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Elisenda Bou-Balut, the 34 year-old engineer from Barcelona who has succeeded in selling her company to Apple

Elisenda Bou-Balut, the 34 year-old engineer from Barcelona who has succeeded in selling her company to Apple

Vilynx, founded by Juan Carlos Riveiro and Elisenda Bou Balut, has been sold to the American computer giant.

Apple's first Spanish acquisition is a company in Barcelona. The technological giant has paid 50 million dollars for Vilynx, an artificial intelligence company that specializes in intelligent video indexing and tagging, a technology that makes it possible to attach all kinds of tags to the contents of a video in order to make it easier to recover its images.

Now with more than 50 employees, the Vilynx headquarters was originally located on the campus of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), before it was obliged to move to a larger site. Today the company has offices in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Palo Alto, as most of its clients are large American television channels.

Elisenda Bou-Balut studied telecommunications at the UPC, before going on to MIT and participating in various projects linked to NASA and Google. The daughter of a painter and an engineer, she was a fan of the work of physicist and writer Jorge Wagensberg as a teenager and knew from a young age that she would go on to study engineering.

She has always enjoyed challenges: During her time in Boston she entered a competition to build a robot for NASA and since then she has continued to collaborate with the MIT aeronautics department.

She has been Chief Technology Officer at Vilnyx since 2013, and in 2018 she won the Young Entrepreneurs prize awarded by the Associació de Joves Empresaris de Catalunya (Aijec).

Future of the sector in Barcelona

The purchase of Vilnyx by Apple raises questions about the technological giant’s plans for Barcelona. Apple may decide to take advantage of the purchase of Vilnyx to establish a European center for artificial intelligence in Barcelona.

In recent years, Barcelona has done much to boost its entrepreneurial ecosystem and there have been similar operations to Apple’s purchase of Vilnyx , such as Providence Equity’s investment in Signaturit, a digital startup launched by Juan Zamora.

Apple may maintain the company's activity in Barcelona and even turn the city into one of the European centers specializing in the development of artificial intelligence. Apple currently has artificial intelligence facilities in Ireland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, while Barcelona is already home to Microsoft and Amazon research centers.

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