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S2 Xpeed celebrates 2 years

S2 Xpeed celebrates 2 years supporting hardware startups

We are celebrating 2 years of S2 Xpeed, Europe’s pioneering accelerator for and industrial tech and hardware startups. Explore our journey from inception to becoming a leader in the field, offering a unique program bridging the gap from prototype to manufacturing. Join the story of innovation, partnerships, and growth in Europe’s industrial technology landscape!

The idea

Two years ago, in 2022, an ambitious project was born. It was an initiative from civil society, by individuals who believed in the importance of strengthening the role of the industrial sector and improving Europe’s competitiveness. And how did they plan to do this? By accelerating and investing in high-tech industrial startups through an accelerator program.

At first glance it seemed easy: create one more accelerator program, right? If only things had been that easy. Now, in looking back, we’re proud to see all that we’ve been through. From creating a community, signing more than 35 partnerships all over Europe, organizing an investment forum, hosting 2 programs …. and much more.

A Unique Program at the European Level

In Europe, there are only three business programs aimed at enhancing the industrial technology sector: one in Berlin, another in Latvia, and ours in Barcelona. Of these, we are the only ones offering a practical program where European industrial technology and hardware startups can transition from a functional prototype phase to manufacturing.

The question arises: why are there so few industrial technology acceleration programs in Europe? 

Oriol Pascual, CEO of S2 Xpeed who has been designing and running acceleration programs for over 15 years, observes that the entrepreneurial sector capitalized well on the digitalization boom and is now closely linked to it. “When other startups want to develop their acceleration programs, they tend to replicate existing models. There is ample literature on digitalization and similar enterprises. However, there is very little in the hardware sector.”

The industrial technology sector still has an immature ecosystem, and entrepreneurs creating programs lack much inspiration from the European market. “We had to build our programs from scratch, without any manuals” concludes Pascual.

When Being Part of an Immature Ecosystem Becomes a Competitive Advantage

This lack of offerings doesn’t align with the real demands of investors, who seek to diversify their investments into the industrial sector. In 2023, investment in European technology startups reached nearly 63 billion euros, a 37% drop from 2022 levels. This decline is even steeper compared to the record investment of 118 billion euros in 2021.

However, this negative trend is accompanied by a shift in preferences towards physical technology aimed at industry, such as electric mobility, EV battery, and green buildings, which were the fastest-growing sectors in 2023.

This presents us with a competitive advantage to establish ourselves as hardware leaders in a market that until recently did not exist.

Info 2 years S2 Xpeed (Stage2)

The Challenge and Excitement of Two Years

In this regard, celebrating these two years becomes a confirmation of our courage and strength. When we were born, we established a roadmap for three years. We are two-thirds along this path, and we can say that we have survived the most difficult part. What has happened during this time?

And amidst all this roller coaster… As if that weren’t enough, we underwent a rebranding. We left behind the old Stage2 to become S2 Xpeed: a new name that encapsulates an improvement and a shift towards professionalism. 👇🏽

Innovation for Hardware Startups… and Corporations too

One of our key learnings has been identifying a need for innovation in companies that they cannot resolve internally, and seeing that S2 Xpeed can be the missing piece of the puzzle to connect these worlds.

When you’re an industrial company, if you want to find external collaborations with other startups to innovate, you usually encounter an ocean of digital projects. Digitalization is fine, but often it’s not what they’re looking for.

From S2 Xpeed, we have seen that we can identify industrial technology trends before anyone else, incorporate them into companies, and advocate for your work to the media.

At the same time, startups also need corporations. Corporate investment in European industrial tech reached $802M in 2022, doubling that of 2020. Moreover, the majority of corporate investors in European industrial tech in 2022 operate in the industrial space.

What’s Next?

From the outset, we set out to become a benchmark, and these two years have been a testament to our progress in that direction. However, we are aware that the road to success is filled with constant challenges and a mountain of work that seems endless.

Despite our achievements thus far, we recognize that there is still much to be done. Our vision for the immediate future is to consolidate and expand our presence in the European market. We want to strengthen our ties with the community by adding new members who share our passion for innovation and industrial technology.

Looking ahead, we have an ambitious goal for 2027: we want to welcome 100 new startups to our platform. This milestone would not only be a significant achievement for us but would also strengthen our position as facilitators of innovation and business growth in the industrial sector.

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