SEP MONITOR Nov 2015: Portugal Rising: Mapping ICT Scaleups


Rising from the late-2000s financial crisis, Portugal is rapidly emerging on the European startup map. This is no secret: we were in Lisbon in June for our SEP Matching Event and we found a very vibrant entrepreneurial community, and it’s therefore no surprise that the Web Summit will

be held there from 2016. Together with ten other cities, Porto is on its way to getting recognized internationally as an attractive hot spot for startups.

The good news is that this young ecosystem has already been able to produce tangible results. We identified in Portugal 40 ICT scaleups, and an additional 24 other startups lined up to follow in their path. For results, we are talking about “scale- ups” — companies able to produce employment and innovation at scale, and “exits” — companies interesting enough to stimulate the appetite for acquisition from larger ones.

Portugal has also already produced nine exits, attracting the interest of foreign acquirers, primarily from the US.

Small numbers if compared with other European countries like the UK, Germany, France and Spain. But not small at all if we consider the relative smaller size of the Portuguese economy.

The same numbers – if weighted to factor the Lusitanian GDP – tell a different story: The Portugal startup ecosystem is young but is growing fast and well. Keep up the good work!

We have to mention one European unicorn has Portuguese blood in its veins. Founded in 2008 by the Portuguese entrepreneur Josè Neves, with more than 1,000 employees Farfetch is a leading example of the Portuguese ecosystem. Farfetch stats are not included in the Portugal figures, but its relevance and role cannot be neglected.

Alberto Onetti
Chairman, Mind the Bridge Foundation Coordinator, Startup Europe Partnership