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visit pier01 entrepreneurship

A visit to innovation hub Pier01, Barcelona Tech City

visit pier01 entrepreneurship barcelona

Field trips are our favourite way to discover what life looks like outside the classroom. If you’re a student at ESEI, you’ll know that we welcome every opportunity to visit companies and organisations and see how our students will spend their days once they graduate.

Recently, we’ve been on a roll. While a group of Digital Marketing students were hanging out at the Google HQ in Dublin, our Digital Entrepreneurship Master’s students paid a visit to Pier01, Barcelona Tech City. We were blown away by the innovative projects we discovered there and the sense of community we experienced. We thought we’d share it with you.

Pier01, and innovation hub by Barcelona Tech City

Barcelona Tech City is a private nonprofit organisation with a mission to promote Barcelona as an international tech hub. Besides showcasing the city’s brand, they also work on attracting international investment, connecting companies with digital talent and creating a legal and financial environment that startups can thrive in. They partner with other organisations, startups, corporates and investors in order to grow the local tech ecosystem.

To bring the community together and foster innovation, Barcelona Tech City created Pier01. It’s a massive technology hub located right by the sea, in Port Vell. Housing more than 100 companies and 1,000 professionals under one roof, it’s the space with the biggest concentration of digital talent in all of Barcelona. It has everything that a building can offer to encourage contact and collaboration between the members of its community, as well as the 800+ companies in its orbit.

“After my meetings with Antai, a venture builder who played an instrumental role in the launch of businesses like Airbnb and Wallapop, and The Collider, a pioneering tech-transfer programme, I realised that Pier 01 was the perfect place for our students to connect with the local tech community,” says ESEI’s Director Carlota Estera.

Exploring Pier01: innovation labs and accelerators

We are welcomed by Adriana Torelló, Assistant to the CMO of Barcelona Tech City, who shows us around.

We are surprised to find Metropolis Lab, the SEAT innovation centre for mobility inside the Pier01 building. Adriana explains that it was a strategic decision to set up their office in an urban mobility hotspot. While Martorell, where the SEAT factory is located, is a great spot for building cars, Pier01 is the ideal location for research and staying close to people who use mobility products – drivers, commuters and pedestrians. The Metropolis Lab projects are aimed at creating a greener, quieter, smarter and friendlier urban landscape for everyone in the city.

Downstairs, we discover the Payment Innovation Hub, a space where companies like CaixaBank, Samsung and VISA work together to find the most innovative payment solutions of the future.

Towards the end of her tour, Adriana shows us an impressive noise-free room that allows for total concentration. We also learn that Barcelona Tech City is considering expanding across the city by moving into public spaces.

Next, we meet Guillermo Gaspart, Founder of ByHours, a startup that has created a solution for booking ‘microstays’: hotel rooms by the hour. He explains the company’s general strategy including some of the challenges they face and the markets they are entering. He kindly replies to the students’ questions before the group moves on to The Collider’s office space.

The Collider, a programme of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, connects scientists from universities and research centres with entrepreneurs to work on deep-tech startup projects that have the potential to transform society. They look for disruptive ideas that apply the latest technological advances in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain and virtual reality – so we learn.

Our last stop is with Ona Estapé, Operations Executive at mVenturesBCN, an accelerator programme by Mobile World Capital Barcelona. She shows us a video and explains the programme to the students, inviting them to apply as entrepreneurs.

Takeaways from our trip

Pier01 is a space where you can see technology evolve in real time. Seeing all the companies, organisations, venture builders, incubators and accelerators that work there was an incredible experience. It’s a place to draw inspiration from and a great spot for networking.

Going forward, we would like to visit Pier01 at least once every semester. Our plan is to bring back some of the business cases we see to the classroom, to really study, analyse and learn from them.

We have lots of plans for future collaboration with Barcelona Tech City, so watch this space!!


What would you like to find out about Barcelona Tech City and Pier01?

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