Spanish Tech Startups | A Look at Speedinvest's Portfolio in Spain
Since 2011, we've invested in nearly 300 startups in more than 40 nations. Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, France, and Spain are currently the countries we've invested in most in Europe. Why and in what companies? Keep reading for a deep dive into our Spanish portfolio and exclusive market insights from our sector-focused investors. Click below for a breakdown of our other top European markets.
Spanish Tech Startups: Flying Under the Radar
Spain’s startup ecosystem has long been flying under the radar as the country raised record levels of investment and built market leaders with household names, like unicorns TravelPerk, Glovo, and Cabify. But that’s quickly changing with some crediting Spain’s startup ecosystem with reversing the country’s brain drain.
According to a 2021 report published by Dealroom, "VC investment in Spain has grown 2.8x year on year in 2021, to an all-time high of €1.9 billion invested in the first six months of the year." Cities like Barcelona and Madrid find themselves as one of the top 10 startup hubs in Europe, generating €19 billion (Barcelona) and €14 billion (Madrid) in enterprise value, respectively. In 2021, the Spanish startup ecosystem was worth a combined value of €46 billion. That's a fivefold increase from its €10 billion value in 2015.
None of this is news to us. We’ve long been believers in the Spanish ecosystem with partnerships with Cobee, Seqera Labs, and Toqio––a fintech-as-a-service platform for financial and non-financial organizations that empowers their customers to quickly launch fintech propositions with their advanced and fully customizable digital bank-grade solution.
Nonetheless, this continues to be an underfunded market. Suffice it to say, we’re betting on the opportunity.
An Overview of our Spanish Startups
Despite already having 9 investments, we’ve only scratched the surface. There’s an incredible opportunity right now in the Spanish market and our sector-focused teams are excited to back the future of deep tech, fintech, healthtech, industrial tech, marketplaces & consumer, and SaaS & Infra startups in the country. They’re also looking forward to collaboratively funding the technologies that are reshaping our industries, redefining global economies, and securing a future for us all––climate tech, crypto, and emerging markets.
Below, our investors dive deep into our portfolio and explore the opportunities we see on the ground.
Spanish fintech is an especially exciting opportunity that we’ve already pounced on. Toqio, for example, is a platform that makes it easier for businesses to quickly launch financial solutions, removing the need to build and manage complex software solutions through its platform and marketplace. In September, we joined a €20 million Series A to help fuel their continuing efforts to spread across the European continent.
We’ve also partnered with Cobee, an employee benefits company fresh off of a $41 million Series B that’s using new technologies to disrupt the big benefit market that has been traditionally dominated by big incumbent players. Then there’s BNext, a Neobank with an integrated marketplace in which clients can purchase financial and insurance services without having to leave the app. They’ve since launched their first utility token, B3X.
“Spanish banks have been on the forefront of technological innovation on a corporate level for many years with banks such as Santander and BBVA leading the way. As a result, there is a large number of talented and knowledgeable entrepreneurs who can tap into the local talent pool to create innovative fintech solutions with international talent moving to the south of the continent given the high living standards of cities, such as Barcelona or Madrid. Moreover, the cultural ties to southern European countries and Latin America gives Spanish fintechs easier expansion possibilities.” –– Enrique Martínez-Hausmann, Principal at Speedinvest
Spain’s Healthech sector has been booming for a few years now, and we have every intention to continue looking for exciting opportunities that will increase our presence in this region.
We’ve made two health investments in Spain thus far. Seqera Labs is a Barcelona-based provider of open source data orchestration and workflow software for lifesciences. They have experienced phenomenal (400 percent year-on-year) growth, and recently raised a €22 million Series A. Another exciting Spanish healthtech startup we’ve backed is IOMED. The company develops a suite of natural language processing tools for hospitals, with an ambition to become the worldwide reference in data access in healthcare.
“We’ve seen many startups emerging from Spain that innovate on the intersection of health, technology, and life sciences. The scientific talent––combined with the rich health investor landscape and players, such as the Barcelona Health Hub––position Spain as one of the pioneers of digital health innovation. We will continue to partner with ambitious local founders shaping the future of healthcare. ” –– Daria Gherghelas, Analyst at Speedinvest
SaaS & Infra
Another sector we’re actively investing among Spanish tech startups is in SaaS & Infra. We’ve partnered with Genie, an open source startup providing low/no-code tools for building data science applications. With Genie, data scientists and R&D engineers can quickly turn ML models and simulations into shareable web apps and data products that drive the business forward.
And then there’s our partnership with Wasmer. Together, we’re helping enterprises run ultra-lightweight containerized software with blazing-fast startup times, at near-native speeds anywhere, whether it’s on servers, edge, and IoT devices or in serverless environments.
“We’ve seen strong technical talent from Spain shaping and building large European unicorns across the board, encouraging us to double down on the Spanish ecosystem. We’re looking forward to finding the next category-defining B2B software or infrastructure company.” –– Yang Tran, Senior Associate at Speedinvest
Investing in Spanish industrial tech is a priority we’ve already begun with our partnership with Sunhero. The solar energy startup is leveraging digital technologies and service innovation to make it easy for people to install PV systems on their rooftops.
But we can already see there’s more opportunity out there. According to our 2022 Industrial Tech Report, Spanish industrial tech received $271 million in investment this year as of this writing. There’s been $570 million in investment between 2015 to 2022, meaning more than half of Spain’s industrial tech funding came just this year alone.
“Taking a look at the Spanish renewable energy market alone, solar specifically, we observed a multi-year stall given regulatory bodies resulting in residential solutions being financially unattractive. In recent years, this has shifted completely and one of the biggest energy markets with highest price points in Europe is bound to see significant disruptions by digital players offering renewable and decentralized energy approaches.” –– Leo Schmid, Associate at Speedinvest
Deep tech investors are well aware of the fact that Spain’s ecosystem is producing some impressive quantum computing startups on top of the considerable innovation happening in the photonics sphere. Alongside these technical niches, big raises by younger successes, such as Tinybird, are driving the popularity of the Iberian peninsula with European venture capitalists. The company turned heads and shined a spotlight on the ecosystem when they raised an impressive $37 million Series A to democratize building real-time data-products.
“Spain’s deep tech ecosystem shines in a few hardware niches, such as quantum computing and photonics. More recently we’ve observed deep tech ecosystems developing beyond these, driven by spin-outs from academic institutions as commercializing cutting-edge research becomes both more viable and more popular. The most notable areas include Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia.” –– Evgeny Slavin, Associate at Speedinvest
Marketplaces & Consumer
Home to the likes of Cabify, Glovo, and Paack, Spain is not only the leader of southern Europe’s tech scene, but also a competitive player across the continent.
The value of the Spanish ecosystem—measured as the total valuation of its startups—has grown nearly 40 percent on average each year over the last five years. The country closed the doors to 2021 with a blazing $500 million Series E for staffing marketplace, Jobandtalent, and walked into 2022 with another €101 million Series E for Barcelona-based TravelPerk, adding up to its growing unicorn tally.
High hopes are set upon the fleet of exciting startups leading the way in the country. Sifted ranked the most promising amongst them, including big hits, household names, and fast-growing wonders.
“We have seen category-defining marketplaces and platforms––both B2B and B2C––emerging from Spain and more are being created right now. We’re looking to identify the next wave early on and continue to partner up with founders to build the next generation of winners. We are convinced the Spanish ecosystem is in the right position to accelerate.” –– Julian Blessin, Partner at Speedinvest