The Hottest Startups in Lisbon


Serial entrepreneurs Mila Suharev, Nils Henning, and Mitya Moskalchuk had been concerned within the German startup scene for greater than 15 years, efficiently exiting 4 firms with valuations above €100 million (round $98.5 million) earlier than deciding to launch their new startup within the Portuguese capital. “Lisbon has a number of components making it a singular and environment friendly tech ecosystem,” says Suharev, CEO of proptech firm CASAFARI, itemizing elements equivalent to high quality of life, governmental packages designed to draw overseas entrepreneurs, and its Silicon Valley-like enterprise mindset. 

Lisbon is more and more turning into the tech hub of alternative for a lot of European entrepreneurs: Of the ten CEOs profiled right here, half are expats. “A brand new ecosystem such because the one rising in Lisbon is fascinating to expertise firsthand,” says Amir Bozorgzadeh, CEO of Virtualeap. “It’s a melting pot of foreigners and Portuguese, working hand-in-hand amid a really sunny setting wherein work-life steadiness is at all times a precedence for founders.” This inflow of expertise is contributing to Portugal turning into more and more often known as “unicorn nation”—the nation has launched extra unicorns (seven) than Spain, Italy, and Greece mixed.


Distant’s mission is to simplify how firms can rent international expertise from anyplace. “It was extraordinarily complicated and costly for a corporation to rent workers and contractors dwelling in different international locations,” says CEO Job van der Voort. “The corporate would must be geared up to deal with worldwide taxes and compliance, have the ability to supply advantages within the different nation, and pay workers of their native forex.”

The startup, which was based by van der Voort and Marcelo Lebre in 2019, simplifies the method with a platform that permits shoppers together with DoorDash, GitLab, HelloFresh, Loom, and Arduino to onboard, pay, and handle workers and contractors in additional than 150 international locations.

“One in all our core providers is serving as employer-of-record for patrons in international locations the place they don’t have authorized entities. A significant distinction between Distant and opponents is that we by no means outsource these in-country authorized entities to 3rd events.” In April 2022, it introduced a $300 million Sequence C financing spherical with a valuation of just about $3 billion, led by SoftBank Imaginative and prescient Fund 2 with participation from present traders together with Accel, Sequoia, Index Ventures, and others. Distant has now raised a complete of $495 million.


In December 2021, Anchorage Digital grew to become the primary Portuguese crypto unicorn after elevating a complete of $487 million {dollars} from traders together with KKR, Andreessen Horowitz, GIC (Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund), Goldman Sachs, and Visa. Launched in 2017, Anchorage Digital took place after cofounder Diogo Mónica helped an investor who had misplaced entry to $15 million in bitcoin. He was in a position to recuperate the funds, however it dawned on him that this drawback shouldn’t have occurred within the first place. The answer he devised with cofounder Nathan McCauley was Anchorage, a regulated crypto platform that permits establishments to supply crypto merchandise and built-in monetary providers equivalent to safe custody, regulatory compliance, and consumer service. Launched in 2017 by Mónica and McCauley—who met after they have been early workers at Sq., the place they constructed cost platforms nonetheless in use in the present day—Anchorage, which can also be the primary federally chartered crypto financial institution within the US, is now valued at over $3 billion. “We consider that each financial institution will probably be a crypto financial institution, and each firm will probably be a crypto firm,” Mónica says.

Cofounder of Artpool, Pauline Foessel.{Photograph}: Goncalo F Santos


Earlier than launching Artpool, CEO Pauline Foessel had labored within the artwork world for over 13 years, each as an artist and a curator. “I see the ability of artwork, the significance of the function of the curator linking the artist’s work and the audiences, and I consider the digital house is the answer to fund the humanities in a greater and extra environment friendly manner,” she says. “I feel NFTs are a tremendous answer to take away frictions to sale of artwork editions, and an excellent answer for elevating revenues within the artwork world.”

Launched in 2019 with cofounder Willy Bardiot, Artpool is an NFT market and social community for the artwork world the place artists can promote their NFTs—usually their first—curated by a group of greater than 900 skilled curators.


João Batalha, his brother Luís, and Micael Oliveira are former MIT pc scientists whose earlier achievements embody writing software program that runs within the Worldwide Area Station and creating a platform for annotating educational papers. Their new undertaking: “We’re making use of the scientific technique to gross sales,” says Batalha. “We now have seen firsthand the challenges of scaling B2B gross sales in firms and realized that the present level options weren’t addressing the core issues. The objective is to show a cumbersome set of duties into an easier answer that fees productiveness.” Their startup, Amplemarket, goals to try this through the use of AI-driven workflows that assist gross sales groups discover and have interaction with new prospects. Based in late 2019, Amplemarket has raised $12 million from traders together with Comcast Ventures and Armilar Enterprise Companions. is a reliability intelligence platform that helps organizations lower the variety of outages and different reliability points. “I’m obsessive about this house,” says CEO José Velez. “My father is an IT Director at a big Portuguese firm, and I grew up having conversations concerning the points the businesses had. Reliability was one of many greatest challenges they have been experiencing.” His startup solves these issues by ingesting monitoring and observability knowledge from instruments equivalent to AWS and turning it into insights and automations that ease the work of IT departments. “It lowers the barrier to adoption of industry-leading web site reliability engineering practices, beforehand accessible solely by FAANGs,” he says. To this point, it has raised $620,000.


Virtuleap is constructing VR purposes to enhance your mind, with the assistance of USC psychologist Skip Rizzo and reminiscence champion Nelson Dellis. In response to CEO Amir Bozorgzadeh, the corporate has constructed apps that may practice and check the cognitive talents of its 43,000+ customers. It additionally has 4 medical research underway with companions equivalent to Roche, with whom it’s testing a VR coaching instrument for dementia. “In 10 years, our answer is not going to solely function the gold normal for cognitive evaluation and coaching for at-risk teams, but additionally be a part of the every day lives of the final inhabitants, as a ‘health club for the thoughts,’” says Bozorgzadeh.


“Persons are firms’ most vital asset,” says Miguel Santo Amaro, CEO of Coverflex. “For the primary time in historical past, 5 generations will quickly be working aspect by aspect, and workers need smarter, extra clear, and extra versatile fashions to get pleasure from their compensation.” Coverflex offers that by giving firms a single working system that permits them to handle their workers’ compensation, together with salaries, fairness, bonuses, and advantages. At present, greater than 1,500 Portuguese firms use the software program. The corporate, which was based in 2019 by Amaro, Luis Rocha, Nuno Pinto, and Rui Carvalho, is increasing to Italy and Spain this yr.

Sound Particles

Dune, Recreation of Thrones, Star Wars, Frozen, and Fortnite have been all produced utilizing software program developed by Sound Particles. The startup based by Nuno Fonseca, who developed the software program that adapts CGI strategies to sound, will quickly be launching its expertise for headphones in a bid to enter the VR and gaming market. In response to Fonseca, the corporate can even quickly be opening an workplace in LA to strengthen its presence in Hollywood. In Could 2022, it raised €2.5 million in a seed spherical, coled by Indico Capital Companions and Iberis.

Mila Suharev, cofounder of Casafari, a centralized database for real-estate brokers.{Photograph}: Goncalo F Santos


Based in 2017 by Mila Suharev, Nils Henning, and Mitya Moskalchuk, CASAFARI goals to construct probably the most full centralized database for real-estate brokers utilizing machine studying, permitting greater than 30,000 professionals throughout Europe—together with Sotheby’s Worldwide Realty, Savills, Century21, and Keller Williams—to make offers and speed up transactions. The thought got here to them in Spain after they have been concerned in a number of actual property buy-to-let transactions and couldn’t discover a single supply that included all of the housing inventory out there. It was an issue they needed to remedy: “We now index each property itemizing discovered on the internet and construct the historical past of every property by deduplicating listings describing the identical property into one and monitoring all of the modifications in actual time,” Suharev says.


Web3 platform Exclusible didn’t have probably the most auspicious begin. Launched in July 2021 by Thibault Launay, Olivier Moingeon, Olivier Bureau, Artur Goulão, and Pierre Guigourese as an NFT market for luxurious manufacturers and actual property developments within the metaverse, its objective was to simplify the acquisition of digital property and introduce new prospects to the digital luxurious market. “Initially no person wished to work with us, as we didn’t have a observe report,” says Launay, Exclusible’s CEO. “As an alternative we determined to launch our first NFT undertaking underneath our personal model as a proof of idea.” That undertaking was named the Exclusible Alpha Assortment, an NFT collection that works as a membership go for upcoming drops. It generated €2.4 million in gross sales of three,000 NFTs in lower than 48 hours. At this time, Exclusible has a group of 182,500 energetic customers and has raised €2.2 million.

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