It has been a month since I am exploring the startup hub in Lisbon, as I am participating Lisbon Challenge accelerator program on behalf of my startup, splinter.me.
And time has come to share my impressions on the local scene to all the founders out there that are looking for a great hub to settle in, or at least explore for a while. As a matter of fact, Lisbon’s movers and shakers encourage international startups to mingle here at least for a while, so here are 8 reasons why you should drop by:
1) Beta-i, the main organization supporting the local entrepreneurship, are damn good at what they do and are definitely the go-to people if you come by.
Beta-i exists for only 3 years and had developed lots of useful programs, like Lisbon Challenge acceleration program, Seedcamp Lisbon, Silicon Valley Comes to Lisbon and many more.
The founders are previous and current entrepreneurs and the whole team is up to support local and visiting startups. You might have already met them at international conference, as they are quite active in this sense too.
2) All main and influential local institutions support the local startup scene. For example, Beta-i has the support of Lisbon’s Mayor, Portugal’s President and of the biggest bank, Caixa Geral de Depositos. Besides, they also have the support of the European Commission and Seedcamp.
Also worth mentioning Startup Lisboa, a local business incubator founded in 2011 as a non-profit organization by the Municipality of Lisbon and its partners to support entrepreneurship. Now this is wow.
3) Internationalization is here to stay. Beta-i and Startup Lisboa has already attracted startups from abroad to participate in their incubator and accelerator, in order to help local startups learn better and get a global perspective. On top of this, there are many mentors and speakers flying in from all over the world to talk to the startup here.
And what really deserves a highlight is the fact that Lisbon Challenge’s Demo Days take place on 3 continents, in Lisbon, London, New York and Sao Paolo.
4) Entrepreneurship in Lisbon is designed to be sexy. Both Beta-i and Startup Lisboa offices are in super cool and central locations, enabling startups to have their offices in the best places in town (not in university campuses, not in periphery tech centers).
And you should see the venues where startups are invited to meet Portugal’s President or pitch for Demo Days.
5) The local VCs are damn fast. We have applied to Portugal Ventures’ Call for Entrepreneurship and two weeks later we already got a meeting. Their promise is that from application to getting the term sheets (in case they want to pursue the venture) is takes maximum 3 months. And they invest in 100 startups per year at seed level.
6) Lisbon and the entire Portugal is packed with great technical talents (ranging from developers to hardware engineers) up for the grabs (still crisis here) at very cost-effective salaries. So quite a good place to hire your tech team here.
Some big companies have already established their tech development arm here, like Rocket Internet.
7) The local culture is simply amazing. Portuguese people are really nice, welcoming, willing to help, and modest (sometimes maybe too modest).
8) Lisbon offers low costs of living, great weather (ranked #3 in the world for this matter), lots of cool outdoor activities (like surfing, a must try), and amazing food and wine. Now all these boost the moral for sure.
And a little extra: Lisbon can also offer a little Silicon Valley flavor for the fans
Want to get a taste of it before you dive in? Come at Explorers Festival Conference on 8th November. Meet then the local scene, lots of cool speakers from around the world and watch splinter.me pitching at our first Demo Day