[Tour du monde] The tech world in Lisbon is very welcoming
Bemvindo in Lisboa
Welcome to the Jungle!
This Sunday, I took an early flight to Lisbon. This is my first time going there and I can’t wait to discover the city.
I had all of my Sunday afternoon to explore and loved it. Helene joined me on Sunday evening. We’re ready to find out what’s going on in Lisbon tech.
To be honest; we had no idea what to expect. We had heard certain things that it was exploding and that it was the new West Coast (after the US), and yes we read the articles from Web Summit. It is true that the city will have an incredible exposure with the Summit. But we’ve also heard people say it would be a bit overrated.
We are going to make our own idea!
I only have one contact here, and a little more for Stéphanie. My friend here is a Londoner who moved to Lisbon a few years ago. Today, he spends his time between his box and surf camps. He told me to go see the Surf Office Lisbon. It’s supposed to be some kind of space coworking. Well it was, but no longer to allow clubs to do team seminars while going to enjoy the waves. We were a bit lucky, we ran into the founder, Peter Fabor, who immediately brought us for a coffee. He taught us a lot about the Lisbon ecosystem. And he introduced us to lots of people. When we were in the mini café in front of the Surf Office, we met one of his friends, James Muscat, an Australian who has been living in Lisbon for a while and who is very involved in the tech ecosystem. He also helped us a lot. It was perfect, now we knew exactly where to go, and we were amazed by their welcome.
On the advice of our new friends, we went to visit Startup Lisboa. They tried to call them to inform them of our visit but no one picked up. We were still able to meet Ana Santiago, as we had been recommended. We had a super nice conversation with her, and we got to learn more about Lisbon. Did you know that 3 companies from Startup Lisboa have been selected to go to Y Combinator? Me no, but now we all know it. She was delighted with our initiative and is just waiting to talk about it with “her” start-ups.
This day couldn’t have been better.
After a typical Portuguese lunch, we went to LX Factory. This place is really great, it’s a great place to develop your creativity. And since I honestly can’t find the words to describe this place, go see for yourself! This is where Co-work Lisboa settled. It is the oldest coworking space in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe.
It’s not really a place for start-ups; it’s more for freelancers and creatives. But after walking around a bit, we met the founder, Fernando Mendes. We had a long discussion with him about Lisbon, and in French! It was just amazing. We really liked this guy. He also gave us a lot of advice to make our trip even better. When we spoke he introduced us to Filipa Larangeira, a new author on women in business. We shared our stories and talked a lot about mentoring, once again we had a hell of a time.
We really had the best day possible, for the first day of exploring Lisbon. The people are so welcoming, it’s amazing.
Welcoming like a Portuguese
We arrived in Lisbon without knowing anything or anyone, but we still managed to be very busy.
To start the day, we met Limor Schweitzer, an entrepreneur who arrived in Lisbon 10 years ago. He is the founder of Robosavvy, a distributor of robotic solutions. It was great to have the perspective of an international entrepreneur who has been here for a long time. According to him, Lisbon is great for working there if your business is elsewhere, but it is growing.
Kindly, Limor dropped us off at our next meeting. It was probably the one we expected the most, although everything was amazing in Lisbon, no laughing. We were about to meet Beta-i. It is the biggest accelerator in Portugal, but also one of the biggest in Europe.
They had prepared a great program for us: meeting with the founder and the team to learn more about their programs, then meeting with some start-ups, and finally a tour of their premises.
Beta-i is very international, if you spend time with them you will be surrounded by founders from all over Europe. Great boxes have come out of their homes, as in Lisbon in general after all. And yeah, several have been accepted to YC to further accelerate their development. That says a lot about the quality of Lisbon start-ups.
One last visit and Helene will have to return to Paris. So we went to BGI at ISCTE, one of the best universities in Lisbon. The BGI program is associated with MIT for R&D. They greeted us very warmly although we arrived unexpectedly. Their program provides immense help to both entrepreneurs and students. And that we appreciate!
It’s time to leave for Helene if she doesn’t want to miss her plane. However, there was one place on our list that I wanted to visit. So I headed for La Fabrica from Startup. It is one of the best incubators in Lisbon. They were very busy when I came, but I was still able to speak with some of the team and take a tour of their offices. I look forward to being able to speak more with them.
I wasn’t leaving until the next day, but found out that Wednesday was a public holiday. So, I have my day before going back to the plane …
We loved Lisbon, and I really think they are building something great. We will return soon to take the pulse of the city.
Antoine Delanglade is an Entrepreneur in Residence for OneRagtime. Passionate about extreme sports and a full-time traveler, he helps brands create new experiences for millennials, capitalizing on the power of technology and communities. For OneRagtime, he participates in the animation of the OneRagtime community, mainly in circles of young entrepreneurs and influencers, around the world. Always up to date with the latest tech news and innovations, he helps identify the best investment opportunities for OneRagtime.