by Thomas EvansThu, 01/12/2017 - 10:04Comments


4YFN (Four Years From Now) now in its fourth year, is a start up event hosted by Barcelona Mobile World Capital alongside GSMA Mobile World Congress each February. This year's addition was presented publicly yesterday at mVentures within Barcelona Tech City.

The event, on Feb 27th, is anticipated to welcome 20 thousand visitors, which will represent a 60% increase in volume when compared to 2016. It will include an app specifically designed to ensure that the right entrepreneurs, investors and corporations meet.

Notable attendants will be Terry Von Bibra, Global Manager EMEA of Alibaba, Micheal Spiegelman, Director of Product Innovation and Global Acquisition at Netflix, Fernando Fanton, CTO at Just Eat and Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of the WPP Group.

The launch consisted of a presentation about the current State of The Spanish Start Up Ecosystem in the wider context of Europe by the CEO of MWC Aleix Valls. He included a wealth of fascinating publicly available statistics showing that Barcelona is now the fifth tech hub in Europe and that it's captured 56% of total investment in Start Ups Made in Spain. The city is one place ahead of Madrid, but in reality the two city's ecosystems are comparable in size and each have a large annual event promoting start ups.

A presentation about 4YFN was given by the executive Esteban Rodolfi, and another regarding what makes 4YFN so special by an international entrepreneur Ofri Ben Porat whose Israeli and London based start up Pixoneye won last year's competition.

4YFN want to emphasise the current significance of the event's internationality and the presence of international delegations coming, including from both France and the UK (which are each showcasing about 20 start ups) and The European Start Up Network (who will present 40 start ups). There will also be delegations from Intel, the US City of Belvenue, the Fundacion Exportar (Argentina), Pro Colombia, the ICT agency of Sri Lanka, Vimplecom of Pakistan, Brilliant Lab of Kuwait, and the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan. South Korea will bring a delegation including members from the Smart Venture Institute, and Sejong and Gyeonggi Centres for the Creative Economy and Innovation. The Spanish Pavillion will itself showcase 32 start ups.

Investors such as Tim Draper of Draper Associates and the Israeli Dov Moran, one of the creators of the USB memory device and currently Managing Partner of Grove Ventures, will also be participating in the event. The venue will include additional meeting spaces in order to encourage more networking opportunities alongside the Start Up Pitching and Industry Networking sessions where groups of start ups can meet investors, corporates and potential clients.


Above: Ofri Ben Porat, CEO Pixoneye.

Each year 4YFN's increasingly acting as a bellwether through which the ecosystem's evolution can be evaluated with a pattern of consistency. It's also possible to see how it helps start ups grow and capture market share. Pixoneye, last year's winners are a good example: a company whose technology uses ai to make analysis of user's pictures on social media to then extrapolate insights that can be used to field individuals appropriate media and ads. Since their win they've raised an investment round of £2.4 Million. Also the Japanese start up Soracom has established a global base of over 5000 clients after taking part in 2016 as a Gold Partner.

The 2017 event will include a hacking space to encourage real time innovation alongside the talks, housing  The Hack_D_Gap Global Challenge. It's a competition designed to generate innovative solutions that'll address the issue of diversity and equality in the tech industries. There will also be demo days from NUMA Barcelona, and Start Up Bootcamp's IOT and Data Cohorts, both of which are supported by mVentures and other comparable showcases such as the Best British Mobile Start Ups an initiative of KPMG.


Above: Aleix Valls CEO MWC

​Within Europe, according to the ecosystem report, Spain is now the 4th destination for tech talent and has consolidated its place as the #2 destination for attracting international entrepreneurs to set up new companies. Local talent has played a large part in driving this evolution and the country is now in 5th position for the volume of qualified developers it produces. The salaries of developers here have increased by 33% in the last 4 years as a result of the ecosystem's growth.

In terms of investment the median 'ticket' has more than tripled from 200K € in 2014 to 710K € in 2016 demonstrating a significant maturation of the sector, while international investment has been crucial with 59% of overall investment in Spanish start ups coming from 43 foreign investors.

Barcelona is in 5th position as a European tech hub behind London, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam, and is currently the leader in investment terms for start ups in Spain capturing 56% of the total, and also 48.2% of operations (e.g. mergers and acquisitions) at state level. By vertical social, enterprise software and ecommerce are the fastest growing sectors, (4% yoy) while social and mobile are the sectors leading investment. Interestingly while tourism represents 6% of start ups in Spain, it's 9% of those in the Catalan Capital.

Among Europe's top tech hub's most of Berlin's entrepreneurs are German, meanwhile London is a leader at attracting international founders, something that Spain wants to increasingly emulate because, as Aleix Valls pointed out: 'Success of Spanish start ups relies on new markets opening as 54.8% of the start up economy remains inside Spain'.

4YFN will take place from the 27th of February to the 1st of March in Barcelona as part of Mobile World Congress and tickets are currently available with a 20% discount. They're hosting a LIVE webinar on 17 Jan at 10am CET! Find out how exhibitors can make the most out of the 4YFN experience!… https://t.co/4n0hIll3ba

View our tweets from the launch event here.







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