Lisbon. The most westerly capital of Europe, a city known for its sunkissed streets, culinary heritage and its inviting, feel-good ambience, Lisbon naturally encourages innovation and inspiration.
The lifestyle and buzzing energy that abounds from the city, along with an affordable cost of living and heavy tech investments have, in recent years, made the Portuguese capital an emerging startup hive of activity. Lisbon-based startups are springing up left, right and centre, companies are setting up hubs there and Portugal is swiftly becoming a digital nomad’s paradise.
Investment in the startup scene in Lisbon has grown by 30% every year since 2016 – twice the average of the rest of Europe. Lisbon also benefits from a number of startup hubs and communities, helping to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit. There’s Made of Lisboa which is an entrepreneurial community of Lison-based innovators making startup business ideas and ambitions feel at home. It provides collaborative workspaces, networking opportunities and the chance to meet the people who can turn a vision into reality – augmented, virtual or otherwise. There’s also Startup Lisboa which launched in 2021 as a private non-profit association that supports the creation of companies and their first years of activity. It provides entrepreneurs with office space as well as a valuable support structure.
Always a city with an international outlook, Lisbon has been regarded as the number one city for digital nomads, and the fifth best city for ex-pats in the world. Let’s not also forget that Lisbon is the European home of Web Summit – one of Europe’s most popular startup events. Back in January of this year, we took a look at the key trends we can expect in Portugal as a whole. From remote-first approaches to priorities on sustainability – we envisioned an exciting year for the nation’s startup community – and we’ve not been disappointed.
All of this and more, make Lisbon, undoubtedly, one of the hottest and most popular and prolific places for startups, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and innovators. So, without further ado, here are ten startups that are skyrocketing from Lisbon – all founded post-2019.
Kitch – Founded in 2019, Kitch is helping restaurants go digital without losing their autonomy and business independence. The Lisbon-based startup has developed an app that enables users to enjoy their favourite restaurant food at home, whilst allowing the restaurants to serve the city from kitchens that are tailored to food delivery services. It means that restaurants can remain connected to their customers, maintaining that special bond between chef and consumer. Kitch’s proprietary tech empowers restauranteurs to be in control of their digital orders, removing the need for a middleman company and reducing costs. In 2021, the startup cooked up €3.25 million and they’ve been expanding since.
Bairro – Reimaging the supermarket experience with a digital approach, Bairro is a Lisbon-founded startup that is scaling fast. Launched in Lisbon in 2020 by young-entrepreneurs Artem Kokhan and Milana Dovzhenko, the Bairro app allows fast delivery of supermarket goods, with a focus on quality user experience, speedy delivery, and a high standard of products. The vision behind the startup is to be a helping hand for consumers – the app that is there when you need it, whether it be a special ingredient that’s missing to make the perfect dinner or a last-minute ice-cream necessity. The startup is also pushing forward sustainability in the food supply chain – it is powered by green logistics and helps to reduce food waste. The challenges in the supply chain are solved by having an end-to-end approach while operating central warehouses where brands and local farmers deliver all the goods, with no intermediaries in between. It’s an inherently personalised approach. The ecommerce startup secured €1.2 million in 2021.
ScorePlay – Sports tech startup ScorePlay has developed a SaaS platform to revolutionise how sports and entertainment brands manage media assets. Based in Lisbon, it has now scored more than €1 million in funding – also reporting a 30% MoM growth in revenue over the past 6 months. Founded in 2020, the startup is committed to helping brands deliver more engaging content and to create a wider reach for their media assets, the startup is gaining popularity with some very big names in the sports industry – world cup winning footballer Mario Götze, for example, has even got involved in an investment capacity aside from vocally supporting the innovative approach. The ScorePlay platform gives brands a dedicated space to centralise media assets together, the assets can then be classified via an integrated AI tagging system, before being distributed to identified athletes/ artists and sponsors automatically through the ScorePlay mobile app and dedicated partner access – Media management made simple.
Talent Protocol – Founded in Portugal’s capital city, Talent Protocol is an HRtech startup with a difference, aiming to reimagine how we engage professionally with each other. Founded in 2021, Talent Protocol enables users to use tokens to essentially bootstrap their careers and win over backers. ‘Talent Tokens’ can be purchased on the Web3 platform – it’s kind of like investing in shares in someone’s career, where both the undiscovered talent and their supporters get paid dividends over time. It’s a business proposition that sounds very futuristic, but Tanet Protocol is already growing fast and picking up steam. Talent Protocol is rooted in the belief that openness and transparency are better for the world – so it’s free to use and built to be carbon-negative. The startup raised €1.5 million at the end of 2021 and we also recommend the platform is a good one to check out if you’re trying to supercharge your career.
Bloq.it – Founded in 2019, Bloq.it is a Lisbon-founded smart locker software solution developing a network of urban lockers. The aim is to create tech-enabled smart cities for the future. So what is a smart locker you ask? These are lockers located around cities that can be used for a range of things like parcel deliveries, item storage, exchanging items, office lockers and so forth. It solves the channels inherent in last-mile delivery, making getting items delivered and/or stored so much easier – say goodbye to the struggle of trying to coincide a delivery for when you’re at home. Bloq.it is now operating across the EU, MENA, Latam and the US
Pleez – Founded in 2021, Pleez is helping restaurants optimise their menus and giving them a reported revenue increase of 15%. This Lisbon-based startup is helping restaurants harness digital technology to improve processes and increase sales of strategic items. Restaurants might not be the typical place that comes to mind when thinking about sales increase and algorithms and data analysis, but Pleez is showing that using a tech approach can help restaurants become more strategic and as a result sell more. Restaurant owners and managers simply feed information and objectives to Pleez’s platform, which then, using proprietary algorithms is able to identify how to increase sales on delivery websites. It’s saving time, increasing efficiency and freeing-up administrative burden. The startup has now raised over €1.5 million and working across Southern Europe with brands like 100 Montaditos.
Detech.ai – Described as a one-stop-shop for site reliability insights, detech.ai is empowering software teams with better monitoring and optimization tools. The Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) platform has been built to generate optimal, incident-free user experiences, and it’s caught the attention of Techstars – being part of the New York City Accelerator. Founded in 2020, the platform takes the hassle away from the user, presenting monitoring data on a site’s reliability intuitively. This means that software teams are able to make action plans quicker and deliver enhanced experiences to their customers. The Open Beta of the Reliability Intelligence platform is now launched to the public. It’s aiming to bring both the big picture visibility necessary for decision-making over reliability decisions, and accelerate root-cause analysis (RCA) by providing a detailed view of an issue’s impact across user journeys, services, products, and more.
NEVARO – NEVARO was founded in 2020 and provides a series of digital solutions for mental health, wellbeing, and performance based on physiological biomarkers and gamification. Their solutions aim to complement the psychotherapeutic process through serious gaming and physiological computing. NEVARO also develops solutions for VR & AR exposure therapy, immersive mindfulness, and more. The health startup also aims to optimise healthcare systems by tracking key metrics of the performance of medical teams, treatment outcomes, and patient experience.
LUGGit – Taking a new approach to how luggage is transported, LUGGit is one of Europe’s fastest-growing luggage startups. Founded in 2019, LUGGit connects travellers with independent drivers who can collect and deliver luggage at the customer’s convenience – so no more lugging heavy and in-the-way bags when you’re on that next city break or relaxing vacation. Travellers can quickly and easily book the service and track their luggage in real-time, giving peace of mind to users. It also allows accommodation providers to offer the service to their guests in a revenue share model, with no setup fees.
Circular Unity – Fueling a future of sustainable smart events, Circular Unity is really on to something new – and it’s a refreshing advancement for the event sector. Founded in 2021, Circular Unity has developed software that measures, analyzes, reports on and can then help reduce emissions coming from an event, turning any event into an ‘eco-event’. The startup’s first product, impactALL is an all-in-one tool that empowers event organizers to forecast sustainability throughout the entire event lifecycle. With it, organizers can benefit from automated data-collection to predict carbon emissions, target reduction, and, to receive actionable insights to increase revenue through resource use optimization and achieve carbon neutrality.
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