Tech and Impact in Southern Europe

As part of our call for applications for the Tech for Impact Awards, we received a growing number of applications from startups from Southern Europe. We are excited to see this region become a bigger part of our programs, and to better reflect the trends and diversity of the thriving ecosystem.

We met João Nunes Rosado, Investment & Mentorship Manager at Startup Lisboa. He shared with us his observations of the tech for impact and entrepreneurial ecosystems in Portugal. Thanks João!

How has the tech ecosystem changed in Portugal over the last 10 years?

The Portuguese entrepreneurial ecosystem is a new ecosystem, however, it has been growing a lot in recent years, due to the Web Summit and other initiatives. We have large clusters of HealthTech, DeepTech and a strong SaaS community. Portugal is also the ideal country for OceanTech and CleanTech. Despite being a young ecosystem, it has the potential to assert itself in the European space, derived from the international investment it has been having and the enormous capacity to attract talent.

What are the main challenges when entering the Portuguese market for Tech startups? What are your recommendations to overcome them?

The biggest challenge for a tech startup in Portugal is the size of the market, however, for Portuguese startups it turns out to be something in their favour: due to always generating ambition to learn to scale fast. For a startup that comes from outside Europe, Portugal represents a test country to enter the great Europeans. However, for a European startup, Portugal is an excellent platform to recruit people due to an extremely qualified workforce, with a good command of languages and a very good cost-quality. The best recommendation is to understand the specific objective for the Portuguese market, understanding what the Portuguese market will serve and then seek to know the main players to fulfil that objective. Startup Lisboa’s role comes in here – as one of the main players in the Portuguese entrepreneurial ecosystem.

What is the investor landscape resembling at present? What are investors mainly interested in in terms of tech and ticket sizes

At the moment, Portuguese investors tend to invest more in B2B, with technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, among others (deep tech & web3). In terms of industries, there is a trend towards CleanTech, HealthTech and OceanTech. These are areas where technology for impact enters a lot. There are several funds in Portugal, and many international funds end up having offices in Portugal as well. Thus, a pre-seed ticket usually varies between 150k to 500k. We’ve seen a tendency for more and more pre-seed and seed to appear in values around 1 million.

What is being done more specifically in Tech for Impact?

Sustainability and impact are key areas in Portugal for which there is a lot of support. Not only by companies; there are several specific funds for this, such as: MAZE Impact, Faber Ventures, among others. At the same time, there is also a lot of support in the incubation part. Startup Lisboa supports several initiatives through its own specific acceleration program for incubation, as well as Casa do Impacto, which promotes entrepreneurship with an impact on society. There are several opportunities, and if you want to know more about the Portuguese entrepreneurial ecosystem, do not hesitate to visit our website: https://www.startuplisboa.com/ or send an email to joao.rosado@startuplisboa.com.