As part of the Scaleup Portugal Report, we created a series of interviews where we introduced the members of the Portuguese Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. Tiago Palas Santos, former manager at Everis, was one of our guests.
In 2016, BGI and EIT Digital started the Scaleup Portugal project, which addressed the need of the Portuguese entrepreneurship ecosystem to have a central document that objectively and impartially presented a list of Portuguese startups with the greatest scalability, and a comprehensive analysis of the entire Portuguese startup scene. Thus, two separate reports were born: Scaleup Portugal, which features the 25 most promising Portuguese startups; and Portugal Startup Outlook, which provides a complete snapshot of the ecosystem and its trends, based on an analysis of 500 startups. In case you're curious, the 2021 editions were recently released and are available here.
As an add-on to the reports, we also decided to create a series of videos on our Youtube channel, where we interviewed different stakeholders from the entrepreneurship ecosystem, in an attempt to understand their work and their perspective regarding the Portuguese startup scenario. Last week, we showed you the highlights of the interview with Fátima Cardoso, from Vodafone Power Lab. This week, we bring you a new guest: Tiago Palas Santos, former manager at Everis, and current manager at NTT DATA Portugal. Read on to find out how Everis is promoting innovation in Portugal.
What is Everis?
Tiago: “Everis is a consulting company. We belong to DTT Data, which is one of the major companies in the world. We are in 17 countries, with more than 25000 colleagues. In Portugal, we have been here for 20 years, and we are more than 1000, separated between our main office, and an earshore center for software development, which is Everis’ high performance center.”
“Regarding innovation, as a tradition and based on our culture and values, we always like to do things differently. Attitudes are one of the major topics for us, so bring the attitude to any kind of problem. That’s why we have been present in some different settings regarding innovation.”
What kind of activities does Everis develop?
Tiago: “I think the first one that we can talk about is Link Up, which is an internal program that identifies how we can create an offer with the startup. (...) We have started these conversations in 2017 and what we are trying to tap on Lisbon’s ecosystem, which has been progressing along the years. (...) The second one is trying to understand what is new. We have a digital room, where we try to understand what are the specific trends that are impacting our businesses and multiple industries, and we try to build solutions with startups or just inside development. (...) Another way we try to position ourselves is through partnerships with universities, and for that we have a unit called “i-deals” that tries to understand what kind of R&D projects are being done now by PhD’s in universities, and how we can take them to the market.”
“We also have two different awards: one specifically for entrepreneurship, that has a very targeted focus and every year it has different topics; and another one that belongs to DTT Data."
What other things corporate or consulting companies like Everis can do to better support innovation?
Tiago: “Besides transparency, I think there is one key thing for our side. You need to have people with time allocated for this. There is no point for us to be publishing many press releases, doing many events, and then you ask “who is the person responsible for having these conversations with the startups?”, and you have zero. It doesn’t mean you have to be full-time, I’m not full-time in that task… But I have a part of my time that is allocated to having those conversations. It’s my responsibility to have those conversations, to do the scanning and to report on what has been happening. So, transparency and time.”
From the government’s perspective or from the environmental perspective, what do you think can be done to encourage more consulting firms to work with startups?
Tiago: “I think that the government is doing a very good job in this case. We have a very different ecosystem from what we had some years ago, and I think that the Web Summit is the event that culminates all of this. But I don’t think the event is representative of the local ecosystem. You have a lot of incubators, a lot of events, a lot of meetups that happen in the city during all the year, and that gives the vibrance to the ecosystem.”
“If you want to look for the next steps, I think the first one is based on our current context, so we need to be aware that we will need to support startups in this particular context and that we need to subsidize them through this pandemic. (...) And the second is the feeling that being agile is very different from being flexible and from not having a strategy. So we still need to have a strategy, although we are agile.”
There’s a buzz around the Portuguese ecosystem. Is this hype overly optimistic or is it realistic?
Tiago: “I think we can start with the word, right? “Buzz” is already telling us that the perception is higher than reality. But it doesn’t mean that we are not going to do the right things. I think we are doing the right things. Fintech House is a very good example, the 200M Fund is a good example… I’m just picking the major ones. Of course there are a lot of other ones. Some of the little ones also help a lot. Some of the small meetups can have some compounding on the knowledge that we create, on the interactions that we create as an ecosystem… So, I think we are going in the right direction.”