What is TECH TRIBE?
Tech Tribe is a community with the vision to share knowledge through interactive events that include panel and roundtable discussions + workshops that combine multi-disciplinary talent and thought speakers who inspire, educate & bring people together.
“This will be an unmissable opportunity to hear leading voices,
share their insights on the rapid rate of technology”
Founder & CEO
Generalitat de Catalunya
Market Tech Principal
“Building Connections With Local And Global Collaborative Communities”
Many aspects of Barcelona contribute to this potential. Its location gives it easy access to populations of large markets: the EU’s Common Market (510 million), Mediterranean Corridor Axis (250 Million), and the Mediterranean Union (43 Countries from 3 Continents) as well as access to a large and diverse population of its own. It is the sixth most populous urban area in the EU and is a truly international city, with a population that is 16.6% foreigners. Barcelona has become home to over 5,000 foreign companies. Its economy is far ahead of other Spanish cities, as well as some of the major economic hubs around the world, with the 4th highest GDP in the EU and 35th highest globally. A thriving airport and busy port keep the city busy and well connected. This trade conducing environment has influenced start-ups in the area. Kantox, a foreign-exchange platform started in Barcelona, raised €6.5million in February 2015 alone.
Barcelona has a vibrant and diversified economy: its main sectors being tourism, energy, media, biotechnology, agriculture, ICT, and an emerging fashion industry. Over the past 10 years, Barcelona has established over 200 active digital startups in mobile, e-commerce, gaming, and B2B. It has done incredibly well in attracting foreign investment in the past six years. Ernst & Young named Barcelona the 5th most attractive city on the continent for international investments (ahead of Munich, Frankfurt, and Madrid), and the Financial Times Group named it the 2016 city with the best international business. It has held strong while the European Central Bank followed expansionary policy and the euro depreciated, still managing to set records consecutively for exports for the past six years. These days economic growth is tied directly to technology, and technology is now most influenced by its mobile applications; Barcelona has recognized this. The city offers a huge strategic opportunity through its role as the Mobile World Capital, hosting the Mobile World Congress and its active pursuit of creating an industrial legacy in this sector. Its efforts are clearly making an impact, as the European Digital City Index, have named it the 9th most attractive European city for digital entrepreneurs in 2016, climbing 5 spots in a year.
When it comes to generating and attracting new talent, Barcelona is at the cutting edge. It has great infrastructural facilities, including the World Trade Barcelona, halls, research facilities, and event platforms, and the city hosts about 50 international business events every year. Most famously, it hosts the International Trade Fair, which attracts over 600,000 delegates from across the globe, further fostering trade and pushing investors to realise the full extent of the area’s potential. Aside from this Spain has one of the highest productive human capitals in Europe, according to the OECD. Barcelona is the leader in this, with four business schools, two of which are listed in the top 20 globally. The city has made it easy for new businesses to take advantage of the incredible human capital, by making processes like work permit registration easy for the workers, and enacting employee laws not to restrict the business owners, but to protect them from legal action from their employees.
As for a real boom hitting Barcelona, it’s not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. It is already 5th in a ranking of European cities in terms of start-up numbers (The European Talent Landscape), and as an entrepreneurial city with a welcoming property market and competitive supply of offices, there is only room to grow. After the financial crisis left 50% of youth unemployed, people in Barcelona have become more creative, independent and innovative. This young demographic are creating a culture of digital and socially connected businesses. Successful start-ups coming out of Barcelona include Wallapop, Mailtrack, Letgo, and Typeform. The emergence of innovative companies shows the developing diversity and maturity of the city’s startup scene. If beaches aren’t enough to entice you to this famous city, hopefully the emerging start up scene and incredible potential can draw you in. The boom will hit, and you can get ahead by moving now to take advantage of everything Barcelona has to offer.
Cybersecurity has an incredibly important and rapidly growing role in Europe. Securing network and information systems in the European Union is absolutely necessary in order to keep the online economy running, which is hugely and increasingly important. The EU has been emphasizing the importance of this and directing a lot of resources toward cybersecurity. It has raised the capabilities of the Member States and has implemented the international cooperation on cybersecurity and cybercrime.
Cybersecurity is a highly dynamic industry which has changed massively in recent years. The traditional approach of focusing on the most crucial system components and protecting against the biggest known threats is completely insufficient in the current environment. The threat now advances and changes faster than we can keep up with it. To deal with the current environment, we need more proactive and adaptive approaches, and strategies which emphasize continuous monitoring and real-time assessments. Threats online can have serious implications not only for effects on businesses but also governments and whole countries. The uptick in ransomware recently, following the leaking and subsequent weaponization of NSA hacking tools, was a huge blow to many companies, and an attack on the British NHS meant some operations were canceled at put real lives at risk. The cancellation of hundreds of British Airways flights due to an IT meltdown is estimated to have cost them at least £80million. Though this wasn’t due to an attack, it shows how important infrastructure is to firms and the very expensive effects it can have when it isn’t running. Recent cyberattacks on the Ukraine have shown countries are vulnerable too, and as infrastructure systems—electricity, water, transportation, etc.– become more automated, the greater risk associated with cyberattacks can have on shutting down whole aspects of a country’s operations.
External cyber-attacks are not the only threat companies face. IBM found, in their 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, that 60% of all attacks were carried out by insiders. A quarter of these attacks were unintentional on behalf of the actors who enabled them, but three-quarters involved malicious intent. Smaller businesses are uniquely vulnerable to IT security breaches because they may lack the more sophisticated intrusion detection and monitoring systems used by large enterprises, IBM Security research also found that health care, manufacturing, and financial services and the top three industries targeted by cyber-attacks because of their personal data, intellectual property, and financial assets, respectively. The 2013 cyber-attack on Target, where Russian thieves left the company with a potential loss of $420 million and affected 70 million customers, was made possible by an unwitting vendor—an insider—had authorized access to Target’s computers. While all businesses have their differences in size and industry, they all have people working for them; and, each one of whom has the potential to be an insider threat.
The growing importance and complexity of the cyber threats against European businesses and governments mean that there is huge and potentially lucrative demand for the cybersecurity industry. The cybersecurity market is one of the fastest growing markets in the ICT sector. The European cybersecurity market alone was worth $22billion in 2016 and is expected to grow at 8% p.a. to 2018, driven predominantly by increasing spend on services. Europe urgently needs high-quality, affordable and interoperable cybersecurity products and solutions.
European institutions are responding to these risks and needs, and are supportive of cybersecurity efforts. The Commission in the Field of Cybersecurity is dedicated to increasing cybersecurity capabilities and cooperation, making the EU a strong player in cybersecurity, and mainstreaming cybersecurity EU policies. The commission recognizes the potential of the Digital Single Market, which could boost the EU economy by almost €415 billion per year and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. However, trust and confidence by Europeans needs to be established in order for new connected technologies and services to take off. In order to do just that, and move towards this Digital Single Market, the Euroepan Commission announced on July 5th, 2016 the launch of a cPPP—the contractual Public-Private Partnership on cybersecurity—to enhance industrial capabilities in Europe. The partnership hopes to encourage cooperation between public and private actors at early stages of the research and innovation process in order to allow people in Europe to access innovative and trustworthy European solutions. It also aims to stimulate the cybersecurity industry, by aligning demand and supply sectors and therefore allowing industry to elicit future requirements from end-users. The EU will invest up to €450 million in this partnership and consequently the cybersecurity market players are expected to invest three times more.
With the support of institutions and high demand for new innovative solutions, the cybersecurity industry is poised to grow enormously for the foreseeable future. The more we automate and the more information we automate, the greater risk we face for attacks from both inside and outside of our companies. Those who can add value to it, stand to gain enormous wealth. This leaves opportunities open for innovative digital minds, not only to earn huge sums of money, but also to make a undeniable impact.
Only 31% of entrepreneurs in Europe are female, and out of those, only around 23% are in professional, scientific, and technical activities. We’ve come a long way from our parents’ generations, but progress has been moving slowly in recent years. However, there are still women powering European innovation, leading the way for others to follow. Hopefully they will inspire more and more young women to realize their potential and create a more diverse tech environment. Here are five women you should know in the European high-tech scene.
Alicia Asín Péres, co-founder and CEO of Libelium (Spain), recognized the need to develop technology capable of wirelessly monitoring any type of environmental parameter. The importance of quality and the high costs of failure have meant that as wireless technologies have grown in the market, it has become essential to monitor all types of processes. Alicia saw the opportunity to improve data acquisition by performing such measurements wirelessly by battery-powered devices in order to reduce installation costs. Peres is now focused on the internet of things—the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data— becoming the next tech revolution, starting with Smart Cities. She frequently speaks at international conferences on issues related to Smart Cities, Wireless Sensor Networks and the IoT. She has a Bachelor’s in computer engineering and graduated from ESADE Business School. Alicia is also the first woman to receive the National Young Entrepreneur from the Spanish Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs in 2014 (CEAJE).
Kristel Kruustük is the co-founder & CEO at Testlio (Estonia), an end-to-end quality-assurance management platform for mobile apps. She started off working as a tester herself, and saw the issues with who testers were treated by large app-creating companies. So, in 2012 she devised a plan to build a platform that would appreciate the work of a tester on the belief that if you find a critical mistake and draw attention to it, you are also likely to be motivated to fix it. Since launching, Testlio has raised $8M in funding, hired over 60 employees, and established offices in Tallinn and San Francisco. It’s clients include Salesforce, Lyft, Microsoft, CBS Interactive, Flipboard and Strava. According to Kristel, “currently we are more of a high end and a high touch product. As this business model has justified itself, we can reconsider our pricing policy.” Testlio’s present goal is to become a world leader in mobile apps testing.
Sofie Lindblom is CEO & Co-Founder at ideation360 (Sweden)—a global innovation platform. Their ideology is that in a rapidly changing, dynamic environment, it is necessary for companies to invest in innovation to stay in business. In order to do this, organizations must effectively collect, select and test ideas from within. Ideation360 has developed a method and a platform to support this process. In 2014, Sofie received Microsoft’s award “IT girl of the year” for her work to break down stereotypes and inspire more girls to choose a profession in technology. In the same year she founded her own company Sofster for passion projects and consulting. In 2015, she gave two TEDx Talks: “IT Girls are the New It Girls” about challenging stereotypes and “All That Glitters is Not Gold” about finding your passion by living life as a prototype. In 2016, she was awarded one of the ‘Top 111 Most Influential Women in Business and “Digital Influencer of the year”.
Lisa Lang is the founder and CEO of ElektroCouture (Germany)– a fashion technology house and the first agency to pioneer modified innovative electronic wearable technology for the fashion industry. She is a mentor to several European hardware startups, and has a wealth of experience as a digital information technology and new media game changer. She is known by those who work for her for her ability to bring a diverse group of people together and make them work harmoniously on one project. Lisa also teaches fashion tech at Fab Lab Berlin and has been named a Fashion Tech Berlin Ambassador. She has a title as one of the top 100 most influential people worldwide in wearable tech.
Catherine Barba played a leading role in the digital revolution in France and has launched several successful companies and coached many French web startups. Her first major successes came when Catherine founded MDG Interactive, which deals with digital and online advertising, and served as Managing Director for iFrance, a startup developing digital retail and omni-channel commerce. In 2004, she launched Cashstore—a cashback website—and e-business consulting firm Malinea. Her latest endeavor has been her new company, the Catherine Barba Group, which helps global brands and retailers transform their digital strategy in a time of mobile commerce. Catherine has become a passionate advocate for female entrepreneurs in tech, organizing events such as “Journée de la Femme Digital”. She has said: “inspiring people to dare, to innovate, to launch and to transmit this confidence and energy around me is my oxygen, my reason to get up in the morning.”
Not only do advancements in regards to giving space women in tech help us become a more fair and progressive society, but they will help advance our world economy as a whole. The business and economic case for gender diversity has been proved in studies such as McKinsey’s Women Matter, which shows that, “$12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality”. Furthermore, studies have shown that a more diverse team tends to be more productive. There are numerous issues holding us back, a large one being the cultural and gender limitations that parents and society unconsciously communicate—it is likely deeply engrained in many young women’s minds that sciences are not meant for a girl. The current education system helps to reinforce this, portraying tech in an uncreative light, leading girls to believe that those in tech spend their lives hidden away behind computer screens.
More creative teaching of technology and greater exposure of positive female role models can inspire women to enter into areas stereotypically viewed as masculine. Organizations like Women Techmakers have partnered with Google to provide increased support and resources for females in the startup community. The French government, in partnership with 15 French organizations, has created a three-part plan to promote gender equality in the tech ecosystem. First, they will fight cyberbullying—which tends to target women—and promote female role models. Then they will campaign in high schools and universities to promote engineering schools and computer science studies for women. Finally, they plan to find ways to help companies so that they hire more women, give increased support to women wanting to start companies, and dedicate resources to helping women find the perfect job in tech companies. In order to keep the number of women in high tech rising, and to increase the pace at which this happens, we need more visibility for women like Alicia, Kristel, Sofie, Lisa and Catherine; and, we need more opportunities for advancement and education for women in technology. In our companies, we should strive for cultures that celebrate women’s achievement and allow them plenty of room to grow. Our government needs to prioritize women in tech and make real efforts to promote changes, following in the footsteps of France’s three-step agenda. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we still have a long way to go.