfunding campaign in early January – make sure you get on board if you want a slice of the cake.
We first met TeamEQ at 4YFN 3 years ago – since then, they’ve been working on perfecting their team intelligence and digital team management platform. The TeamEQ product analyzes team feedback and alignment to make data-based predictions that help build culture and increase engagement. We think that an HR solution like TeamEQ’s could bring about some real change in companies when it comes to tracking KPIs, boosting productivity and promoting cultural transformation. Let’s see what they get up to in 2020!
Coverfy is an insurtech startup based in Barcelona. The company’s mission is to simplify insurance for everyone with an app that lets users access and manage all their policies from one place, as well as optimize them and obtain the best prices. Coverfy was founded in 2016 has been named the best fintech startup in Spain. It’s rapidly expanding internationally to make insurance easy for users around the world.
Strands is a fintech company that builds solutions for banks to improve customer engagement on digital channels. Working with over 700 banks worldwide, they’re leading the way in retail banking, SME banking and open banking. Strands isn’t a young company – it’s been around since 2004 and first applied its expertise in Big Data, AI and Machine Learning to the music industry. After pivoting to the fintech field, Strands has been growing steadily. The company reached new milestones in 2018 – a partnership with MasterCard – and 2019 – launching a personalized banking SaaS in partnership with Oracle.
Which startup(s) would you add to the list? Send us a message!