Barna Hub: With Freedom X Fest and Coworkation Founder Stuart Jones

Barna Hub

Today, we’re all about freedom! We had the pleasure of talking to location independent entrepreneur Stuart Jones.

Not only is Stuart the founder of Coworkation, but he’s also the co-founder of Freedom X Fest – a festival aimed at location independent entrepreneurs and digital nomads, happening this August, right here in Catalonia.

Full of workshops, talks, adventure activities and camping, it’s going to be an epic experience for all those who attend.

You’ll also be able to catch the Hubbub Labs team there. Between learning more about location independence and hiking up some mountains, we’ll be giving a workshop on Saturday (How to write online like a pro) and taking part in some virtual panel sessions. 

Over to you Stuart!

Stuart Jones Coworkation Founder
Founder of Coworkation, Stuart Jones

Quick pitch:

Founder of Coworkation, Stuart Jones, has lived a location independent life for the past 15 years. Combining his passions of travel and business he has experienced the joy and the benefits of living a life of freedom as he travelled to over 80 countries whilst maintaining his entrepreneurial ventures.

Your chance to attend Freedom X Fest

We’d like to offer you the chance to attend Freedom X Fest. If you are thinking about living a location independent lifestyle, but aren’t sure if it’s for you – you can attend the Festival for one day and learn all about it!

Pick up one of the 50 super saver day tickets at just €49.

Use the code TASTEOFFREEDOM when booking a Full Price One-Day Pass here.

Down to business

Could you tell us a little about your role at Coworkation and what the company does?

I’m the founder of Coworkation, where work blends with travel and leisure. We offer short coworking trips for digital nomads, remote workers and location independent professionals to exotic destinations around the world.  

It’s all designed to inspire – you will be working from some of the most beautiful places imaginable and connecting with other driven people. The Coworkation programme includes topics such as business big picture (vision, planning, strategy etc), lifestyle design and personal growth for professional development.  

Coworkation logo
What was the inspiration behind Freedom X Fest?

Our idea was to create an event that looks at how the way we work and live is changing, and to bring together the diversity of the ‘location independent movement’ ecosystem.

How and why did you choose the location?

The locations for Coworkation always need to be inspiring and unique.  I wanted the event for the Festival to reflect the fusion between work and life…one where we could have the work/conference element, but also one where we could have the life/festival element to.  I searched for a suitable location in a rural atmosphere, and in a location where we could add in different activities, sports, and entertainment (such as live music or DJ’s).

What are you looking forward to most at FXF?

To meet a lot of people who are leading some really fascinating lifestyles. To learn more about location independence, and to dig deeper with conversations about what work/life is all about – and how we can really maximise the opportunities given to us by location independence.

Is there a typical location independent entrepreneur?

The most common is somebody who works from a coworking space, or from home and cafes. Some of these opt to travel and live as a digital nomad, but only a small percentage of people do that – and normally it is for a short time.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of taking up this lifestyle?

Learn about it as much as you can – there are lots of blogs and stories online. Try not to pay too much attention to those that glorify the lifestyle – read up, and talk with people, about some of the challenges and disadvantages of being location independent.

Facebook: facebook.com/coworkation

Twitter: twitter.com/coworkation

Instagram: instagram.com/coworkation.inspiration

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stuart-jones

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Barna Hub: A Special World Cup Edition with Match the Bar

Talking with Match the Bar

It’s the day of the World Cup semi-final and we got to speak with the co-founder of Barcelona’s best football startup, Nikki Parsons. She runs Match the Bar an app that makes it easier for sports fans to find out exactly where to watch the game.

 

Nikki Parsons, Co-Founder Match the Bar
Nikki Parsons, Co-Founder Match the Bar

Quick pitch:

Match the Bar is the app that helps you find a bar in Barcelona to watch a specific sports match. Fans find a place to watch the game and bars get more customers through the door.

Call to Action:

Any sports fan can download our app for free here.

We have several bars that have offers if you mention that you used Match the Bar to find them (ex. What’s Up bar offers a free shot to anyone who comes to a match using our app). So make sure to let any bar you visit know how you found them and you might get a surprise.

In the coming months, we’re planning to add more fun features for fans such as discounts or check-ins to win rewards and prizes. Hopefully that will be here early in the next season of LaLiga.

Logo Match the Bar Barcelona

Down to business

How did you come up with the idea for Match the Bar?

Originally I came with up with the idea of Match the Bar when I was taking a part-time programming bootcamp at Ironhack here in Barcelona in 2016.

For the course, you had to create a website as part of your final project. So I started brainstorming problems I had living in Barcelona as an expat.

I’m originally from the UK and as a huge football fan, I often had trouble finding a bar to watch my favourite teams.

Unless you exclusively support FC Barcelona, it can be really difficult to find a bar to watch a match you want to see. Matches often overlap, so you have to call the bar. Or you search through Facebook and try to investigate if they will even be able to show your match.  I often ended up watching football at home on an online stream, because it was too much effort to find a bar.

This doesn’t just happen with football, it happens with many sports. For example, just this weekend the men’s final of the Wimbledon tennis tournament overlaps with the World Cup final, so if you’re a tennis fan in Barcelona, it’s going to be near impossible to find the few bars willing to televise it.

So, I thought that having an easy way to search for sports bars would be really useful for me and many people that I know. Therefore, I began working on “Matchfinder” as I originally called it and when the Ironhack program came to an end in October 2016 I managed to win the hackshow on a public vote.

As a result, I saw the public confidence in the idea and continued to work on it as a passion project in my spare time, while taking a lot of the courses at Barcelona Activa and devising the business plan to make sure a company would be a viable business. Finally, in November of last year, I left my job and started to focus full-time on what was now “Match the Bar.”

Who’s in your core team and what do they do?
The Match the Bar team
The Match the Bar crew

 

Our other co-founder is Alex Carol, who is our technical genius. He’s been working as a backend engineer at SocialPoint for over five years and has developed our iOS and Android apps during his spare time.

Obviously, in this business a website alone would not have as much success, so we’re really lucky to have him onboard developing the mobile product.

It’s a huge advantage to have him as our co-founder because we complement each other really well and can challenge each other for things we want to develop.

Alex has an amazing network of friends who are also developers and they often help us out with features just for fun.

The other member of our core team is Marguerite. She is out creating awesome relationships with our bar owners and getting people excited about our app.

One of the most rewarding parts of this business is that we really get to know our customers, and sometimes the roles are even reversed and we are in a bar enjoying a match as their customers.

So, we have a lot of opportunities to meet with our bar owners in person and talk with them, bouncing ideas back and forth about what we should do as our next priority to help them get more clients in their bars.

What is has been the most exciting thing about building a startup?

The most exciting thing about building a startup has been seeing it all come together.

We’re finally at that tipping point now where we have a good number of the bars on the platform, so once we add some better filters, fans can really choose a place that’s perfect for them.

I myself have discovered bars in parts of the city I never used to go to, and considering that the company emerged out of an existing problem that I had, it’s an amazing feeling to know that our team created the solution.

Now everytime people ask where to watch the match – and it happens to me all the time in person or on social media, especially these days with the World Cup – I tell people to download our app, it’s easy.

World Cup Questions

This has been a crazy World Cup with a lot of upsets and big teams exiting prematurely. What’s been the biggest surprise for you so far?

I think the biggest surprise was Germany losing 2-0 to South Korea. I couldn’t believe what I was watching, and even right until the end I thought Germany would suddenly come back into it.

Is football really coming home? Who will take home the trophy in your opinion?

I’d love to tell you football’s coming home. You’ve probably not heard it enough this week (haha). But, I think my money is on Croatia to win today, although I’ll be the first person dancing in the streets if we get to the final.

Do you have any favourite football trivia?

No, I’m sorry I can’t give you an amazing piece of football trivia, but I do love a good pub quiz (and it doesn’t have to just be on a sports-related topic). I recommend checking out the pub quiz they do at the Michael Collins, I always hear great things about it.

Barcelona Insight

What resources would you recommend to entrepreneurs in Barcelona?

I think entrepreneurs in Barcelona have a huge wealth of resources available to them. In particular, all the courses at Barcelona Activa, which are free, and to an expat like myself were of a huge help.

But, I would also suggest entrepreneurs take advantage of all the networking opportunities we have. There’s constantly something going on in Barcelona, and plenty of chances to meet people who can be customers, resources, sparring partners or just to learn something and have a chance to reflect. My favourites have been Startup Grind, First Tuesdays and the MeltinLab events.

I’d recommend people to subscribe to one of these online newsletters like Barcinno or Barcelona Startup News to make sure you’re in the know about what’s going on.

Do you have any favourite online resources?

Tools-wise I think there are a lot of great online resources out there such as Hubspot, Trello, Hootsuite, really for anything you might need to help you grow fast, but sustainably.

When you’re not watching football, what do you like to do in Barcelona?

When I’m not watching football, I’m usually playing it (rather poorly I might add).

I played in the Celebreak mixed league last season and that was a lot of fun. But apart from the world of football, I enjoy writing and I have a personal blog where I share not just sports-related content, but also startup lessons, social media marketing tips and recommendations.

Finally, how can we find you online?

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/matchthebar/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/matchthebar

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/matchthebar/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEKgCMXO2XW5wIYbMnU75Xg

Company LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/27147281/

Personal LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikkiaparsons/

Company blog – https://medium.com/@matchthebar

Thanks Nikki! We’re keeping our fingers (and toes) crossed for England tonight!

Join us for weekly Barcelona startup updates

Interested in hearing about other entrepreneurs and startups? Head over to Barna Hub, a new series of blog posts, interviewing some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders and CEOs in Barcelona.


Barna Hub: Meet Daysk Barcelona’s Flex Space Work Solution

Barna Hub

We finally got the chance to speak with Julien Palier, co-founder and CEO of Daysk – a Barcelona startup that recently secured a €200,000 seed round led by Finaves—the IESE investment fund—and Pearson Capital.

Daysk is a website and app that offers an on-demand solution for businesses, freelancers and other professionals that need quick access to desks, meeting rooms and other workspaces. With a range of different co-working spaces, businesses centres, and hotels at their disposal, Daysk users experience flexible & convenient working.

Tell us more Julien!

Julien Palier, co-founder and CEO at Daysk
Julien Palier, co-founder and CEO at Daysk

140 character pitch:

Daysk is an online platform (app & web) through which professionals can find and book office space and meeting rooms easily.

CTA

TRY25.DAYSK.COM for a 25% discount on your first booking!

Down to business

Can you tell us the Daysk story?
Daysk co-founders Benoit Gilloz & Julien Palier startup barcelona
Daysk co-founders Benoit Gilloz & Julien Palier

We came to the idea in 2016. I was a freelance consultant and I needed meeting rooms on-demand, mostly in between clients visits.

Ben Gilloz, my co-founder, was working remotely for a tech start-up in Cordoba. He didn’t want to be stuck working at home all the time. He wanted flexibility, but not a full time coworking space.

We built a prototype together to test the idea of an app that aggregated desks and made booking easy. After some promising testing, we committed fully to the project and went full-time in September 2016.


What was the hardest thing about starting Daysk and how did you overcome it?

Starting the company was a natural process. We started by identifying the market needs, the opportunity, and then getting into it gradually.

It was a soft launch and we’ve been continuously iterating on our first ideas. And I feel that we’ll always be into this dynamic.
Still, I think the hardest part of the whole journey is connected to the model we’re building. Being a B2B platform, you deal with a lot of constraints. From liquidity, quality and quantity of the offer, to the structure of the demand, we have a lot of challenges to overcome in order to achieve the vision we have.

What is the future of remote work in your opinion?

We don’t think that remote work will become mainstream in the sense that everybody will work from home full-time.

Rather, we foresee that flexibility will be a core component of the way we work.  And it will be how every company will reinvent the way we work.

Professionals will have more opportunity to build their own “professional journey”. Some of us need to be in an office most of the time, others will hop from coffee shop to office to share desk, while others can handle “pure” remote work from home. There are as many combinations as there are people.

That’s how we built Daysk; a simple and unique access point for all your flex space needs for employees and company.

Daysk startup logo

Barcelona Insight

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business in Barcelona?

There are two scenarios:

1) You’re working for a global audience and can work anywhere. Barcelona is a good place to be because you can connect with part of your core audience (the city is really international), while saving on costs and enjoying a really great quality of life.

Also you’re quite well connected to the rest of Europe if you need to travel abroad from time to time.

2) Your business is also local, in that case you’ll need to master Spanish really well and probably Catalan also.
If your operations are local, you’ll need to manage everything regarding taxes, the legal side on – and that means fluent Spanish.

Also consider how this might impact perception from investors when going to raise funds.

What’s the best online resource for entrepreneurs?  

Any tools that can make your business operations easier are great. From a good sales CRM to direct access to services from Glovo to Uber.

Personally I love Teleport – it allows you to compare cities and places to live, sharing information like quality of life, salary, and cost of living to help you decide where you want to live and work.

What’s your favourite neighbourhood in Barcelona and why?

I love my “barrio”, which is a small park near Güell  and not very well known. Look for Parc del Putxet. Nobody’s there and you have a great 360° view over all the city without the tourists.

Hubbub: Thanks Julien!

Join us for weekly Barcelona startup updates

Interested in hearing about other entrepreneurs and startups? Head over to Barna Hub, a new series of blog posts, interviewing some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders and CEOs in Barcelona.


Barna Hub Talks to Brand Your Shoes Founder Guillem Soldevila

Barna Hub

We met Guillem Soldevila Elias at this year’s 4YFN event and we were completely taken with his company. He is the Creative Director and Founder of Brand Your Shoes – an innovative B2B startup that allows you to design branded trainers online. After seeing a couple of examples in person, we just loved them.

Today, we got to sit down and talk to him about business, Barcelona and music festivals! Read on because Guillem also gives us some excellent insight into local accelerators, startup support, resources, and entrepreneurial opportunities in Catalonia.

Guillem Soldevila, Founder and Creative Director of Brand Your Shoes

Quick pitch:

Custom is a new trend and we love Sneakers.

Brand Your shoes is an innovative B2B startup from Barcelona offering a new Branding-Fashion concept. Our service allows you to customise shoes with your logo or design on your smartphone and come away with some very cool, personalised sneakers.

CTA

Hubbub Labs’ readers will have free designs and a 10% discount. Contact us to find out more!

Down to business

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How did you come up with the idea for brand your shoes and how has this evolved?

The idea struck me after I was approached by the Castellers de Vilafranca, who asked me to design a brand concept and make some personalised shoes for them.

After designing the shoes and making some customisations, I realised we were the only ones offering this service.

Hubbub: And it was a pretty cool idea!
Why do you think the idea has taken off?

We’ve been going for two years, but right from the beginning I saw this as an opportunity to build an international project.

It’s unique and people just love the concept. We’re not tied to any particular niche either; there wide range of clients, including some very big international brands.

Where do you see brand your shoes in 4-5 years’ time?

We are growing and we know that there’s a lot of hard work to be done in the next 2 years. Presently, we’re looking for partners and distributors. We are also working on six to eight new sneaker prototypes for this year.

Barcelona Insight

What advice would you give to someone thinking of setting up a business in Barcelona?

Catalan people are very creative and I think we have an open culture. It’s easy to create synergies with businesses here – and it’s a very cosmopolitan place.

The city has transformed over the last 10 years and today we have one of the most advanced industry sectors in Spain. If you go to industrial places (like 22@Barcelona) you’ll see lots of very interesting startups, design and maker spaces spaces as well as local companies that have developed very strong ties with Europe.

And of course, Barcelona has become a smart city and is well known in the innovation and entrepreneurship sectors.

What resources would you recommend to entrepreneurs in the city?

There are lots of accelerators here, but you should be careful about choosing the right one for your project. I’d recommend getting in touch with 4YFN, which is a good place to get know how they work.

Here are a few entrepreneur-focused resources:

Acció Catalunya a government initiative to promote Catalan businesses, helping entrepreneurs to find a USP and product fit in an international market.

IMPACT accelerator – this is led by ISDI & FundingBox and offers startups a VC and equity free funding and mentorship for different phases of startup growth.

Barcelona Tech City Promotes Barcelona’s technology sector internationally, encourages investment, and connects companies with opportunities and talent.

What events people should attend in Barcelona?

Anything related to creativity, graphic design or fashion! I’m very curious and I always recommend researching and going to fairs.

#MWC (the Mobile World Congress) and the 4YFN fair have together become one of the most important events in the city over the last 10 years. An absolute must!

Also check out 080, a popular fashion event in Barcelona.

Design Hub is also very interesting; it displays temporary exhibitions and has lots of excellent designs. And you will see why Barcelona is a design capital.

NewCo. Barcelona – I love participating in this – the organisation gives you the chance to choose and visit selected smart companies and their founders in the city for 30 minutes. It’s hard to pass up!

Rec Igualada – this is a outlet fashion festival full of new fashion designers, young people. It’s also a good day to go shopping!

Then I’d recommend checking out Palo Alto Festival in Poble Nou. It has shopping,  food music and fashion, which is a good combination.

 I’m also a live music lover. I’m lucky because we have loads of great Music Festivals and events all over the country.

You have to check out SONAR; PRIMAVERA SOUND; CRUILLA; CANET;…and discover the Catalan groups like: MISHIMA; MAZONI, NURIA GRAHAM, QUIMI PORTET, LOVE OF LESBIAN; LA CASA AZUL…

What’s Barcelona’s best kept secret?

CATALONIA! Sometimes we locals take things for granted. Last year I was talking to an Argentinian guy and he was amazed by the fact that you have the mountains, by the sea, or in the city all so close together. It’s a real asset. Discover Catalonia, there’s a lot to see just one hour from the city.

Hubbub:
Thanks Guillem! You’ve given us so much to go and research and opened our eyes to a new design-focused Barcelona. Hopefully we’ll catch you at a music festival this year!

Join us for weekly Barcelona startup updates

Interested in hearing about other entrepreneurs and startups? Head over to Barna Hub, a new series of blog posts, interviewing some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders and CEOs in Barcelona.


Barna Hub talks with CEO and co-founder of Sharify Gemma Prenafeta

Barna Hub

Today the Barna Hub team was lucky enough to talk to Gemma Prenafeta, the CEO and co-founder of Sharify, a fantastic new app that allows you to share what’s happening, right now, in just three clicks. 

The beta version of the Sharify app launches today, so be sure to head to the iOS and Android app stores to download it.

Take it away Gemma!

Gemma Prenafeta, the CEO and co-founder of Sharify
Gemma Prenafeta, the CEO and co-founder of Sharify

A quick pitch

Sharify is a shared map of what is happening right now around us. We are a social network that lets people, businesses and brands share moments in the city – like concerts, football matches or even a coffee-break –  in just three clicks: what, when and where.

CTA

sharify app launch

Our website and beta versions of our Android and iOS apps is available from today (11 April) – so come and check it out: www.sharifyapp.com

We’re also looking for a Backend Engineer and a Chief Marketing Officer – if that sounds like you, you can apply here: https://angel.co/sharifyapp/jobs

Down to business

How Sharify Works

What does the word “sharify” mean to you?

Sometimes, it seems to me that we are forgetting what the word “share” really means. Sharify is about recovering the word “share”.

I’m not talking about sharing a tweet, a post or a like, but sharing the experience of going to a concert, of playing some sport or of enjoying a few beers.

Sharify is about sharing real life openly, with locals, expats and tourists, through a platform that offers an open map of what is happening in the city, right now.

What inspired you to start Sharify?

When I went to work abroad in the wonderful city of London, I realised I had no way to discover what was going on in that moment.

Of course, I could look for events in Google or even look for other tourists on Couchsurfing or Meetup, but it was not geo-localised and it wasn’t very fast.

I realised it would be much easier and faster if we could share this information in just three clicks, publishing a “what, when and where” so that other people could find events, come along and take part.

The possibilities of this are endless. Sharify can help people who want to visit a museum or art exhibition, it can help people find a team to play a football match with, or even help people get together and share a dog-walk!

Social media can be quite isolating, how is Sharify bringing people together again?

Every Social Network helps us in some way; we wouldn’t know how our old friends were doing without Facebook, we wouldn’t enjoy awesome photos from all around the world without Instagram, and we wouldn’t hear about the latest worldwide news without Twitter.

But in a world where people travel more than ever, where people go to work and study abroad and where cities host a beautiful mix of cultures and events, we realised that now is the time to create the first Social Network for people who want to do something.

We’ve just started, but we will do our best to bring people together through Sharify.

Barcelona Insight

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business in Barcelona?

The world needs people who believe in change and who will work hard to achieve it. I just started, but the main advice I would give is to be sure that you want to do it.

In my case it has taken endless persistence, a lot of passion for what I do and a good team and mentors to work with.

What online resource for startups could you not live without?

Slack, definitely.

Do you ever attend networking events or conferences in Barcelona? Where should entrepreneurs go?

Barcinno notifies entrepreneurs about all Barcelona’s events. It has been very useful for me from the very beginning. I was studying International Business and Marketing at ESCI-UPF until this July and I attended every event I could after my university classes. Sometimes I didn’t understand almost anything in some of the tech meetings, but it always worth going!

For someone looking for something new and exciting to do or visit in Barcelona this Spring, what would the Sharify team recommend?

I am sure that Barcelona will surprise us, as spring always has plenty of events to discover. Although we will be still in beta for a few months, perhaps Sharify app can help you with that 😉

 

Find Sharify Online

Website: www.sharifyapp.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sharifyapp/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SharifyApp/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharifyApp

Barna Hub Talks with Jasper Deprez CEO and Founder of Tradler

Barna Hub

We unfurled our deckchairs and sat down to chat with the one and only Jasper Deprez, Co-founder and CEO of Tradler Vacations.

We talked about Colombia, Barcelona and the birth of his exciting machine learning travel platform.

Take it away Jasper!

Jasper Deprez CEO and Co-founder of Trader Barcelona travel startup
Jasper Deprez CEO and Co-founder of Tradler

140 character pitch:

Tradler is a global platform that connects travellers with the best fitting activities for them, using machine learning.

CTA:

Tradler Vacations Barcelona Startup
  1. Sign up on Tradler
  2. Set your preferences
  3. Get connected with your best fitting activities 

Down to business

How did you come up with the idea for Tradler?  

I was in Colombia for 10 days, visiting the country for a friend’s wedding. It was the first time I’d been to Latin America and the things I took away from it were Coconut Rice, my first scuba diving experience and a sense of purpose.

Hubbub: That’s some holiday!

We were travelling through the country. The weather kept alternating between boiling hot and tropical storms, and eventually we arrived in Cartagena de Indias. I think besides Bruges, my home town, it’s my second favourite city in the world. It’s a very colourful place and is weirdly familiar, almost like Spain, but with a few differences.

Where Barcelona has the “sexy beer amigo” sellers on the Street, Cartagena has rappers who start busting their rhymes the moment you pass by. I, as the only blond “rubio”, “guiri”, or the “Gringo” of the group, was always the target of their wonderful lyrics. They compared me to various artists such as Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake and, weirdly enough, Harry potter.

Just for the record, after this trip I went directly to the hairdresser to set this straight.

Hubbub: Well, at least you tried.

So one day we wanted to go to Islas del Rosario – a group of 27 different islands in the Caribbean sea. Like any tourist, I started doing my homework and researched how to get there.

I started with Google. Rapidly I figured out that this wasn’t the best approach as I got 3.5 million results. I decided to ask the guide at our hotel for recommendations instead. This was better – they had 7 options and the guy at the counter recommended one that was a bit more expensive, but assured us this was the best Cartagena could offer.

The next day we changed hotel and I – being quite central European – asked for their recommendation too. They suggested a completely different “best in Cartagena” provider.

I figured that hotels have commissions on what they sell, so I wanted to get more information before we spent 120€ per person. I went back online (to a popular travel information platform I won’t name!)  to see what feedback I could find.

There were  2 completely different opinions:

  1. Farida M:

Absolutely amazing I would really recommend going in February it is the warmest climate!

  1. Marco S:

Completely chaotic, do not go there!

So that didn’t really help. I had three main questions:

  1. Did they actually go on the trip?
  2. If they went, what were they searching for?
  3. And then finally, are we looking for the same experience?

Basically, I wanted to know who Farida M and Marco S were and what we had in common.

The popular travel platform I used clearly states that all the reviews are subjective.

  • Maybe Marco S is even more central European than I am?
  • Maybe Marco is 85 Years old and wanted a private island?
  • Is Farida an actual person?
  • Farida talks about the warm climates, but that really depends on where she is from. If she’s coming from wintry New York, that’s not much to go on.

I eventually went to the port in the morning to decide there. And there, with everyone shouting at me in Colombian Spanish, it was nearly impossible. So how did we choose in the end? Easy. We flipped a coin and hoped for the best.


Hubbub Labs: So that’s how you decided to create a machine learning platform that would tailor recommendations to individual travellers!

 

What’s the hardest thing about running your own company?

It’s about keeping focus. There is a story I read in a book called Radical Focus by Christina Wodtke about the myth of Atalanta.

Johann Wilhelm Baur - Atalanta and Hippomenes
Johann Wilhelm Baur – Atalanta and Hippomenes


Atalanta was a hunter, a virgin and Sparta’s fastest runner. She did not want to marry, but her father – a mean man – was upset by this and took matters into his own hands. He set up a race and proclaimed that the young man won the race would also win Atalanta’s hand in marriage.

But Atalanta, being so quick on her feet, begged to be able to race in order to keep her freedom. Her father agreed, not thinking even for a moment that she could win.

On race day, Atalanta was as fast as ever and she was certainly going to win. But Hippomenes, a clever boy who desperately wanted to marry her, had brought three golden apples with him. Every time Atalanta took the lead he would roll one into her path each time and she would stop to pick them up. Of course, Hippomenes edged the win and won the right to marry her.

As Wodtke says in her book:

If she had only set some clear goals and stuck to them, she might be ruling the city footloose and fancy free!

Every startup will run into golden apples. Maybe it’s a chance to take stage at an important conference. Maybe it’s one big customer that asks you to change your software for them. Maybe it’s the poisoned apple of a bad employee who distracts you while you wring your hands over what to do about him. A startup’s enemy is time, and the enemy of timely execution is distraction.

Radical Focus – Christina Wodtke (2016).

Who do you look up to in the business world?

This changes all the time and is therefore impossible to give a single answer. But there is one group of people who I have greatest respect for and look up to: the Tradler team.

The reason I look up to them is because they have a proven way of thinking: they committed themselves to Tradler at the very beginning, when there was only an idea. And now, 6 months later, it’s the first time they’ve received a salary.

The mindset is the following:

We can either go and work for a big company in an entry-level position and hope that in the next 3-4 years we get promoted. Or we build our own careers and tailor them to what we are best in.

They have chosen the second option without any doubt. I look up to the kinds of people who not only say they will make a difference, but actually do it.

Barcelona Insight

Tradler Vacations Barcelona Startup

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business in Barcelona?

90% of all startups fail, so in theory you only need to start 10 to have one which works. Start now.

What’s your favourite place to work in in Barcelona?

When we just started we had zero budget to spent on an office, so we found this amazing utopia in Gracia. A bar called La Rovira. We sat there from 9 in the morning (when they opened) until closing time.

If you were leaving Barcelona tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

I’d be looking on Skyscanner for the cheapest tickets back here.

Join us for weekly Barcelona startup updates

Interested in hearing about other entrepreneurs and startups? Head over to Barna Hub, a new series of blog posts, interviewing some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders and CEOs in Barcelona.


Barna Hub: A Chat with OneCoWork CEO and Co-founder Ben Nachoom

Barna Hub

We sat down on the deck and had chat with Ben Nachoom, Co-Founder & CEO, OneCoWork – one of the best and brightest co-working spaces that Barcelona has to offer.

The Hubbub Labs team can often be found on the roof deck trying to sneak onto the luxury yachts, in the kitchen drinking coffees, or tapping away writing articles in the quiet space. It’s definitely one of our favourite places to work in the city.

Over to you Ben!

Ben Nachoom, Co-Founder & CEO, OneCoWork
Ben Nachoom, Co-Founder & CEO, OneCoWork

 

140 character pitch:

OneCoWork is Barcelona’s freshest and most exciting collaborative workspace, welcoming everyone from freelancers through to large corporates.

CTA:

Our new space is opening in Plaça Catalunya in June. We’re offering 10% off your first 3 months if you sign up by the end of March!

And check out Dan Shepherd’s recent article on the OneCoWork Blog 6 things to know before starting a business in Barcelona.

Down to business

OneCoWork

Co-working is exploding in popularity all over the world, why do you think this is?

Honestly, I think amongst other things we are seeing changing attitudes; a generational shift in what constitutes success, as well as the optimal path to achieve it. Career success is no longer based on having a large corner office to yourself, it’s about achieving something meaningful. People are realising that the path to success is all about interconnectivity, collaboration, and innovation, all of which can be achieved through co-working.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about co-working that people have?

People think that coworking is just about a bunch of startups who can’t afford their own office sharing some space. The reality is that it is so much more. The effort that goes both into the community creation and the real estate is monumental, and slowly people are starting to realise that co-working is beneficial and here to stay. That’s probably why so many large corporates including Microsoft, Barclays Bank, and others are moving their employees into co-working spaces. Soon enough the word co-working will disappear, all offices will be like this!

With so many co-working spaces in Barcelona, what makes OneCoWork unique?

We really try to differentiate ourselves through two factors. First, the community is everything to us. Our community managers really give the love and care that our members want and need, so that OneCoWork feels more like a family home than an office. To be honest, we don’t focus on making professional connections between members right away. To start with, we focus on the personal interactions. Stronger professional interactions then happen more naturally as time passes.

Secondly, we provide really spectacular workspaces. People spend so much time at work, we want our members to be inspired to achieve every time they walk through our front doors. We have two full time interior designers who spend all their time making our spaces as beautiful and interesting as can be.

Without giving away too many secrets, where will OneCoWork be in five years’ time?

Everywhere!

Barcelona Insight

What’s the most challenging thing about starting a business in Barcelona, in your opinion?

In the beginning it was a bit tough to adjust to the slower pace in Barcelona relative to the finance industry in London. Things take longer than in other countries, but once you get used to it it’s really not that bad!

What online or offline resource should Barcelona entrepreneurs check out right now?

Depending on the sector their in, Barcinno is great for tech and startup related events. Barcelona Global is also great for meeting industry leaders in the city. You can also come along to OneCoWork’s events to learn about all sorts of different things! We have one tech related event every two weeks, with topics ranging from Equity Crowdfunding for Startups to Work/Life balance. Come along to meet some of Barcelona’s most talented entrepreneurs!

Fill in the blank: If you’re visiting Barcelona for work or fun you absolutely have to….

Do a calçotada!

Describe a perfect weekend in the city

There’s so much to do here that it’s hard to choose. Inside Barcelona the city, there are some amazing places to eat, so I would probably wonder around the old city and hit as many tapas bars as I could! Otherwise I would jump on a train up to the Costa Brava and enjoy some of the beautiful and more quiet beaches on offer!

Hubbub: Thanks Ben!

A post shared by Hubbub Labs (@hubbublabs) on

Find OneCoWork online

https://www.facebook.com/OneCoWork.Global

https://www.instagram.com/onecowork/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/onecowork/

https://twitter.com/onecowork_bcn

Join us for weekly Barcelona startup updates

Interested in hearing about other entrepreneurs and startups? Head over to Barna Hub, a new series of blog posts, interviewing some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders and CEOs in Barcelona.


Barna Hub Talks with Smart Notifications Intrapreneurs Nicholas Aguilar Sayaan and Anshul Kudal

Barna Hub

Today on Barna Hub we were lucky enough to sit down with Intrapreneur and Business Analyst Nicholas Aguilar Sayaan and Intrapreneur CEO Anshul Kudal at Smart Notifications, which is a startup within leading Spanish broadband and telecommunications company Telefónica.

So tell us what Smart Notifications is all about!

Nicholas Aguilar Sayaan Business Analyst | Telefónica I+D
Nicholas Aguilar Sayaan

 

140 character pitch:

Smart Notifications uses AI to predict the best moments to send Push notifications, improves CTR & conversion for Apps & reduces spam for users.

Check out Smart Notifications:

Grow your brand by quickly and easily engaging your users in the right moment for them. Check out our website to begin the integration process! smartnotifications.tid.es

Our test app, Boredom Fighter, is also available from either the Apple Store or Android Store. It’s a fun way to check out how Smart Notifications’ models send you push notifications in the best moments for engagement.

(This app is unrelated to the Smart Notifications service, but it helps our scientists improve our algorithms while entertaining you!).

Download Boredom Fighter on Android

Download Boredom Fighter on iOS

Down to business

Smart Notifications logo
Nicholas, you’ve been a neuroscientist, a film director, an innovation lab director and now an intrapreneur – all roles that combine curiosity, creativity and a methodological approach. Is that how you see entrepreneurship?

In a nutshell, absolutely! I guess the long answer would be that the goal of all of those roles is to find a way to create value, whether that be analytically, emotionally, or financially.

Entrepreneurship is a combination of all three, but more than that, you have to do all three very well, whether you’re fighting for clients, for funding, or for more runway, all while you’re on fire, and while you’re trying to put out fires, and all the while trying to convince your investors that everything is as it should be and that your run rate is on track. Yeah, something like that.

Intrapreneur CEO Anshul Kudal Smart Notifications
Intrapreneur CEO Anshul Kudal

 

Anshul, you’ve worked at HSBC, Amazon, Barclays and now for Smart Notifications in Telefónica. How do corporate and startup challenges differ in your opinion?

I think it mostly depends on two things: one – how much the company is willing to invest in innovation which is not very close to the core business.

And two – how good are they at actually implementing or launching in-house  innovations to their customers.

The first question tells you how much freedom you will get and the second tells you whether your product will ever reach users or if it will be stuck in the innovation sandbox.

You’re both in quite an unusual position, having a startup, but also working in one of the largest companies in Spain. What are the most rewarding things about being an intrapreneur?

Nicholas: For me, many of the upsides of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship are the same, and equally rewarding. Specifically, building a product/service from innovation frameworks, constantly designing, testing and iterating, and then finally bringing something to market and having clients really like (hopefully love and pay for).

You guys work in a fascinating area – Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine learning (ML). It feels like we’re at the beginning of an AI revolution that will soon make all our lives better and more productive. But AI is not as pervasive as it might be. Where will AI ML be 5 years down the road, in your opinion?

Nicholas: Just as IoT is becoming ubiquitous, AI will be along for the ride every step of the way. In many ways, we will see this manifested tangibly from a user perspective. For example, autonomous devices and vehicles will be roaming the world and moving us and our goods around with their navigation managed by algorithms that keep everything moving efficiently.

The majority of our AI managed world, however, will be unnoticed by end users. Smart Notifications is actually a good example of this. We currently live in a world where we are bombarded by information, both voluntarily and involuntarily.

AI will be necessary for us to filter what information we want and when we want it. Predicting behavior and and then delivering exactly what we want in those moments might, at first glance seem invasive, but it will become crucial to how we navigate our increasingly data-cluttered world.

For an initial view of how this works now, many social media feeds (Instagram), media content platforms (Netflix), and e-commerce platforms (Amazon) already have algorithms that help us get the most out of their services, i.e. finding what we want quickly and perhaps before we even know we want it. Much of this happens without us even noticing.

Elon Musk once said:

With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. You know all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water and he’s like, yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon? Doesn’t work out.

 – Vanity Fair

He’s being pretty melodramatic here, but does he have a point? Should we be worried about the increasing and potentially dangerous power of AI?

Nicholas: No, as long as you are okay bending the knee to our new silicon overlords. In all seriousness, there are many technologies that have been developed that have the potential of all sorts of apocalyptic outcomes, but I think it would be a great disservice to not explore a technology because it has the potential of being abused, growing beyond our control, and/or if it has ethical ramifications.

The abilities and consequences of scientific developments are becoming wider-reaching and more complicated, not less, so the onus and responsibility is then on us and our best minds to fully understand all the implications of a technology and then move forward in such a way that we manage risks effectively while still using science and technology to better our lives.

Okay, we’ll take it a little easier on you now! What app could you not live without at work?

Nicholas: A calendar app and caffeine. This is the only way to know when my meetings are and how I can survive them.

Barcelona Insight

What brought you both to Barcelona and what is it about the country that made you want stay?

Nicholas: I came to Barcelona for my MBA at ESADE, and I stayed because of lifestyle. The attraction is really a combination of a lot of little things, for example the food/bar culture, the architecture, the vibe (both personally and professionally), the Mediterranean at your doorstep, I could go on forever.

I am originally from Los Angeles, and as much as I love that city, it’s just more awesome in Barcelona. My initial plan was to go back to LA after my MBA, but after two weeks in Barcelona, I knew couldn’t leave.

What does Barcelona do better than anywhere else in the world, in your opinion?  

Nicholas: Neighbourhood / block parties. The barrio festivals here are the best (my favourite is Festa Major de Gracia).

What do people who have never been to Barcelona need to know about the city?

Nicholas: When you get invited out for a drink in the evening and someone says “solo una copa,” that really means you will be arriving home after sunrise.

Hubbub – we learned that one early on! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us!

Join us for weekly Barcelona startup updates

Interested in hearing about other entrepreneurs and startups? Head over to Barna Hub, a new series of blog posts, interviewing some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders and CEOs in Barcelona.


Barna Hub Talks Entrepreneurship, Barcelona & iKeyBnB with CEO Nikolaos Christianos

Barna Hub

Today we sat down with Nikolaos Christianos, the CEO & Co-founder of iKeyBnB  and spoke about business, Barcelona and a great selection of networking events in the city.

iKeyBnB is an exciting startup based in Barcelona. Founded in January 2017, it offers hosts and holidaymakers the opportunity to hand over keys securely, without wasting time.

Nikolaos, it’s over to you!

Nikolaos Christianos iKeyBnb Co-founder (L)
Nikolaos Christianos iKeyBnb Co-founder & CEO (L), Athanasios Bitsinis COO & Co-founder (R)

 

140 character pitch

iKeyBnB is a secure 24/7 automatic key exchange service for vacation rentals, saving you time and offering convenience!

The iKeyBnB Offer

Visit our website (https://www.ikeybnb.com/) and sign up and with the coupon hubbublabs to get a FREE trial of the iKeyBnB service.

If you have family, friends or colleagues who might be interested in exchanging their keys in a secure and easy way with their guests, spread the word!

Down to business

ikeyBnB logo startup barcelona

 

What made you want to be an entrepreneur?

I grew up in a business environment and I think the fact that both my mother and my grandfather were entrepreneurs made it easier for me to take the decision and start iKeyBnB.

Also, working in multinational companies for more than 5 years and experiencing the corporate environment meant I wanted to see something different.

I can tell you now with certainty that building your own startup is indeed quite different!

How did you come up with the idea for iKeyBnB?

The idea for iKeyBnB was born 2 years ago. My co-founder and I had different experiences as Airbnb hosts and guests and, after talking, we realised that people waste a significant amount of time during the key exchange.

The fact is, at some point we’ve all had a delayed flight, been stuck in traffic, or we’ve just not been available at a particular moment. These delays can cause big problems for you when you’re an Airbnb host waiting to give someone the keys.

I remember an instance when a friend of mine wanted to stay in my flat in Barcelona in August, but I was away on holiday, as were all of my friends, so I had no way to hand over my flat keys to them.

With iKeyBnB we want to solve this problem and give back to people some of their lost time.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given when it comes to business?

Do it and don’t be afraid of trying out your ideas, however crazy they might sound!

I think this is really important, because the most difficult part of any business is the first step – the part where you make up your mind and actually say “Go for it!”.

Barcelona Insight

What Barcelona events (business or otherwise) do you regularly attend?

Barcelona is a city with a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and there are lots of business (and non-business) events every day. This means selecting the ones that really add value to you can be a really challenging task.

After almost a year here, I have attended the Facebook Marketing Barcelona MeetUp, Vacation Rental events, organised by VrTech Events, various events organised by MOB, events from Access Silicon Valley and Barcelona Lean Startup Circle, as well as the Barcelona Startup Grind ones.

Then, when I want to relax and exercise at the same time, I play basketball at Barcelona Basketball Meetup.

What does Barcelona do better than anywhere else in the world, in your opinion?  

In my opinion Barcelona provides the perfect work-life balance – and this is not easy to find in other places in Europe.

This balance, together with a developing startup ecosystem, makes Barcelona a really attractive place to live in and start a business.

What do people who have never been to Barcelona need to know about the city?

Barcelona has its own unique identity as a city. It combines the Mediterranean and southern European mentality with the central/north European organisation.

It is also a multicultural city and people who come here for the first time fall in love with it. Often so much so that they try to find a way to move here, which is what happened in my case!

Hubbub: Thanks Nikolaos, it was great chatting with you!

Find iKeyBnb Online

https://www.facebook.com/iKeyBnB/

https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/10590050/

https://twitter.com/iKeyBnB

https://www.instagram.com/ikeybnb/

 

Join us for weekly Barcelona startup updates

Interested in hearing about other entrepreneurs and startups? Head over to Barna Hub, a new series of blog posts, interviewing some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders and CEOs in Barcelona.


Barna Hub Chats with Guy Morley, Founder of Kailani Ice Tea

Barna Hub

In the first installment of Barna Hub this year, we sit down and enjoy an ice cold drink with Guy Morley, the founder of Kailani Ice Tea. Meaning sea and sky in Hawaiian, Kailani is a brand that embodies the long hot summer days, beach life, health and nature.

Guy Morley founder of Kailani Ice Tea
Guy Morley, Founder of Kailani Ice Tea

 

Take it away Guy!

140 character pitch:

Kailani Ice Tea comes in 3 flavours; black tea & lemon, green tea with lime & ginger, and white tea & peach – it’s healthy, natural and tasty!

Try it today: http://www.kailaniicetea.com

What should people know?

You can find us in Barcelona, Madrid, the Balearic Islands and the Costa Brava. Our drinks are also now available in Prague.  

As a natural ice tea brand we are always interested in collaborating with new, brands and people who are interested in wellness and natural foods and drink.

Down to business

What made you want to be an entrepreneur?

Before coming to Barcelona, I was a media lawyer dealing with the disputes of the some of the biggest stars in the music industry in London.

Changing careers was a big decision, but I always had the feeling that there something more to life than the office. Frankly, I wanted to start my own business rather than advising others on how best to go about theirs.

Why is Kailani Ice Tea a great place to work?

Kailani Ice Tea is a great place to work because it’s never boring. Being a startup means having new challenges to overcome and new solutions to find.

The philosophy of the brand is natural, sociable and active, and so are our projects. We get to collaborate with some really interesting people from different entrepreneurial worlds, but are united by the same will to find beauty in our everyday.

We also try to be as eco-friendly as possible. Our team collaborates with environmental NGOs like Surfrider Foundation and local associations like Yotuba, Centre de la Platja, etc. It’s rewarding to contribute to the conservation of our natural surroundings.

What’s your favourite quote when it comes to business?

“It’s always better to be underestimated”.

What online or offline resource could you not live without?

For us, it’s Social media. It is important for us to be the voice of a community that knows that working hard is as important as enjoying every moment.  

Barcelona Insight

Kailani icetea Barcelona Startup

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a great place to start a business as everyone is really helpful. You can find a number of different organisations, entrepreneurial groups and projects to help you build your network and find the right contacts and partnerships you need to grow your business. It’s important not to be afraid to contact people in the city when you need help.

What does Barcelona do better than anywhere else in the world, in your opinion?  

In Barcelona people are genuinely optimistic, innovative and curious about new trends. With its amazing location between the beach and the mountains, everyone is really active and they realise how important it is to take care of nature.

What do people who have never been to Barcelona need to know about the city?

Barcelona is beautiful and very international. There is a great melting pot that gives rise to innovative and unique projects, events, food fusion all the time. It’s important to be curious and open to new experiences so you can make the most of the city.

Find Kailani online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kailaniicetea/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kailaniicetea/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/10445388/

Join us for weekly Barcelona startup updates

Interested in hearing about other entrepreneurs and startups? Head over to Barna Hub, a new series of blog posts, interviewing some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders and CEOs in Barcelona.