Spanish startups have raised quite a chunk less so far this year than they did last year — $1.1bn in the first half of 2023, compared to $1.9bn for the same period last year. And even accounting for a reporting lag on deals, it's unlikely that a nearly $1bn shortfall will be made up. But that hasn’t stopped some of the country’s startups ramping up hiring in the last 12 months.
Using data from Dealroom, Sifted has compiled a list of the 10 fastest-growing Spanish startups based on headcount growth. To avoid the results being skewed by small businesses making lots of hires, we only looked at companies founded after 2005 that have raised $50m or more.
Factorial is an HR software platform that automates processes such as payrolls and expenses, and allows companies to manage time off and recruitment. Its employee count has grown from 730 in July 2022 to 1,290 in July 2023.
Team growth last 12 months: 77% to 1290 employees
Last raised: $120m Series C, October 2022, led by Atomico and including Creandum and Tiger Global
Total equity funding: $219m
Tebrio is a biotech company building an 80k square metre insect farm — it will breed mealworms to be turned into protein for animal feed, biofertiliser for plant nutrition and sugar for biodegradable plastic manufacturing. According to the company, it aims to produce sustainable alternatives to plant protein and livestock farms by reducing water usage by 98% and arable land usage by 90%.
Team growth last 12 months: 69% to 22 employees
Last raised: €50m Series A, June 2020
Total equity funding: €50m
Cobee is a fintech platform for employee benefits management and flexible remuneration. It last raised a €40m Series B in November 2022, led by Octopus Ventures and Notion Capital, with participation from Balderton, Speedinvest and Dila Capital.
Team growth last 12 months: 66% to 184 employees
Last raised: €40m Series B, November 2022
Total equity funding: $61.9m
Job&Talent is a Madrid-based digital hiring platform which became Spain’s third unicorn after a $500m Series E in December 2021. It specialises in matching workers with temporary opportunities in sectors like warehousing, manufacturing, logistics and e-commerce. The company provides workers with the security that come from full-time jobs, including pension contributions, sick pay, paid holiday and health insurance. It’s backed by investors such as Atomico, SoftBank, BlackRock and Goldman Sachs.
Team growth last 12 months: 60% to 3,001 employees
Last raised: $500m Series E in December 2021, $250m in debt in May 2022
Total equity funding: $880m
Impress is a chain of orthodontic clinics offering its services directly to consumers rather than through conventional dental clinics. Its tech involves 3D scans and panoramic X-rays as well as an app for customers to monitor their progress. Since its employee count was halved between January and February 2022, according to Dealroom data, the company has been on an upward growth trajectory and now employs 736 people — which surpasses January 2022’s figure. It last raised a $125m Series B in July last year to expand its clinics internationally.
Team growth last 12 months: 59% to 736 employees
Last raised: $125m Series B, July 2022
Total equity funding: $181m
Myinvestor is a Madrid-based neobank that offers banking products like mortgages, savings accounts and an investment portfolio. It raised a Series B in July 2021 from AXA and Daruan VC, and recently secured a €15m convertible loan note from existing investors AXA, Spanish department store chain El Corte Inglés and Andorran bank Andbank.
Team growth last 12 months: 55% to 82 employees
Last raised: €20m Series B, July 2021, €15m convertible loan note, February 2023
Total equity funding: $60.5m
ARTHEx Biotech is a Valencia-based clinical-stage biotech startup that investigates RNA compounds to treat Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 — a neuromuscular disorder causing muscle weakness and life-limiting complications. It recently raised a €42m Series B from Columbus Venture Partners, Hadean Ventures, Sounds Bioventures and the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund.
Team growth last 12 months: 53% to 23 employees
Last raised: €42m early VC, May 2023
Total equity funding: $53.8m
Seedtag is an advertising company that uses AI tools to read internet content and matches it up with relevant advertisers. Its tech doesn't rely on cookies — the data units that track internet viewing history — which have attracted criticism from privacy and security experts. It was founded by two former Google employees, and in July last year raised "more than" €250m equity from a single investor, Advent International, which the company says it will use to expand into the US.
Team growth last 12 months: 50% to 471 employees
Last raised: €40m Series B, September 2021, €250m growth equity VC, July 2022
Total equity funding: $330m
CoverManager is a Seville-based hospitality bookings management platform. It allows restaurants to manage in-venue tables, kitchen resources and online delivery orders. It raised a €35m Series A in May 2022, to which it added €17m later in the year. It’s backed by London-based GP Bullhound and four angel investors, including Félix Ruiz Hernández, who is also an investor in Spanish unicorns Glovo and Job&Talent.
Team growth last 12 months: 50% to 162 employees
Last raised: €52m Series A across two funding rounds, in May and December 2022
Total equity funding: $57.2m
Barcelona-based Exoticca is an online tour agency specialising in multi-day package tours. Its technology manages flights, hotels, transfers and excursions as well as real-time monitoring of the customer's travel experience.
It raised its Series C in July 2021, which was led by Claret Capital Partners and Sabadell Venture Capital — they both also invested a total of €20m in debt in September 2022.
Team growth last 12 months: 49% to 382 employees
Last raised: €25.2m Series C, July 2021, €20m debt, September 2022
Total equity funding: $53.1m