Catalonia grabs 71% of all foreign risk capital investment in Spain
Foreign investment funds were the most active in Spain in 2015 with €290m of the total capital invested in tech start-ups
BarcelonaSpain’s tech business is largely dependant on foreign capital, which last year accounted for 44 per cent of all investment in the sector. On Wednesday Spain’s Association for Capital, Growth and Investment (ASCRI) published a report indicating that 71 per cent of all that cash went to business ventures located in Catalonia. Specifically, Catalonia drew in €277.2m from international risk capital investment funds in 2015, over twice as much as the previous year and well above Madrid, the second Spanish region that obtained the most foreign capital, with a total of €89.7m
According to the report, Spanish start-ups received a total of €659.4m from both public funds as well as accelerators and incubators, risk capital funds and corporations. Catalonia grabbed 56 per cent of the total investment volume (€371m) and 33 per cent of all operations. Therefore, Catalonia is Spain’s most attractive region for investors and this is further confirmed by analysing what investment choices are made by international risk capital entities. These accounted for 44 per cent of all cash invested in the sector (€290m), 71 per cent of which went to Catalonia. In terms of number of operations, the figure drops to 53 per cent, which indicates that operations in Catalonia were generally more substantial.
As for the funds lured from Spanish risk capital companies, Catalonia took the top position again albeit with a shorter lead. Last year, 106 such operations took place in Catalonia, out a total of 286: that is 37 per cent of the total number. In terms of investment volume, Catalonia got €48.8m from Spanish risk capital funds, which is 41 per cent of the total amount and ten points higher than Madrid, which received €63.9m or 31 per cent.
Although the report concludes that 2015 saw particularly strong growth in investment rounds in advanced projects —precisely thanks to international capital—, Catalonia was also a favourite with agents who channel early-stage investment rounds. This is known as “seed investment”, which is carried out through incubators and accelerators. In this case, ASCRI mentions the two investment networks that belong to Barcelona business schools Esade and Iese, as well as Crowdtube —the Barcelona-based crowdfunding company—. Other efforts highlighted in the report are the network Capital Cell, the “equity crowdfunding” fund endorsed by Acció that specialises in biotechnology; Bstart Up, owned by Banc Sabadell; Wayra, Telefónica’s accelerator based in Barcelona, and the Kic Innoenergy, an international project whose Spanish chapter is located in the Catalan capital.
By sector, IT and digital start-ups in Spain wooed 80 per cent of all investment, followed by the industrial sector and life science firms, which set a new record at €62m, twice as much as the previous year. Overall, investment saw significant growth all over Spain, as the total amount invested (€659,4m) means an 83 per cent rise over 2014.