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Portugal for a tech startup? ScorePlay’s Arnaud Burucoa tell Dispatches why his French team chose Lisbon over Paris

(Editor’s note: Dispatches Europe tracks the tech scene and capital trends in Europe because so many of our highly skilled internationals are engineers, physicists and developers who aspire to be part of the new new thingThis post on expat startups in Lisbon is part of our Tuesday Tech series.)

When I met French expat Arnaud Burucoa and he told me about the idea of the startup he was working for, I found it a good opportunity to hear it directly from a startup member: Why Lisbon and startups?

Why is the Portuguese capital a magnet for tech startups when Paris or London or Berlin would have been the way to go?

And what are his expectations for ScorePlay’s future, the startup in Lisbon for which he works as a chief sales officer?

The following is a Q&A with Arnaud Burucoa:

What does ScorePlay do?

ScorePlay consists of a team of eight people. The idea behind it is to help sports organizations better manage their photos and videos. Football clubs have a lot of videos especially after games and trainings. They usually store their videos and photos on Google Drive or Dropbox and then they share this material via WhatsApp.

That is not optimal.

Our idea was to give them an all-in-one solutio in one single AI-powered platform which connects all the players and staff members. The main challenge here is to classify all content automatically so that they could save time, use their material better, and optimize content. The main product is the platform, but we also developed a mobile app to share content directly with athletes.

What made Lisbon the place for a French team to build their startup? And what might be the drawbacks of that?

The quality of life is not only important for us as members of the startup, but it is also a point of attraction for the future employees we would like to hire. We want to make them leave Paris or prefer a contract with us over other companies in France. With the same salary you will be able to do more in Lisbon than in Paris or London. Life being affordable is not the only merit of Lisbon. There is also more work/life balance here. In winter, for example, we used to very wake up early to surf, then we went to work at 9 a.m.

This would have been impossible in Paris.

This does not mean that you do not work hard in Lisbon. On the contrary, you work a lot. You are just taking advantage of what the city can offer you. As you know the startup scene is really growing in Portugal.

Two weeks ago, we were selected as one of the Top-10 Lisbon-based startups by EU Startups.

Another point for Lisbon is that is it has fewer startups than in Paris which gives our work more visibility. Lisbon is also quite central geographically and in terms of time difference. Tech companies are really developing here, and you know that Lisbon is where Web Summit, the largest tech event in the world, takes place every year.

The main drawback of creating this startup in Lisbon is that the startup scene is still quite young. You can see this in how annoying the paperwork could be. Moreover, you need a capital of 50,000 euros to create a company here which is a lot compared to the fact that you can create a company in France with 50 euros.

And how do you see ScorePlay developing in the future?

We just closed with some private investors this summer. We are also carrying out another round of bringing on board more clubs in the next few months to raise a bigger amount of money. In terms of the product, we had a first version of the tool in January and then conducted a beta phase with 10 clubs between February and June in order to develop the tool according to their feedback. The pressure now is on sales to get as many clubs as we can.

Now, we are in football, but obviously the product itself can be used with any type of sports. In the long term, the idea is not only to work with football clubs, but also with any sports organization. Hopefully, by the end of the year we can have an impressive number of clubs joining which may allow us to raise a few million.

(Editor’s note: If you have a startup in Lisbon, we’d like to feature you. Email: [email protected] with a description of what you do and a brief team bio.)

About the author:

Sarah Nagaty is a PhD researcher of cultural studies in Lisbon. She’s lived in Portugal for three years.

As a student of cultural studies, Sarah is drawn to what connects people from different backgrounds to new cultures and places, how they relate to their new surroundings and what kind of activities they could engage with in their new hometowns.

See all of Sarah’s Dispatches posts here.

See Dispatches’ Lisbon story archive here.

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