You might have heard Lisbon is the place to be if you want to build a startup, and that is totally correct. There are many future unicorn companies being born in Portugal. Perhaps you’ve rented a room on Uniplaces, looked for a job on Landing.Jobs, or found a contractor on Zaask. Maybe you took a road trip in a camper from Indie Campers, or shopped for sustainable products on Planetiers. All of these companies are Portuguese startups. There are many reasons why entrepreneurs want to be in Lisbon: low costs, deep talent pool, quality of life and a huge support network for entrepreneurs.
I want to build a startup in Lisbon but I don’t know where to start
What if you want to build your own startup in Lisbon but don’t have a founding team, an idea or even a clue where to start? Not to worry, you can still become an entrepreneur with pre-ideation incubation programs such as Demium.
Demium operates in Athens, Barcelona, Kyiv, Lisbon, Madrid, Malaga, Poland and Valencia. Every few months (usually once each quarter) they open up applications to invite people to join their All Startup program. Anyone can apply, but you need to submit information about your background and why you want to be an entrepreneur. You can apply as an individual, and you don’t need to know anything about startups to be accepted to the program. In Lisbon, Head of Talent Léo Capelossi carefully selects the most passionate and driven applicants.
If you’re selected for the AS program, you will go through an intense but fun weekend working with others on the same path as you. During the weekend, you will receive guidance from successful entrepreneurs. Each team will pitch an idea (you won’t have to create your own at that stage). Demium will then evaluate the pitches and teams.
Joining the incubation program at Demium
After the AS weekend at Demium, they will select a few people to join a six-month incubation program where entrepreneurs develop their ideas and start to build their companies. During those six months, you will receive further guidance, knowledge and resources to work on your project. Diogo Patão, chief of Incubation at Demium Lisbon, works closely with every team to ensure their readiness to receive funding. If your project is not funded or if you decide to leave the program, at the very least you will learn about the startup process and expand your network.
Demium’s track record speaks for itself: Landbot, Citibox, and Voicemod are a few of the companies incubated at Demium that have already received Series A funding. Programs such as Demium’s AS weekend empower everyone to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams. All you need to start is ambition.
Other startup incubator programs in Lisbon
If you’re past the idea stage and ready to start building, there are other incubators available. Startup Lisboa provides networking opportunities, co-working spaces and mentorship. Casa do Impacto is a three-month incubation program focused on social impact entrepreneurship. Startup Grind is a community of entrepreneurs, investors and creatives. Startup Portugal offers an ecosystem map with tools to network and find incubators, accelerators and investors.
With all of these tools, programs, and initiatives, it’s not surprising Lisbon is such a promising location to build a startup.
About the author:
A graduate of Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif., Liina Edun has a background in psychology and a career in writing and content management.
Having lived most of her life as an expat, she is currently located in Lisbon.
See all of her work for Dispatches here.
See more on Dispatches here about Portugal.