10 promising Portugal-based startups to watch in 2021

Portugal’s startup scene has been slowly but steadily growing over the last few years. Lisbon and Porto take the spotlight as the main startup hubs, populated by highly educated and skilled national tech talent, one of the reasons why the tech startup scene has taken off in this beautiful country. 

It’s exactly this growth that interests entrepreneurs, startups and big corporations to move to, relocate and/or start a new project in Portugal. The fact that the startup ecosystem is embryonic is a positive aspect because the competition is lower relatively and the space to grow is bigger. 

In this article, we highlight 10 Portugal-based startups that have been founded in the last three years (2017-2020). The list is composed of companies that are developing innovative solutions and are working on or recently closed a funding round to continue thriving in 2021 and beyond.

Automaise – Based in the country’s 3rd most populated city, Braga, this startup is a low-code AI platform to help companies win and cater to the customer of the future. Founded in 2017, Automaise is a fully AI-driven solution that provides its clients with virtual employees for customer service roles in various sectors. It raised a total of €1 million in two rounds – the most recent one from a little over a month ago, January 2021, via a seed round. 

Barkyn – Founded in 2017, Barkyn is a Porto born and based startup that is on a mission to revolutionise the pet market and our furry friends’ lives. It offers pet owners a subscription that delivers all products and services a pet needs, with special attention to food and vet support. It was one of the 8 startups selected by Google’s Growth Program and is currently available in several European markets. Since the beginning, Barkyn has raised a total of €7.3 million in 3 rounds; the last one being a Series A round of €4.2 million in June 2020. 

Kitch – Kitch is a Lisbon born and raised startup that was founded in 2019 to empower restaurants to own digital ordering. It’s not a delivery app nor a restaurant; it’s a platform that brings together restaurants and chefs that cook extraordinary food, specially thought for to be delivered and eaten at home. It’s a fairly new startup, but in just under a year and a half it has raised +€840K in a pre-seed round raised in May 2020. Looks like a new era of meal preparation and delivery is cooking. 

Sensei – Sensei is a smooth store-wide solution that empowers the stores of the present and future to be check-out and cash-free. Founded in 2017 in Lisbon, Sensei aims to make the shopping experience as frictionless as possible with an integrated system of cameras and AI algorithms to capture in-store product data and customers’ activity. Sensei has raised a total of €500K in finding over 4 rounds; the latest one in September 2019 from a grant round. 

Virtuleap – Founded in 2018 in Lisbon, Virtuleap is a health and education VR startup that aims to improve brain health with VR. It combines neuroscience and virtual reality to help increase attention levels and address cognitive abilities, disorders and learning challenges. With a team of 19, where designers and neuroscientists work together for a common goal, Virtuleap has things in place to continue growing and health and VR solutions are on the rise. The startup has raised almost €1 million in 7 rounds, the last one from December 2020 from a Seed round.

Utrust – For this Braga-based startup, digital currencies are the money of tomorrow. Founded in 2017, Utrust is a leading cryptocurrency payment solution designed to modernise the finance and payments industry to solve the problems presented by traditional payment methods. Its goal is to help merchants easily accept digital currencies for goods and help buyers pay with them; with this solution, merchants keep more of their profit margin. With the growing popularity of crypto, Utrust is on the right path to continue expanding. It has raised atound €17.6 million in 3 rounds; the last one from March 2020 via pre-seed round.

ReplaiGaming has been continually growing for the last 10 years – from game console games, to computer and mobile games. Replai was born in Porto in 2019 with the goal to power the world’s gaming developers to obtain valuable insights on their creatives through performance data. Through AI tagging, Raplai brings creativity and data together to reveal what’s behind the best-performing UA creatives. Replai raised €1.2 million in June 2020 as a seed round to continue their work of bringing creativity and data together for a common goal. 

Musiversal – Lisbon born and based, Musiversal makes music production easier and more affordable with professional sessions musicians at your fingertips. It offers a monthly subscription service that allows users to book unlimited recording sessions with professional musicians remotely. With the current worldwide situation, music festivals, concerts of all sizes and even pub performances have been put on hold. musiversal creates opportunities to revitalise the industry safely. Since it launched in 2018, it has raised over €1 million in over 3 rounds, the last one in November 2020 from a Grant round. 

Advertio – This Lisbon based startup was born in 2017 to help companies acquire high-quality leads and customers. It encourages companies to grow risk-free and only pay per result. With a team of 24, Advertio continues to grow nationally and internationally with customers like Bing, Facebook and Instagram. It has raised around €1.5 million in over 3 rounds, the last being a convertible note in May 2020. 

Remote – Taking their company’s name quite seriously, the founders of this startup are currently based in Portugal, with a global team. Remote was founded in 2019 to help companies of all sizes hire top talent all over the world, in full compliance with local laws. Its platform makes it easier to manage international payroll, taxes, benefits and compliance for businesses of all sizes. Fueled by the current pandemic situation, remote work is on the rise globally. Remote has raised around €36.6 million in 2 rounds, their latest round being a Series A round in October 2020

Portugal’s startup scene is very much alive, diverse and growing. With solutions for food delivery, remote work, health improvement and even music production, these 10 startups seem to have a bright future ahead. 

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!