As our second home, we’ve long known that Portugal – particularly its capital city – has been undergoing an incredible transformation where startups and investment are concerned. Lisbon has been upping its game to become a thriving tech and startup scene, so we asked Marco Barbosa, Co-Founder of eSolidar – an online charity fundraising platform and Seedrs Alumni business – and man-about-Portugal, for his thoughts on Lisbon as a European hub to watch.
From my point of view, the sharing economy, fintech, agriculture, tech hiring and tourism are some of the industries that are thriving most in Lisbon. Lisbon is really keeping pace, as there are new institutions, accelerator programs and incubators helping to educate and empower businesses with global ambitions looking to scale up. Businesses like Uniplaces, Landing.jobs and eSolidar are examples of businesses that have been kickstarted with the incredible tech talent that is coming out of Portuguese universities.
The most interesting thing, to me, is not seeing Portuguese business scaling to new markets, it’s actually seeing big companies finding Portugal as a great place to setup their technology and operations teams. They’re doing this not only because of the growth-mindset and entrepreneurial ecosystem, but also because Portugal offers an amazing quality of life full of culture, great talent, good weather, and peaceful and friendly people. The most well-known startup, with a strong presence in Portugal, is Farfetch; and others like TalkDesk, Veniam, Feedzai, Unbabel, Codacy and Hole19 are now getting ready for Series B and C rounds of funding.
In the last five years, we’ve seen the Portuguese funding ecosystem grow from almost nothing to highly supportive, with government incentives and the engagement of larger venture capital firms like Caixa Capital and Portugal Ventures. With the WebSummit heading to Lisbon later this year, even more international capital could be introduced to Portuguese companies. We are now seeing some exits that could allow more entrepreneurs to start their own private investment funds and make the funding ecosystem in Portugal less dependent on public funds.
Perceptions of equity crowdfunding
Equity crowdfunding is being used by more Portuguese startups, mainly because of Seedrs, with a few Portuguese startups, like ClimberHotel and Agroop, already using it as a way to raise funds and awareness of their brand. But it is far from being a mainstream, first call of capital raising.
Low cost of living, good weather and easily accessible beaches make a Portugal-based workforce a happy workforce. Entrepreneurs will have happier employees and be happier themselves with the positive work-life balance Portugal offers.
And one last bonus benefit that can make all the difference when doing international business – Portugal is situated under Greenwich Mean Time, meaning you can not only work well with Europe but communicate both with Asia and the US all in the same working day.
eSolidar is a marketplace that helps connects charities and their communities. They provide an online platform for charitable auctions and shopping making it easier for good causes to raise funds and awareness.
They have raised over £200,000 from investors on Seedrs and are now in overfunding. Find out more about eSolidar and their campaign here. When investing, capital is at risk.