The Importance (For Me) of Single-Tasking

Today is the start of a new year for me as I celebrated my birthday* yesterday. I try to workout most mornings before I start my workday and while I am out at the local park, I adore my time getting sun, fresh air, pumping up my heart rate but especially listening to podcasts.

NOte to selfOne of my favorite podcasts is Note To Self from WNYC. I think the sign of a good podcast is one that feels like ‘it’ is talking just to you. Note to Self it that type of podcast for me and it is moderated by the very smart and down-to-earth Manoush Zomorodi. It’s a show about technology and how we can best live with it in our modern lives.

The current episode is focused on single-tasking and it’s a good reminder for me to make more changes and focus more. Shifting attention or multitasking is hard work for the brain and this depletes neuroresources (and I’ve been doing it for years). This depletion makes it hard for us to think straight and switching attention creates stress.

Since returning to the US last year, I have been making a real effort to reduce time on social media, shut down programs, shut off many notifications and really just allow myself to focus better. Yes, this is hard with super busy lives, travel, highly demanding projects, extended families, etc. but it is a work in progress for me. That does not mean I have no apps running or an old phone. It means that I want to read books and not only articles on Facebook and be present with people. And it means I want to focus and accomplish more; from start to finish.

So as part of my new year, I’m going to focus on single-tasking where I do one thing until it is done. Much like writing this blog with little to no stopping and/or checking email, Twitter, my cell, or otherwise. I don’t need to wait until January 1st to make resolutions as in many ways, our birthdays are a great new day for executing change, developing new habits, leaving old stuff behind and starting anew.

Join me in single-tasking more!

Happy June,


*Thanks for the many birthday well-wishes on Facebook, Twitter, Whatapp, text, email and yes, my father, in his 80’s, even sang Happy Birthday on my voicemail!


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What I Did Expect When I Moved BACK to Los Angeles in 2015

Just under a year ago, while wrapping up a 4 year ‘life’ in Lisbon, Portugal, I posted a blog entitled ‘What I Didn’t Expect When I Moved to Portugal in 2011’. It went viral. And it continues to get large bursts of views, comments, shares and likes. Today I woke up to a couple hundred views of this post and with readers from over 20 countries visiting my blog/site. Thanks/obrigada!

The timing of this particular blog post last year was nearly perfect as many eyes were starting to turn to Portugal and my experience in Lisbon during these 4 years was amazing. I stand by all that I wrote in this blog and I still feel the same about my special time in Portugal. Leaving, for many reasons, was one of the hardest decisions of my life.

Had I moved to Portugal today, I would have missed so much, but my value as a marketing consultant would have been viewed much differently. In the early days of a growing ecosystem, most startups are focused on development and not growth (marketing, PR, branding, etc). But now I can share a long list of Portuguese startups very concerned about growth and many who have made major investments in their marketing departments in Portugal, the US or elsewhere.

So my timing to witness the growth of all that has happened was great but my earning ability, especially coming from the US, was a challenge.

So after being away from ‘home’, family and friends in the US, I decided last year to return to Los Angeles and touched ground 10 months ago. My transition was smooth and rather easy as I was returning to my house, driving a car I had left behind and I had the comfort of family, friends and a city that I adore as much as Lisbon but in a different way. Los Angeles is a city where anyone can be anything they want, good or bad and it just screams opportunity. It’s a unique type of opportunity that allows one to create or recreate their lives.

I knew a lot of what to expect when I was returning to Los Angeles and here and here are some of the highlights;

  • Too Many Networking Opportunities
    • Don’t even sign-up for LA Tech, Meet-Up, Eventbrite and tons of other organizations, sites or tech groups as you will be overwhelmed with such a wide selection of networking opportunities. I knew I would have to pick wisely and focus on networking where it made sense for me.
    • A few days after I returned home, I heard the always ready to shock and candidly honest Gary Vaynerchuk speak at Expert Dojo. It was the perfect first event to attend. And so very LA. There was a costs and it seems a bit much, the place was jammed and people were early, of course there was hipster beer and then Gary took the stage and was typical Gary. It will be awhile before the takes the Gary show to Lisbon and I am hoping there will not be hipster beer when he gets there!
  • 4,5,6 Startup/Tech Ecosystems in the Same City
    • Yes, Los Angeles has a lot of hotspots of startup/tech companies to include Santa Monica (and/or) Venice, Playa del Rey, Hollywood, Downtown, Pasadena, Burbank/Glendale and there are more pockets, but you get the picture, there’s a lot happening all over town and I’m glad the LA Metro, as of this past weekend, now goes to Santa Monica! But again, you have to pick wisely where you work, live, network and play as it’s spread out.
    • Oh, and you cannot walk to meetings easily or get to meeting fast with public transportation in Los Angeles. It all takes time.

Take a look at the LA Startup Map to get an idea on where companies, investors and others are located.

  • Co-work spaces around LA
  • Co-Work Spaces are Taking over Los Angeles
    • Yes, it’s happening everywhere and since LA is a bunch of cities inside of a city, I knew I would see co-work spaces popping up on every corner. Since I returned, there are now tons of WeWork locations, Cross Campus, Blankspaces, Opodz and many others with a very particular focus (women-owned startups, hardware, etc.).


  • The Busy Trap
    • Maybe it’s many places around the world and the US, but when you compare Angelenos to the Portuguese, I think people in LA thrive off of being too busy. Big cities take longer to move around and have lots to offer, so it’s easy to hit the gym on your way to work, commute, work long hours, network at night, go out for drinks and not stop to enjoy walking through the city, having longer lunches, a little wine with a meal, a few coffee breaks and many other calming and enjoyable rituals you often see in the Portuguese culture.
  • Home by 11pm, Midnight at the Latest
    • Many Americans like to sleep, and not that it’s a bad thing, but in Los Angeles in particular where the bars are cleaned out by 2am, most have long gone and are sound asleep. The Portuguese know how to enjoy the night. Any night! And this does not mean too much of anything, but it’s easy to move around Lisbon, eat, drink, walk, have long conversations, catch outdoor music and just get to know people.
  • F*cking TV
    • I knew when I returned that there was this increasing number of new TV shows. Original programming on Netflix, Hulu, DirectTV and just about everywhere else. I have been asked dozens of times about what I watch and I look like the deer caught in the headlights. No, I have never seen The Wire, or Sopranos or tons of other shows. I have lived outside of the US for 6+ of the last 11 years and I missed a lot of TV, but that’s ok. Do I get extra credit for being a Game of Thrones fan?
  • Cost of Living
    • Yes, Los Angeles is a lot more expensive, but we all know that reality. Housing, food, entertainment and really just about everything is more expensive in LA compared to especially the very affordable Lisbon. And in the 4 years I was away, LA prices went way up. Plus charging $14 for a glass of wine is criminal.
    • Bottom line, you can make a lot more money in LA and there is a lot of real opportunity in startups/tech/consulting here.
Los Angeles traffic

Don’t be jealous of our traffic!

  • Traffic
    • No blog about living and working in LA is complete without mentioning the shit show that is Los Angeles traffic. It is horrible and getting worse by the day/month/year.

So since I left Lisbon, I have mentored and taught 6 startup programs with one being Startup Braga which I returned to Portugal in February. I can see that things are moving so fast in Portugal now that it is easy to lose track of ‘who is on first’ but that is good news.

EyeSee at SXSW

EyeSee Winning the Startup Pitch Competition at SXSW

I have also been working, consulting and advising with a number of companies to include EyeSee Solutions. We were the winners of a start-up competition at SXSW in March and I’ve closed some interesting business opportunities for this client and others.


Vijay from Stride

Vijay from Stride presenting at TechStars KC

My time in Portugal was a gift and I so appreciate the fact that I had this opportunity and had so much interaction with so many bright and good people. IT’s also good to see many of ‘My Challengers’ from The Lisbon Challenge going through other programs such as Stride at TechStars in KC (congrats Vijay) and others get funding such as Doinn (congrats all).

As I approach a year back home, I will continue to grow my network, make new friends, have new opportunities and spend quality time with family and friends drinking Portuguese wine and eating tasty Portuguese cheese.

Thanks to all that shared my blog post a year ago (and other posts before and after) and for your support in the past, present and future. If you are in Los Angeles and need consulting services for your growing company, please reach out!

Have a safe and sound Memorial Day weekend to those in the US and a wonderful weekend elsewhere around the globe. Big American hugs,


PS: And for those attending The Lisbon Investment Summit, I will be there in spirit and celebrate for me as it’s on my birthday!

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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:
  • 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!


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On the Eve of Thanksgiving, I am…

…thinking about all that I am thankful for in a year that has had a lot of change and movement. Tomorrow I will spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my ‘US west coast family’ and this will be the first time in many years that I have had this opportunity. Added to celebrating and feasting with my family on this very caloric day, this holiday is followed by the wedding of my youngest niece Mary. These two specials days nearly back to back are enough to be thankful for but there is more.


Thankful for SO much!

So 2015, here’s to the many more things I am thankful for!

  1. A good transition back to the US after 4 really amazing years in Lisbon, Portugal.
  2. The support of family and friends and the growth of my ‘global family’.
  3. For new clients and many new prospects.
  4. The very robust global entreprenurial network filled with many exciting opportunities.
  5. The ability to continue to mentor and support the startups in accelerator and incubator programs based in Portugal through Beta-i, Fábrica De Startups, Startup Lisboa, Startup Braga and others.
  6. The hope that all the violence and tension in the world will somehow ease up. It will never go away, but 2015 has been a terrible year with too much violence.
  7. Thankful for being back to the energy and opportunity of Los Angeles.
  8. For those who are reading this blog now, I very much appreciate your time and support.

Have a not so hectic holiday season and all the best for a happy, healthy and safe 2016.



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Help Change the Ratio of Female Entrepreneurs Attending Web Summits Around the Globe


Attend WebSummit!

Wanted: 10,000 Female Entrepreneurs!

The team behind WebSummit is extending free tickets to 10,000 female entrepreneurs at their conferences around the globe in 2016. This also includes the conference in Lisbon next year so don’t wait to get your FREE ticket. Also consider attending other conferences to tap into new markets and widen your network. Lisbon and New Orleans are both calling my name and all WebSummit Conferences are excellent learning and networking opportunities.

Reserve your ticket today and help change (increase) the ratio of female entrepreneurs at Web Summit and other tech events. Be part of the conversation and the action and also invite other female contacts in your network.

Female Entrepreneurs

Female Entrepreneurs

Change the ratio by clicking here now or send me an email and I’ll send you an invite! And hopefully I’ll see you in Lisbon, November 8-10, 2016 (and New Orleans prior)!

Spread the word and tweet this blog!



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Let The Mentoring Begin – The Lisbon Challenge Fall 2015

I am just about to start my mentoring sessions, via Skype, with the startup teams that have made it into the 5th edition of the Lisbon Challenge. I have been fortunate to watch this program form and grow and to work with the majority of the teams passing through the intense 3-month long program for the previous 4 editions.

Mentoring 20 teams in the first portion of the program will be a great way to get to know the teams early on and help with their business challenges, especially when it comes to marketing, customer acquisition and growth. And I have been known to push startups to really pick up their social media activity, conduct a PR outreach campaign, sit down and brainstorm a new name or brand identity and a lot more.

So to the 20 teams that have joined the growing and very global Lisbon Challenge program, congratulations, and I look forward to our calls and to helping you accelerate.

The Lisbon Challenge teams are also everywhere as I just saw the teams from Line Health and Planedia (2nd and 3rd edition respectfully) in New York City last week and will host the team from Tationem (3rd edition) in Los Angeles this week. We’re all connected, so current and past LC startups, make sure you leverage all your contacts and mentors as you move around the globe and grow your business!

Catching up with Planedia in NYC, October 2015

Catching up with Planedia in NYC, October 2015

Build it teams,


PS – I have been invited back to Portugal for a startup program in early 2016 and I’ll share more details in coming posts. I’m looking forward to seeing all that has changed and developed in the startup space since my departure from Lisbon and to seeing many people.

PSS – Bashara, I miss our Instructor/Coach tag team!

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Discovering and Rediscovering (Startups) from Lisbon, Portugal to Los Angeles, CA

Lisbon Portugal

Discovering Portuguese Startups

Soon I will be back in the United States after 4 incredible years discovering Portugal. I wrote this blog while in Madeira, the amazing and must-see island that the Portuguese discovered in 1419. Madeira was an important discovery for Portugal and most of the world knows that the Portuguese had an intensive period of maritime exploration during the 15th and 16th centuries. Portuguese sailors were at the vanguard of European overseas exploration. It’s a long and important story and in some ways it feels reminiscent of the intensive period of startup growth that is happening now in Portugal.

Yes, most of the globe knows that Portugal was on a short list of countries needing a bailout from the EU. During the ‘paying back/Troika years’ a very interesting startup ecosystem came together which I have written about often in the past. If you are not physically in Portugal, it’s really worth following, very much like the high growth years in Berlin.

I am picking an interesting time to step away from Portugal as each month more and more is taking place in Portugal. Money is moving around the country, companies are hiring and the speed at which things are happening is picking up. This all adds to the excitement and the opportunities that are available in the startup space.

I am taking with me the spirit of discovery to rediscover ‘the other west coast’; Los Angeles. LA is a HUGE city with a lot of opportunity. And it is really spread out. No walking to startup events or mentoring meetings like one can do in Lisbon, unless you have a day to spare. But I am ready to rediscover LA and work on new projects and mentor and coach startups. I feel all the more knowledgeable and prepared after mentoring over 200 startups, teaching classes, running intensive coaching sessions and being a line of support and advice for many early stage startups from around the globe.

I believe that my time away from the US has provided me with much more of a global business and entrepreneurial view at a time when many investors are paying more attention to non-US opportunities. The world continues to get smaller and more interconnected and I realized in these years that I am a ‘connector’. I will continue to connect companies, many Portuguese, with partners and others that can help grow their ideas and businesses.

So as I fly out, know that I am still part of the Portuguese startup family and I am certain it will continue to growth. Reach out if you need marketing, business development and operations expertise and keep in touch. And if you are an LA-based incubator or accelerator and need to add to your mentoring team or staff, let’s talk!

Thanks for helping me discover the early Portuguese ‘startup discovers’! I’m learning it’s all about effective navigation,


PS – Thanks for sharing, commenting, liking and retweeting my recent What I Didn’t Expect When I Moved to Portugal in 2011 blog. The response was really tremendous and it’s clear that many people are tuning into what is happening in Portugal. Fantastic!

And thanks for coming out for drinks earlier this week!

Sandra Sick

See you soon drinks!

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What I Didn’t Expect When I Moved to Portugal in 2011

Just about 4 years ago I moved to Portugal with my partner who had secured a teaching position at the French school (Lycée Francais) in Lisbon. We had vacationed in Lisbon in 2008 and we both really connected with the city. It was a big move, from Los Angeles, but the decision was easy. Now I am preparing a return trip to Los Angeles to focus on more challenging work opportunities and of course I am thinking about all that has happened in these 4 years.

Here are a few things that I just did not plan for even though I had spent time in Portugal and had done a lot of research prior to our arrival.

  1. That the Portuguese are among the friendliest and most humble people on the planet. I knew the Portuguese were nice but I have encountered such amazing people who are kind, supportive and caring. I doubt it’s just good luck but people are really kindhearted and the Portuguese language uses a lot of very polite phrases. Like when you go to pay somebody, they ask if they can take the money. It’s really the little things that truly speak about a nation (especially during difficult financial times).
  2. The discovery of a startup scene. Most visible traces of a startup scene go back about 3 years now, but of course there have always been startups in Portugal. We all know that the Portuguese travelled the world ahead of the rest and created many new and innovative businesses and there have been a number of Portuguese companies that have had much success in the past few decades. But the real Portuguese startup scene did come alive not long after I arrived in Lisbon. I lived through the other West Coast startup evolution in California and I never expected to witness this incredible startup growth activity again.
  3. That the country is 2 degrees of separation especially in the startup world. Yes, Portugal is a small country, but people get out and do many things and get to know each other. When I meet somebody new, it often turns out that we know 50 of the same people on LinkedIn. You can build a network fast here.
  4. That I would be in Lisbon when the entire world is now discovering or rediscovering Portugal. If you have not visited this amazing country, add it to the top of your travel list. The energy is great, the weather quite good, the history very visible, the prices very affordable, the mix of activities fantastic and again, the people are very friendly and helpful.
  5. That I would ever give up Italian wine! Yup, my pallet has totally converted to Portuguese wine. There is such a great offering of very affordable red, wine, and green wines and when you go to dinner, the price of a decent glass of house wine can be less than the cost of a coke. Regardless of the price, the wine industry has a lot to offer and the Douro region is spectacular.
  6. My surprise to learn that there are so many polyglots in Portugal. Many people in Portugal speak 3+ languages and are comfortable speaking English. This really does help to get to know people while you try to learn their language. And it makes learning Portuguese even tougher if you speak English, Spanish and/or French. Obrigada for speaking such good English!
  7. That even after years of exploring Portugal, I feel like I have so much more to see! It’s easy to move around to other cities and popular places without a car in Portugal, but to really see a country, you need to have time to really roam and get off the main roads. We’ve done some of that but never enough.
  8. Education! It seems like everyone I meet has 2-3 degrees in Portugal. It’s very impressive and it seems like many people have been able to get really amazing educations affordably. Now all that is needed is more jobs!
  9. That I would fall madly in love with this country (when I always wanted to live in Italy where my grandparents were born). I knew when we moved here that I was really going to like it, but I adore Portugal. OK, all the car beeping, and you know who you are, is strange and out of character, but it’s a country with a lot of good infrastructure. You’ll find clean water, good transportation (when not on strike), good internet speeds for residential use, lots of great tourism opportunities, excellent language skills and so much more. And the cities and towns are just beautiful, much like the people.
  10. That I would work with and mentor over 200 startups! Meeting, mentoring, coaching, teaching, advising and networking with so many startups, and most of them Portuguese, has given me this amazing inside view of the country. I have had the great opportunity to meet many smart, educated, risk taking, global thinking entrepreneurs ready to take on the world, create a cool path for themselves and help to make Portugal an even better place. Being part of Beta-I and involved with Startup Lisboa has been key to coming into contact with so many startups. Thanks!
  11. That it would be so hard to earn a living with Portuguese clients. Like many, the lack of strong career opportunities has driven a lot of Portuguese outside of the country and hopefully salaries will start to rise and money will start to move around more.
The Lisbon Startup 'Game'

The Lisbon Startup ‘Game’

So as I prepare to depart in mid-July, thank you to all of you with special thanks to the team at Startup Lisboa, Beta-I, Portugal Startups and Startup Pirates the IPN team in Coimbra, Startup Braga and to each and every startup I have had the opportunity to meet and work with through many different programs. There is DEFINITELY something happening in Lisbon!

Thank you for welcoming me into your lovely country and I will be back. And you are all invited to ‘my Los Angeles’ where there is a lot of startup movement. Think of me as your connection to ‘the other west coast’!



>>>Keep up-to-date by following me on Twitter @SandraSick and KEEP TWEETING PORTUGAL!

 Here are some pictures from startup activities;

Sandra Sick SandraSick @SandraSick

Wrap-up for #LIS15 – Beta-i Team!

Sandra Sick SandraSick @SandraSick

Lisbon Challenge Startup Teams

Sandra Sick SandraSick @SandraSick

Sandra Sick Moderating Startup Pitches

Sandra Sick SandraSick @SandraSick

Sandra Sick and Magnafinance

Sandra Sick SandraSick @SandraSick

Panel for SVC2Lx

Sandra Sick SandraSick @SandraSick

Presenting to the President of Portugal

Sandra Sick @SandraSick Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend Coimbra

Sandra Sick @SandraSick Startup Pirates Lisboa

Startup Pirates Lisboa

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The Final Week of The Lisbon Challenge Spring 2015 (4th Edition)

It’s upon us, the final week of The Lisbon Challenge Spring 2015 edition and the 3-month accelerator program has progressed rapidly. From my vantage point as a coach and a mentor, I’d say that this edition went even faster than the previous! The focus and intensity of the teams has been non-stop! This week will be jammed with preparation for the final pitch at The Lisbon Investment Summit on June 4th and 5th as well as working aggressively on products, websites and overall preparation for more visibility for each startup.

sandra sick Lisbon Challenge

Getting to know the Lisbon Challenge teams – Day 1!

I have had the pleasure of being involved in all 4 editions of The Lisbon Challenge, the first two as a mentor and the last two as a coach and mentor. Coaching digs in much deeper and you work with teams on a weekly basis, so you really see their direction and progress and can have a big impact in areas. It’s a great opportunity and it certainly is rewarding.

And each Lisbon Challenge edition has it’s own vibe. It’s all group dynamics in the end, but I can see how the program has grown and as much as the Lisbon Challenge/Beta-i program team does not ‘babysit’, the expectations do keep rising both from the teams that apply and the results throughout the program.

sandra sick clinkpic

Working with the ClinkPic team on new branding.

Sandra Sick Eggy

Pedro from Eggy presenting during the MPV Session.

Technically there is no ‘winner’ in this edition of The Lisbon Challenge, but there are ‘perks’ that will be awarded at #LIS that have a monetary value. But really, each team that is accepted and goes through the entire program is a winner. They win a wider network of contacts including a long list of instructors, coaches, mentors, speakers, investors and other guests, they gain 3 months of focus on their product or service and often go through some level of rebranding, pivoting or new direction. Most teams also make serious progress and solve a lot of business problems (often specific to recruitment and rebuilding).

Accelerator programs are not intended to be easy and The Lisbon Challenge teams have been working as Beta-I as they expand their office space and take on a much bigger role for their operations which is involved in a wide range of projects, events and programs. The Lisbon Challenge has also become a very internationally known accelerator program and the number of applications per edition is impressive.

So, with days to go before the startups find themselves on the #LIS stage, here are a few words of encouragement for the member of each startup team;

  1. You made it this far, so stay focused on your key milestones.
  2. Get your feet on the street and continue to sell and get users.
  3. You now have a much larger network, remember to use it and use it wisely.
  4. You earned bragging rights for being a Lisbon Challenge alumni. Keep in touch, share your journey and brag where it makes sense!
  5. Tweet, retweet and share your news on TWITTER!
  6. Remember that most investors are looking at momentum, management team, market size and money.

And lastly, since we all know that startups have a high failure rate, ‘It’s more important to fail at something that matters than to succeed at something that doesn’t’.

Happy pitching teams!

Sandra (@SandraSick)

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Sure Signs of a Growing Startup Environment

As I’ve written in the past, there is a lot of growth in the startup scene in Portugal today. It’s an incredible amount of growth in a short time. Rapid startup growth is happening all around the globe and the number of startup incubators and accelerator programs in Europe alone is HUGE. It’s all good news.

As somebody who works closely with startups, I see a lot from the ‘edge’. I meet, speak with, teach, mentor, coach and work with a lot of different startups. Nearly all of them are looking for money, which is not surprising to anyone. Really, I can count on one hand the number of times a startup said, ‘we’re not taking money now’. Good for them!

Tough decisions when it comes to investing can take too long!

Tough decisions when it comes to investing can take too long!

The flip side is that many of the startups looking for money go through such a painstaking process that the challenge of raising funds seems larger than the effort to get their product to market. Yes, this is the reality of leading the charge while bootstrapping and looking for cash to grow.

In the recent months, we have seen some back to back investment news that is a sure sign that the startup scene is growing up in Portugal. Yes, Farfetch,, Bica Sudios, MyGon, B-Guest and others have announced investments. All this is great news but for many, they are stuck in what seems to be an abnormally long process of getting a yes or no from investors. Not all, but many.

I am a big fan of Brad Feld, a managing director at Foundry Group in Boulder, Colorado. He invests in software and internet companies around the US. He recently wrote an article on “Why We Pass Quickly on Things‘ , and I highly recommend reading his blog on an on-going basis.

To quote the article, ‘As part of our strategy, we have purposely constrained our fund size ($225m per fund, which lasts about three years and covers about 30 investments) and our partnership size (four partners, no associates.) As a result, our goal is to say no in 60 seconds‘.

OK, 60 seconds is fast, but in the life of a startup, this is like days and a long process of application submissions, revisions, meetings, more meetings, lots of indecision and more really takes away from a startup focusing on their product and/or business development.

So the article is a good read and when we start seeing investment decisions getting to a yes or no even faster, we will know how much more the Portuguese Startup ecosystem has grown up.

Feel free to share your story of getting funding, regardless of where the money came from for your company. Roughly how long did it take and what did you learn?

Have a great day and thanks for sharing this post,



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