Portuguese startups seem to be everywhere in the media, and that’s no wonder – they are growing, getting invested and collecting awards – and they have raised over €485M in 2018.
Venture Capital in Portugal is definitely growing: the volume of transactions was 4.4x bigger in 2018 than it was in 2017, and business angels are rising up to VC level, mostly through co-investment.
During 2018, the total value was boosted by the investment of two portuguese unicorns: OutSystems and Talkdesk. Pedro Falcão, managing partner at LC Ventures, added “I believe Portugal will have more unicorns in the next few years – Feedzai might be next.”
While the market is clearly investing in early stage startups, as seed stage investments represent 83% of the total, venture capital still has an immense potential to grow – as it represents only 1% of the investment in portuguese companies.
You can download and read the whole updated report: Venture Capital in Portugal 2018-S12019, the most complete report on the portuguese venture capital market elaborated by LC Ventures and FNABA, and presented by Pedro Falcão at Lisbon Investment Summit.
Lisbon Investment Summit happened over two weeks ago now, but for us, it is still going: through all the things that we learned, the moments we treasured and the relationships we started.
It’s all about community
The most important thing we learned at #LIS19 is something that we at Beta-i have always believed: it’s all about community. Innovation is only possible when different stakeholders join forces together and collaborate to thrive – and #LIS19 is the perfect melting pot that joins entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, investors and decision makers in one place.
Humanity Will Fix the Future
Andrew Keen, the best-selling author of How To Fix the Future and the headliner at #LIS19, spoke about the unfulfilled promises of technology – the promise that it would bring equality, boost democracy and create bridges between people. To overcome these challenges, we must take action through regulation, innovation and citizen engagement. The “fixing” of the future does not rest on more technology – it rests solely on our shoulders.
Investment in Portugal
Pedro Falcão, Managing Partner of LC Ventures, gave #LIS19 attendees an overview of the investment landscape in Portugal. You can download the report here:
Lisbon Investment Summit would not be the same without our amazing pitch competition, sponsored by GROW, which was one of the highlights of these two days – 12 amazing startups pitched on stage but there can only be one winner. The prize went to Musiversal, represented by founder André Miranda (and a Lisbon Challenge alumnus).
For 10 weeks, the teams went through an intense program, filled with enriching content, workshops and mentoring sessions. The program is structured in four phases:
Validation: The founders started by validating their value proposition and gaining a better understanding of what could be their target audience and their potential needs.
Product And Tech: This phase meant a deep-dive into the startups’ solutions and the technology behind them, defining how is their project solving the clients’ needs better than any other out there, and designing a roadmap for product market fit.
Growth: At this third phase, founders learned how to talk with customers and make sure they don’t leave after trying the product – in other words, it was all about client retention and which metrics should be analyzed in order to figure it out.
Investment: The teams learned to understand investors, and what they are looking for. But also, what to say to investors to tell their story and secure investment.
The value proposition brought by Lisbon Challenge it’s its unique people-centric approach – a Beta-i landmark.
This approach is about bringing a people-centered vision to the founders’ businesses, keeping in mind: Who are they building a solution for (getting to know their consumer), who are they building a solution with (building a team and company culture) and who they are as entrepreneurs (preparing founders’ for the future ahead).
The Lisbon Challenge journey, taking them closer and closer to a product-market fit, is only possible thanks to the strong network of mentors, who have been through the same processes and similar experiences as entrepreneurs themselves.
Our 88 mentors, from different specialties – from branding and product to growth, from personal development to investment, have clocked in over 450+ hours of mentorship, giving the founders’ the tools they need to succeed.
The big stage at #LIS
The journey led the founders to the biggest stage in the investment arena: Lisbon Investment Summit – to an audience on national and international investors and innovators, in an event with over 1500 attendees.
Originating from very different countries – this international cohort had startups from Portugal, UK, Italy, Ireland and USA – they took to the stage: OUTBOUND, VAIRT, FLOCK, CROWDBOOKS and SKOACH were the startups pitching.
The crowd had a say – they gave feedback live, through a form vote – and it was positive: over 50% of voters said that they wanted to meet and talk with the founders.
It’s only the beginning
For our founders, this is just the beginning – they are now ready to jump to the next stage: scaling. In the words of the team: “We’re really proud of what we saw today. And today is just the beginning for these teams. They are already doing pilots with big corporates – all companies looking for innovative solutions should talk with these startups. They are a group of trusting, capable founders, with impactful solutions and a growth mindset. We’re excited to see the global impact they will bring in the future – we know they are ready to jump into scale.”
Lisbon Challenge, Beta-i’s acceleration program, had its Demo Day on the last day of Lisbon Investment Summit, on June 7th.
Lisbon Challenge is an intense 10 week program (see exactly how intense here), designed to question the founders’ assumptions, help them find their product-market fit and prepare them for the road ahead – scaling and investment.
And, boy, were they challenged! In the end, it paid off – the teams learned to turn their pains into gains, and they were ready to take the stage at Lisbon Investment Summit – to an audience on national and international investors and innovators, in an event with over 1500 attendees.
At Lisbon Investment Summit, five Lisbon Challenge teams took to the stage to present their companies, in a truly international cohort: the startups originated from: Portugal, UK, Italy, Ireland and USA.
Presented by António Carlos Torrão, Strategic Marketing Manager at BPI:
OUTBOUND:Providing instant access to your ideal customer with proven interest, through an AI based Sales Platform for B2B Lead Generation, so you can focus on what really matters: closing deals.
Presented by Pedro Falcão, Managing Partner at LC Ventures:
VAIRT: Making real estate investment accessible for all, througha global marketplace for real estate investment and liquidation based on blockchain technology.
Presented by Pedro Bandeira, Founder and CEO at REDangels:
FLOCK: Building engaged cultures through quantified real engagement and increased productivity of the workforce, by plugging into the internal communication channels of the customers.
Presented by Roberto Antunes, Executive Director at NEST Turismo de Portugal
CROWDBOOKS:Empowering any author to sell & publish their books, through a crowdfunding publishing platform.
Presented by Nuno Pimenta, Industry Head Startups at Google:
SKOACH: Maximizing employee life-time value, by helping people love their jobs – through a bot plugged into the internal communications channels of the company.
Besides the adrenaline rush of pitching on stage for a crowd of investors, entrepreneurs and corporations, the best part of the pitching is the feedback: the crowd has spoken (through a form vote) and over 50% of voters said that they wanted to meet and talk with the founders – which is the core of #LIS!
We at Beta-i are very proud of the founders who gave it all – during the program and on stage at #LIS. In the words of the Lisbon Challenge team:
“We’re really proud of what we saw today. And today is just the beginning for these teams. They are already doing pilots with big corporates – all companies looking for innovative solutions should talk with these startups. They are a group of trusting, capable founders, with impactful solutions and a growth mindset. We’re excited to see the global impact they will bring in the future – we know they are ready to jump into scale.”
One of our favorite things at Lisbon Investment Summit is our #LIS Pitch Competition in which 12 up-and-coming startups pitch on stage to a crowd of top-tier international investors.
This year’s award, sponsored by GROW, went to Musiversal – a platform that helps music creators to record sessions in world-class studios with professional musicians.
André Miranda, founded Musiversal as a solo founder and has been growing his team ever since. During its early stage phase, Musiversal was in Beta-i’s acceleration program – Lisbon Challenge – where it was invested by LC Ventures and REDangels.
As Musiversal enters a high-growth phase, building momentum for a successful seed investment round, here is the advice André Mirada had for new startups entering new editions of Lisbon Challenge: