Get ready for Lisbon Tourism Summit

Get ready for Lisbon Tourism Summit

The Lisbon Tourism Summit (LTS), organized by Beta-i and sponsored by Turismo de Portugal, will take place on Sep 30th and goes fully online. The 2020 edition focuses on a more sustainable approach on the tourism sector, “a segment that more than ever requires deepening in strategic themes such as circular economy, mobility, artificial intelligence and energy efficiency so that it is possible to actually talk about sustainability“, emphasizes Gonçalo Faria, one of Beta-i’s Innovation Programs director.

LTS counts on the participation of several national and international speakers, with the emphasis on the sustainability designer, sociologist and businesswoman, Leyla Acaroglu. Awarded as Champion of the Earth by the United Nations, Leyla is also author of several books and TED Talks. Check what she has to say as, in her own words, a sustainability provocateur:

The Lisbon Tourism Summit is an integral part of Turismo de Portugal’s innovation strategy to manage the growth of this industry in the country over the past few years. Beta-i is a strategic partner in this because, in addition to LTS, it also organizes The Journeyan open innovation program that facilitates collaboration between leading companies in the tourism industry (such as Grupo Barraqueiro, Vila Galé, Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua and Unicre) with technological solutions from startups around the world. The results of its latest edition will be presented within the LTS: there will be more than a dozen project presentations, involving startups from Europe and Asia.

Download: “Learnings in times of a pandemic” poll

Download: “Learnings in times of a pandemic” poll

  • Digital transformation still has a long way to go before becoming ubiquitous in society and companies. The belief that all the market is fully on digital mode, is actually a myth.

  • B2B relations might consider more environmental, social issues in their procurement and compliance processes;

  • Core business technological reinvention is an unavoidable must. Really. At last.

These are some of the key impressions from “Learnings in times of a pandemic – A quick poll on personal mindset changes” ran by Beta-i during the peak of quarantine and self-isolation stress in Europe (May to June). We’ve asked some of our corporate clients, closest startups and other stakeholders (investors, think tanks) about these new perspectives. And you can access the full results here:

A Techcare journey – Tonic App

A Techcare journey – Tonic App

Two years ago, Tonic App was among the 11 startups selected for the bootcamp of Techcare

On the verge of launching a new edition of the program, we wanted to remind how their journey went and how they are now. 

Tonic App was very young at the time of their application to Techcare (they had launched in March 2017). Still, once selected, they decided to bring the whole team to the Bootcamp: the perfect opportunity for all of them to better understand and to know how to work with the pharmaceutical industry.



Trying to narrow down an experience like this, we talked to the founder Daniela Seixas, to get some conclusions and outputs of Tonic App regarding the program:


Human approach is the core

In the end (well, in the beginning too), it’s all about human connection. The intense environment created in a moment like the bootcamp, is set to foster communication. Whether you’re a startup or a program partner, you will be speaking to one another, as you are all there with the same purpose.


Your access is 360º 

Following the previous point, we can say that the fast access a startup can have to a company like this is indeed the biggest plus. Tonic App claims for this to be the greatest advantage of taking such an opportunity – in a short period of time they could reach to Novartis stakeholders, in a 360º vision, way faster than in other approaches. 


People are the best, but they’re also the biggest challenge

Reaching to the partners is what you want and need, but it can also be your biggest struggle. As a small structure they were, Tonic App team found itself managing more than its internal resources, “the other side”.  This means adapting your team to redouble their efforts into dealing and managing processes and expectations of other teams (in this case, Novatis’ one) in an organizational struggle that is also a major learning. Then, a natural conclusion rises: 


Corporates and Startups have different timings

And this is a learning for both intervenients. Timings for approvals, results, decisions, are intrinsically different and both parts need to adapt, as to manage expectations. Typically, Startups are going fast, eager to respond and to receive feedback. Corporates on the other hand, follow more structured processes that will contrast to the startup way of living. Expectations need to be managed, for both, but learning from it will only bring benefits. 


Culture is very important 

And Novartis gets five stars from Tonic App on this. The startup has defined Novartis’ culture as extremely open, proactive and innovative. It represents some risk, of course, as being open to change always is. But it is definitely a plus to work with a company that opens its doors on innovation, and Techcare has proven it. 


Life has changed

And keeps changing. Tonic App is nowadays a medical device thanks to Novartis, as it is also a requisite for them to continue working together. The team has grown, and Daniela says that, personally, it has been a very good experience, as more opportunities have risen. They have several ongoing projects with Novartis and new opportunities for internationalization are appearing. 


They would do it again

Yes, Daniela says they would definitely do it again. It is indeed rewarding for a program like Techcare to get this kind of feedback from an Alumni. But it is even more important that Techcare have been able to deliver results and pilots between participant startups and Novartis, continuing to foster commercial relationships between them. 

Applications for Techcare are now open and we’re eager to know what this edition will present.

Going to South Summit in Madrid

Going to South Summit in Madrid


I was at the South Summit in Madrid last week on a mission to explore this innovation platform. I can say it was interesting, impacting and at the same time, consuming. 

Here are my personal takeaways from the event:

The spanish innovation ecosystem is booming, and it’s reaching out to the world

South Summit is, however you want to spin it, a very spanish event. But that is not necessarily a bad thing, quite on the contrary! The startup scene in Spain is becoming very mature. Madrid and Barcelona are true European innovation hotspots and surprising local ecosystems are arising in Andaluzia, Galicia, Asturias and Basque Country. But this is also an event that is attracting startups from all over the world (and not only the usual suspects from Europe and Latin America).   


Collaboration is the name of the game – Corporates <3 Startups <3 Corporates

Innovation is more and more becoming a space for collaboration between different stakeholders, and big corporates are more than ever interested in working with startups in new solutions and testing disruptive technologies in their operations and businesses. Most of the corporates represented in South Summit already have some kind of structured approach to deal with startups and some already have acceleration and open innovation programs. 


Let’s talk about talks! It’s all about networking…

Just between you and me… what’s the thing about these events and the non-ending agenda of talks about the same topics, all over again, where the content ends up being… let’s say it… not really interesting. OK, I do suffer from FOMO everytime I go to these events and end up watching a few talks on topics that I’m interested in. But more times than not I end up being utterly disappointed. But then, the real value of events like this is the networking and the possibility of meeting in the same place amazing startups and innovators. Come for the talks and stay for the networking…


AI in the front seat, Data in the engine

We are finally seeing big companies apply AI in real use cases and not only doing pilots and small controlled experiments. But AI runs on data, and we still need to work on issues like data sharing frameworks, information architecture, stakeholders collaboration and… privacy. The GDPR trauma is long gone but companies are still finding ways to integrate data protection in their data strategies.


Health startups are coming, and Mobility is here

Of the many hot topics in South Summit my eyes went to Healthcare and Mobility. On healthcare new solutions are arising in diagnostics and devices, and you should take a look at Mentalab, one of the amazing startups that accelerated with Data Pitch. Also take a look at the winner of this track – 2eyesvision. And mobility is booming with solutions ranging from drones, logistics, shared mobility and of course, MaaS solutions like iomob, the winner of this track.

How to take advantage of working in Technology?

How to take advantage of working in Technology?

The Unemployment Rate In Portugal Is 6.3%, But There Are Open Positions In Technology: How To Take Advantage Of Them?

Beta-I, Le Wagon, Landing Jobs and Humaniaks joined forces to discuss opportunities on how to begin or move your career to the digital universe from September, 30th. 

According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the unemployment rate in Portugal is 6.3% at the moment. This number is mainly related to jobs and professions existing before digital transformation, which has brought new career opportunities: right now, there are hundreds of job openings offered by startups and technology companies, and one of the biggest business challenges lies in creating proper recruitment strategies and  employer branding projects in order to attract the best talents.

To raise the awareness of the professions of the future, Beta-i Le WagonLanding Jobs and Humaniaks have teamed up to create Career in Tech Week . The week of free events will take place between September 30th and October 3rd at Beta-i, starting at 19 PM , and will feature different speakers on a variety of topics. Registration is free.

On the first day, high-paid (or well-paid) jobs such as  Developer , Data Scientist, Product Manager, etc. will be discussed. On the second day, Landing Jobs will present a detailed report on the Tech Professions. On the third day, there will be a workshop on the skills required to get a job in tech and, finally, on the last day, there will be a talk with different professionals who will share how they radically changed their careers for the tech sector. The talk will be moderated by Humaniaks, and followed by networking drinks.

This initiative is important since the data released by Startup Portugal in conjunction with IAPMEI and the Ministry of Economy  show that Portuguese economy grew in the period from 2016 till 2018 with a significant amount of startups and entrepreneurs contributing to this growth. Also, the value of sales and provided services increased among startups, which in 2018 reached an average of € 553,000 per company; with value added per employee being around € 80,000 per year, highlighting the growing contribution of local talent to the economy.

Because of the scarce labor resources and an increasing demand, wages in this area are higher than the national average. To compare, Portuguese average salary for graduates from tertiary education was € 1,547 (base) in 2017. According to the report “ Tech Salaries in Portugal” by Landing Jobs, a startup specialized in technology recruitment, most positions available to professionals with less than 3 years of experience will start with an average salary of 22K € / year, which represents a monthly income of 1,800 € per month.


Open positions in technology

Technology companies have increased their presence in Portugal in the last three years. Google opened its technology center in Oeiras, creating 500 positions in technology, Volkswagen opened its first software development center outside Germany and aims to generate 300 jobs , as well as its competitor Mercedes Benz, which plans to hire 100 developers .

Despite a variety of opportunities, there is no labor available on the market. According to Niels Kowollik, CEO and Executive Director of Mercedes Portugal at a press conference in Lisbon , “The market for good developers is quite difficult in Portugal. There are not so many skilled workers to be available. Thus, we’re recruiting from abroad”. At the time of the statement, the company had only hired 30 out of 100 required developers.

According to João Figueirinhas, CEO of Humaniaks, a startup focused on recruiting technology professionals, “technology companies have a hard time recruiting. Generally, either the selection process is long, as it is difficult to find sufficiently skilled labor for the openings in question, or the hiring cycles are shorter, but companies are in charge of training their own hires to perform the required function ”.

The shortage of skilled labor is likely to become even more intense, as several other companies are planning to open more subsidiaries in Portugal in the near future, such as British company Revolut and American company Amazon , which already started relocating to Lisbon last year, and has just announced the opening of its CloudFront division in the country.

These companies are attracted by two factors: government incentives (such as startup visa, national network of incubators etc.) and  the increased amount of investment in the sector.

According to LC Ventures’ investment report in partnership with Beta-i and the National Federation of Business Angels Associations , the amount of 47MM € (Venture Capital deals ) and 11MM €( Business Angels Deals) was invested in startups  in 2008 . Just in the first half of 2019, startup investments were 69MM € and 13MM € in both categories respectively. Due to the rise of venture capital funds, Pedro Falcão, Managing Partner of LC Ventures adds: “I believe Portugal will have more unicorns in the coming years”.

“Being intentional about the future” – Interview with Lara Stein

While visiting Lisbon to (among other things) talk to the Beta-i team, Lara gave this quick interview to share a little more context about her new project, which can be seen in detail (and receive your input about how to get involved) at

After being Executive Director of Women’s March Global, Founder and former Director of TEDx and the TED Prize and MD of Global for Singularity University, South African Lara Stein has a brand new project of her own: BOMA, which in the coming days launches its own editorial platform.

The roots of the word “Boma” originate from Africa and are present in the languages spoken in the Great Lakes of Africa. The Boma was a circular venue for the community and its elders to gather together: a space for community meetings, meaningful discussions, and decision-making to define actions. It was this concept that Lara brought to the fore to position her new project as “a community without borders, identifying new ideas, innovations, and systems to design a more intelligent, intentional, and sustainable future.”

Here’s how our conversation with Lara went:

What motivated you to migrate from previous experiences like TEDx and Singularity to a new project?

The understanding that we live in complicated times. Of social and political changes, which amplify the context of change. I have spent the last two years making global moves to drive change, and I realized that many countries have common challenges and desires, while sharing a will to maximize results while still having a wider impact. And that’s exactly what we want to maximize with the BOMA project: creating value impact from a human-centred approach.

Having worked in three major networks, I was looking for a model that would not divide the world, but rather add up. Something decentralized and collaborative, with a network of people who share the same vision. That’s why I think my obligation to BOMA is to bring these people together and make a model that works overtime – and that’s more intentional and intelligent about the future and the actions that this future requires us to take. I believe in a global system with local partners.

Can you comment a bit more on the idea of “being intentional about the future”?

I feel that the general mindset still focuses on ‘survival of fittest‘. We do not want to maximize this; we want to leverage collaboration, being a movement where people come together and get organized to help and act on concrete things. Doing so, we want to help design leaders able to answer the unavoidable ethical questions that lie before us. I believe people want these principles: to exchange experiences and knowledge for the world we want to have.

It seems that BOMA has more to do with the consequences of technology than the pursuit of technological innovation as a way to thrive. Does it make sense?

Tech is a key drive, everything is around that. But the complexity lies in its transformation: technology alone is not the point of action, but rather the good use of technology, how it is being applied to increase shareholder value and the consequences of it. These are very complicated questions to be pursued by ethics: the consequences of our actions in the name of a “good outcome”.

What are the main goals to be achieved by the platform in this first phase?

In the coming days, we’ll launch our editorial platform on the BOMA website, with bottom-up change and empowering communities content. We are only 6 months old and always revisiting our KPIs, but I would like to have up to 15 or 20 country partners in the coming years, with bottom-up community events and projects associated with our lines of work that can gradually be developed by the partners themselves in each country. This is a long-term project because talking and acting on systemic change takes time.


Thank you so much for the visit, Lara!