Lisbon and technology, an inside view
Not a month goes by without an article on Portugal telling us about this country as the best holiday destination, the safest city in Europe and the last El Dorado with the highest real estate yields. The ecosystem that has been built around new technologies is showing sustained growth and is becoming denser at high speed. More new businesses, specialist events and coworking spaces have been created in the last twelve months in Lisbon than in any other city in Europe. Talent and venture capital are pouring in from across the country and abroad.
Money injected by venture capital and major events dedicated to new technologies
The new technology sector is growing at twice the pace in Portugal than in other European tech hubs: last year, $ 350 million was invested in Portugal by venture capital companies. Recent figures indicate that private equity investments have more than triple over the past three years and are now reaching 7 billion euros, in an economy in full recovery which needs capital.
Organizers of tech events choose Lisbon, especially the Web Summit, the largest global meeting of the sector, which has chosen to settle there for the next ten years after already three years here. This should attract 80,000 professionals to the Altice Arena and generate $ 3.5 billion in revenue over this period. Thanks to Lisbon Investment Summit organized in June, Lisbon is one of the European cities at the cutting edge of technology. This is an opportunity for local start-ups to present their project to foreign investors. Recently, Dig publishing, Go Youth or Singularity University have also chosen the Portuguese capital to set up their headquarters or branch.
Lisbon and its rich global talent pool
The Portuguese education system produces highly qualified young talents destined to work in the technology sector. It is one of the best European systems and, more than any other country in Europe, it emphasizes the acquisition of technological skills. The main university towns of the country all have a technical institute and, compared to the number of inhabitants, the number of engineers graduating each year is much higher than that of many countries: the young graduates of the Politecnico Institute of Braganca, ofUpTec in Porto, from Tecnico, fromInstituto Politecnico of Lisbon and the new campus of Nova School of Business and Economics from Carcavelos to the outskirts of Lisbon, number in the thousands every year. It is therefore not surprising that with Lisbon’s economy booming, many young Portuguese graduates choose to stay and work in Portugal rather than try their luck in London or Paris, for example.
In addition, in Portugal in general, and in Lisbon in particular, there is a strong increase in the number of international professionals, both young graduates and experienced managers such as Felix petersen at Faber Ventures, Simon schaefer at Startup Portugal and Rohan silva who left London a few years ago to launch Second Home in Portugal.
Getting started in Lisbon is easy if we believe the growing number of people choosing the Portuguese capital.
The city is constantly absorbing a growing number of new businesses and helping them to grow. Thus, it is faster and easier to launch a start-up in Lisbon than in many other urban technological centers. Beta-i, one of Lisbon’s most dynamic first coworking spaces and accelerators, has tripled in size over the last 12 to 18 months and now has around 70 employees. Dozens of new workspaces opened this year, among which Heden, IDEIA, and Cowork Lisboa. Soho House, a member’s club, recently announced the opening of a branch in Lisbon in 2020. Finally, the city announced the launch by the end of the year of Beato Creative Hub, a gigantic campus of 35,000 square meters in which some 3,000 people.
Finding offices to accelerate the growth of your business or go freelance has never been easier thanks to the dynamism of the local technology scene. Dozens of international start-ups choose Lisbon as their headquarters. International founders like those of Linkilaw, JungleAi and Yoochai, have decided to start their activity or to move their headquarters to Lisbon. The company James based in New York and specializing in artificial intelligence has opened offices here, as has Veniam after raising $ 26.9 billion this year.
Even the big groups elect the city of the seven hills to strengthen their growth in the long term. So, Daimler will soon inaugurate a huge technological hub and Google has announced the launch of an engineering hub in Oeiras, a few steps from the sublime beaches of Lisbon, with a target of 500 job creations in the coming months.
An above-average success rate for first-generation start-ups
Lisbon can be proud of its success. The first wave of start-ups arrived five to ten years ago, when no one believed in Portugal’s potential as a high-tech center, and the economic crisis raged along with falling wages and salaries. gloomy economic outlook. With discretion, they embarked on their own, perfecting their product in one of the most difficult markets and in the midst of one of the worst economic crises in the country’s contemporary history. To be able to grow, these start-ups had to consider the international aspect from their creation and overcome the obstacles posed by linguistic, legal and cultural diversity in Europe.
Many of these pioneering companies have acquired international notoriety as TalkDesk, Uniplaces, Unbabel, Codacy, Farfetch or Hole19. Among them, some are on the way to becoming unicorns. So, Outsystems has raised $ 360 million this year from Goldman Sachs and KKR and is valued at $ 1 billion.
If the money available and the attention paid to Lisbon are intoxicating, one of its most valuable assets lies in these first start-ups that have managed to grow. Just as they have managed to quietly rise to the rank of internationally recognized companies by setting up in London, New York (Codacy) or San Franscisco (Unbabel), the most successful technology companies in Lisbon share their experience. and best practices, essential to the success and sustainability of a high-tech city like Lisbon.
Clara Armand-Delille is the founder of ThirdEyeMedia, a strategic communication and press relations consulting agency dedicated to startups and venture capital funds. With more than 10 years of experience in the industry, and roles with Google, Accel Partners and iZettle, Clara has successfully led the development of startups in Europe, the United States and Latin America, organizing launches in new markets, fundraising announcements and regional or international communications campaigns.
Among its current and previous clients, ThirdEyeMedia has TransferWise, GoCardless, ZipJet, TechTour, 360 Capital Partners, Cubyn, Tramonex, Badoo, FoodCheri, Le Slip Francais, Navya and PayFit.