We catch up with the founders of Hub23, a new Sports Tech Hub, based out of Barcelona that focuses on the physical and digital community of Sports Tech. Hub23 is a place for founders, new startup owners, Sports Tech industry leaders and everyone else in the sports space, to find, connect and gather together for resources, community support, funding and more!
In this feature, Josep Monti and Xavier Serret share their insights into Hub23, the SportsTech world and more!
Tell me a little bit about where the idea for Hub23 came from?
We found several sports-tech startups with the same needs; raise capital, find talent, develop technology, get clients, etc.
Therefore, we decided to create an association to boost the ecosystem.
What about the team behind it?
The founding team is entrepreneurs from associated startups who started working on their organisation and planning.
There are a lot of collaborators who contribute to the project because everyone has understood that it is necessary to promote this ecosystem to grow together and consolidate the sports tech community.
Now we are at a time when it will be needed to recruit more professionals to develop and manage the hub.
You aim to position Barcelona as one of the main international SportsTech hubs. Why do you believe Barcelona is well-positioned for this? (Geographically, technology-wise, economically etc)
We believe this to be the case, as Barcelona is already a referent in sports as well as technology. Thanks to SPORTS events such as the Olympics in 1992, FC Barcelona, Marathon, F1 etc. Barcelona it’s the 4th most sports city in Europe and 7th in the world.
And Barcelona is TECH thanks to Mobile World Congress, and a lot of tech companies have headquarters in Barcelona. The weather and other characteristics make Barcelona the 3rd most attractive European city for founders, just under London and Paris
What makes Hub23 unique within this space, relative to other SportsTech?
It is unique because we have designed it specifically for Barcelona, and we are developing it from here to the world. We have opted for a public-private model that takes longer to implement but, on the other hand, it will make it a project of international reference. In addition, COVID is accelerating it because now there is more interest in reactivating the economy in the city.
At HUB23 we have always considered a physical layer (the Barcelona hub) and the digital layer (global online platform). The pandemic has allowed us to work more on digital. Now we are planning, together with the rest of the hubs, how this online platform will turn out to be.
I was particularly interested in learning about the multipurpose spaces you intend to develop at Hub23?
The multipurpose spaces as well as all the areas are designed for the use of all and generate value for the entire community.
We have not wanted to stay in the traditional co-working model since we understand that to active the community we have to give them much more. In addition, the pandemic has proved us right and remote work has come to stay.
That is why each space has its own model and thanks to the entire ecosystem we achieve the hub viability.
How can a start-up join Hub23?
Startups, companies, entrepreneurs, or any type of entity can join HUB23. Right now, there are no specific conditions to join and it has any cost. You can send your data through on our website form.
What is on offer for members?
Well, mainly those that motivated the creation of the ecosystem; raise capital, find talent, develop technology, get customers … etc. For this reason, there are activities such as networking, investment forums, and learning. We are working together with the members to develop activities that are of general interest. Some are detailed in the services section of the web.
Who are some of the Startups that are a part of Hub23 at the moment?
We have recently released the Barcelona SportsTech ecosystem with more than 170 startups and companies. One-Third of the projects apply to Activity & Performance. The rest develop in Management & Organisation, Fans & content and especially in eSports & gaming, where Barcelona has a lot of industry and is a referent.
What are the key sports with startups that you would look to involve locally (or have involved already) outside of football?
It is difficult to highlight some because we want to become the home of sports and technology for everyone. To name a few: basketball, athletics, rugby, tennis, outdoor sports, fitness sports, nautical sports, and all sports.
Are there particular regions/countries/cities you’re aiming to work more eagerly with? Why/why not?
Thanks to founders’ origin from Startups, HUB23 was born with a global spirit. For this reason, we are also promoting an international network of SportsTech hubs. We want to unite other hubs in the world with the aim of sharing resources and creating a global SportsTech community that allows all projects to grow faster, access innovation to all areas of sport and improve the sports practice.
What are the future plans for Hub23, taking into account the current Pandemic?
At HUB23 we have always considered a physical layer (the Barcelona hub) and the digital layer (global online platform). The pandemic has allowed us to work more on digital. Now we are planning, together with the rest of the hubs, how this online platform will turn out be. We want it to be decentralised and to be able to help finance the best SportsTech projects. Blockchain is the key.