Lisbon, First Port of Call for Startups From Across the Pond
A sweetheart in every port, that could just be their motto! After deciding to go round the world to meet entrepreneurs and innovation heavyweights, Pedro & Ricardo headed back to Lisbon with an address book overflowing with precious contacts. And it’s paying off – today their accelerator, Lisbon Challenge, counts foreigners among 50-70% of their successful candidates each season, with startups from Brazil, Italy, Chile and the US… setting a fine example for the European startup scene.
According to CNN, Lisbon has the potential to become Europe’s coolest city. Its energy and people, is a mixture between cultural tradition and modern influences with art, music, dance, food, sun and iconic landscapes, contributing to a unique experience only those who visit understand.
In January 2015, we jumped in the Silicon Valley Bus with our respective accelerated startups, and organize together a roadshow to meet with inspiring entrepreneurs, coach, investors and corporates.
When Portuguese Ragout Becomes a European Stew…
Beta-i & NUMA have committed to a project sponsored by the European Commission, ATALANTA, in conjunction with 5 other European countries: F6s in London, Tetuan Valley in Madrid, E-Unlimited in Brussels, H-Farm in Italy and Balkan Unlimited in Macedonia. Quite the cultural mix comes out of our chaotic bi-monthly meetings, as you can well imagine…
What came out of this collaboration is the idea for the European Accelerator Summit, organised by NUMA in December 2014. The first of its kind in France, more than 100 organisations (Startup Bootcamp, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures, Launchpad, The Elevator, Hübraum, to name but a few…) and representatives from 35 countries made their presence felt. Quite the success story, which gave rise to a White Paper to establish best practices, as established over a two-day round table discussion.
Penetrating the European Market, Hitting the Ground Running in the US
And that’s not all! We also announced the launch of the Startup Exchange Program in January 2015, which enables startups from our respective accelerators to spend 2 weeks scoping a european neighboring market and to get connected with potential clients, partners & investors, as well as other startups.
This is a key opportunity for European startups, giving them access to neighbouring markets, that they might even today see in a pessimistic light. Yet, when you take our so-called French Unicorns as an example, these are the kinds of firms, such as BlaBlaCar, which were able to take advantage of the opportunities that the rich (though somewhat difficult to pin down) European market has on offer.
What’s our angle? We bet that by consolidating their organic growth in Europe, our startups will land on their feet in the States, stronger and better prepared, and with their wings in tact, more than can be said for others attempting the same flight.
Shared Energy, Shared Culture, Shared DNA
Last week we headed off with 4 members of Team NUMA, each representing their respective departments – Acceleration, Experiment, Connect & International. We were lucky enough to meet the whole Beta-i team in their incredible 9-floor building that, though not yet equipped with either heating or the internet, will soon become Portugal’s number 1 tech hub.
Over two days we shared our best practices, explored each other’s activities, compared them and reflected on common synergies – and the possibilities are endless!
Needless to say we came away from this experience with all the energy that comes with meeting good people, people who love sharing their passion for their industry, people who, in the space of two hours, can convince you that Lisbon is the next Berlin, not to mention a strong feeling of sharing common DNA.
This is, indeed, the beginning of a beautiful story.