Portugal has a delightful energy to it. It’s a country that has earned a global reputation for a fresh, balanced approach to life. It offers sunkissed landscapes, culturally-rich cities, gastronomic highlights, and, is increasingly a lively startup hub.
One of the sweethearts of Europe’s startup ecosystem in recent years, Portugal is becoming the birthplace of exciting innovation and startups, and, is also becoming a focal point for international companies and digital nomads. It attracts attention thanks to its cultural outlook, high quality of life, and quintessentially Portuguese lifestyle. The western-European nation is now as much a hub of promising development as it is an international magnet.
Portugal boasts a strong collection of incubators, impressive infrastructure and connectivity, visa programs and a public and private sector committed to developing the ecosystem. In fact, the country’s capital, lovely Lisbon has reported growth of 30% every year since 2016 for its startup scene, and, the city’s startups raised over €309 million in 2022. Porutglahas ow given Europe 7 unicorns (!): Outsystems, Farfetch, Talkdesk, Feedzai, Remote, Sword Health and Anchorage Digital.
We recently chatted with Ricardo Marvão, a Portuguese startup icon, to learn more about the country’s thriving ecosystem.
We’re still dreaming of Portugal and are super excited to see how the country continues to develop over the next few years. So, we decided to identify the exceptional startups that we think have an exciting year ahead and will provide pivotal in the country’s flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem. All of these startups have been founded since 2019.
Rely.io: Founded in 2020, Rely.io has developed a reliability intelligence platform to productise Site Reliability Engineering. The startup is building an agnostic SaaS platform for cloud-native companies to monitor and optimize software reliability without sacrificing feature velocity, making sure they deliver efficient, incident-free experiences that meet user expectations. Engineers can easily plug the platform into their existing monitoring and observability stack. The Almada-based team secured €2 million in 2022.
Pleez: Born in the Portuguese capital, Pleez helps restaurants optimize their menus and boost revenues. It brings digital tech to restaurants, helping teams leverage data and algorithms for strategic purposes. 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.
CleanWatts: Based in Coimbra, CleanWatts is helping clean up the energy sector. The CleanTech startup was founded in 2020 with a mission to push forward the energy transition through local communities. It removes friction and complexity from local energy markets by originating and managing energy communities. The platform connects energy consumption, storage and regeneration of energy, front-of-the-meter flexibility, grid resiliency and transaction management on a local level, making Europe’s green transition ambitions more in reach. Since its launch, the company has secured over €16 million.
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. The startup was a finalist at the 2022 edition of the FutureTravel Summit’s Pitch Competition.
Noty.ai: Leveraging AI, Noty.ai wants to make meetings more productive. The startup, founded in 2020, offers a real-time transcription tool for daily meetings that means meeting notes, action items and follow-ups can all be prepared in seconds. Say goodbye to the days of missing important details or wishing you could write/type faster. The Lisbon-based startup claims it can make meetings 10x more productive with its digital transcribing and note-taking assistant. The young company has raised €500k, and, with the rise of AI in writing and productivity, we can expect this one to keep growing.
Coverflex: On a mission to enhance employee benefits, Coverflex is quickly establishing itself as a key paler in the HR market. Launched in 2021, Coverflex positions itself as a flexible compensation solution that enables any company, of any size, to design, consolidate and personalise their compensation offers with health insurance, meal allowance, fringe benefits and discounts. It aggregates multiple providers and helps companies cut costs with tax-efficient benefits while giving employees more value and improving their financial literacy on compensation and benefits – a completely personal approach. The startup began 2023 with a €15 million Series A investment and revealed plans for Italian expansion.
C-mo Medical Solutions: Healthtech team C-mo Medical Solutions is taking a new look at how we monitor coughs, reimagining approaches from diagnosis to treatment all the way to disease management. Launched in 2019, C-mo’s tech analyzes the characteristics of a patient’s cough and translates them into actionable insights. These insights can be used to accelerate diagnosis, optimize treatment courses, improve disease management and support pharmaceutical research. The startup kicked off the year with a new investment to bring its total raised to €4.8 million.
Bairro – Reimaging the way e-commerce brands and retailers interact with their customers, the company was launched at the end of 2020. Bairro is an ally for e-commerce brands and retailers, providing a fulfilment service that transforms the way customers interact with their orders. The service offers flexible delivery options, such as next-day, same-day, and even instant delivery, to ensure that their clients’ customers receive their orders quickly and efficiently. Its plug-and-play integrations with marketplaces and e-commerce platforms enable businesses to easily access new sales channels and drive sales growth. The startup has raised a total of €5 million to date and has begun 2023 by being accepted into the Scaling Up Program by Unicorn Factory Lisboa.
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, with Mario Götze as a backer. 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 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.
Neuraspace: Spacetech innovators Neuraspace wants to help reduce satellite collisions. The status leverages AI to reimagine how space collisions can be avoided, making processes more efficient, scalable and cheaper. Founded in 2020, the company has secured over €2.5 million. By using a data-driven approach alongside ML techniques, Neuraspace is able to outperform the current methods, while automating the process of collision risk avoidance. It’s claimed to enable timely detection of up to 33% more high-risk collisions that have been so far undetected, thus securing space operations.
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!