Valencia is quickly becoming the place to set up a Spanish office, 4 reasons why
When founders are ready to expand internationally, numerous factors go under the microscope. According to a survey of 321 founders conducted by Startup Heatmap Europe, access to talent is the most important. Next is ease and cost of doing business, followed by access to capital, and finally the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture.
Valencia checks all of these boxes as well as being able to offer all-year-round sunshine, stability and a high sense of safety.
It’s no wonder Spain’s third largest city, a talent hub for entrepreneurs and an unbeatable quality of life, is earning a well-deserved place on the European startup map.
Historically, when founders were looking to expand, it was only the largest and most well-known cities they would consider. In Spain, that meant Madrid or Barcelona. Today, the startup climate is changing.
Valencia - A hidden gem for founders.
The mission of this post goes hand in hand with this quote from the mentioned Heatmap; “Instead of endorsing Berlin or London as the biggest startup hubs in Europe, we want to take you on a journey to find that hidden gem, the regional champion, or even the local underdog, which may become the next big thing in the European startup landscape.”
With a population just under 1 million, Valencia has everything it needs to be a major metropolis, yet isn’t too overwhelming you can’t also easily make your mark. Even more attractive for founders, it offers a vast amount of talent, as well as an extensive support system for early-stage businesses that many other European cities lack.
1. Tech talent factory
Valencia is considered to be the national talent factory, thanks to eight reputable public and private universities, with more than 100,000 students and 3,500 certified engineers graduating every year. Moreover,
Valencia is ranked as the best Erasmus destination in Europe and has received the award as the best talent attraction program from the European Commission.
So it probably was a so called no-brainer for the World known Music College Berklee to choose Valencia to set up their European campus back in 2012.
2. Public and private initiatives
Both private and public companies join forces, coordinating their efforts to boost entrepreneurial support in the region. This city is eager; it wants to become a leader in both innovation and entrepreneurship.
The most prominent Business centers, accelerators, incubators, and early-stage investors include Gohub/Global Omnium, Biohub VLC, Innsomnia, Angels Capital, Demium, Social Nest, Bbooster, Plug and Play (HQ in Silicon Valley), and Lanzadera.
On the public side, the city council of Valencia launched VIT Emprende, a network of innovative entrepreneurs that has played a role in the more than 500+ startups registered in the city. And numerous additional local and national institutions (ENISA, CDTI, IVACE or IVF) exist, offering grants and financing for technical and digital companies.
Technical expert in the growth and investment of startups, Mar Prieto of CEEI Castellón (European Center for Innovative Companies) says:
"There is a lot of financing available for companies wishing to expand, ranging from 25K to 1.5M, that many entrepreneurs don’t even know about."
3. Ease and cost of living
Nic Davis, Managing Director at Infrarisk and an Australian founder, recently moved here after securing access to accelerator Innsomnia. He says :
“The facilities are excellent as well as connectivity to other areas, like Madrid and London.”
Food is very reasonable, with fresh produce readily available and you’ll find options at local restaurants to enjoy full 3-course Mediterranean menus, including a beer or wine, for 11€.
Public transport is efficient at a low cost, and with the Manises International Airport only 20 minutes from the city center, and the capital city of Madrid only 1.5 hours with the speed train, you’re also saving in opportunity costs.
The cost of accessing a co-working space is around 150€/month and an office space in one of the Technological Parks is about 350€ for 65m2.
4. Superior quality of life
It's easy to enjoy an active lifestyle, with activities such as sailing, golf, football and tennis available all-year round. There are bike paths throughout the city, and cyclists, joggers, walkers alike love The Jardín del Turia, a lush urban park that snakes through the city like the river it used to be.
Valencia has more than 300 days of sun annually. Add in its beautiful beaches, orange tree-lined streets, and gorgeous views of the mountains in the distance, it’s no wonder almost 2 million unique tourists visit the city annually.
The cultural scene is also a draw featuring the famous City of Arts and Sciences, one of the 12 Treasures of Spain and designed by native-son and architect Santiago Calatrava, houses Spain’s largest event space and Europe’s largest Aquarium.
NOTE: This article is a modified version of the original one, first published on LinkedIn in November 2017, co-written with Jose Moliner.
If you aren't already convinced by the arguments above just check out this video (made in June 2018) to get the Valencia Tech City feeling going in your mind, body and soul! :)