This morning, the president of the Catalan government, Quim Torra, met with executives from the American video-game company Scopely in Silicon Valley. The company announced its growth plans for Barcelona, which will involve doubling its current staff and expanding its facilities. Scopely opened its office in the Catalan capital in 2017 and currently has 60 employees working there.
According to Torra, announcements like the one made today by Scopely demonstrate that “Catalonia is becoming a global pacesetter for technology companies and a priority destination for businesses seeking to get established in Europe.”
Scopely’s expansion has received support from the Catalan government through ACCIÓ. The company is planning to add more staff in Barcelona in various areas of specialisation, increasing its technical and artistic talent, as well as data analysis and customer service staff.
At the opening of the Barcelona office in 2017, Javier Ferreira, Scopely’s president and chief operating officer, said: “The Barcelona office serves as an important pillar to support Scopely’s ongoing growth and global expansion.” Following today’s announcement, Pere Torrents, Scopely’s head of operations, said: “Scopely Barcelona has attracted highly talented individuals from all over Europe to contribute to our technological platform, community services and creative projects, and we’ve convinced people who have spent years working abroad to come home to Catalonia. Last year we experienced huge growth, both in new mobile games and supported franchises, and we’re planning to more than double our local team of 60 employees to support this ongoing growth.”
Founded in 2011, Scopely is a Los Angeles–based company with partners in eight countries that creates and develops mobile games, such as Star Trek Fleet Command, Looney Tunes World of Mayhem and Walking Dead: Road to Survival. In Barcelona, the company has participated in events such as the Mobile World Congress 4YFN and the Barcelona Games World trade fair.
Specifically, Scopely has received support from Catalonia Trade & Investment, an agency of the Catalan government that is headquartered in Barcelona and has a network of 40 foreign trade and investment offices around the world, tasked with attracting new foreign investment projects to Catalonia.
During his visit to Silicon Valley, President Torra announced the launch of Catalonia Exponential, an initiative aimed at transforming Catalan companies to take advantage of disruptive changes driven by new technologies such as blockchain, 3D printing, big data and the artificial intelligence, and turn them into opportunities to achieve exponential growth.
The project is getting under way at ACCIÓ’s Silicon Valley office but will be expanded to more foreign trade and investment offices in its worldwide network.
Today, President Torra met with representatives of several companies based in Silicon Valley. One of his meetings was with executives from Monolithic Power Systems (MPS), a company that specialises in power semiconductor solutions. According to Torra, the company is “confident that in 2020 it will be able to increase its staff in Catalonia from the current 20 employees to a total of 60”.
MPS’s largest innovation centre in Europe is located in Catalonia. President Torra also had the opportunity to learn first-hand about projects being carried out by SRI International, an independent non-profit research centre headquartered in Menlo Park that focuses on taking R&D from the lab to the market.
“For us, being here, in contact with American companies that have set up operations in Catalonia and plan to continue growing their distribution networks and hiring more people, is a unique opportunity,” Torra said.
The aim of the meetings is to bolster links between Catalonia’s innovation ecosystems and Silicon Valley in order to promote new collaborations, position Catalonia as an open, dynamic, innovative economy, and learn more about projects that American companies are pursuing in Catalonia.
In fact, the United States is one of the countries that top the ranking of foreign companies established in Catalonia. According to data provided by the Agency for Business Competitiveness (ACCIÓ), which is attached to the Catalan Ministry of Business and Knowledge, there are currently 8,642 foreign companies established in Catalonia, including enterprises from Germany (13%), the United States (12%), France (12%), Italy (9%), the Netherlands (8%) and the United Kingdom (8%).
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in trade relations between Catalonia and the United States, a country with a population of over 325 million that saw economic growth of 2.3% in 2017. Catalan exports to the United States increased by 21% from 2016 to 2017, reaching a historic high of €2.6 billion. A total of 9844 Catalan companies export to the US, and 840 have subsidiaries in the country.
Àngels Chacón, the Minister of Business and Knowledge, said the trip has demonstrated that, in addition to “generating synergies and encouraging collaborations”, Catalonia wants to be “one more partner when it comes to promoting and generating investment projects”. According to Chacón, “Catalonia has a lot of assets that make it an attractive destination – universities, a start-up hub recognised at the European level, a highly innovative industrial fabric, and an economy that’s open to the world. Thanks to the high-added-value projects that come to Catalonia, we’re one of the magnets for investment projects in which talent is an essential element.”
With the objective of continuing to promote the expansion of the Catalan business network in the United States, the Ministry of Business and Knowledge, through ACCIÓ, has foreign trade and investment offices in New York, Washington, Miami and Silicon Valley.
On his trip to Silicon Valley, President Torra was accompanied by the Minister of Business and Knowledge, Àngels Chacón; the Catalan government’s representative in the United States, Victoria Alsina; the Director General for Industry, Matilde Villarroya; the chief executive of ACCIÓ, Joan Romero; and the director of ACCIÓ in Silicon Valley, Marc Bonavia.