What We Learned at Barcelona’s 4YFN 2018 Event

Earlier this week, Scalable Path developer Aris Papadopoulos attended the 4YFN (or 4 Years From Now) conference. The Barcelona event, now in its 5th year, targets the mobile tech and startup crowd. Over 19,000 attendees and 600 startups attended this year’s 3-day event.

Leading speakers from companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft contributed to an array of keynotes to introduce new platforms, programs, and resources for startups. Aris compiled a list of his favorite highlights and takeaways!

On Fundraising & Valuation

Unai Franco & Oriol Juncosa‘s workshop gave some great insight into how to raise money for startups by addressing questions like:

  • How much should I raise?
  • How do I value my company?
  • How can I optimize impact on investors

Barcelona 4YFN 2018 Startup Mobile Conference


  • Quantify the resources you’ll need at each step of your product roadmap.
  • Estimate/evaluate the impact (monetary or otherwise) each step will have to your business
  • Make a business plan
  • Make a budget
  • Be diligent and systematic, plan before you contact investors.
  • Know who to target depending on the stage your startup is at.
  • Know your business and your competitors (especially when talking to investors).
  • Think about the competition not only now, but also in the future.
  • For founder vesting: If you are more than 2-3 founders, work out the terms between all of you in advance, what will happen if one of the cofounders wants out. Try to avoid dilution. Find a way for the shares to stay between the rest of co-founders.
  • If you are in a specific niche, you might want to select more tech-oriented investors, or assume that you have to educate them)

Maintaining Personalization and Individuation

Keynote speaker and Vice President of Corporate Development at Agoda, Timothy Hughes, listed some important strategies to maintain personalization and individuation within your business.

The speech focused on how the challenge of marketing/personalization is to offer personalized suggestions that match the “version” of the person at each moment and match his/her needs in a specific context.

Tim defined the stages of marketing as:

  • Send one, generic email to everyone.
  • Send a personalized message based on the history of bookings, search performed, location.
  • One person might have different versions of himself, i.e, business travel, family trips, adventure. Personalize to the different versions of yourself, depending on what you are looking for at a specific moment/context.

The Future of AI

Keynote speaker, Max Amorduso, from Amazon, came to talk about the future of artificial intelligence. He suggested that it can, and will, make the complex simple.

Barcelona 4YFN 2018 Startup Mobile Conference


Why focus on voice as an interaction channel?

  • Voice is natural.
  • Voice is everywhere.
  • Any device with a mic and speaker can be voice activated.

He also gave some guideline for programmers when developing skills:

  • Skills always should do what they claim to do.
  • Skills should always respond in an appropriate way, no matter the input.
  • Skills should evolve.

What I also found interesting:

  • Alexa is now available in English in over eighty countries!
  • Custom behavior for a company/product is developed by creating a custom “Alexa skill”, companies like Starbuck, Tide, Domino’s, and Fitbit have already begun to use the tech.

Alexa and other artificial intelligence technologies are part of our future. Click here to check out Max’s full presentation. Another great read is this WSJ article on how podcasters can make money with Alexa.

Until Next Year!

Click here to learn about more of the keynotes, workshops and activities that took place.

You can check out more of my thoughts on the event at @scalablepath. I’m already looking forward to the next 4YFN!