News Hub – summer solstice edition

Microsoft hopes to grow Bonsai and other stories; June 15 -22

Yesterday was the longest day of the year and the be-flip-flopped tourists are pinker than the flamingos down at the delta. It’s definitely summer.

With that in mind, we hope you’re ready for a fresh look at some of the biggest startup and tech stories of the week

In this second edition of News Hub we look at an interesting acquisition, a shake up in social media (Instagram, what are you doing?) and paid subscriptions to Facebook groups. Is the world going crazy? Let’s find out.

Unilever wags a finger at influencer marketing

Highlighting fraud in the influencer space, Unilever is asking marketers to clean up their acts. That influencers are buying fake followers is perhaps no surprise, but according to Points North Group up to 20% of an influencer’s fanbase can be made of bots. Icky. 🤖

Read more in the Wall Street Journal

Published June 17

Google, Lyft Uber and others work together to measure impact of self-driving cars

Would you get in a self-driving car? It seems that nearly three quarters of Americans would not.

True, we’re not talking Herbie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Knight Rider. These things can kill you. The catch is, they’re probably a lot better drivers than we are. At least, that’s what Google, Lyft, Uber and other companies investing in self-driving cars are hoping to show.

Read more on VentureBeat

Published June 19

The town that Amazon Built

This article looks at the impact of tech giant Amazon has had on one small town on the US Canadian border. Examining the consequences of the company’s presence on business and people’s lives, it’s a positive feature – and worth a read.  

Read more on the Verge

Published June 20

Instagram now allows 60 minute videos

Could you handle a 60 minute portrait mode video on Instagram? IGTV is betting on it. In a world of shortening attention spans #IG is going in another direction.

I think we like it. What do you say?

Read more on the BBC

Published June 20

Microsoft hopes to grow Bonsai

Bonsai, a Berkeley-based AI startup, is having all the luck this week after Microsoft fixed a beady eye in its direction. The company focuses on machine learning, using trial and error to train intelligent systems to complete tasks,

Microsoft wants to further its own research in the area.

Read more on Tech Crunch

Published June 21

Facebook testing paid subscriptions to groups

Big news for Facebook group owners. The marketing platform is now trialling paid subscriptions to groups, offering premium users the chance to enjoy exclusive content.

This monetisation model is a first for Facebook – and could be a game changer. Presently only a select few groups are participating in the pilot.

Read more on Engadget

Published June 21

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.


A Barcelona rooftop interview with growth hacker Tim Cakir

The anatomy of a growth hacker

I was quietly drinking a nice chilled glass of Rosé on a Barcelona Terrace last Thursday when I heard a little voice coming from the guttering. “Psst! George…George…” it said, “Have you heard about tracking and hacking?”

It turns out that Tim Cakir – a Barcelona-based growth hacking expert – had surreptitiously hidden himself on the roof.

After he abseiled down, I agreed to interview him. And this is what happened next.

Tim Cakir on the @weareserviceclub terrace
Tim Cakir on the @weareserviceclub terrace

Hi Tim, how long have you been on the roof?

Never you mind.

Okay. Well…we’ll start with your move from London to Barcelona. How long have you been here?

I’ve been in Barcelona for around 18 months now.

You’re a newbie! But you’ve certainly made an impact here already, with Talaia, Restb and your own speaking engagements. So what’s surprised you most about the city so far?

Really it’s been amazing to a see a city that’s booming, with such a big startup scene, yet still with so much potential for more. There’s a lot of room for growth – which is what I’m all about.

You’ve made a significant shift in your career – what made you choose growth hacking?

I started off as a salesman – selling carpets in LA at 18 years old. I made some money, but I didn’t really enjoy it; sales is about getting people who don’t need stuff to buy stuff. Marketing is about giving people value, getting them to come to you and then they buy the things they do want.

Later on, when I got into sound engineering in London with my own studio, I was working with lots of artists, cool bands, DJs, a radio station, and we had parties with around 2000 people every couple of months. There was a lot going on –  and I found I was marketing it all.

So really for me this is a natural next step. Here in Barcelona I’ve been heading up some marketing departments and building them from scratch – as they say from 0 to 1.

I love the chaos. I like putting the right people in the right places, getting things going and teaching people how to do it.

So, for people who don’t know, can you tell me what growth hacking is?

Well, I think it’s a buzzword – I prefer not to use the term “growth hacking”. I like to call it “tracking and hacking” instead, which explains more about the process behind it all.

With tracking and hacking, you follow a certain metric, the OMTM  – or the one metric that matters. You can then experiment, looking at what affects the OMTM in order to grow it, before you start to look at other areas of the business.

So you don’t follow Sean Ellis at all? 

Some people call Sean Ellis (who coined the term in 2010) “the inventor of growth hacking” – he was clever enough to recognise that there were some extroverted marketeers out there, people who were trying new things and getting interesting results. He wrote the book Hacking Growth – which, incidentally, is great and I recommend reading.

I saw there were a couple of core elements behind growth hacking, which is why I prefer “tracking and hacking” as a description.

How do you explain tracking and hacking to CMOs?

Some CMOs and marketeers make the mistake of trying to track and grow all the metrics at once. They get very frustrated because it takes a very long time to get anywhere.

They need to understand that with tracking and hacking, there’s a lot of failures early on. In the first two to three months you can expect to fail a lot. But you need to track it so you can learn from these failures. Really you might complete 30 to 40 experiments before you start getting good at it – and that takes a bit of time.

A lot of old school CMOs don’t always catch on to this idea immediately because they expect it to be done today and to see results right away. But they soon see it’s much quicker and more reliable than a year long marketing project. It’s a lot cheaper too. Rather than asking for a whole year’s marketing budget, I’m going to ask for a small percentage – then when it starts to work, we can 5x, 10x, 20X the results!

Okay. Without taking your clothes off, can you describe the anatomy of a growth hacker?

YES!

No I said without taking your clothes off.

Okay.

Charisma – Growth hackers are thinkers, doers, and speakers. We’re charismatic and constantly networking with old and new opportunities.

Courage – To always try out new things, to get what we want and what we strive for, to face the steep Stairway to success.

Experiments – Are the basis of Growth. We always experiment with new tools, skillsets, or trends to see what works best.

Limits – Exceed them to find what works and doesn’t. We always strive to be the best and, if we fail, that’s just another starting point.

Tools – Aren’t for fools. They’re for smart people, like us, who know what incorporating them is key on the road to growth.

Words – Don’t come easy… to everyone. But, growth hackers aren’t everyone. We have a way with words.

Growth hacking is often talked about in startup circles – companies seeking exponential growth – but do you think more established corporates can rethink the way they do things and use the same techniques?

Yeah of course. If you think about it it, the biggest corporations in the world—even companies in the Fortune 500—need to think like startups when they’re building new projects. This is more on the innovation side of things, because they don’t need to hack the growth of more established areas.  

Corporations realise that startups have this mentality – and that need to adapt to new trends, even if they’re big  – and so many create startups within their companies. To be successful in this, they need to have a hacking and tracking mindset.

How blackhat can growth hacking go?

It can be as naughty as you like, so long as the naughtiness doesn’t effect the end user. And so long as you don’t make their life harder, it can go as far as you want. If you’re going to give them things they’re going to like, then they’ll be happy.

Word association game – GDPR:

Pain in the arse.

But it’s also one of the best things that happened to marketing. Why? Because we’re going to have so many more engaged leads. It’s better to have 1000 engaged people in your CRM than 10,000 bored ones.

So thank you to the European Commission. As I said, it’s been a pain in the arse to implement, but my marketing has always been about people giving consent anyway.

It’s about consent for content.

Do you ever take tracking and hacking techniques offline? What would that look like?

Yes, you most definitely can. Tracking and hacking is not online. It’s not digital. It’s experimentation.

I’ll give you an example – a great friend of mine was working for a churros truck and they wanted more customers. So they made a flyer and chose an area to distribute it.

But instead of blanketing the area, they went to certain streets and houses and were able to find the best market and really hack their own growth and sell a lot more churros. And this was all completely offline.

What are you doing to hack your own growth?

When I first moved here, after living in London, I thought – what am I going to do to get to know people? So I put a chatbot in place called Dux-Soup on my LinkedIn and messaged 250 people a day with a personalised message asking for help. People were very happy to talk to me and in the end I got 3800 new contacts in six months and went to lunch or coffee with 150-200 people.

What tools, resources and things do you recommend our readers to look into?

Dux-soup – which I mentioned is my one of my favourites.

Lately I’ve also been looking at dealify.io. It gives you all the deals for the tech tools in the world.

I also love Media Lab Amsterdam’s offline tool – they offer physical cards with a business methods toolkit and design methods tool kit. Basically it’s all the frameworks, analyses and all things you need to start a business, launch products and run projects – for about €35

Then there’s Phantom Buster, which offers cloud APIs that help your marketing – and I like it a lot.

Also there’s Instanobel automations which helps you automate your instagram and find more followers. Just be careful not to get spammy, or people will report you.

How can people find you?

Send me a message and I’m available!

LinkedIn: Tim Cakir  

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

Twitter – cakirtim

Website: https://timcakir.com/

So what’s next for Tim, Tim?

Since I moved here I’ve had full-time jobs. But I know that a lot of people need my skills – and I don’t want to limit myself to one company.

So the next step for me? Well I’m on the advisory board for a lot of amazing companies like Spitche and Service Club.

And there’s a chance I might just be starting my own growth agency.

Mic drop.

 

Before we go…

Special thanks to Zeynep Demirbilek and Luz Cortazar of Service Club for their warm hospitality.

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.


News Hub – First Edition

News Hub

June 10-15

Every week Hubbub Labs shares some thumb-stopping moments from all over the world, linking to the most eye-catching tech and startup news, along with helpful articles, local events, and more.

Carrefour & Google Partnership

Paris – The supermarket chain Carrefour partnered up with tech giant Google as a move against Amazon to boost digital push.

The plan is to offer consumers in France to buy Carrefour products through Google Home, Assistant and Shopping in early 2019.

Read more on Forbes 

Google Partners With Carrefour To Sell Groceries Online

Published: June 13, 2018

Blaming e-Commerce for low inflation?

United States – More and more people are buying online.

E-commerce allows consumers to be more flexible, giving consumers the opportunity to compare prices and buy from anywhere. But to what extent does this new way of purchasing impact inflation?

Read more on the New York Times

Published: June 11, 2018

Byton raises $500M

ChinaIn a series B investment round, electric car startup Byton received a total of 500 million US dollars.

With this capital, Byton wants to mass-produce its first electric car—a high-performance and range-rich SUV—further fund research & development and the introduction of new models.

Read more on the Inquirer

Chinese electric carmaker Byton raises $500M to take on Tesla

Published: June 12, 2018

Apple’s iOS 12

CaliforniaAt this year’s Developer Conference 2018, Apple promised its users an optimized operating system. Better performance than the current operating system is the focus – but what really does the iOS 12 offer?

Read more on Irish Tech News

The Good and Bad of iOS 12

Published: June 12, 2018

AT&T completes its acquitions of Time Warner

United States – The fight for the takeover of the media empire Time Warner is over.

The US Ministry wanted to prevent the takeover with a lawsuit fearing higher costs for competitors as well as customers. But the $85.4 billion deal is now sealed. 

Read more on TechCrunch

AT&T completes its acquisition of Time Warner

Published: June 15, 2018

Guides and startup resources of the week

Thanks to Cassandra Naji of Content Creators Barcelona  we found this excellent guide to writing microcopy by Dave Hall.

Poetry by design: a brief but practical guide to writing microcopy

Event of the Week

Still looking for an event in Barcelona?

Another week full of tech and startup events is waiting and we have picked one that we think you shouldn’t miss out on.

When: June 21st from 19-20h: Cómo Crear y Mantener un Blog para Conseguir Más Impacto Social

Join this upcoming Spanish-language event hosted by Antonia Villegas and learn more about generating ideas, creating the right content and achieving more social impact with your blogs.

And on top of that, of course, meet a lot of new people.

We hope to see you there!

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.


4 Years From Now Roundup: Barcelona’s Unique Startup Scene

4 Years From Now Roundup: Barcelona’s Unique Startup Scene


4 Years from Now (4YFN) – the startup wing of the Mobile World Congress – was a resounding success. In its fifth year the conference boasted 650 startups and 20,000 visitors. The Hubbub Labs press team certainly had a lot of networking to do.

Here are some of our highlights.

5 Top Startup Pitches

Sitting with microphone in hand we spoke to more than 30 different startups during the Pitch the Press event. Like a speed dating session, we had two minutes to listen to an elevator pitch and squeeze in a question or two.

Here are the 5 pitches that stood out to us most.

Dan Shepherd Director of Operations Hubbub Labs content and digital marketing agency
Dan Shepherd sporting his press pass

Flyshionista – “Your Passport to Style”

Flyshionista is an app that connects fashion hunters with travellers, facilitating a cheaper and faster way of shopping for items in other countries.

Frequent flyers make some money and shoppers get their goods. It seems like a win-win to us and a new take on an old trend. Returns might be a little tricky though, so make sure that you are really sure you want what you’re buying!

Wait, how’s it work? Shoppers visit the app’s “Discovery Area” and select the item they want – it can be located anywhere in the world.

Travellers see what has been requested and set a price. If the shopper accepts, they make a secure payment and the traveller can go ahead and purchase the item. When they return, they can deliver it to the shopper at a mutually convenient time.

Check out Flysionista on Facebook

Recircula Solutions – Recycling for the Smart City

Let’s be honest, we rarely get excited by waste management companies. But Recircula Solutions did a good job explaining how its smart sensors gamify recycling and connect citizens to this essential process.

The Barcelona-based startup employs a hardware/software combo, installing sensors in recycling containers. Citizens simply scan their mobile device before they begin recycling and receive a small payment every time they do so.

Of course, the data collected also helps city councils improve their waste management processes and further develop the smart city ecosystem.

Some of the benefits:

  • Increases the recycling rates of the urban waste and pharmaceutical sector to 85-90 per cent.
  • Increases income from recycled aluminium and PET by up to 22 percent.
  • Saves a minimum of 30 per cent in diesel and carbon footprint for the delivery of 1000kg of PET, bricks and cans.

Source: https://recirculasolutions.com/en/technical-data

As sustainability enters the public consciousness, we can really get behind innovative (bin-ovative?!) solutions that encourage green-thinking and environment-first solutions.

Check out the pitch deck.

Brand Your Shoes 


After a group of Barcelona Castellers approached graphic designer Guillem Soldevila to get hold of some branded trainers a light bulb pinged on and Brand Your Shoes came into existence. Since then, he’s branded shoes for Twitter, Honda, Schwepps and many others.

Fashion-conscious brand managers looking for a way to kick off the year (pun intended), should look no further. Choose your shoes and send your logo. Brand your shoes does the rest.

Frankly, we fell in love with the idea of having Hubbub Labs branded shoes. We’ll be in touch Guillem!

Ciclogreen – Rewarding Your Sustainable Mobility

Another green solution – this time from Seville – Ciclogreen is an app that rewards people for moving around the world in a sustainable way. Effectively, it’s gamifying green transport, giving people points every time they cycle, walk, run or skate.

Download the app to take part in different challenges. Earn enough points and you will be rewarded with a variety of gifts, such as earphones, bike lights, discounts, vouchers and more. Surely though, the biggest reward is saving the planet?

No, no, you’re right. I want the headphones too.

In all seriousness, it’s a great idea and we hope it takes off. Sustainably, of course.

Ethical Time – Sustainable Fashion

We enjoyed chatting with Ethical Time, who gave a clear pitch on their ideas-stage startup. Founded by 19-year old Ignasi Eiriz from Vilanova i la Geltrú, its mission is to “promote ethical production practices and commerce under human values.”

Raising more than €23,000 in December 2017 in a crowdfunding campaign, development of the App is underway.

Working in the textile industry, the company aims to help consumers buy clothes from companies that operate in an ethical, sustainable way.

There are around 500 sustainable clothing/fashion companies in Spain, but would you know where to buy sustainable tighty-whities? Ethical Time aims to bring visibility to these brands and be the platform from which sustainable fashion and ethical consumers can thrive.

Find Ethical Time on Facebook

A Special Mention

We can’t end this post without a special mention for BoxMotions, winner of the 4YFN 2018 Awards. The three year old startup brings the on-demand economy to the moving industry. Its simple to use – visit the website or make a call. The company will collect your stuff, store it safely as long as you need. Then once you want your things returned or moved the company will deliver it anywhere you like.

Check out the video – (Spanish language)

Thanks to everyone we spoke at 4YFN, we enjoyed every minute. Apart from the sleet and snow. We could have done without that.

Before You Go! A Special EU-Startups Summit Discount

Hubbub Labs is on a mission to support the startup scene in Barcelona.

We will be heading to the EU-Startups Summit 2018 which is set for April 24.

750 founders, angel investors, VCs, startup fans and corporations and media will be in attendance.

Find your tickets here.  Use the code HUBBUB to receive 15% off ticket purchases until March 12.

See you there!

Hubbub Labs will be at 4YFN Barcelona – come and say hi!

A Supporting Community Partner of 4YFN

4 Years from Now (4YFN) is the startup platform of Mobile World Capital and Hubbub Labs is proud to be an official supporting community partner.

Dan Shepherd and George Chilton 4yfn
Dan Shepherd and George Chilton

 

We’ll be at 4YFN

This week, from the 26 to the 28th of February, 4YFN celebrates the 5th edition of its startup event, which attracted more than 20,000 people in 2017.

It brings together a whole range of startups, entrepreneurs, investing platforms and other entities to spark innovation and new ventures.

If you are attending the event please get in touch. We’d love to hear about you, your startup or latest project! You might also like to check out the programme of events on the official website.

4YFN Articles

4yfn logo

Over the past few weeks, in the run up to the Mobile World Congress and the 4YFN conference, the Hubbub Labs team has been contributing articles to the platform’s blog.

There’s a little something for everyone in this selection. We have covered a number of topics, from startup success, to mentorship, PR campaigns and even networking.

We hope you enjoy them and – if you found them useful – that you will share them with your own networks.

7 pro hacks to help you raise your networking game

How to hit the headlines with a killer startup story

Startup struggle: beating the odds to find success

6 Reasons to look for a mentor in 2018

Wait, what is Hubbub Labs again?

Hubbub Labs is a content and digital marketing agency. We get a huge kick out of working with founding teams to help you refine your messaging, develop your voice and get your ideas out there through content marketing, PR and digital ads.

We are also passionate about helping more established companies and organisations realise their potential. Our team works with creative marketers to develop content strategy. We offer in depth and valuable blog content, newsletter campaigns, lead generation assets (like ebooks, cheat sheets and more) and also set up and run your PPC campaigns on Social Media, Google and elsewhere.

Mine’s a mocha cappuccino

Remember to get in touch if you’d like to meet us. We hope to see you there!

George & Dan

WhatsApp Launches Free Business App

WhatsApp B2C messagingWhatsApp Launches Free Business App

Things are going to change around here. At least, that’s what WhatsApp is promising SMEs and corporations with the roll out of its new business messaging service.

WhatsApp is offering easier business to customer (B2C) communication, the capacity to separate client and personal communication, and the opportunity to build “an official presence”. The goal is to improve customer experience and business efficiency.

A feature-rich experience

WhatApp’s business app promises a range of services, including a business profile with contact information and website and email details.

The familiar messaging facility will also include automated greetings, away messages (so you can switch off if it’s time for a nap or your afternoon tea), and quick response answers to FAQs.

For the data obsessed, you’ll have access to stats, though we’re not sure why you’d need this exactly.

Verified business number are also soon to become a thing and will match official business numbers to WhatsApp accounts. This is being beta-tested right now and will likely roll out WhatsApp-wide in future.

Soon to be global

To date, there are 1.3 billion monthly active users of WhatApp.  Crucially, regular users will not have to download anything extra and will be able to interact with businesses just as easily as they do with their friends and family.

This zero-friction approach to B2C communication almost guarantees its success.

Moreover, the app falls in line with the new Europe-wide GDPR act, which will become official in late May. Offering end-to-end encryption, it will only allow businesses to contact clients who have given them explicit permission to do so.

The WhatsApp business app is now available for businesses  to download for free, on Android and is currently available Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S.

It will start to come alive in the rest of the world in the next few weeks. And we’re emoji-excited to see it reach Spain.

Good Timing

The announcement comes soon after Facebook’s move to demote Business Page reach. Businesses looking for new, more direct channels of communication with customers and leads should be thrilled at the prospect of a purpose-built user-friendly and feature rich service.

And with more businesses adopting a mobile-first approach, it looks like WhatsApp is destined to be one of the biggest players in the B2C eCommerce space.

Join us for more insights

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What do upcoming changes to the Facebook Newsfeed mean for your business?

Upcoming changes to Facebook Newsfeed

At the beginning of the year Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised to make some big changes to improve user experience of Facebook:

The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it’s protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.

My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues.

Source: Facebook

Last night, Zuckerberg went further, announcing on his Facebook feed that user feedback indicates that people are being overwhelmed by business, media and brand posts and that this is “crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

Referring to academic research, Zuckerberg says that while personal posts and real connections benefit people, reading articles and watching videos may not.

As a result, the Facebook team is concentrating on updating the News Feed. It will soon start to deliver more content from friends and family, rather than from brand and media channels.

In his post, Zuckerberg predicts that time spent on the platform and engagement would decrease, but would bring long-term benefits to people, communities and businesses in time.

Facebook Newsfeed Changes
Mark Zuckerberg, Extract

 

Facebook & the Big Picture

Facebook is positioning itself as a user-first platform. It aims to regain public trust by limiting the reach of fake news sites and spammy brands.

While Facebook began as a social media platform, it has developed into a fully-fledged marketing platform with a well developed business model. 

Organic reach – or Newsfeed penetration – for business pages has been in decline – dropping 20% in 2017, according to research by BuzzSumo. 

As a result, brands are are spending more on ads; spending grew 23% in the first six months of 2017, reaching $40.1 billion in the U.S. alone.

What might this mean for business?

The Facebook algorithm is now punishing engagement bait, as we outlined in a recent post – 5 Social Media Trends to Watch For in 2018, and is rewarding higher quality and more relevant content.

Zuckerberg’s announcement probably means that only highly engaged fans are likely to see your content in their Newsfeeds, resulting in an even greater push towards sponsored publishing on Facebook.  

We are sure that as the year progresses Business Page reach will fall further and your strategy will have to adapt as a result. Smaller business platforms and media outlets will likely suffer, and those relying on organic reach alone will see a big drop in traffic.

Start strategising your content distribution and think about your budgets accordingly!

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Barna Hub Interviews Esteban Redolfi, Director of Mobile World Capital Barcelona Entrepreneurship

Barna Hub

We first met Esteban Redolfi, Mobile World Capital Barcelona Entrepreneurship Director, at the Smart City Expo World Congress this November.

 4yfn Esteban Redolfi, Director Mobile World Capital Barcelona Entrepreneurship Director
Esteban Redolfi, Mobile World Capital Barcelona Entrepreneurship Director

 

Today he’s come along to Barna Hub to talk about startups, 4 Years From Now  (4YFN) and tell us just why Barcelona is the place to be for entrepreneurs and founders.

Introducing Mobile World Capital Barcelona and 4YFN

Following three pillars of innovation, transformation and empowerment, Mobile World Capital Barcelona is an initiative that promotes and fosters mobile and digital progress. Its aim is to improve people’s lives all over the world.

The organisation is funded by both the public and private sectors. It achieves its success through the development of a number of initiatives, including; GoingDigital d-LAB, mSchools, and 4YFN – a platform connecting startups with investors and corporations, and drives innovation through collaboration.

Take it away Esteban!

140 character pitch

We love helping to create scalable businesses with passionate archi-TECHS who happen to be entrepreneurs, investors and corporate executives.

How can startups get involved with 4YFN?

Startups are at the centre of everything we do at Digital Entrepreneurship in Mobile World Capital Barcelona.

Our next event is 4YFN Barcelona 2018 and startups can apply to be part of our Innovation Market. 

Come along to exhibit your solutions, not only to a variety of investors, but to more than 10,000 executives from Mobile World Congress. You can also get involved in many of our networking activities, including:

  • Pitching to the press
  • Meeting investors
  • Pitching sessions
  • Networking drinks
  • Mentoring sessions
  • And much more!

Down to business

4yfn logo

What makes Barcelona’s startup scene unique?

Barcelona’s startup scene is unique because of its affordable lifestyle and work force, great access to talent, as well as an early-adoption market. There is also a direct connection with the European and American market and great connection routes by ground and air.

What benefits can startups bring to a city or region?

Apart from the obvious economic activity that a growing startup ecosystem brings into any city or region, startups bring innovation at an astounding speed.

They introduce a culture that looks at products and services from the user’s perspective. They also bring a new work methodology, where constant learning and iteration allows projects to survive and prosper in an incredibly challenging market. What’s more, startups continually incorporate new talent.

This last point – having international talent developing projects in our ecosystem – spreads to other areas such as corporations, public entities, and traditional businesses.

Where does 4YFN fit in?

4YFN has enabled Barcelona’s and Spain’s startup ecosystems to showcase their accomplishments, projects, talent and potential to the world. Our event in Barcelona gathers 20,000 attendees from 138 countries. We have bridged our tech hub with San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Helsinki, London, Paris, Berlin, and a number of other important tech hubs.

We have created an investor’s only platform that gathers more than 1,000 VC members from some of the most active funds in the world. Plus, we have contributed to building a successful methodology, exemplifying how startups should be served during a B2B event.

As Director, I am very proud of 4YFN’s accomplishments and thankful for having had the opportunity to contribute to the consolidation of Barcelona as a model for the startup world.

What’s been the most memorable moment at 4YFN for you?

The most memorable moment is happening now – a few months before the next edition of our Barcelona event.

Right now, we’re receiving a lot of calls, emails, and messages. At the same time, we are juggling meetings with passionate founders, heavy players from investment funds, and representatives from corporations, country delegations, and acceleration programmes.

They are all reaching out to be part of 4YFN Barcelona 2018. Of course, they want to leverage on the event to grow their businesses, but they also bring proposals on how to create more value in the ecosystem.

These past few and very intense months confirm that we have created a platform that makes sense, and something that the ecosystem feels they want to be a part of.

Where do you see yourself 4 years from now?

Behind all the action we have created at 4YFN, there is a large international digital entrepreneur community, which is always evolving and growing.

We are already working on new projects and ideas that will tackle the new challenges that this global community will face. We know that Barcelona will have a leading role in the consolidation of Europe as a relevant global startup ecosystem.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Barcelona Insight

What advice do you have for first time entrepreneurs here?

My advice to first time entrepreneurs will always be to get connected.

Barcelona, like any of the top ten tech hubs in the world, has entities, accelerations programmes, corporate open innovation programmes, experienced entrepreneurs and smart money investors that can provide advice, resources and support.

Being an entrepreneur is extremely tough. There is no need to face it completely alone.

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

I would come to the office to do my job. Having such passionate and talented people in my team turns every meeting into a great opportunity. It is an honour to discuss the future of the ecosystem with them, and to create new initiatives in order to contribute to it.

Finish this sentence: “The best thing about living and working in Barcelona is…”

… the opportunity to walk around and absorb the cosmopolitan and entrepreneurial spirit of the city. Barcelona is contagious and every corner, every overwhelming view of the sea, every vision of its urbanism, every walk through the surrounding mountains invites you to create something new, something big, something better.

So, why not make it a startup?

Hubbub: Why not indeed! Thanks very much for your fascinating insights Esteban!

Find 4YFN online

Twitter: https://twitter.com/4YFN_MWC

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/5321378

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/4yfn_mwc/

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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.


Smart City Expo World Congress: 3 Barcelona Companies Making a Difference in People’s Lives

Empower Cities, Empower People

This November 18,754 people from 700 cities and more than 120 countries descended on Barcelona to nerd it out for three days of smart city excitement, networking opportunities, and inspiring talks from 420 speakers and 675 exhibitors.

Welcome to the record-breaking Smart City Expo World Congress 2017!

Smart City Expo Barcelona

An exciting glimpse of the global startup future

Wandering around the exhibits at the Smart City Expo, we saw a mix of industry powerhouses, including Microsoft, Huawei and Siemens – and they were, as always, very interesting.

But we were also pleased to catch a glimpse of the future, meeting a number of nascent tech companies and up-and-coming startups dotted around the exhibition centre.

The majority of these were in the 4YFN Village (4 Years From Now)—the startup business platform of the Mobile World Capital BarcelonaAnd we were lucky enough to speak to Esteban Redolfi, Director of the organisation.

Esteban Director 4YFN Barcelona
Esteban Redolfi, Director 4YFN

He said that Barcelona is one of the main hubs of the technology industry in southern Europe and that it is “attracting talent and investment and becoming a leading city in the smart city sector.”

Natasha Dullaway, Social Media Executive at 4YFN, told us how the platform had given 40 startups from 14 countries the opportunity to exhibit and pitch their ideas to investors, town planners, experts and investors.

“The highlight of the event for me was seeing the startups take to the centre of the Agora stage and pitch their products to the packed-out crowd,” said Ms. Dullaway.

Meet the 4YFN Village People

After having walked what seemed like 10,000 steps, it was good to be able to sit down, have a coffee and friendly chat with different startup teams.

What we really loved about the 4YFN village was the intimate and relaxed environment. Much like a real village, it gave us some much needed respite from the intense buzz of the city (or in this case…conference).

We found a diverse array of entrepreneurs, CEOs and developers. They were stationed in the charming wooden booths and could not wait to tell us about their ideas and goals.

4YFN Mobile World Capital Barcelona
4YFN Mobile World Capital


Don’t miss out on the 4YFN event of 2018held at the Mobile World Congress Barcelona from 26-28th February.

Join more than 20,000 attendees to explore 600 exhibits, and watch and participate in over 150 hours of inspiring talks, activities, pitches and workshops from those who are pioneering the future of the digital world.

So who did we meet?

Company #1: Shotl – go carless

First, we spoke to Shotl. This ride-sharing app aims to solve rush-hour traffic, reduce pollution, and save people money, all at the same time.

It may sound impossible, but they assured us  that it is quite a simple concept; download the app (on iOS or Android) and input where you want to go. The app does the rest, finding other people going in your direction and notifying them where you are. Then you are picked up on route by van, taxi or mini-bus.

It’s a bit like taking the bus, but much more direct and without those uncomfortable seats and sticky floors. Better still, by collaborating and sharing rides we can reduce the number of cars on the road.

If you want to take the stress out of your daily commute and help save the planet at the same time, download Shotl. Join the vehicle sharing revolution today!

Company #2: Live Cities – connecting challengers and problem-solvers

We also had the pleasure of meeting the team from Live Cities, another promising Catalan startup. It is a mobile crowdsourcing platform that allows individuals or organisations to connect with the talent and resources needed to complete a project.  

Its aim is to make innovation accessible to everyone and not just large organisations or public administrations, empowering citizens so they can turn their ideas into reality.

The app is still in beta and not yet available to download. However, customised versions are available for universities, city councils and other organisations at a cost. This is helping Live Cities to finance the project until it’s ready to launch to the general public.

Live Cities - connecting challengers and problem-solvers Barcelona
Mariale Tord, CMO of Live Cities


If you want to be the first to hear about its launch sign up to Live Cities mailing list.

Company #3: Bit4id – simplicity is the key to security

After spending most of the morning at the 4YFN village, we headed over to the Bit4id (Best Information Technology 4 IDentification) stand and spoke to Marco Scognamiglio and his team.

Founded in 2004, the company certainly isn’t a new kid on the block. Bit4id  has offices in Barcelona, Naples, London, and elsewhere.

The company originally focused on a B2B model, developing and selling online authentication, e-signature and data protection solutions.

Bit4id introduced SignCloud at the expo. This revolutionary app, created in partnership with Uanataca, allows people to access their digital certificates from their mobile phones.

You often need a digital certificate to prove your identity and access confidential information online. For example, you might use one on government websites to submit your tax return or to complete other administration, without having to physically go to the office. Setting up and downloading one of these certificates can be an extremely painful experience. Thanks to outdated government systems you often need to make one on a PC using an old version of MS Explorer. Imagine.

Bit4id - simplicity is the key to security Barcelona
The Bit4id team. From left to right, Gertrudis Camps, Marco Scognamiglio, Montserrat Delgado, and Domingo Espinar.


SignCloud offers a much simpler solution to traditional digital certificates and is available to download now on iOS (Android coming soon!).

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.


4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Social Media Followers

social media

Social media startup tips from George Chilton, Creative Director of Hubbub Labs.

If you have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account, you’ve probably bumped into a bot or two. You may have even received messages from them offering you thousands of new social media followers, or dozens of fake likes a day, for a couple of hundred dollars. While most people ignore it, this can be tempting if you represent a brand, especially when your demanding boss expects you to grow your company’s online communities and “increase engagement”.

But don’t do it.

Buying followers is like making a presentation and filling half the auditorium with cardboard cutout people. It looks good when you take a selfie from the stage, but the applause is pretty weak.

It’s far better to have a small group of engaged followers, who represent your target market, than thousands of random accounts who pay you no attention.

So please, for the love of Zuckerberg, don’t make this horrible social media mistake. Here are 4 reasons why you should never buy online followers:

1. Fake social media followers hurt your marketing objectives

Think about why you set up a social media account in the first place. You want to be there for your customers, reach a wider audience with your content, potentially advertise your services, and talk to real people. It’s great branding and helps build your reputation.

Now imagine, for a moment, that instead of your customers, their friends and wider networks, you have a series of fake accounts following you.

What value will you give them? Absolutely none. At the end of the day it’s a vanity project that helps no-one but the people getting paid to follow you.

2. Zero engagement kills your visibility

Fake followers suck; they won’t ask you questions, they won’t like or share your posts and they certainly won’t get or give any value. All they’re doing is swelling your numbers and lowering your engagement ratio.

The numbers might look good at first glance, but this lower engagement ratio means your content will get rated lower by social media algorithms, and will therefore be less visible to real followers.

Fake likes don’t count as engagement, either. See what Facebook has to say about it:

Facebook takes into account Page engagement rates when deciding when and where to deliver a Page’s legitimate adverts and content, so Pages with artificially inflated like counts are harming themselves, making it more difficult and more expensive to reach the people they care about most — https://www.facebook.com/business/a/page/fake-likes

3. Buying fake social media followers and likes harms your reputation

You wouldn’t pay actors to come to your dinner party and pretend to be your friends. It would be humiliating if you were ever caught. The same goes for buying fake followers.

First of all, like fake dinner guests, fake accounts are obvious. They:

  • Are clearly not part of your target audience
  • Often tweet or post in unrelated languages
  • Probably live on the other side of the world
  • May have no photos (or weird photos)

Once you’ve been rumbled, people will have a hard time trying to trust you. Not only does it make you look vain, it shows that you’re desperate and unable to run a valuable social media account (I mean, who are you trying to kid, Donald?).

4. Breaking the rules could get you banned

Every platform has its own terms of service. Buy buying fake followers and likes you could well find yourself in hot water. Having a suspended personal account looks bad, having a suspended brand account is worse – particularly when you’re being paid to run it.

Twitter, for example, may temporarily block or permanently ban you from using the service if:

You are selling or purchasing account interactions (such as selling or purchasing followers, Retweets, likes, etc.).

You are using or promoting third-party services or apps that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising “more followers fast”, or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account).

Source: https://support.twitter.com/articles/18311

Don’t take the short cut

A strong social media following can take time to build. Aim to deliver consistent value to your audiences you’ll begin to see more engagement. Speak to real people, ask questions and lead the conversation.

Tell us how you get along – you can get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!