7 Seedcamp Startups in one year, How did we do it?


We’re very happy to now learn that the following new Portuguese startups that joined the Seedcamp family: Cashtag, Zercatto and Popcorn Metrics.

Last year, 4 companies out of Startup Lisboa also joined the Seedcamp family. We are very excited to see that putting in the effort into the growth of our ecosystem is paying off.

Following this announcement, I wanted to personally express my joy in knowing that Seedcamp invested in 3 more of our Portuguese companies.

We’re in the business of supporting startups and providing them with a hub where they can exchange experiences and startup know-how. We want to provide them with the platform where they can not only learn from mentors, but also learn to help one another. Something which was previously not very common in Portugal.

Following the second year Seedcamp showed their love to our startups, I wanted to describe in detail why I believe this pattern is sustained by the great job Portugal is doing to push entrepreneurship.

Why Portugal matters

It is refreshing to know that Portugal, a relatively small European country, now has a number of startups which are emerging in the European Startup scene. Considering the tough economic situation our country currently finds itself in, it is great to see this positive shift of mindset.

Given that Seedcamp is famous for selecting that “1%”” of European Startups, how did Portugal provide so many promising startups in such little time?

I believe there are a few reasons that make the ingredients for success.

For one, we have great engineering talent supported by Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade do Minho and Universidade do Porto. Notonly good research, but also very qualified and inquisitive engineers are formed here. We’re also seeing a paradigm shift: instead of pushing all engineers into consulting jobs (which is what still happens to 90%), some individuals try to create their companies. Our work at Startup Lisboa supports this, by giving them space to flourish and blossom.

The cost of living makes for cost-effective business model validation and inexpensive operations. You can rent a house for €400 and live comfortably (the reason why we have so many foreign entrepreneurs living here). This reflects also on the salaries; a salary of an engineer is a fifth of the price of an engineer in San Francisco, without paying the price of low code quality (which is what you get when outsourcing to more traditional outsourcing partners further East). This enables you to create an inexpensive, but very qualified company that provides quality work that can compete worldwide.

Another success factor is Startup Lisboa. Startup Lisboa is a state/private-funded incubator which houses the majority of the most promising startups in Lisbon. It’s the highest density startup incubator in Europe. All of the current Seedcamp companies have their offices here, just footsteps from one another, which allows them to share and grow together. We’ve created more than 250 jobs in the last 1.5 years. We’ve opened and requalified 2 buildings and we’ve just been granted another one, to fill it with startups. Our work is not only providing credibility to startups but also supporting them through value-added mentoring as well as opening doors for business partnership and expansion plans.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Startup Lisboa first startups

As an incubator, our aim is to provide our entrepreneurs with office space at reasonable rents as well as a support structure, to maximize their chances for success. We do not charge them any additional money to be part of our family and we do not take any equity either. We are about providing a platform for entrepreneurs to think big and think global.

Portugal serves as a great place to test an idea or a product, but we encourage founders to think beyond Portuguese borders and the connection with Seedcamp has helped us make this a reality for Portuguese startups. Companies like SimpleTax, which started in Portugal, now have a team in London. Codacy, Hole19 and Crowdprocess are always in & out of Startup Lisboa, flying to either London, San Francisco or Germany for example. The Portuguese Seedcamp teams have attracted investment from foreign investors, which also helps place Portugal on the map and serve as an example, that a startup doesn’t always have to be in Silicon Valley to find great investors. It is with this network and support structure that Portuguese startups can address global challenges and have the opportunity to succeed. Successful Portuguese startups, means more jobs can be created, which in turn means that we can shape our own future and do our part to help bring the economy back to where it’s supposed to be.

Portugal and Startup Lisboa are slowly positioning themselves as focal point of entrepreneurship and disruption. We will continue to serve startups and we want to hear from yours. From our side, we are looking forward to collaborate with Seedcamp. We’ve learned immensely and we’re just starting. On behalf of Startup Lisboa and the city of Lisbon, Seedcamp will always be a priority and will always be able to count with our support. Startup Lisboa is proud to build that bridge to Europe’s leading Early-Stage Tech Accelerator.

We’re proud and we’re enriched today. And we’re just starting.

João Vasconcelos