Founder and Managing General Partner at Indico Capital Partners
Guest editors are local ecosystem leaders: successful founders, investors, or thought leaders. Have someone in mind? Nominate a country guest editor.
Disclaimer: all content within the Startup Ecosystem Summary and Editor’s Guide sections is written by and reflects the personal perspective of the guest editor. The guest editor is not responsible for content within the Country Snapshot and Community sections, as much of this content is compiled from external sources and does not necessarily reflect the guest editor’s view.
Portugal has become a highlight in the European tech scene over the last few years having produced companies such as Farfetch, Outsystems, Talkdesk, Feedzai, Unbabel and many others that became unicorns or highly successful at a global scale. While the ecosystem is small and still fairly immature, the talent pool is high and the emergence of two private funds (Indico and Armilar) with experienced VC partners in 2019 has changed the prospects of this emerging part of Europe that boasts the annual presence of Web Summit and a deep while small pool of talented engineers with a global mindset.
The success stories and great quality of life in this small country have been proving to be a magnet for foreign founders to relocate and also for more locals to try their luck at launching a new successful tech company. With upcoming potential exits of a number of local companies doing well globally, expect capital to flow back into the system complementing the current established venture capital firms Indico (early stage) and Armilar (tech transfer). Time is on the side of Portugal, as founders become more mature and hype gives way to consistency as time goes by.
Editor’s choice of the industries with the most potential for technology disruption and growth.
Editor’s choice of the country’s top 10 emerging tech startups.
Digital Printing Service Marketplace
Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto
Facilities Management Software
Transportation, Machine Learning
Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto
Translation, Artificial Intelligence
Editor’s pick of which ‘Featured Startup’ is especially worth following and why.
Editor’s perspective of the maturity level of talent in the ecosystem.
Editor’s commentary on how the country’s culture and history have impacted the ecosystem.
As a small country on the southwestern edge of Europe, Portugal has a rich history of taking risks and conquering the world, with Portuguese hence being spoken in countries all over the world and a huge diaspora. It also has a history of overspending which got it into trouble financially over the centuries and even recently after the financial crisis. With a hard working culture, the Portuguese are flexible and very friendly, particularly to foreigners. Over the last decade, The governments in power have been keen on getting the country on a higher growth path and changing the country’s external perception. They have prioritized technology innovation and have been very friendly to startups attempting to promote the local ecosystem.
Interested in becoming more involved in this ecosystem and connecting with local ecosystem leaders? Let us know.
Armilar Venture Partners (Lisbon): Armilar Venture Partners (formerly known as Espírito Santo Ventures) is an independent VC fund manager of more than 200 million euros of assets, represented by worldwide companies with innovative products and services that are improving our world, the way we live, and the way we do business. (Source: Armilar Venture Partners)
Bright Pixel (Lisbon, Porto): A group of experienced builders, creative thinkers and investors, whose goal is to transform two key things: the way companies address innovation and how new ventures are put together. (Source: Bright Pixel)
Busy Angels (Lisbon): Busy Angels makes seed stage investments in technology-based startups both from IT/digital and life sciences sectors. (Source: EU-Startups)
EDP Ventures (Lisbon): Invests in early-stage startups working in the energy space. (Source: EDP Ventures)
Indico Capital Partners (Lisbon): The leading independent venture capital firm in Portugal investing in global and sustainable technology companies. Indico focuses on artificial intelligence, software as a service, internet of things, fintech, cybersecurity and digital companies, targeting investments at the seed to Series A level. (Source: Indico Capital Partners)
LC Ventures (Lisbon): LC Ventures' team of well-versed engineers and business operators helps daring founders from incorporation to Series A. (Source: LC Ventures)
Portugal Ventures (Lisbon, Porto): The state owned VC invests in early to late seed startups in the tech, life sciences, and travel and leisure sector. Portugal Ventures holds open calls for entrepreneurship for companies to apply for MVP funding. (Source: Portugal Ventures)
Shilling Capital (Lisbon): Shilling Capital was founded in 2011 and specializes in angel and growth capital investments. Their focus is products or services in the digital sector, retail, and banking. (Source: Shilling Capital)
IPN (Coimbra): Created in 1991 through a University of Coimbra initiative, Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN) is a private non-profit organization which promotes innovation and the transfer of technology, establishing the connection between the scientific and technological environment and the production sector. (Source: IPN)
Startup Braga (Braga): Startup Braga is an innovation hub designed to assist the inception and development of high potential entrepreneurial projects for international markets. In partnership with Microsoft we provide business acceleration programs for startups with global ambitions. (Source: Startup Braga)
Startup Lisboa (Lisbon): A business incubator that began its activity on February 2012. Founded in 2011 by the Municipality of Lisbon, bank Montepio and IAPMEI (Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation), it is a private non-profit association whose mission is to support the creation of companies and entrepreneurs in their first years of activity, to promote job creation, and aid the urban, social, and economic vitality of Lisbon. (Source: Startup Lisboa)
Startup Sintra (Sintra): Startup Sintra is a hub that supports the creation of companies and accompanies its first years of activity. Founded with the support of the Council of Sintra, Metal Group, Sintra Business Association, IAPMEI - Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and IEFP - Employment and Vocational Training Institute, provides entrepreneurs and technology and industrial companies with office space and supporting structure to maximize your chances of success. Startup Sintra is the place to be to succeed. (Source: Startup Sintra)
UPTEC (Porto): Science and Technology Park of University of Porto. UPTEC is a meeting point between different disciplines, contexts and experts. (Source: UPTEC)
Lisbon Challenge (Lisbon): A 10-week program for up to 15 startups culminating in Investment Day, when the startups share their journey with investors. (Source: Lisbon Challenge)
Porto Design Accelerator (Porto): Focused on the best new ideas in design and manufacturing industry, Porto Design Accelerator is the place for you if you are developing a new furniture, fashion, automotive, or an aerospace product and you need additional mentorship from experts, as well as working space, storage space, prototyping resources, and materials. It also hosts an international road show. (Source: Porto Design Accelerator)
Startup Porto Accelerator (Porto): The Startup Porto Accelerator is a 7 week acceleration program that includes mentoring sessions, access to free services, a network that includes Silicon Valley investors and partners and the possibility to win €17,000. The 252-hours of acceleration are held in the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs headquarters, where startups have access to workspace, a library, meeting room and training opportunities. (Source: Startup Porto Accelerator)
Commit Porto (Porto): Commit Porto is a one-day tech conference focusing on software development professionals, who use the opportunity to discuss challenges in their work and latest developments in the field. The event features prominent speakers and excellent networking opportunities. (Source: Commit Porto)
Desafios Porto (Porto): Created by the Municipality of Porto in partnership with NOS, EDP, CEIIA e EY, the competition is aimed at finding solutions that will improve the quality of life of the citizens of Porto, in sectors such as health, mobility, and energy. Each winner gets up to €50,000 to implement its solution in the city. (Source: Desafios Porto)
Hackacity (Porto): A hackathon for data scientists and data enthusiasts. During one day participants play with the city’s data and come up with solutions that will trigger the improvement of the quality of life in the city. (Source: Hackacity)
Lisbon Investment Summit (Lisbon): During two intense days, this conference brings together top tier investors, bold entrepreneurs, and visionaries. (Source: Lisbon Investment Summit)
Porto Tech Hub Conference (Porto): Among the many initiatives and events of the Porto Tech Hub, the conference is their flagship event, bringing businesses and people together to celebrate the power of technology. (Source: Porto Tech Hub Conference)
Start & Scale Week (Porto): Under the ScaleUp Porto initiative, the city hosts an annual 7 day- event, dedicated to the promotion of innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology. Typical features include hackathons, master classes, conferences, meetings, startup and industry tours, panels, and much more. (Source: Start & Scale Week)
Web Summit (Lisbon): One of the largest and most well-known tech conferences in the world. Web Summit brings together people and companies redefining the global tech industry. (Source: Web Summit)
Porto Startup Coffee (Porto): Regular informal meet-ups for entrepreneurs, investors and people interested in entrepreneurship, everyone is welcome. (Source: Meetup)
Startup Lisboa (Lisbon): Supports the creation of companies in Lisbon and their first years of activity. (Source: Startup Lisboa)
Startup Portugal: A public-private think tank in charge of benchmarking government initiatives against compatibility for a thriving entrepreneurship community. It operates as a medium between government, entrepreneurs, incubators, and accelerators, finding the needs of the ecosystem. (Source: Startup Portugal)
Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon): Investment in innovation and entrepreneurship, acting as a catalyst for technology transfer, contribute decisively to the economic development of Portugal. (Source: Instituto Superior Técnico)
Universidade do Porto (Porto): Has established itself as the ideal space for new talent to turn brilliant ideas into entrepreneurial initiatives. (Source: Universidade do Porto)