Road to Web Summit – Portugal nets US$1Bn investment in startups

 In News, Start-Up, Web Summit

Portugal has achieved a level of investments in startups worth US$1Bn and sooner than expected according to its secretary of State for Digital Transition, André Azevedo.

The secretary of State was speaking in the presence of Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in the former Royal Riding Arena (the old Museum of Coaches) next to the presidential palace in Lisbon during a meeting with representatives of Portuguese startups which will participate at the Web Summit which runs between 1-4 November.
The Portuguese startups that were received by the president are all participants in the programme ‘Road to Web Summit 2021’ promoted by Startup Portugal which will give them a chance to pitch their ideas to investors.
“We have the ambition to double all of the main indicators: the number of startups, the number of job posts and the capacity for investment attraction”, said André de Aragão Azevedo.
The secretary of State for Digital Transition added there were “reasons to celebrate” in investment matters.
“This is very recent news: we have achieved a level of startup investment much earlier than we had expected which is thanks to the value of absolute investment in our startups ecosystem which has achieved US$1Bn”, he explained.
On the other hand, he highlighted the number of startups valued at more than US$1Bn – the unicorns: “in terms of unicorns ‘per capita’ we are ahead of France, Germany and have in absolute numbers more than any other country in the south of Europe.”
André Azevedo mentioned that the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) has “€125 million specifically to invest in startups and innovative companies”.
According to the minister, Portugal should continue to “raise the investment bar” and continue to focus on companies with “better qualified human resources”and “digital-based business models” to “have a much more competitive and stronger economy”.
“We are in fact on the right track and I think we have reasons to be very pleased”, he said.
After a brief introductory speech by the Executive Director of Startup Portugal, António Dias Martins, each of the startup companies made a ‘pitch’ with a presentation of their projects.
Also present was the President of Startup Portugal, Miguel Carvalho followed by words from the CEO of Web Summit, Paddy Cosgove who was also at the event.
The President of the Republic said there are more young people in the startup ecosystem, more women, a greater national distribution and participation, a greater international reach and presence of Europeans and non-Europeans, including Brazilians in startups in Portugal, all with different and varied ideas.
“There is an investment from Portuguese political power in startups bringing a European agency here and bringing more investment here in startups in the funds that begin to be executed and which show that the startups are more resilient than the pandemic,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
He continued that the good news this year is that startups had survived the crisis. “We have more funding, both for European and international for startups and a new wave of startups and this is so important because we are facing a difficult period worldwide which means economic recovery will be slower and later, by at least a year or two, including a slow investment in renewables which is still too slow for what is needed as well as the difficult situation of gas prices”.
Paddy Cosgrove said that the infrastructure construction phase of Europe’s largest technology fair had already begun in Lisbon and added that it was “so good to be back live” in a tweet.
The Web Summit founder said that after an online edition in 2020, the organisation now expected 40,000 people from all over the world. “We are working with the Government and the health department DGS to ensure that the sanitary rules are complied with.”
This year also sees the return of the ‘Night Summit’ organised for networking as part of the event in different parts of Lisbon and thereby help small businesses in the bar and restaurant trade which were so badly hit by the pandemic.
This year ‘The Road 2 Web Summit’ event attracted startups from Braganza, Vila Real, Funchal, Albufeira, Lisbon, Porto, Aveiro and many other regions of Portugal and were just some of the 75 startups selected for the programme which will seek to get investment for their products and services during the Web Summit.
So far from Portugal there are five unicorns which started out as startups: Farfetch, Outsystems, Talkdesk. Feedzai and Remote.
Paddy Cosgove said at the event “Portuguese startups have succeeded in raising capital and doing incredible things over the past year. The rate of growth and maturity of the Portuguese ecosystem is happening faster than had been expected three or four years ago and that is quite incredible”.
The CEO of Web Summit also gave some advice: “In life it’s easy to not start a business. You have chosen the difficult road and I wish you all the best of luck”.