NUMA's Start Ups At Barcelona Tech City

by Thomas EvansTue, 01/31/2017 - 14:43Comments

This month we met some of Spain's hottest start ups currently gaining momentum at NUMA, a French global innovation network headquartered in Paris (where they've previously partnered with Google For Entrepreneurs in opening a tech hub for start ups).

NUMA now have additional spaces in Moscow, Bengalaru, Casablanca, Mexico and finally in Barcelona. Last year, in collaboration with Mobile World Capital and M Ventures Bcn, they invested 4.8 million € to launch the first European acceleration programme for growth-phase digital startups, ten of which now occupy the state of the art office space above. 

Numa Barcelona is housed within a bustling new complex called Barcelona Tech City: a designated cluster at Palau del Mar that could be perceived as the Catalan's answer to Madrid's Google Campus, in as much as that it acts as a point of convergence and new company catalyst, including within its walls several accelerators aimed at growing the ecosystem and fostering the ambition of start ups to scale internationally. 

The 10 start ups are now coming to the end of their 4 month acceleration period this February and will present to investors during their DEMO DAY coinciding with Mobile World Congress on Wednesday the 1st of March (at 11 am), as part of 4YFN at Hall M8 - Fira Montjuic SORACOM STAGE.

Following this round of acceleration, there will be at least 2 additional annual cohorts in the forthcoming years at NUMA BCN, and applications will open for the next round in July.

Current Numa Start Up Founders:

While attending the press launch of 4YFN this January, SUMIS met founders from 4 of the 10 start ups that are due to be pitching, getting a flavor of the kind of projects NUMA's been supporting:

Paul Gailey Alberquerque a Marketing professional from Murcia with an international profile, is a founder of an app for VR pros that connects two 360 degree cameras to your smart phone to give instant panoramic views on your handset. It provides custom workflows, social sharing, live VR viewing and VR gaming.

Walid E jebbari is an ex Black Rock Product Leader who's lived in both New York and San Francisco and is over in Barcelona from the Big Apple for the duration of the 4 month programme while scaling up his company Loka Train. It's a fitness app (Walid himself could easily be mistaken for a fitness instructor) that allows users to discover local trainers and workouts in their neighborhoods' that match their preferences.

Above: An interview with Fan on Fire @NUMA BCN.

Jaime Castañosa and Miguel Zafra are Madrilleño entrepreneurs who've hopped over to the Mediterranean coast in order to be hot-housed at NUMA with their start up Fan On Fire. They describe the venture as Netflix for concerts via subscription. Although they left one founder behind in the capital, they kindly explained during our ten minute interview (above), that Barcelona, which is renowned for its international character, has some advantages for tech founders with B2C models, while those with B2B businesses might be better off in Madrid. It's a larger city known for being a centre of commerce and its international links might be stronger with Latin America also.

Leo Wuoristo is Co-Founder & COO of Trybe. Although Finnish, he's come over to NUMA from London where his business has been solving an increasing problem: busy urban professionals want to eat good quality home cooked food but they don't have time to prepare it. The platform, which claims to make neighborhoods' smaller, friendlier and tastier, has been gaining traction in Hackney, East London by matching people who have the time and resources to cook well and want to earn an additional income, with people who live locally to the amateur chefs, and wish to purchase their culinary delights, often to eat after work.

Leo explained that the regulatory red tape regarding Health and Safety laws is not restrictive in Europe, (while their business model would not currently be possible in the US) and that in launching they wondered whether members would be uncomfortable with the intimacy of going over to a neighbours' house to collect a meal. This is because the exchange inevitably takes place on such a personal level, but on the contrary it's proven to be something people are really interested to do and another way to get to know people who live nearby while building stronger local communities.

The company has begun to spread by recruiting local 'Trybe Chiefs' who are passionate about having such a service in their neighborhood and willing to recruit and support the first chefs while finding the first eaters and building reciprocal communities both online through social media and through word of mouth. They then manage their micro-communities as they grow and take permanent hold in the surrounding area. Anyone living in a community where there's a TRYBE can join as a cook, and after a simple kitchen inspection begin generating an additional income while preparing their favorite meals.

Trybe is currently scaling to other cities in Europe including Barcelona. Leo noted that populations are becoming more and more used to the sharing economy and getting to know new people through these innovative types of economic and mutually beneficial interactions. Our discussion covered whether Air bnb's new positioning regarding 'experiences' poses a potential threat to the business model and Leo didn't think so as it's firmly aimed at tourists.

Numa Barcelona has recruited stellar mentors from some of the biggest names in tech, it's chairman Pep Gomez (seen in top picture) is one of Spain's most renowned entrepreneurs having founded FEVER, while the Brit Gary Shainberg an experienced senior executive from the Telecommunications sector (and who currently has a drone company) is the entrepreneur in residence. Gary was keen to stress that NUMA's purpose is to take companies that have already proven a solid product-market-fit with effective management to boot, and to help them scale internationally.

A lot of the teams had obviously begun hiring and expanding too and it is fair to say that the cohort exuded a cosmopolitan culture.

The hive of activity in Numa's office, gave the impression that it seems set to rapidly become one of the finest incubators in Spain, and as 'demo day' coincides with the largest and most significant mobile tech event globally, one can imagine there will be more than a few impressive investors in attendance!



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