I popped over to ifest 2008 the other day and sat in on a few interesting talks regarding business and innovation and the entrepreneurial scene in Europe. Both Herve Lebret and Nick Leon touched on the theme of innovation within societies and contrasted the U.S. (primarily Silicon Valley and Boston) with Europe, and tried to draw some conclusions why Europe always seems to be one step behind. Herve’s presentation went into this theme in great detail and he has also published a book on this subject (Herve, when do I get a copy?).
Nick’s talk also touched on this as he asserted that a city needs an ecosystem of innovation to align the talents and resources they have in order to build a successful innovation juggernaut (like SF and Beantown). To this end, he made a point that Barcelona could very well be positioned to be the next great city of innovation of Europe. Specifically, the “Palo Alto of the Mediterranean”, as he put it.
Whether this is true or not, I recently moved to the great city of Barcelona and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the existing community of entrepreneurs… although, there’s still a lot (emphasis here) of room to grow.
I wouldn’t go as close to comparing BCN to the Bay Area just yet (actually, not even close) but in relative terms to the rest of Europe, I would say it’s a “definite maybe”. Since I’m primarily interested in internet-based companies, here are just a couple of Barcelona’s inspiring startups in the online technology and web 2.0 space ( get in touch if I missed you):
Properazzi – the world’s largest property portal
Sclipo – a social learning network for teaching through video & webcam
Trovit – the leading search engine for classified ads in Europe and Latin America
Nuroa – property search engine focusing on Spain and Germany
Linqia – independent search for online communities
Genoom – application to create private family networks
Amuso – next-generation online game show
Salir – reviews and ratings of food and leisure in Spain
eyeOS – operating system that syncs your computer and mobile
Wimob – innovative web to mobile platform
BMAT – music discovery and search engine
Festuc – mobile social network
Bloguzz – blogger community that provides reviews of products and services
vLex – online legal information platform