Lisbon’s recognition as a startup hub is recent compared to other European cities, but its ecosystem is dynamic and its growing to maturity. In recent years, there have been a lot of governmental initiatives to help boost the startup scene in Portugal, while a changing mindset and great universities seem to be the basis for the recent explosion in startup activity: incubators, accelerators and coworking spaces are flourishing everywhere. You can also add an incredible cultural mix, sandy beaches, and great surfing spots to understand why so many choose Lisbon as their home.
Below, we introduce you to 10 of Lisbon’s most interesting startups to look out for in 2019. This is not a top 10, but rather a debatable combination of promising startups we’ve seen in the city: from B2B, to environmental protection, to social innovation… so take a look at the new kids on the block:
Eat Tasty – Tired of fast-food or snacks at lunchtime? EatTasty is changing food delivery, one neighborhood at a time! Already available in Lisbon and Madrid, orders can be placed every day until 11h40 on the site or via app. EatTasty’s menu choices are made of fresh ingredients, delivered on the same day, ready to eat: no need to heat in the microwave. Meals are prepared by local cooks, making it a truly “home made” feel. Recently EatTasty raised a seed round of €1.1 million to expand across Europe, so look out for your city and give them a try next lunchtime.
TESSELO is helping organizations manage soil resources and make the planet more sustainable. Using augmented satellite images with AI and environmental expert knowledge, they provide real-time insight in areas such as agriculture, forestry and infrastructure – and thus tackling environmental challenges. What looks like a mere dark green pixel becomes relevant information about a tree, such as its age, type of tree and how it grows. Rémi Charpentier and his team want to accelerate the world’s transition toward environmental sustainability by helping producers in Europe but also in Brazil, with the goal of combating illegal deforestation.
Undandy – Imagine you could choose your new pair of shoes and customize it with one out of 156 billion combinations. Undandy allows you to do just that: design your personalized, unique, handcrafted shoes! Gonçalo Henriques and Rafic Daud saw a market opportunity in a traditional craftsmanship industry, well established in Portugal, but not adapted to online shopping. By offering tailored customization online, they are now producing over 4,000 unique pairs per month and export to 140 countries. But if you prefer an offline experience, try their pop-up store in Chiado, downtown Lisbon.
Secret City Trails – Tired of boring city maps? Why not change the way you travel cities by exploring a city as a game. Just choose a partner, a team or play alone as the games are created by locals and designed to be played with friends, family, or co-workers. The idea is to answer the questions correctly to unlock the next puzzle, as well as stories and recommendations for bars, cafes or shops. The good news is that you don’t need to download anything, the games are embedded in the app that works on the browser of any smartphone. The founders came from Slovakia and the Netherlands and settled in Lisbon with a truly multinational team. Check Secret City Trails games as they are available in 40 cities such as Barcelona, Vienna, London, Amsterdam, Riga… and of course Lisboa!
UBBU is a platform to teach programming in schools. It’s all about helping children to become prepared for the future, by fostering logical thinking and problem-solving skills. Ubbu provides a unique year by year curriculum, on a global scale. It started from the experience of teaching unemployed people how to code. Now, ubbu is helping teachers and student to surf the digital “tsunami”, and it over one million licenses sold, it’s fast becoming an indispensable tool to bring computer science into any classroom.
AURORA – Sleepless nights, doubts, “never-ending” crying… many young parents can relate to this scenario. Yes, having a baby can be at the same time the happiest and the most stressful time of your life. Aurora is a fully automatic digital expert that helps families with young children clarify their doubts, better understand how babies sleep so that the whole family can get better rest. As naturally as talking to a friend or family member, all interaction with Aurora is done through Facebook Messenger via AI and machine learning chat. About 2,000 families are using it, with 86% reporting that their sleeping time and the number of waking hours have decreased. Claudia Morgado and her team are helping Portuguese families, and will finish the English version by the end of the year.
CyBELE provides detailed digital and hard copy reports to support evidence on any type of environmental criminality. Their reports include certified and accurate satellite images which prove the infringement of environmental law and/or assess the cost of environmental damages. They are carefully designed to be directly presented in front of a judge or other judicial panels and understood by them. They won the 2019 Copernicus Masters Overall Winner prize, an international competition that awards prizes to innovative solutions and ideas for business based on Earth observation data. So look out if you’re damaging the environment, CyBELE is watching you.
SENSEI is a seamless solution that empowers the stores of the future. Sensei is redefining retail by removing all friction from stores and turning them autonomous and checkout-free. Through an integrated system of cameras and AI algorithms, Sensei enables a new era of autonomous stores able to capture in-store product data and shoppers’ activities, to offer a wealth of analytics and a smooth, frictionless shopping experience. Their growth has been supported by Metro Accelerator, leading a seed round with Sonae IM (largest Portuguese retailer) Techstars Ventures and two business angels.
Doppio is recreating the gaming experience with the help of AI, by creating conversational games about people and their relationships, discussing life’s biggest questions in a delightfully surprising and humorous way. They launched their first game The Vortex in October 2018, available for Alexa. Doppio secured a seed round with funding investments from the Amazon Alexa Fund and the Google Assistant Investment Program, as well as leading gaming and tech investors Andy Chung and Philipp Moehring (AngelList, BreakawayGrowth Fund) alongside Portugal Ventures and Busy Angels. This year they’ll be launching the Spanish version of The Vortex and their second game in the last trimester.
Keep Warranty: Finding the warranty for a product can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. When your electronic device or equipment has a defect or malfunction, most of the time it is not possible to make a claim without the original invoice. It was precisely in this situation that Romana Ibrahim came up with the idea of launching a mobile app. It takes just 3 simple steps: 1) Take a picture of the invoice; 2) Enter the product’s details; 3) Select the category to store it. The app makes it easy to store and organize all your warranties and notify you when they are about to expire. Say goodbye to paper invoices! It’s already available in 11 languages and they’re expanding with partnerships across Europe.
By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!