Key trends that shaped Portuguese Entrepreneurship in 2021

The emergence of new technologies, social changes and the COVID-19 pandemic are rapidly changing the entrepreneurial landscape in Portugal. In this blog post, we talk about the main entrepreneurship trends of 2021, based on our Ecosystem Reports. It's time to review the past year, and look into what's ahead. Perhaps these trends will give us some clues about what to expect from 2022.

Startup Landscape

There is a steady decline in the number of startups created between 2016 and 2021, as well as a significant gap between early-stage and late-stage startups in Portugal due to insufficient growth stage support.

Funding Landscape

Money received by Portuguese startups is mostly driven by early-stage financing. Although most money raised originates from foreign sources, the majority of startups say they are not required to relocate to investors territory.

Investor Landscape

Incubators and accelerators are important in helping investors find investment opportunities and startups finding the right investors.

Founder Landscape

The Portuguese startup ecosystem still appears to be undiverse, even though a significant proportion of founders within the period of analysis are non-portuguese nationals (36%).

Market Landscape

There were 125 exits recorded between 2016 and 2021. Majority of the exits were the result of foreign acquirers


While the majority of founders (69%) indicated they didn’t receive any support from public institutions during the pandemic, 31% indicated they did receive support. Monetary support was the predominant form of support (76%).

TOP 25 most scalable Portuguese startups

The TOP 25 raised a total of €195,050,423 and generated €68,706,032 in revenue between 2016 and 2021. Interestingly, in a pandemic year, the 2021 cohort had only one Health IT & Medical Devices startup .

Key takeaways

According to the reports…

  • The priority needs to be placed in providing founders with growth opportunities/capital in addition to seed capital;

  • In addition to providing growth capital, government regulations and bureaucracy need to be startup and investor friendly as they are current barriers to ecosystem development.

  • There should be greater support for incubators and accelerators as they are the key or glue to which the ecosystem can function more efficiently.

  • Corporations, accelerators and incubators can leverage opportunities capable of boosting the Portuguese ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation.

  • Although the pathway for ecosystem development is far, the Portuguese startup ecosystem is on the right trajectory.

About the Ecosystem Reports

The data above were taken from two reports developed by BGI and EIT Digital, in partnership with Informa D&B, Semapa/Next and MAZE Impact.

The Portugal Startup Outlook is a macro analysis of technology-based startups originating from Portugal. This study relied on descriptive analysis to explain secondary data obtained from Informa D&B and Crunchbase. In total, 571 active startups, 367 investment transactions, 314 investors, 126 market transactions, and 544 founders were captured and analysed between 2016 and 2021 (July). You can download the report here.

The Scaleup Portugal Report is a micro analysis of technology-based startups originating from Portugal. It identifies and analyses the top 25 high performing startups/scaleups originating from Portugal, to enable ecosystem stakeholders to understand the anatomy behind successful startups. The report is available for download here.

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