Pedro Rocha Vieira, Co-Founder and CEO of Beta-i, prepares for LIS 2017
Euronext Portugal joins Beta-I for the LIS - Lisbon Investment Summit 2017, which will take place on 6 & 7 June 2017 in Lisbon.
In the scope of its Techshare initiative, Euronext Lisbon is pleased to once more support Beta-i as it cements the Lisbon Investment Summit 2017 as landmark event, in Portugal, dedicated to the financing of startups. Throughout an intensive 2-day program, around 200 investors and 300 startups find privileged networking opportunities, in an event that gathers over 1000 participants and boasts over 80 international speakers in its highlight speaking panels. Euronext Lisbon's CEO Paulo Silva, will be a speaker during the conference and will hold a symbolic bell ceremony which will take place at the conference.
Watch the warm-up party video from LIS 2016 below:
Pedro Rocha Vieira, Beta-i 's Co-founder and CEO, speaks to Euronext about the Portuguese Tech and Start-up scenes:
by Euronext, June 2017
The startup scene in Portugal is experiencing a positive boom - barely a day goes by without a new one popping up in the press. In your opinion, what are the main reasons behind this wave?
Nowadays, it’s fair to say Lisbon is one of Europe’s most promising tech startup ecosystems. So many new businesses, so much foreign talent moving here, so much attention in the press. Some international media coverage is even comparing Lisbon to San Francisco or Berlin, considering it as one of the best cities to work in Europe. According to Paddy Cosgrove, “Lisbon is like Berlin 5 years ago, but with southern Europe climate”.
Lisbon is kind of the ‘new kid in town’ in terms of the European landscape, but we think the rest of the country is also taking advantage of this wave. According to the ‘2017 Global Startup Ecosystem Report’, Lisbon startups have more than one third foreign customers, 10% more than startups in Barcelona, and 9% more than the global average. Together with a strong performance in Global Connectedness, Lisbon comes close to the top 20 in terms of access to international markets.
The truth is, in recent years, Portugal has developed a significant number of world-class startups and programs like Lisbon Challenge, an ambitious 10-week acceleration program aimed at eager international tech startups, are key to this progress, for they help a large number of entrepreneurs develop and enhance their business ideas
Carlos Moedas – European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, was a guest speaker at LIS 2016
Talking about positive waves, Euronext is very pleased to once again support Beta-i in another exciting and upcoming Lisbon Investment Summit. Can you give some background to the event, and what you have up your sleeve for this year’s edition?
The Lisbon Investment Summit, or #LIS’17, like we like to call it, is a surprisingly informal and slightly unexpected startup conference, that brings together Europe's top investors, entrepreneurs and executives, and that takes place in one of the most exciting startup capitals of Europe.
This June 6 and 7, we’ll have inspiring keynotes, insightful panels, great networking opportunities you would never expect, such as the Investors’ Breakfast and the sunset cocktail on a yatch, and many other activities. This unusual startup conference in sunny Lisbon, perfect before the Web Summit frenzy, already has more than 200 startups enrolled, from 27 different countries.
That’s why we are looking forward to a curated, genuine, and smart event, with confirmed appearances from investors like Marvin Liao, (Partner at 500 Startups), Carolina Brochado (Atomico), Javier Torremocha (Kibo Ventures), Alexandre Barbosa (Faber Ventures), key speakers like António Costa (Prime Minister), João Vasconcelos (Secretary of State of Industry) or Fernando Medina (Lisbon City Mayor), and sponsors like Euronext, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Grupo Mello or Sonae.
So, if you don’t want to miss a beat of what is happening in one of the most vibrant startup ecosystems in Europe, you have to be there for sure.
What are the main challenges that startups and scaleups face these days? What can be done to change that?
The bulk of Portuguese scaleups (17, 42% of the total) are located in Lisbon, were it’s easier to get access to venture capital. The companies based in the capital city raised about 60% of the total money made available to Portuguese scale-ups.
Another thing we tend to notice is that most of our early startups here at Beta-i have 2-3 founders, a metric that seems to be a good equation, which outperforms other founder number combinations. In fact, 76% of Lisbon teams have 2-3 founders, the 3rd highest in the world, and we believe that ‘cohesion’ and balance is also behind most of the good results we have.
For us, fostering great ideas and watching them grow to achieve their full potential is key. Because the world is changing, but the startup world is changing faster, we challenge teams to embrace change, to take off their shoes, to make things happen, and above all we challenge entrepreneurs to be the best they can be. At Beta-i we believe in the power of “i”, for innovation, imagination, initiative, inspiration, ignition, investment...
On the other side, the fall-out rate is sometimes hard to witness. Even founders with solid ideas and good business backgrounds can´t sometimes make it, but we have to accept those ‘casualties’ are part of the virtuous cycle of ecosystem growth.
On the plus side, we could point out the sheer amount of amazing ideas and concepts that we are exposed at, on a daily basis. Being part of a structure that deals with all these vibrant and driven entrepreneurs is, in itself, very rewarding.
António Costa, Prime-Minister of Portugal at LIS 2016
Beta-i has been a supporter of the Techshare program. How can Euronext be part of the growth strategy of the startups you mentor?
We believe in a strong local support network, and the community is working very herd to help the local tech scene grow into a more mature hub. Portugal is home to legions of talented developers, engineers and software product managers, you need only look at the amount of big tech that came here to stay.
Since we already are one of Europe’s most promising tech startup ecosystems, we need to build on that, because the truth is that it’s still early days over here, and we still have a lot of work to do. Likely, in the next phase a lot of these founders will re-invest in local talent, enabling Lisbon to ‘take the next step’ in its maturation, but at this point, we’re still very much in the first stages.
Sophisticated companies and investors, like Euronext, play a big role in that, bringing attention to what’s happening, a bringing ‘smart money’ into the ecosystem. As it is, we have three main investors in high-potential Lisbon startups: Faber Ventures, Caixa Capital (which is also an investor in Faber) and the government-backed Portugal Ventures. They are playing a crucial role in the ecosystem by not just providing capital but also mentorship and access.
But other than that, it’s really hard to find capital or investors for more than seed rounds. So we have to come up with a tailored strategy, that has these aspects in consideration. Also, sometimes access to talent is challenging because we're a very small country. But this might change in the upcoming years, as we're attracting more and more talent from more experienced startup hubs like London, Berlin and Silicon Valley.
Beta-i is a very active player in its field, in Portugal. How do you measure your success and what are your overall aims for the coming years?
Honestly, we want to keep the momentum, and grow also. For instance, we brought the Startup Guide, the handbook for startups and entrepreneurs, to Lisbon. Filled with inspiration, how-to's, case studies and tips for starting up, the popular series will be highlighting the opportunities and stories from the leading European Entrepreneurship Region in 2015.
As the local project owner and facilitator, we see this opportunity as a proof that Lisbon is increasingly well positioned on an international level, and, in that sense, Beta-i is always available to help secure all the tools we can so that the local community can better develop, and take advantage of such a rich environment like the one we are currently in.