Startup Grind 2019: The Year in Focus (& What’s Ahead in 2020)

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From its inception in 2014, through to its present day status as one of the leading lights on the Barcelona startup scene, Startup Grind Barcelona has captured the imagination of Barcelona’s brightest minds. A community for creative thinkers, a place to find inspiration and to connect with missing links, Startup Grind Barcelona is quite simply one of the best startup events around and is set to extend its invaluable influence this coming year. 


But before we get ahead of ourselves and get lost in ‘ahem’ 2020 vision (sorry, couldn’t help it), let’s take a look back at 2019. With an amazing array of rockstar guest speakers, a fantastically talented team who always make sure events run like clockwork, free beers courtesy of  Estrella Damm, incredible empanadas courtesy of Las Muns, great space provided by Movistar Centre, and, of course, the man behind it all, the one and only Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit, 2019 has been an incredible year for Startup Grind Barcelona. So, let’s take a look at the year in focus. 


Kicking off the year in fine style, Javier Suárez, co-founder and CPO of TravelPerk, turned the heat up at Startup Grind Barcelona. As one of the hottest startups around, TravelPerk have grown at a phenomenal rate in the last few years. We welcomed Javier to share his insight into the very beginnings of the company, including finding partners and investors, building a corporate culture that’s the envy of every startup in Barcelona and how they developed their innovative online travel management tool. 


February saw a celebration of the Mobile World Congress with a brilliant blend of expert guest speakers from far and wide (many of whom are VCs), including Magnus Gaarder (Cidron Ventures), Borja Breña (Nauta Capital), Tanja Kufner (dynamics.vc) and François Paulus (Breega Capital). Taking place at the impressive Antigua Fàbrica Estrella Damm (no worries about running out of beer then) the event was made all the more special by the concurrent Mobile World Congress bringing in some extra special talent to discuss the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur. 


CEO and co-founder of Cyberclick, David Tomàs, has been rocking the startup world since way back when. For over 20 years, he’s been starting companies and breaking down boundaries. In March, he graced the Startup Grind stage for a fireside chat to talk about being passionate about what you do and building an amazing company culture. Inspiring, charming and sub-zero cool, you can tell he practices what he preaches and he’s clearly the kind of guy you’d love as your boss.  


Ethics in tech businesses was the central theme of the third edition of the Startup Grind Barcelona Tech 2019 Conference. The year’s key event brought together over 1,000 entrepreneurs, gurus, creatives, industry writers and investors from all over Europe. From the potential impact of automation on the technological process to blockchain implementation and the influence of AI on global industry, a wide range of topics were discussed. With a great panel consisting of Carlota Pi Amoros, co-founder and executive president of Holaluz; Laura Urquizu, CEO of Redpoints; Josh Feldberg, CEO of Feldberg Associates; and Mar Alarcon, CEO of SocialCar, not to mention a fireside chat with founder of Startup Grind Global Derek Andersen, it was an evening of intriguing insights and inside stories on the development of some of Europe’s most successful startups.


Lina Chong, VC of Target Global, moved out of the saturated tech market of Los Angeles and San Francisco to make a giant leap across the Atlantic. She turned up in Berlin in 2009, completed her masters several years later and arrived in Barcelona in 2019. She shared her transatlantic tale of entrepreneurial daring and gave an insight into how she went from arriving in a foreign country with no contacts to founding her own company, and eventually becoming a VC investor.


Master of brand marketing Paul Campillo has set the standard with his sterling work at Typeform, one of Barcelona’s most successful startups. At June’s Startup Grind Barcelona, he used sports analogies and case studies to explore meaning and purpose in modern business, highlighting the three Ps: people, profits and planet as key elements. A natural storyteller, an engaging presence and a guy who knows what he’s talking about, Paul brought a lot of wisdom and good vibes to Startup Grind. 


Carlos Pierre is CEO and founder of Badi, one of Barcelona’s fastest growing startups. He’s also one of our ‘neighbors’ at OneCoWork and a very humble, down to earth guy (despite his success). He brought some much needed cool to a midsummer Startup Grind Barcelona, where he explained the incredible story of how he created a startup with zero experience, a startup that now operates in four European markets: Spain, France, Italy and the U.K. 


D9 at Poblenou was the venue for the Startup Grind Barcelona Summer Party 2019. Crisp, refreshing Estrella, mouth-watering Muns empanadas and a room full of talented people were the perfect ingredients for a fun summer evening. During the event, Laura Martínez, creator of the Hotels Network, shared her story of founding her first company, a co-exchange platform, at the same time as Airbnb. She quickly realised where the market was going and shifted her business. Her company, Hotels Network, is now a leading startup in Barcelona and her insights were greatly received by the Startup Grind audience.


Revolut by name and revolutionary by nature. The UK based fintech company is making waves in the financial world, taking on traditional banking with a fresh, intuitive product that promises to do banking better. Chad West, Revolut’s CMO, joined Àlex for a fireside chat, where he unpacked Bertolt Brecht’s famous question: “What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank?” He explained how Revolut stood out in a crowded market by acting differently to the competition with an original voice. It’s certainly working – they’ve got the old guard on the ropes and he had the Startup Grind audience rapt throughout this event. 


The Autumn edition of Startup Grind Barcelona saw great insights from Elisenda Bou, CTO and co-founder of Vilynx, an AI-based startup. She shared her story of moving from Barcelona to Boston and back again. She learned the tech trade in Massachusetts, as good a place as any to get a grounding in tech, before returning to BCN to create her own company. At Vilynx, she’s assembled a team of, in her words, “crazy/smart people”, tasked with building the first self-learning AI brain. Fascinating, inspiring stuff!


A great speaker and an all-round fun guy, Juan Zamora proved to be a very entertaining guest when he joined Àlex for a fireside chat in November. He’s the CEO and founder of 

Signaturit, an innovative company that offers electronic signature solutions and one of the most talked-about startups in Barcelona right now. Juan began his career as a computer scientist before shifting into the banking sector where, as Àlex put it, he “gained the social skills typically lacking of computer science geeks.” A big part of the chat focused on ‘overhiring’, effectively running before you can walk, and the challenges of managing people while changing processes.


What better way to round off a great year than welcoming Startup Grind’s first-ever guest speaker back to the stage? Bernat Farrero is CEO and founder of Itnig, one of the key players in the BCN startup ecosystem. They’ve been around since the early days, helping to cultivate a number of successful companies in Barcelona, including Factorial (a great software program that we use ourselves) Quipu, Gym For Less and Camaloon. Bernat was an intriguing guest, captivating the audience with his take on the spirit of reinvention, smashing up the status quo and creating future-defining products.

Startup Grind Barcelona 2020

All in all, an incredible year for Startup Grind Barcelona! Still, 2020 promises to be even more inspiring, insightful and unforgettable. Check out what’s coming up at Startup Grind Barcelona in 2020, including the unmissable Startup Grind Barcelona Tech Conference 2020 and don’t forget to use the discount code BarcinnoRocks to get a 40% discount on future events! 

Update: Startup Grind Barcelona also announced an amazing series of events that will take place during Mobile World Congress week in February. Read our MWC20 Parties & Events Guide for more information.

Even more hot fire from Barcinno:


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