Portugal Ventures invests €17.7 million in response to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic

  • Portugal Ventures will close 2020 with a total investment of €17.7 million, expecting to add an additional 59 startups to its portfolio;
  • 12 investments made – – Barkyn, EatTasty, Fülhaus, HiJiify, Legal Vision, LiMM Therapeutics, Mindprober, Probely, Reatia, Redcatpig, Wide Ocean Retreat, and Algarve Sun Boat;
  • Investment underway in 47 projects.

Lisbon, 10 December 2020 – As a result of the pandemic crisis, and against an economic environment that discourages the creation of new businesses, plagued by financial uncertainty and less inclined to new investments, Portugal Ventures was called to intervene to help entrepreneurs and startups that suddenly saw their businesses stagnant. Through the three financing instruments it created – Call INNOV-ID, Call Fostering Innovation in Tourism and Operation Follow-ons – and in response to the measures launched by the government, thus far Portugal Ventures has invested in 12 new startups, with investment underway in 47 new projects.

In light of the difficulties caused by the pandemic to micro and small enterprises, and aware of the ecosystem’s needs, by launching Call INNOV-ID Portugal Ventures addressed a market failure by adapting its investment strategy to add to its portfolio pre-seed startups that are already developing their technology, but that are still in the prototype, proof of concept or product-market-fit validation phase.

Given that the specific purpose of the Calls is to support startups and entrepreneurs to overcome the challenges brought on by the pandemic, the Ignition Partners Network and the Capital Partners Network joined forces to give impetus to the Callsand to identify mature, investment-ready projects and those that, given their potential for growth and ability to overcome the hardships of the pandemic, needed a capital injection to continue pursuing their business.

In less than two months, more than 150 applications were received after the initiatives were launched, mobilising more than 36 Ignition Partners. The projects, created by Portuguese and foreign entrepreneurs, covered several sectors of activity and were submitted from all over the country, including the Islands.

We have been working in close collaboration with our partners Agência Nacional de Inovação,Turismo de Portugal, Startup Portugal, INCM – Casa da moeda, IFD – Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento and PME Investimentos (the latter two incorporated into Banco Português de Fomento after a merger in early November ).

Rui Ferreira, Executive Vice President of Portugal Ventures, says that “during a difficult period for the national economy, Portugal Ventures dug in and, together with its partners, responded to the needs of the ecosystem by implementing specific measures to support projects that, given their potential, saw their hopes for a global future dashed. We are in the process of adding 59 new companies to our portfolio, we followed on and provided additional funds to 14 companies that were already in our portfolio, and we identified and invested in good business projects whose funding rounds were postponed. These results, in a year as atypical as this one, show that Portugal Ventures is attuned, proactive and very close to an ecosystem that needs to stimulate projects that boost national competitiveness, that can be scaled and go global, and, above all, that have a distinctive impact on the global market”.

  • New Investments

To date, Portugal Ventures has invested a total of €7.3 million in 12 companies:

  • Algarve Sun Boat, the first maritime tourism company in the Algarve to operate with a 100% eco-friendly, zero-carbon fleet of solar-powered vessels, operating along the Portimão-Silves coastline and preparing to expand operations to include the Barlavento region, between Benagil and Alvor.
  • Barkyn, a pet subscription service that offers an integrated, remote personalised feeding and veterinary service, operating in Spain, Portugal and Italy, in a Series A co-investment with Indico Capital Partners, All Iron Ventures and the 200M Fund;
  • EatTasty, a startup dedicated to cooking and delivering home-cooked lunches and dinners in the Greater Lisbon area and Almada, offering an online platform and free-of-charge delivery;
  • Fülhaus, an interior design company that offers the Haus-in-a-Box solution under a monthly subscription model for the local lodging market;
  • HiJiffy, an innovative solution that centralises, automates and measures all hotel customer service activities, integrating technology in a simple, reliable and robust platform used daily by more than 1,400 hotels in 30 countries;
  • Legal Vision, a legaltech startup specialised in the digitalisation and automation of legal processes that offers an all-in-one solution with its LEGALVISIONPRO.FR software , in a Series A co-investment with French investors. This solution allows corporate legal professionals to manage, create, review, validate, and sign legal documents;
  • LiMM Therapeutics, a bio-pharmaceutical company that develops therapeutic products for the treatment of inflammatory, metabolic and oncological disorders, in a co-investment transaction with Seventure Funds and the 200M Fund;
  • Mindprober, the world’s first biometric media testing platform that offers data on the emotional impact of television and other video content by capturing physiological reactions, in a co-investment transaction with Wisenext, Ideias Glaciares, Ganexa, Startup Braga, Medioris and Blue Mind Investment;
  • Probably, which detects vulnerabilities and other security issues in web applications and APIs, in a co-investment transaction with EDP Ventures;
  • Reatia, an innovative real estate metasearch platform that uses Artificial Intelligence to aggregate private and agency properties in one place, on which users can monitor the real estate market; in a co-investment transaction with Olisipo Way and Wisenext;
  • Redcatpig, Portugal Ventures’ fifth investment in the Azores, is an Azorean startup that operates in the gaming market and develops Keo, one of the winning projects of the PlayStation Awards, in a co-investment transaction with Best Horizon and with support from IFD- Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento (incorporated into Portuguese development Banco Português de Fomento after a merger);
  • Wide Ocean Retreat specialises in organising retreats around the world and is the first investment under the 2020 Call Fostering Innovation in Tourism edition.

Projects with investment underway:

  • 1 project in the tourism sector and 1 in the engineering and industry sector, corresponding to a total investment of€1.6 million;
  • 44 projects under Call INNOV-ID, with signed term sheets, corresponding to a total investment of around €4.5million;
  • 1 Project under Call Fostering Innovation in Tourism 2020, corresponding to a total investment of €124,000.

Detailed information on the 47 projects in which investment is underway will be released once the investment contracts have been formalised.

Portugal Ventures has thus increased the number of new investments by 200% compared to 2019.

  • Portfolio Follow-Ons:

Because accompanying its portfolio companies is also part of what a venture capital operator does, providing them with the financial capacity to leverage their businesses, to date Portugal Ventures has invested €4.2 million in 14 follow-on investments.

These follow-ons include a €15 million Series A round in Lovys, a €4.25 million Seed Series round in Nutrium, in co-investment with Índico, FIS, Primavera and Startup Braga, and a €50.5 million Series B round in DefinedCrowd, in co-investment with Semapa Next, Hermes GPE, Bynd Venture Capital, EDP Ventures, Evolution Equity Partners, Kibo Ventures, Ironfire Ventures, Amazon Alexa Fund, Sony Innovation Fund and Mastercard.

  • Exits:

The exits are in line with one of the three strategic goals set by Portugal Ventures’ current management team for its 2018-2020 term, aimed at setting the stage for divestment in its portfolio companies to generate attractive returns on the funds it manages and creating the conditions for liquidation of end-of-life funds for the various participants, based on the nature and specific characteristics of their business.

Accordingly, in the first half of 2020 Portugal Ventures successfully carried out 6 exits, most notably the sale of B-Parts to Groupe PSA, which owns brands such as Peugeot, Citroën and Opel, and the sale of Fyde to Barracuda, an American company offering cloud-ready cyber security solutions.

  • Initiatives launched:

In the first half of 2020, Portugal Ventures launched three financing instruments which resulted in 199 investment opportunities, 176% more than in opportunities compared to the 72 opportunities identified in the same period in 2019.

Since the beginning of 2020, Portugal Ventures has launched 5 initiatives:

  • Call INNOV-ID, launched in May and aimed at investing in science and tech-based projects or companies with a proven direct or indirect impact of the technology or on decarbonization of the economy, on process, product and material sustainability, on greater energy efficiency and sustainability or on boosting the circular economy.
  • Call Fostering Innovation in Tourism, also launched in May, aimed at investing in the finalist tech and non-tech, pre-seed tourism projects of the Fostering Innovation in Tourism Accelerator Programme that develop business ideas and models to improve the national tourism offer and tourist experience;
  • Operation Follow-ons: This initiative was launched in April, and together with its Capital Partners, Portugal Ventures identified startups that, given their potential for growth and ability to overcome the setbacks caused by the pandemic, needed follow-ons to continue pursuing their business activities. No applications were received from the entrepreneur community under this initiative.
  • Open Day, with two editions in the first half of 2020, was launched to bring Portugal Ventures closer to entrepreneurs to learn about their projects and to contribute positively with suggestions and recommendations that make a difference in the future growth of the projects. This initiative will be relaunched in early 2021. On the first Friday of each month, the Portugal Ventures team will hear the pitches of entrepreneurs who have projects with global ambition, the potential to internationalise their business, and resilient teams. Candidates simply need to fill in the online form made available on the Portugal Ventures website to submit their project.
  • 3rd Edition of Call Tourism, launched last September to boost the recovery of the national tourism sector, targets tech and non-tech projects for the tourism sector. With this Call, Portugal Ventures aims to identify investment opportunities in projects that boost the competitiveness of the country’s tourism offer, improve the tourist experience in Portugal, and that promote the efficiency of the companies in the sector. Portugal Ventures is prepared to invest up to a maximum amount of €1 million per project and submissions are open until 8 January 2021.