Lisbon now takes 4th place on a global list of the best places to start a tech business – leaving San Francisco and London way behind.
The Lisbon start-up scene and entrepreneur community is growing each day. Since 2014 Lisbon based start-ups have raised more than €200 million. More than 8,000 companies have been started in Lisbon, 15% of those are in the booming high tech sector.
A report from the Startup Europe Partnership found that Portugals ‘start-up ecosystem’ is now growing twice as fast as the European average.
But what is actually driving this boom and why do so many firms see Lisbon as a solution for their technology challenges:
7 Reasons why you should build your start-up in Lisbon, Portugal
1. Websummit (lisbon tech conference)
Since 2016 Lisbon has been the home city of Websummit. More than 100,000 visitors to the summit generated over 300 million euros of revenue for Lisbon from its one-week conference in November 2019.
In October 2018 Paddy Cosgrave, co-founder of Web Summit, extended the three-year trial of anchoring his technology conference in Lisbon to a whopping 10 years! Due to COVID-19 this year the event is going to be fully online
2. Private Equity & Venture Capital Investment
The European Investment Bank (EIB), sees a positive capital flow effect for small businesses, since Portugal’s economic recovery.
Private equity and venture capital companies are jumping in the SME funding gap left open by Portuguese private banks since 2012.
Nuno Gaioso, CEO of Portugal´s Risk Capital Association spoke of an intense “love-affair” going-on between private equity investors and tech hosted in Portugal.
Gaioso told Reuters in May assets summed up to six million Euros under the umbrella of Portuguese private equity firms.
Lisbon’s strong entrepreneurial network with incubators, start up hubs and government support programs was highlighted as one to watch by several media agencies, such as The Entrepreneur, Bloomberg and The Financial Times.
There are plenty of start-up hubs and coworking spaces to choose from such as:
3. Lisbon’s top start-up hubs and communities
Second Home opened its second venue globally in Lisbon after its first in London.
Startup Portugal is a public-private think tank that operates as a link between the government, entrepreneurs, incubators and accelerators. It helps to design and implement public policies and private initiatives to serve the ecosystem and attract new investors. It has different initiatives and programs for early stage ideas and projects as well as events to help entrepreneurs.
Made of Lisboa is the entrepreneurial community of Lisbon-based innovators that makes startup business ideas and ambitions feel at home. Those who are part of the community get the chance to use collaborative workspaces, get in contact with other innovative entrepreneurs and startup companies. Explore the Lisbon ecosystem map!
Startup Lisboa was born in 2012 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 support structure – mentoring, strategic partnerships, access to investment, networking activities and a community based on knowledge and sharing. Aside from the business help, they also have accommodation options for the newbies in the city.
An exciting new European start-up hub is being created right next to the iconic Tagus river. Entrepreneurial space builder Factory, with support from Startup Lisboa, is building a giant space (with plans to be around 100,000m² at completion) in Lisbon dubbed Beato Creative Hub.
4. Time zone & location
Lisbon is in the same time zone as London and only one hour behind the majority of Western Europe. More than this, there is only a six-hour overlap with the US’s East Coast and a three-hour overlap with the West Coast.
Lisbon airport connects over 120 cities and by the end of September 2019 it had served more than 30 million people. The city is not only on the radar for start ups — it’s on the map for short breaks, and is often ranked “the best” or “the trendiest to visit” as seen here.
5. Competitive Development prices
A key driver of this tech boom is the record number of foreign companies using Portugal’s tech talent for its digital platforms and specific projects.
BNP Paribas, Zalando and Mercedes Benz have all set up operations in Portugal while a range of successful start-ups and tech agencies are now successfully working with clients around the world.
Competitive development prices mean a junior developer is two and half times cheaper than the equivalent software developer from say Germany or Sweden. A developer from the UK will cost three times more and a bill from a Swiss developer will be four times higher
6. Property prices
Despite recent price rises, Portugal’s property market is still highly competitive, with an office in Lisbon costing on average €222 per square meter, per year. By comparison, Berlin costs €360 per square meter, per year, it’s €669 in Stockholm, €732 in Zurich or the stratospheric €1,223 in London’s West End!
And with an annual inflation rate of just 1 percent, Lisbon is also a significantly cheaper place to live. The cost of living in Lisbon is half what it would be in London, a fifth lower than Berlin and 60 percent cheaper than New York, San Francisco and Zurich.
If you are looking to invest in property in Lisbon our trusted partner has access to all the latest properties on the market and many properties that are not yet advertised, they can help you find the perfect property for your needs.
Get in touch if you are looking to invest in property in Lisbon
7. It’s the Third Safest Country in the World and Has One of the Lowest Inflations in the World
In the 2018’s Global Peace Index, which measures the essential safety and stability of a country, Portugal ranked 4th. That’s ahead of Denmark, Canada, Singapore, AND Japan. Murder rates are extremely low. Terrorism is not an issue. Pickpockets operate in major cities targeting tourists but theft, in general, is rare. Full rankings here.
It is also a stable economy with inflation under 1% since 2013.
Are you Ready to Build a Start-up in Lisbon?
The Start-up scene is going from strength to strength in Lisbon and entrepreneurship is abundant. Tech talent and development is much better value for money. Renting offices and apartments is cheaper and the city is the home of Websummit.
Of course, Lisbon’s magnetism for start-ups, investors, entrepreneurs and the wider creative community can’t be pinned to a single factor, it’s the overall package that counts.
Lisbon is one of the prettiest cities in the world with dozens of amazing beaches just 20 minutes from the city limits. The weather is incredible, some say they’ve got the best coffee in Europe – it’s certainly the cheapest at 1.2€ a cup in some of the fanciest locations.
Intriguing architecture with historic buildings standing beside contemporary designs is a treasure to explore. The construction of new buildings and restoration of the once ramshackled streets does not seem to be slowing down. While the low cost of living compared to other major cities like San Francisco and London is an important part of its allure.
Lisbon’s booming tech scene and entrepreneur community just keeps on growing.
If you are considering setting up a business in Lisbon contact one of our accountancy team to for advice on how to reduce your tax liabilities or our lawyers to help you navigate the bureaucracy today.
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