Start-ups back in focus as 4YFN broadens line-up

The GSMA’s Four Years From Now (4YFN) event for technology start-ups features an expanded conference programme for MWC Barcelona 2022, as organisers build on a successful entry to the main Fira Gran Via halls during the 2021 show.

Sessions dedicated to technology for sports and education bring the number of topics in the 4YFN conference programme to nine, all structured around broader themes exploring founders, humanism, funding and corporate venturing, and creative minds.

Among the other topics in the conference line-up are digital health, environmental tech, frontier and fintech, and diversity and inclusion.

Event director Pere Duran highlighted Francesca Bria, president of the Italian National Innovation Fund, and fintech expert Maximilian Tayenthal, co-founder and co–CEO of mobile bank N26, as examples of the calibre of conference speakers, with specific sectors set to be in focus across all four days of the 2022 event.

The keynotes are accompanied by fireside chats, competitions and workshops, all complemented by an exhibition of more than 500 start-ups from across the globe, along with a host of networking activities.

Duran noted the “international flavour is coming back” to 4YFN in 2022, crediting global and Catalan authorities for enabling delegations from Japan, South Korea, Chile, a host of European countries and more to attend.

The event is located in Hall 6 of the Fira Gran Via, the second time in 4YFN’s history it has featured alongside the main MWC Barcelona event.

Duran noted a positive response from exhibitors, sponsors and speakers to 4YFN’s debut to the main venue in 2021, citing synergies with the broader MWC event and expansion of the potential market for the start-ups exhibiting.

And while he conceded there had been an impact from Covid-19 (coronavirus) on 4YFN, Duran said the nature of the event meant this had been largely positive in terms of generating opportunities for start-ups to “disrupt industries” by tapping shifts in public behaviour during the pandemic.

The event director also explained the event is timely, citing a huge appetite for investment in the European tech start-up sector, with recent funding rounds of between €100 million and €200 million: “the shape of the ecosystem is very, very good right now”.


The 4YFN Awards are also back, this year focusing on finding the best digital start-ups from around the world. The five companies shortlisted in 2022 are transaction authentication company Authena; Citibeats, an ethical AI platform; wearable health outfit Idun Technologies, satellite-based precision agriculture service provider Nax Solutions; and Roybi Robot, producer of an AI-powered children’s toy.

Also on offer is the Investors’ Club, a dedicated networking service connecting investors with start-ups, and the Community Club, a service targeting tech hubs, accelerators and incubators, universities and more with the aim of spurring innovation and entrepreneurship.

Check out all the action from 4YFN on Mobile World Live TV, in Mobile World Daily or on the 4YFN website: