València’s tech sector is poised to explode

València regularly tops rankings of the best cities in the world, due to its stellar combo of 300-plus annual days of sun, the Med on your doorstep, and a lifestyle that values free time, exercise, and good food. But it’s not all paella and chill.

The Valèncian region’s startup scene — based mainly in its capital plus the smaller cities of Alicante and Castellón — has been revving up in recent years, and is now making its mark in everything from AI, fintech, and cybersecurity, to cleantech, healthtech, and industrial IoT.

With TNW’s first conference in València just around the corner, we rounded up a bunch of leading lights on the local tech scene who have helped to grow the ecosystem over the past decade. Our aim was to get their take on where València’s tech scene is at today, what it’s got going for it, and the challenges ahead.

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The heart of tech is coming to the heart of the Mediterranean

“I always say that we are in adolescence,” Javier Megias, managing partner of the EMEA VC fund of Plug and Play Tech Center in València, told TNW. “This is a really important moment, where you create your beliefs and the foundations of your life.

“In the next few years everything is going to speed up quite a bit. We are at the tipping point of the change in the ecosystem, going from a regional, quite local ecosystem to something much more ambitious — and much faster.” 

València by the numbers

Data shows a tech hub on the up-and-up. According to the Bankinter Foundation’s Startups Observatory, investment in València-based startups grew from €58.5m in 2021 to €73m in 2022. Ecosystem tracking platform Dealroom reports that the Valèncian region has the highest number of startups per capita in Spain.

Research by Startup Valencia found the number of registered startups in the region rose from 1,012 in 2021 to 1,212 in 2022; Dealroom, meanwhile, has an even higher estimate of over 1,500 startups.

Fever became a unicorn in January