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Catalonia’s technology startups are optimistic for the future

On Sunday, the folks of Catalonia, in Spain’s jap reaches, have been requested a query: Do you wish to have Catalonia to turn into an impartial state in the type of a republic?

Over 2.2 million folks solid their ballots, and just about 92 % of votes have been in want of independence. Spain’s govt, which is loath to look its territorial integrity undermined, answered by way of calling the referendum illegitimate. That got here after it closed polling stations, seized poll packing containers, blocked referendum web pages, and arrested pro-independence leaders.

Spanish police assault and pepper spray non violent civilians who have been guarding poll field in a the town corridor in #Catalonia. #CatalanReferedum %.twitter.com/5uAEjWRCiv
— Jaume Clotet (@jaumeclotet) October 1, 2017

Catalonia’s future is unsure, now not least for the masses of technology startups that experience made the prosperous and dynamic province their house. I reached out to a number of of them, and requested about their hopes and fears for the future.

While maximum corporations and CEOs contacted returned my e mail, just a handful agreed to move on the file, mentioning the fraught political local weather in Catalonia at the second.

One particular person satisfied to speak was once Dennis Klett, CEO of the Barcelona-based holiday condominium provider, Lodgify. Like lots of the corporations I spoke to, he expressed self belief in the proven fact that the digital-service-based nature of this industry would face up to any upheaval.

“Lodgify wouldn’t be affected by the independence of Catalonia. I don’t foresee an impact on our business considering our software is an online-based global product and is accessible from anywhere around the world,” Klett mentioned.

Similarly, Gideon Pridor, VP of Marketing for TravelPerk, a company commute reserving platform, mentioned an impartial Catalonia wouldn’t have an hostile have an effect on on industry.

Our commute marketplace is going well past Spain – from Europe to New Zealand. Local turmoil will have to have little-to-no impact on the industry.

Nacho Rodés, CEO and founding father of Rocketroi, was once much more blunt, pronouncing “Most of our business is outside our borders, so I don’t believe a hypothetical independence of Catalonia would have any effect.”

A habitual theme in our discussions was once that of Catalonia – and Barcelona particularly – as an open, dynamic, entrepreneurial position.

In our dialogue, Rodés mentioned Barcelona’s startups are characterized by way of “young, multicultural, peaceful, and clearly global values.” Everyone I spoke to expressed the trust that it doesn’t matter what occurs, the ones enviable attributes would stay.

TravelPerk’s Pridor mentioned “Barcelona is an amazing place. People want to move here, which is why it became one of Europe’s most international cities and the startup scene is growing so fast. At TravelPerk, we are 54 people from 28 different nationalities! We don’t see that changing anytime soon”

That mentioned, a few of the folks I spoke to expressed considerations. Rodés mentioned he fears the have an effect on uncertainty would possibly have on his industry. This is one thing echoed by way of Lodgify’s CEO, Dennis Klett, who mentioned the following:

Numerous issues are up in the air at the second and no person totally understands the regulatory implications the referendum can have, for instance, on taxes, criminal framework, forex, European Union, immigration, and many others. Uncertainty is at all times unhealthy for industry and gained’t assist the Barcelona tech scene.

European Union club of a future Catalan state is a big factor, and person who shouldn’t be overpassed in the euphoria of the second. For a state to be admitted into the EU, it should first download the unanimous consent of each and every EU member. Spain would nearly no doubt veto this.

But what about club of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), which is composed of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein? Here’s the place it will get difficult, so listen.

Ian Dunt, editor of Politics.co.united kingdom and creator of Brexit: What The Hell Happens Now, advised me that it’s fully imaginable for a Catalan state to enroll in the EFTA, supplied it download the consent of all of the aforementioned nations.

However, to enroll in the European Economic Area (EEA), and due to this fact achieve get entry to to the all-important unmarried marketplace, it might wish to download the consent of all EEA participants. This is composed of all 28 participants of the EU, plus the 3 participants of the EFTA (everybody aside from Switzerland, necessarily, which has its personal bizarre bilateral framework with the EU).

Again, Spain would most probably veto that. And for the reason that business offers require the unanimous consent of the EU and its constituent parliaments, it could combat to create a bespoke deal.

This factor has lengthy been identified. Judging by way of the overwhelming end result, it obviously hasn’t tempered enthusiasm for independence among Catalonia’s citizens.

Ultimately regardless that, it’s some distance too early to look what’s going to occur. Although the native govt in Barcelona now possesses an awesome mandate for independence, the central govt in Madrid is refusing to just accept the end result. Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy went as far as to mention “there has not been a self-determination referendum in Catalonia.”

For Catalonia’s startups, this implies the something they’re dreading: uncertainty.

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