Digital Barcelona: 5 Reasons to work in tech in the Catalan capital

11 August 2016 By Alastair Cleland

1507 Original

​Work in digital? Barcelona’s got you covered, with startup success stories, awesome quality of life and ‘smart’ city credentials. Digital has been firmly on Barcelona’s agenda of late. The city’s GDP is 4th highest among European cities (after London, Paris and Madrid.) Such economic success is boosted in no small part by a thriving tech economy. ...and a thriving tech economy means ample opportunities for those seeking work in tech and digital companies. That's one of the reasons we're opening a brand new office in the city this Autumn. To get started, we thought we’d share some of the main benefits you can expect working in tech in Barcelona. 

1 - Quality of life: One of the world’s ‘Most Contented Cities’

​Quality of life in Barcelona is highly regarded. The 2016 book Global Happiness puts the city in its Top 20 ‘Most Contented World Cities’, calling it “one of the most charming, enjoyable and most liveable large cities in the world. Residents and visitors alike adore it for its climate, architecture, cultural life, nightlife, public spaces, cuisine and sun-soaked beaches.” 

2 - Gaming successes: and beyond

Image:'s CEO and founder Riccardo Zacconi rings the NYSE bell. Source: Newstalk Buoyed by the mobile gaming showstopper Candy Crush Saga, developer are Barcelona’s most prolific – and profitable – game development companies. The company serves over 500 million monthly users. With new games and innovative ideas always on the cards, is undoubtedly one of the most exciting places to work in Barcelona. If achieved gaming startup nirvana, others are hot on their heels. SocialPoint – producers of Dragon City, World Chef and Monster Legends – boast an impressive 50 million users worldwide. There are also numerous independent, small and mid-size studios dotted around the city. Enough for any budding game developer to get their teeth into. 

3 - Tech giants tapping into local innovation

Image: Telefonica's Barcelona base in the Torre De Hielo building. Source: Wikipedia Aware of the city’s tech credentials and entrepreneurial vibe, some of the world’s most successful tech companies have chosen to base R&D and innovation operations in Barcelona. European mobile operator Telefonica develop new multimedia services in their office in the sleek Torre De Hielo building, and the city's also home to an Innovation Centrerun by international IT giant IBM. Perhaps not quite a ‘giant’, but certaintly a global brand, Skyscanner also does much of their new development from their Barcelona base. 

4 - Accelerators, capital funding and opportunity for tech entrepreneurs

Image: 'Up to speed', accelerated completers of Barcelona's Startupbootcamp Fostering entrepreneurial spirit has been a clear focus for Barcelona in recent years. That’s evidenced by the support programmes, collaboration opportunities and cold hard cash that’s available to working residents. This video, from the Fest-UP Startup EXPO (May 2014) paints a great picture: 

Fest-UP | Startup EXPO from alcafilms on Vimeo.

Entepreneurs in Barcelona are given every chance to succeed. Accelerators currently operating in Barcelona include Wayra, Startupbootcamp, Seedrocket, Conector. Events and networking opportunities across the city are publicised by community forum website, Barcinno. There’s even an interactive map of Barcelona startups connecting the community and encouraging collaboration. 

5 - Smart city (WiFi everywhere and USB ports at bus stops!)

Barcelona was European Capital of Innovation in 2014, and the city’s showing no signs of letting its ‘smart’ credentials slip. It’s the annual host of the Smart City Expo World Congress, no less, and currently boasts over 100 smart city projects. What makes a city ‘smart’, you ask? How about LED streetlights that save 30% of energy by activating only when required. Or refuse bins that alert collectors when they're full? How about bus stops with USB ports to charge your phone at? And yes, there’s ubiquitous WiFi, provided free around the city by the local council. A tech specialist’s dream!