Almost four years ago I wrote a long deep dive into Lisbon’s tech scene. So it’s great to check back in with both Lisbon and Portugal for a slightly briefer update on where it’s at.
As well-outlined by Stephan Morais, founder and managing general partner at Indico Capital Partners, Portugal has a very high quality of engineering talent at a competitive cost; an extremely high level of English language proficiency (compared to Spain, France, Italy); and a preference for launching product globally from day one. Portuguese founders are highly qualified, with the majority of them holding at least a master’s degree.
However, the ecosystem is still in an “early phase” and there are few founders turned angel investors; there have been limited exits until recently; and there is limited available talent in sales and marketing fields. That said, there is still plenty of growth to come, as you will see below, and in the COVID-19 era, Lisbon — and Portugal generally — is becoming a magnet for digital nomads with talent.
Given the lack of a large home consumer market, startups in Portugal tend to err toward enterprise and SaaS over consumer applications, according to the Startup Portugal Ecosystem report. While the gap between domestic and foreign sources of funding is closing, there is still a gap in early-stage financing. According to government figures, in 2019 there was €285 million available for investment, and the top 25 later-stage companies raised a total of €117.8 million.
VCs in the