Startupbootcamp says ‘hola’ to Barcelona with new IoT accelerator

The newest iteration of Startupbootcamp(SBC), the global network of startup accelerators, is gearing up to tackle Big Data and the Internet of Things. The program is based in Barcelona, which is rapidly becoming a hub of cutting-edge technology.

“I think that Barcelona is becoming relevant” in the global tech world, SBC Barcelona co-founder and managing director Angel Garcia Rivas tells Postscapes. Rivas describes Barcelona as “the most entrepreneurial city in Spain,” and notes that the city draws plenty of talent from abroad both to the tech giants that have local offices and to the thriving startup community.

Yahoo, Cisco and Telefonico all have or will soon open centers devoted to the IoT and data in Barcelona. The city held Cisco's IoT World Forum in 2013 and also plays host to the annual Mobile World Congress, which brings 80,000 technologists to Barcelona each year.

Rivas says the local government is deeply interested in applying new technologies to “smart cities” initiatives. “City Hall is pushing very hard for that,” Rivas says. “They understand that creating a specific hub for mobile, smart cities and the IoT could be a good thing.”

That’s why Rivas pushed for SBC to expand into Barcelona. He’s seen both sides of the startup world, having been part of a company that developed the now-ubiquitous internal antennas used in cell phones before going on to start his own Barcelona-based venture capital fund. His new accelerator will look for teams that can push the envelope of innovation, help them refine their ideas and connect them with mentors and investors.

As with most accelerators, SBC is tied into a global network of thought leaders, including some mentors drawn from local corporate partners. Rivas isn’t ready to reveal exactly the full list for the Barcelona program, but says folks are already committed from Cisco, Yahoo, and Intel (Read our recent interview with one of the public mentors Aldo de Jong from Claro Partners here).

Applications for the first cohort at SBC Barcelona are open through Nov. 20. The 3 month program offers company's €15,000 cash, 6 months of office space and time at a investor demo day for 8% equity. Rivas says he’ll spend the intervening months traveling Europe to host “pitch days,” where he and his team will meet some of the promising young companies they’ve already scouted.

“The challenge is to identify and bring to Barcelona the best ones,” he says, referring to the 10 soon-to-be-coveted spots in the program’s first term, which starts in January 2015. The culmination of the three-month program will be a “demo day” at the 2015 Mobile World Congress. But only a handful of the hundreds of the mostly European applicants Rivas expects will make the cut.

Though the accelerator is geared toward companies with a focus on the IoT and data, Rivas admits those are broad areas and says he’s keeping an open mind to the variety of concepts applicants may suggest. “The most important thing is to have good teams on board,” he says. “If you have good teams, you can change the business plan and you can play with that.”

Learn more about Startupbootcamp and the Barcelona Internet of Things & Data accelerator program at Startupbootcamp.org.

Related: IoT Accelerators, IoT Investment List