“Portugal Ventures 10 years on – Celebrating the past, emphasising the present, looking to the future”

Message from the Chairman of the Board of Portugal Ventures 

“Portugal Ventures 10 years on – Celebrating the past, emphasising the present, looking to the future”

27 June 2022

In 2012, the venture capital ecosystem in Portugal showed little development and, consequently, was unattractive to Portuguese and foreign entrepreneurs and investors – our country accounted for 0.1% of total venture capital transactions carried out in Europe and only 0.06% of the amount transacted.

In the past 10 years, entrepreneurship in Portugal has come a long way, growing 13% per year in number of transactions and 54% in amount transacted, recording 85% growth in the number of incubated startups, with 63 venture capital firms in Portugal and 227 funds under management, leading to the emergence of seven unicorns with Portuguese DNA.

Portugal Ventures came to play a pivotal role in the growth of this venture capital market, by positioning itself as the “glue” of the national entrepreneurial ecosystem, when, on 27 June 2012, as a result of the merger of three other state-owned venture capital firms (Inovcapital, AICEP Capital and Turismo Capital), it set out on its mission to support entrepreneurs and businesses with potential, working together with investors and partners to push Portugal forward.

Today, we celebrate 10 years of success, learning and, above all, impact.

  • In the past 10 years, we were responsible for 15% of the transactions in the Portuguese venture capital market.
  • We invested €177.2 million in 184 companies across Portugal, including the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira.
  • We have put Portugal on the world map and on the international entrepreneurship map, and we are proud to have three international unicorns in our portfolio.
  • The startups in which we invest currently contribute €339 million to the national economy and create more than 4,100 direct and indirect jobs.

Portugal Ventures, therefore, has been, is and will continue to be the driving force in boosting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, as demonstrated in three major cycles over the course of our decade-long history, led by former management teams. We take this opportunity to thank them for paving the way and getting us to where we are today:

  • In launching the ecosystem, when establishing the firm in the middle of a financial crisis (2012-2014);
  • In consolidating the ecosystem and putting Portugal on the map as a hub for startups with global ambition (2015-2017);
  • In strengthening its networking, tackling market failures (for example, during the pandemic) and in increasing the value of its investment portfolio (2018-2021).

This year, 2022, in which we celebrate our 10th anniversary, Portugal Ventures enters a new cycle, once again facing a crucial moment for the ecosystem, not only as a result of the dynamic years of development (and representing 1% of national GDP), but also given the challenges posed by global uncertainty.

Fully aware of this increased responsibility and sense of mission, the Portugal Ventures team is committed, once again and just as it was in critical years such as 2012, 2015 and 2020, to stimulating the creation and global development of Portuguese startups.

The number 10 represents a cycle, a beginning, end and new beginning – a new cycle in the life of Portugal Ventures, with a new positioning, a new way of working and, naturally, greater impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem and on Portugal!

In this new cycle, our greatest challenge will be to continue contributing to the consolidation of this ecosystem, addressing “market failures in Portugal”, and delivering value to different public and private, national and international stakeholders.  To continue with our mission, we need the support of all these stakeholders:

  • the founders of startups, who see Portugal Ventures as the gateway to the venture capital market and recognise its support in raising more long-term capital and providing access to a network of partners, thereby fulfilling our more focused, agile, fast and founder-friendly public service mission;
  • our ignition and corporate partners, who recognise Portugal Ventures’ role in accessing funding for their incubatees and leveraging the ecosystem;
  • our equity partners (co-investors), not in competition but in total cooperation, who see Portugal Ventures not only as a source of credible deal flow but more importantly as a partner that enables the successful closing of equity rounds in their subsidiaries, and enabling divestment with potential return;
  • our public and private institutional partners, many of whom are investors in the funds managed by Portugal Ventures, who place their trust in our investment policies and target markets, in addition to the return on capital invested; and
  • our shareholder Banco Português de Fomento and the respective supervisory authority, in embracing remits in the management of new venture capital funds aimed at financing business segments (at sectoral, regional and life cycle stages), where there is still a market failure in the framework of public company capitalisation policy.

Driven by this continued support, we take this opportunity to thank our shareholders, supervisory authority, participants of the funds we manage, our partners in strategic networks and, of course, the founders of the companies we back for all the support shown since 2012, without whom we would not have been able to position Portugal Ventures as a leading player in the capitalisation of Portuguese businesses over the past 10 years.

Finally, a special thanks to Portugal Ventures’ most important asset: an extraordinary team with more than 20 years of recognised experience in the Portuguese entrepreneurial ecosystem, without which it would not have been possible to have come this far, amidst known obstacles and constraints.

Besides the various initiatives we have been holding throughout this year to celebrate our anniversary, in September to mark this special occasion with the entire Portuguese entrepreneurship ecosystem.

On behalf of myself and my follow Board members, Teresa Fiúza and Pedro Mello Breyner, I extend entrepreneurial greetings to you all.

Rui Ferreira

Presidente of Portugal Ventures’ Board