Portuguese Startups – The Age of ‘Rediscovery’

Portugal Sandra Sick


Spending 4 years living and working in Portugal, I was fortunate to be very involved with a lot of the early startup activity all over the country. This was even more profound as I was working for startups in California during the ‘early days’ and thought that witnessing this type of hyper-growth was a once in and a lifetime experience. I was wrong!

Since leaving Lisbon 6 months ago, I continue to be impressed with how fast things are moving and really how connected I have been able to be to many startups and accelerator programs, especially thanks to social media. I’ve mentored several programs since my departure and continue to stay connected. I’m also impressed with how many non-Portuguese startups are passing through the various programs in Portugal and how it’s creating such a cool international community and vibe.

And I must say that upon my return to Los Angeles, I was looking to rebuild my consulting business with local clients and voila, most of my business is now coming from European startups (with a budget of some sort) looking for marketing, growth and/or business development support. Yes, predicting the future in impossible!

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Portuguese were all around the globe and I’m certainly seeing a revival of this trend with Portuguese startups everywhere. Additionally, a lot of other things are happening to support this global community at all levels inside and outside of the country.

So, from my view, some 5,700 miles away, here are some highlights and observations;

  • It’s almost daily that I see on Facebook a Portuguese contact that I have mentored hitting the shores of the US for other startup programs, meetings, conferences, fundraising or office scouting. Good luck startups!
  • New books on the Portuguese startup community are being published! Congratulations Nuno Machado Lopes and your release of Tudo Mundou! Can I get a signed copy? Really, I can read Portuguese! Check it out at: http://www.tudomudou.com/livro-tudo-mudou/
  • Applicants are being interviewed for the 6th Lisbon Challenge. Yes, 6th and the alum list and fundraising numbers are looking very impressive. Program highlights…

Our 160 alumni startups have raised over 50 million euros, we got 3 alumni at YCombinator, 7 at Seedcamp, 1 in tech stars and 40% of alumni got invested.

  • Additional organizations such as West to West are launching to better bridge the gap between Portugal and the US, specifically Silicon Valley.
  • West to West
  • There is now a ‘Portuguese Startup Manifesto’ with a mission to help upgrade the Portuguese startup community. Have you signed it yet?
  • And yes, Web Summit, Europe’s largest technology conference, is coming to Lisbon!

I am heading back to Portugal at the end of this week to catch up with clients as well as participate in the current Startup Braga Accelerator program next week. It’s a young program and this will be my 2nd time teaching and mentoring their startups but I was very impressed with the teams last year. I’m looking forward to the marketing and PR session and getting to know the teams better.

Startup Braga Sandra Sick

Startup Braga

2015 was a great blogging year for me and my post on ‘What I didn’t expect when I moved to Portugal in 2011’ got A LOT of traffic and really struck a nerve with many. Thanks to the many that read and shared this post.

So here’s to an exciting, productive and interesting 2016 wherever this finds you on the globe. Let’s continue to make the Portuguese startup community visible, supported, successful and well-connected AROUND the globe.

Lisbon here I come to rediscover you yet again!


This entry was posted in About Me, Accelerators, Marketing, Misc and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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