Portugal Ventures announces Exit of two startups to leading multinationals and four new investments

  • Two exits: divestment of Zaask to Worten and Mercadão to Glovo;
  • Four investments: one in digital – TAIKAI, two in Engineering & Industry – Reckonai and Watgrid, and one in Tourism – Sleep & Nature.

Porto, 22 September 2021 – The successful exits that Portugal Ventures today announces are the culmination of the remarkable journey of startups operating in the consumer market from Portugal, under the noteworthy leadership of their founding teams and investors.

  • Divestments (exits):

Zaask, exit concluded in May 2021, has been acquired by Worten, an electronics retail company that is part of the SONAE Group and market leader in the sector. Backed by Portugal Ventures in 2013, Zaask is the precursor of a new generation of Portuguese businesses. The digital technology project was conceived in university and was brought to life by its founders and with the support of the Portuguese entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today, Zaask is a leading marketplace for service procurement, most notably household services.

“We believe that this exit is another step toward to strengthening Worten’s leadership in Portugal, in particular in relation to the services sector. Zaask’s business model is one that Worten has been keeping a close eye on and in which it intends to invest in the future,” states Miguel Mota Freitas, CEO of Worten.

Mercadão, exit concluded in August 2021, has been acquired by Glovo, a personalised multi-category Q-commerce delivery platform operating in 23 countries and in more than 900 cities. Backed by Portugal Ventures in November 2019, Mercadão quickly achieved its high potential thanks to its availability and offering proven quality in the delivery of groceries to thousands of Portuguese families. Underpinned by strong partnerships, exceptional management leadership and motivated customer-centric operations teams and shoppers, Mercadão has become a leading brand in Portugal.

For Daniel Afonso, Global Vice President of Q-commerce at Glovo, “From day one, Portugal has been a priority market for Glovo. By acquiring Mercadão, we are growing our share in the Portuguese online grocery delivery market to 25%. Our experience and international reach, together with Mercadão’s capacity and partnerships will enable us to continue pushing the boundaries of Q-commerce, one of this decade’s biggest consumer trends.”

According to João Pereira, Director of Digital Investment at Portugal Ventures, “There is no better acknowledgement of the quality and potential of the new Portuguese business ecosystem and its stakeholders, particularly the founders. The customers of these companies recognise the value proposition of these businesses every day, which offers convenient access to specialised services and consumer products, such as groceries, delivered to their home or in their homes, which is an increasingly growing trend.”

Besides these two exits, Portugal Ventures also announces four new additions to its portfolio, which join the 43 new startups announced in April this year, corresponding to a  total investment of €2 million. To date, and since early 2021, Portugal Ventures has already invested €8.6 million in 47 new startups.

  • New Investments:

TAIKAI is a talent marketplace that brings together creators and businesses by crowdsourcing solutions for the challenges they face, using hackathons as a tool to test and validate new ideas, products and talent globally. The startup refers to itself as the “Tinder for innovation and talent seeking”. This investment is the result of the “Operation follow-ons” initiative (announced in May 2020).

Reckonai specialises in automated solutions and the digitalisation of online purchases in the retail sector driven by AI and Computer Vision. It helps retailers and other sectors to create new business models, leveraging new purchasing and logistics trends and addressing the consumer’s growing need for simple and convenient shopping experiences. The solution offers a full “grab & go” shipping experience. This investment is the result of the “Operation follow-ons” initiative (announced in May 2020).

Watgrid is dedicated to developing innovative technological solutions for process digitalisation in liquid related industries. Through its WINEGRID brand, designed specifically for the wine industry, the company leads the digital transformation of the sector by providing solutions for the wine-making process that are already being used by some of the world’s leading wine producers. This investment is the result of the “Operation follow-ons” initiative (announced in May 2020).

Sleep & Nature is developing a 4-star hotel in Montemor-o-Novo that strikes a balance between the surrounding nature and the importance of transferring that balance to our body. It is the first project in Portugal that combines tourism and holistic wellness to treat sleep and stress-related disorders and finding balance, in a time and space specially designed for such a purpose. This investment is the result of the “third edition of Call Tourism” (announced in September 2020).

For Rui Ferreira, Vice President of Portugal Ventures, “The investments announced today are perfectly aligned with our strategy to invest in R&D, tech-based and scalable solutions created by solid and highly motivated teams. These new investments are the result of close ties with our Capital Partners Network that stimulate co-investment in Portugal.”

About Worten:

Worten is the leading electronics retail company in Portugal and part of the SONAE Group. Operating for more than 25 years in the Portuguese market, the Worten brand is focused on its mission to bring the best of technology to everyone, offering innovation and convenience at the best price.

About Glovo:

Glovo is a pioneering multi-category delivery app and one of the world’s leading delivery platforms. Founded in Barcelona in 2015, it operates in Southern and Eastern Europe and in Sub-Saharan Africa. The app connects users to restaurants, supermarket chains, pharmacies and retail stores, including an “anything” category that allows users to order whatever they want.