The Essential Guide to the Lisbon Startup Scene

Lisbon's startup scene

If you are coming to Lisbon to set up your tech startup and you want to know more about the Lisbon startup ecosystem, here you will find what are the best programs and events that you cannot miss!

More, you will have an insider’s viewpoint on the best startups in Lisbon and their success stories as well as the investors and other key players that will help you take your startup to the next level.

First of all, Lisbon was considered the first European Capital of Entrepreneurship for 2015, which reflects the booming startup scene of the city. You’ll find several incubators and accelerators and many other interesting events that will help you boost new ideas and turn them into real success cases.

Check out incubators and accelerators in Lisbon

Lisbon Challenge is our accelerator program, promoted by Beta-i. It’s the most international startup accelerator in Europe, with 3 startups at Y Combinator and 2 at Seedcamp. We have received applications from over 70 countries….

For those who are not familiar, we give you some ideas of what the program is about:

– Lisbon Challenge is a 3-month intensive tech startup accelerator program

– Prototype/product phase:  looking to achieve product-market fit and investment readiness.

– During the program you will have access to over 1000 workshops and mentoring sessions, provided by 200 mentors. Some of the company mentors names include: Google, Airbnb and Uber.

– In the end of the program our partners at Caixa Capital, one Portugal’s best investors, choose a startup to invest (In the past they’ve invested in MagniFinance and Pknoa).

But, besides Lisbon Challenge, Beta-i also organizes several events that shorten distances between startups, the whole community and potential investors. Beta-i has already organized some of the major startup events in Portugal like the Lisbon Investment Summit, Explorers Festival, Silicon Valley Comes to Lisbon, Seedcamp in Lisbon, Startup Weekend and the first TEDx edition in Portugal.

However, there are many other programs and organizations that you should look at as a great complement in your startup journey. 

Startup Lisboa, was founded in 2011, and they have a cool incubator model. They support startups – from tech to commerce and tourism – by providing office space as well as support structure. They have opened and requalified three buildings in Lisbon’s Center, two for tech and other for commerce and tourism. Nowadays they have about 80 startups and 300 entrepreneurs in their offices.

Fábrica de Startups arrived in 2014 with a multiple stage program that promises to help startups in different stages. Furthermore, they are responsible for the acceleration program of Energia de Portugal. They manage the startup campus powered by Banif where are more than 100 entrepreneurs and 42 startups.

Meet the top startups in Lisbon

Moving on in the ecosystem and because you might be eager to read some of the most successful startup stories, we want to introduce you to 6 amazing startups with who you might want to have a talk!

They are already spread over the globe with impressive results! 

Unbabel, founded in 2013 by two co-founders of Beta-i, Sofia Pessanha and Vasco Pedro. Unbabel translates dynamic content such as product descriptions, blog-posts, emails and knowledge centers. They were the first Portuguese startup on Y Combinator and they received €1.4 Million in funding from investors such as: Y Combinator, Google Ventures, Faber Ventures and Caixa Capital.

Zercatto, one of our alumni, is an online community that helps people manage their investment portfolio. Similar to Popcorn Metrics, another Beta-i alumni, Zercatto was able to get funding from Seedcamp.

Uniplaces, is an online marketplace for booking student accommodation with thousands of verified properties. Uniplaces is our alumni from Lisbon Challenge and a great success case. They raised €4.5 million in total and they have grown their team up to 100 people and they’re working with more than 20 countries.

Codacy, is an automatic code review tool for developers. Theywon the Dublin Web Summit Pitch Competition in 2014. They have also been through Seedcamp and are currently incubated by Startup Lisboa.

Talkdesk, has built an innovative software that allows companies to create a call center in minutes. They were part of 500 Startups and at this point they have raised €18 Million in investment. In 3 years, Talkdesk is already working with companies such as Chevrolet, Fitbit or Dropbox.

Who are the main investors in Lisbon? 

As you know, funding is crucial for most startups to grow fast. In the startup successful cases we mentioned earlier, we have already given you some examples but we will highlight some of the best Portuguese investors:

Caixa Capital, is one of ours partners in Lisbon Challenge. They’re a Private Equity and Venture Capital firm part of the banking group Caixa Geral de Depósitos. They have invested in startups such as Unbabel, Movvo, MagniFinance and Uniplaces. Oh and remember, they choose one of the startups from Lisbon Challenge to invest! Will your startup be the lucky one?

Faber Ventures, is a product/venture development company that explores opportunities to build, launch, and scale early stage digital businesses through a hands-on and integrated approach. From concept to market and from startup to scale. Its workbench includes design, software engineering, business modeling, and digital marketing. They have invested in startups such as Unbabel, Hoko Links, Liquid and Get Social.

Portugal Ventures, is a Venture Capital and Private Equity firm focusing its investments in innovative, scientific and technology-based companies as well as in companies from the more traditional Portuguese Tourism and Industrial sectors. At the moment they have €450 million assets under management.

All of this is just a small portrait of the Lisbon startup scene, there are lot of opportunities and events happening just around the corner… Come and see it for yourself.

Did Lisbon get your attention? Want to build a startup in Lisbon? Then, check out our accelerator, Lisbon Challenge (for tech startups looking for growth), and Beta-Start (a pre-accelerator for first time founders). Applications are almost closing so, you better hurry up…

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