Why does Barcelona need the Startup Grind?

• 4 minutes to read

Hi again! It’s Àlex, and you might know me from previous posts “First connections in SF” or “Embarking as an entrepreneur in SF”!

Last week, I attended 2014’s Startup Grind Annual Summit. It was the first big entrepreneurial event for both MarsBased and me. A very big opportunity for both parties, indeed: global exposure, first-class speeches, loads of networking…

However, I found out that the biggest oportunity was nor for MarsBased neither for me. It was for Barcelona. Let me tell you why.

The concept: Startup Grind

First of all, let me introduce you to the Startup Grind. The Startup Grind is a monthly event that aims to create community amongst entrepreneurs. It started in 2010 in the Bay Area with only 9 attendees in their first edition, and nowadays it’s being held in 75 cities, in 30 different countries, all around the globe. And, lo and behold, it’s being backed by Google for Entrepreneurs!

A video is worth (more than) a thousand words:

Some weeks before the start of the event I had been learning about the event’s philosophy: this is not a common start-up meet-and-greet event, meant only to network and generate business. Simply put, the Startup Grind promotes the values of collaboration, friendship and altruism which defy the ever-changing, incredibly competitive and aggressive entrepreneurial scene of the Valley.

The principles of the Startup Grind are:

  • Give, don’t take.
  • Make friends, not contacts.
  • Help others before helping yourself.

In other events I would have met Rallyware, 3DLT, Chopdawg, Tripscale, DocSend, but in this one I met Jake, Jeet, Mykhail, Ada, Kristof, Ryan, Sarah, Kingsley, Russ and a bunch of other names that I will not forget. I didn’t meet companies, I met people. I met friends. I have already met a couple of them after the event and plan to visit many more in the coming weeks.

The more I read, listened and learnt, the more I saw an opportunity for my beloved city. I SO wanted to bring this event and culture to Barcelona.

The city: Barcelona

Barcelona has got everything to become one of the top European cities for entrepreneurs. It’s got an awesome clima, a business-oriented mentality, first-class working spaces and it’s well connected to Europe.

Barcelona has also been for a bunch of years now the home of the Mobile World Congress. The MWC garners celebrities, investors, big corporations and lots of interesting ideas, bringing them all together to Barcelona. Why can’t we dream of building something similar for start-ups?

There’s heaps of interesting start-ups from Barcelona: Social Point, Goodorama, The Social Coin, Redbooth (formerly known as Teambox),Softonic, Onebox, Icebergs… and many others that just landed here because they too think that Barcelona is an awesome city to live and work in.

However, I have the feeling that there’s not enough sense of community.

The latest trend of creating co-working spaces and Meetup groups is definitely pushing the community a step forward. In fact, I do know them very well myself: I created one circle of start-ups and collaborate with a couple of groups, and my feelings are that most of them are creating micro-communities, instead of getting to know one another.

The challenge: Bringing Startup Grind to Barcelona

So I requested a Startup Grind Chapter for Barcelona. And hooray for me: my petition was accepted!

Chapters are the local representation of Startup Grind in other cities of the world. There are chapters in Chicago, Berlin, Los Angeles, Paris and so on. Moreover, in the Startup Grind world map there’s no pin in Spain, and it pains me beyond reason to see Barcelona devoid of such an opportunity.

But I can’t do this alone. For this project I will need a loyal team to commit to the task of changing the Barcelona start-up scene for the better.

It is not an easy task. We will have to endure rejection, loads of work, no economical support whatsoever and most of all, getting our hands dirty with tasks we’ve never done before.

On the other side, we will learn a lot. We will grow together, as startup grinders and as persons. We will meet amazing people and we can do whatever we enjoy the most and do best.

In essence, it is like creating a start-up. Welcome to entrepreneurship.

If you’re interested in collaboration, shoot me an email at abacardit at startupgrind dot com and welcome onboard!

This post was originally published on Barcelona Ventures on 2014-02-16: Why does Barcelona need the Startup Grind?.

Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit

Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit

CEO and Founder at MarsBased and Director at Startup Grind Barcelona. I run a team of 20 people, where I spearhead the sales and strategy areas. My background in consulting and development (ex-Deloitte, ex-VASS) and my international profile help me with the technical and the business perspective. I love loud guitars, cats, travelling and tacos.