What does Portugal have that makes it so interesting? Is Portugal the next Silicon Valley?
In previous posts we have already discussed this issue and we concluded that the Portuguse entrepreneurship community has definitely stood out in recent years due to its fast growth. Lisbon has been the Web Summit’s stage in the last few years and it has attracted the attention of many investors, entrepreneurs and the general public. But is all the buzz around Portugal realistic? That's what we tried to find out.
Curious as we are, we decided to raise the question! Our investors responded and now we share with you what they think about our country's startup ecosystem. We know some of you think that we should be optimistic and affirm our value, others believe that our buzz is overvalued, but we deserve all the attention due to our rapid growth in recent years. As Rita (former Portugal Ventures) said, yes the perspective is optimistic, but we need optimism. And in general, all other investors agreed, we need to be optimistic and continue hard work with results, like exits. Based on their answers, we have organized a short list with the main reasons that make Portugal an appealing country to foreign eyes.
1. We have talent… for an extremely competitive price
Nobody left aside the talent that Portugal has. Our investors believe that we have good teams, good projects, good startups and good infrastructure in the field. The development of this talent in recent years was also highlighted, which erased the image of Portugal as just "a cheap source of talent in engineering development" (MAZE). However, despite Portugal being more than cheap talent, hiring an engineer here in Portugal, still has a very interesting cost when you compare it with other geographies. There are some very good people out there with a high level of knowledge and proficiency in their fields, which makes Portugal a place with good talent at a very reasonable price. In terms of hard skills, Portugal stands out in the IT area and also has a good education in the life sciences and food sectors. According to Pedro Cerdeira (APBA), these are the three areas in which the country can be useful.
2. Weather, People, Food and Life
There are also some factors, considered "subjective", that contribute to our buzz and almost all investors have highlighted them. There is no doubt that our climate is good. Lisbon is considered one of the 10 European cities with the most sunshine hours, with an average of 2799 hours per year. As Maze said, "there's always the sun that will always be there and it's part of the buzz". Also, our cuisine is rich, the people are welcoming and the cost of living is "still very manageable if you compare it to other European cities, the US or some other places in the world." (Pedro Cerdeira). Those who come to work in Portugal will find high quality of life, which is incredibly relevant for people working in the ecosystem and can tip the balance towards Portugal.
3. We have ”the” attitude!
This is not new. Portuguese people have always been known as hardworking people with an attitude towards the challenges they face. Most people want to do things and are very pragmatic. Another point that was also mentioned was the knowledge of several languages. People in Portugal speak at least two or three languages and are generally communicative. Like the CEO of Business Plug said, traditionally and historically portuguese people have footprints in the world, which made our culture very inclusive. “People here not only can communicate but they can also very easily relate to other cultures.”
4. We have conditions
According to Francisco Ferreira Pinto (Bynd Venture Capital) Portugal is desirable for foreign startups due to the efforts of different stakeholders, namely investors, startups, accelerators, incubators, public funds, and several others. This allowed our country to have the structure that enables companies and investors to focus on growth. First, there is a solid basis of incubators that help to create standards for startups. Second, Portugal started to have founders with a lot of experience, people sharing experience between themselves and different types of experiences from other markets. Third, there is also an evolution on the part of investors and all of this together tends to add value to the whole ecosystem.
What did you think about this? Do you agree with the opinion of our investors? If you were curious and want to know more about this you can always watch the episodes of our Scaleup Portugal series on Youtube or listen to our Podcast on Spotify. Also, read our previous Post: BGI and EIT Food Empowers Women To Feed The World