Portuguese Female Founders Kicking Ass in Tech

Portuguese Female Founders Kicking Ass in Tech

The European tech community is still dominated by men – The State of European Tech Report shows that only 22% of tech-event attendees are female, having made little progress from 2017 to 2018.

Portugal ranks in the top 10 countries with tech events more attended by females, with a proportion of female attendees that is only 25% (the highest ranking country is Albania with 33%).

Even though the community is far away from the ideal rate of gender diversity and inclusion (especially when it comes to investment as 93% of all funds raised by European VC-backed companies in 2018 went to all-male founding teams), there are some amazing women who founded startups in Portugal and abroad and are kicking ass in the industry.

Here are some of the Portuguese women-founded tech startups:

Tonic App

An app for medical doctors that aggregates the most useful medical tools and has a secure case discussion platform. It increases the efficiency of clinical work: allows fast and safe discussion of patient cases, team collaboration and aggregates content for day-to-day professional use, such as drug conversion tables or clinical calculators.

Founded Date: Apr 2016

Co-founder: Daniela Seixas

Daniela is a neuroradiologist, with an Executive MBA at IE Business School (2015). With a PhD in Neuroscience (collaborating with the University of Oxford, UK), she founded Tonic App in 2016 with 3 other founders. She is currently Tonic’s CEO and an affiliate professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Porto University.


Levoo is an app that aims to become a leading delivery and take-away services company. You can use the app (or their physical kiosks) to order food instead of waiting in line, and you’ll be notified to pick it up when it’s ready – you can use your time for other things in the meantime.

Founded date: 2015

Co-founder: Anna Arany

Originally from Brazil, Anna flew to Portugal almost 12 years ago and was involved in several projects in the food service area. She co-founded Levoo in 2015 and is currently the company’s CMO.


Sparkl provides the world of beauty services in the comfort of your own home. Book an appointment through Sparkl’s website and get a Sparkl-approved professional to deliver the service in your own home, at a fixed rate.

Founded date: 2016

Co-founder: Mariana Romão

With over 6 years of experience in the business of Beauty, Mariana co-founded Sparkl in 2016 and became one of the startups backed by LC Ventures.


Mellow is a sous-vide machine that takes orders through your smartphone and keeps food cold until it’s the right time to start cooking for you remotely. A technique that is widely used by chefs and that Mellow makes available at home, with an integrated app that provides smart control.

Founded date: January 29th, 2014

Co-founder: Catarina Violante

With a background in industrial design and postgraduate studies in Product Design, Catarina founded Mellow in 2014. She has designed numerous kitchen products over the years and is currently VP of product.


Talkdesk is a  contact center platform that empowers companies to make the customer experience a competitive advantage for their business. Talkdesk allows business to create a call center in minutes and integrate it with a variety of top business tools.

Founded Date: October 10th, 2011

Co-founder: Cristina Fonseca

Cristina is a software engineer and entrepreneur. She holds a Master’s degree in Telecommunications and Software Engineering and before founding Talkdesk in 2011 she worked as a researcher and built two other online businesses. She currently is a co-founder and Venture Partner of Indico Capital Partners – a leading institutional and independent venture capital firm based Lisbon focusing on Seed to Series A companies in fields like SaaS, Artificial Intelligence, fintech, cybersecurity and digital startups.

MUB Cargo

MUB cargo is an online platform that connects people and companies that need to transport cargo with a network of transporters willing to pickup and deliver those items. MUB cargo gives access to an online platform with several cargo requests that helps transporter maximize their capacity, taking advantage of the average 30% wasted capacity on every trip that is made while helping people in need of cargo transport an easy way to access transportation solutions at affordable prices.

Founded Date: March 2016

Co-founder: Mariana Gomes

With an educational background in Services Management and Business Administration, Mariana is a two-time founder (having previously founded Shairart). She is the Managing Director of MUB Cargo, that closed a Seed Round of €500k in March 2018 and now operates in both Portugal and Spain.

To all women co-founders and tech professionals, we wish a wonderful International Women’s Day!

Meet the Beta-i Team: Francisca Pereira

Meet the Beta-i Team: Francisca Pereira

The Beta-i team keeps growing! Get to know our team, starting with Francisca, from our Education team!


Where did you meet Beta-i for the first time?

A good friend of mine, Mafalda Paiva Chaves, worked at Beta-i and invited me for one of the famous TGIF. I came over, drank a few beers and talked with very interesting people from the team. Loved the vibe since day one!

What do you do at Beta-i?

I manage education programs for different age groups, but currently, my main projects are focused on executive education and university students. However, I also work on developing content around personal development skills for kids and teenagers. The goal is to promote the inward and outward personal exploration, allowing students to develop the awareness, confidence, and knowledge to invest in their own talents.

What is the biggest challenge?

Explain to other people what I do! (laughs). This area is pretty recent in the company and even more in the market, having all the benefits and struggles of a first mover. We started as a small team where all of us needed to do a bit of everything, adapt rapidly and be open to doing (a lot) of things that we haven’t done before. Now we are growing and have the opportunity to focus on specific goals within the Education spectrum.

What is your favorite thing at Beta-i?

Beta-i is always open to try new things and gives space for people to dream while putting them in charge of making the dreams a reality. You have the room to create but you are also responsible for materializing your ideas. If you fail it’s ok, as long as you learn and improve with your failures.

I’m known at Beta-i for…

Making bold questions and giving assertive opinions.

What people don’t know about me:

I’m a firm believer in the power of personal development to live a fulfilled life! So I try to dedicate time each day to work on my personal growth. Currently, this means waking up one hour earlier during the week to read a book (I am a huge fan of the app blinkist, because I can read the highlights of one entire book in a morning), reflect on new learnings and commitments, meditate and exercise. Sometimes I can’t do all of them, but I try to commit to at least two of these activities per day.

Bluetech Accelerator: Tackling the challenges of Ports and Shipping

Bluetech Accelerator: Tackling the challenges of Ports and Shipping

The ports and shipping industry is ready to step into the future. Bluetech accelerator has arrived, looking to build the ports of the future: autonomous systems for ports and smart shipping, with seamless processes between sea and land, digital data that will make decisions easy and informed, and new techs that will allow for environmental sustainability. Ready to be a part of it?

Bluetech Accelerator

Born out of the partnership of the Portuguese Ministry of the Sea and FLAD – Luso-American Development Foundation, and powered by DGPM and Beta-i, Bluetech accelerator aims to connect the most innovative tech and ocean startups with leading players in the industry to create a new blue economy – one that is modern, data-based, technologically advanced and environmentally friendly.

To achieve it, the programme will have 3 editions – Ports and shipping, aquaculture and fishing, and energy and sustainability.

Ports and Shipping

The first edition of the programme will focus on Ports and Shipping 4.0. Innovation is arriving in the industry, and as a strategically positioned country, Portugal has a sea of opportunities: startups joining the programme will work directly with Portugal’s biggest ports, relevant players in the shipping industry and leaders in the mobile satellite communications and digital economy – get to know the Bluetech Pioneers here.

The goal is to work towards the ports of the future: a seamless process of shipping, connection and cargo transport to land and accessible information across the supply-chain.

The challenges

The challenges the program hopes to tackle are:

  • Process Optimization in Port Hinterland
  • Cargo and Fleet Performance Management
  • Future Shipping Connectivity
  • Environmental Sustainability

You can read a more detailed description of each of the challenges here.

Tech We’re Looking for

Bluetech Accelerator is looking for startups technologies ranging from smart shipping and sea surveillance to big data and analytics. Get to know all the technologies Bluetech is looking for here.

A whole new generation of ocean startups

The challenges presented by the program, are relevant all around the world and can be industry changing. Today is more important than ever to work on changing vital industries to be more efficient, more connected and more sustainable, to better serve our economy and our planet.

Bluetech aims to build a new generation of ocean startups that will be the catalyst of this change and the builders of a modern ocean economy.

Get to know more about the programme here.


Lisbon Investment Summit: Meet the Speakers of #LIS19

Lisbon Investment Summit: Meet the Speakers of #LIS19

We’re getting excited about Lisbon Investment Summit and the awesome people we’re bringing to speak, inspire and connect on the 6th and 7th of June.

We’re proud to welcome some top investors and speakers to our event, so here’s a little peek at some of the confirmed speakers.


Katz Kiely

Katz is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and pioneer. She built the first open-innovation platform for HP, re-architected the way a UN agency does business and designed a behavior change platform with Intel that connected mobiles, big screens and data.

Currently: She is the founder and CEO of beep: the Behavioural Enterprise Empowerment Platform. beep is an enterprise-level, decentralized, AI software that empowers employees to innovate for efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.

Itxaso del Palacio

Itxaso del Palacio is the current Investment Director at Notion.

Previously, as the VP of Capital at Lepe Partners, she was responsible for building the portfolio of Lepe Capital, through the due diligence to execute the investments and working with the companies in the portfolio. Before Lepe, Itxaso worked as an early stage investor at EC1 Capital, responsible for deal flow across sectors. For the past ten years, Itxaso has worked with startups in London, Silicon Valley, Spain and Latin America.

Past Investments: Unbabel, Onfido, Leaf.fm, Evermore Health, Trouva, BridgeU

Sean Seton-Rogers

Sean is a partner and co-founder of PROfounders Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund located in London that invests in and support digital companies. Over a decade of venture capital experience, including stints at with Benchmark Capital Europe and Commonwealth Capital Ventures.

Past Investments: Tweetdeck, OneFineStay, LeapMotion

Board of Advisors: wundertax, NDGIT GmbH – Next Digital Banking

Ricardo Sequerra

Ricardo is the principal at Cherry Ventures.

Previously, he spent several years gaining experience as an operator as well as working closely with founders in the roles he held at Faber Ventures, Seedrs and Seedcamp. Ricardo is especially passionate about businesses building competitive advantages through data and addictive products able to change people’s habits.

Cherry Ventures’ Investments: Auto1 Group, Lesara, Quandoo, Flixbus, Amorelie, Tourradar, Move24 and Joblift

Tobias Schirmer


Tobias is a managing partner at Join Capital.

With previous experience in venture capital, entrepreneurship and financial markets, he believes his entrepreneurial drive, team spirit and empathy have helped him to achieve his professional goals. Specialties: Venture Capital, Corporate Venture Capital, Entrepreneurship, Startups, Enterprise Software, SAAS, Industry 4.0

Join Capital’s Investments: German Bionic, Prodsmart, Proxyclick, Codacy

Member of the Board: Proxyclick, Prodsmart, German Bionic

These are just some of the kick-ass venture capital speakers we’ll have on stage at #LIS19. Investor Full Access and Investor Ultimate early-bird tickets are already sold out, so hurry up and don’t miss out – get your tickets for #LIS19.

Investment increased in Lisbon by 2500% – get in on the action!

Investment increased in Lisbon by 2500% – get in on the action!

It has been noted lately that even though founders do not decide where they base their company on investment flows, but that investment flows adapt to the popularity of cities chosen by founders – and it’s already showing in the city of Lisbon.

According to data from Dealroom and Startup HeatMap, Lisbon has seen an increase in investment in 2018 of > 2500% comparing to the previous year. It’s an unprecedented growth, that makes Lisbon jump 17 ranks on the European Startup HeatMap, currently ranking 5th.


According to data, the sum of investments in Lisbon was €358M, the most noteworthy companies invested being OutSystems, Unbabel, Prodsmart, Undandy and Valispace, with a percentage of 60% of foreign investors.

Impressed yet? Get in on this action: join us at Lisbon Investment Summit, a slightly unexpected startup conference gathering the most promising startups, innovators and seasoned investors in Lisbon on the 6th and 7th of June.

Investor Full Access and Investor Ultimate early-bird tickets are already sold out, so hurry up and don’t miss out – get your tickets for #LIS19.

Lisbon Challenge Alumni: Attila

Lisbon Challenge Alumni: Attila

Present since its early stage in the USA and Europe, Attila’s co-founders traveled to Lisbon to join the fall edition 2018 of Lisbon Challenge. With a product directed at commercial banks, they made their way through Lisbon Challenge and are trying to conquer the Portuguese market.

What is your product?

Attila is an AI-based Virtual Financial Advisor able to engage retail banks’ customers in meaningful and automated financial conversations with a deep focus on customer understanding.

What made you apply to Lisbon Challenge?

The Portugal banking industry is a favorable market for Attila due to the strategic orientation of the Portuguese banks. Today they are focused, more than ever before, on improving their customer experience and customer journey’s to ensure their survival in the digital era. Lisbon Challenge represented a perfect soft landing opportunity for us in this unique and growing market.

Why is Portugal an attractive market for Attila?

Right now, is a good moment for us because the Portuguese banks are willing to do a leapfrog in their digital processes and that’s what Attila stands for: enabling banks to quickly catch up tech companies in terms of UX thanks to Machine Learning. There’s also a growing and dynamic tech ecosystem we can learn from and build partnerships with.

What are Attila’s goals for the Portuguese market?

Our main objective is to build successful case studies by finetuning our product to the needs of south European market. This represents a gateway and solid reference for the European market as a whole and the markets across the Atlantic.

What was the biggest win for Attila in the programme?

Having the opportunity to meet customers allowed us to reach a higher level of validation, adjust our value proposition and generate a pipeline of leads including top Portuguese and international Banks.

In which way Lisbon Challenge’s team helped you the best?

Lisbon Challenge’s team gave us honest and straightforward feedback that helped us challenge our ideas and plans.

What have been your biggest accomplishments since Lisbon Challenge?

Unlocking a project with one of the largest banks in Portugal – we’re very excited about it!

What is your advice for startups trying to make it in Lisbon?

Don’t hesitate to directly knock on the relevant doors, whether it be customers, partners, or investors, you will absolutely find people willing to listen and open to new ideas. Do not wait for some miracle to happen.