Portugal Ventures invests 5.5 Million euros in the economy of the Azores and Madeira

Lisbon, 22nd January 2024Portugal Ventures, the Venture Capital Company of the Banco Português de Fomento Group, is proud to announce an investment of 5.5 million euros in 14 startups located in the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira.

The startups invested in the Autonomous Region of the Azores come from the Call Açores initiative, the first edition of which was launched in September 2021 and the second in January 2022. Its aim was to promote access to venture capital funding for innovative projects based and/or operating in the region, in sectors considered to be of interest for the development of entrepreneurship in the Azores, with the potential to become global and which contribute to positioning Portugal as a technologically advanced, globally competitive and attractive centre for international investors. Portugal Ventures has invested 4.9 million euros in 11 startupsAlgicel, Bam&Boo, Gazelle Wind Power, Hydrotwin, Ignae, Mission To Escape, Oh!Mysnacks, Our Support, Sparkyway and Tree Flower Solutions. In July 2022, the first investment in the region was announced – Wizardsardine (Revault).

The investments in the Autonomous Region of Madeira are the result of the Call Madeira initiative, launched in February 2022, in partnership with the IDE (Institute for Business Development) and the Government of Madeira, with the aim of attracting startups based and/or operating in the region and with the capacity to: promote exports, the image as a destination linked to nature and environmental sustainability, and to promote entrepreneurship in Madeira. The startups invested in were FootAR (announced in October 2022), Floating Particle and Plutospetfood (announced in July 2023), totalling 690,000 euros of investment.

Pedro de Mello Breyner, Executive Director of Portugal Ventures, emphasises that “Portugal Ventures is proud of the results achieved with the Atlantic Venture Capital Fund, in partnership with August One, which has made it possible to boost investment in Madeira and the Azores and contribute to economic growth by leveraging entrepreneurship in the regions.” He added: “These 14 investments will make Madeira and the Azores a benchmark for investment, encouraging the development of new technological hubs and boosting the creation of businesses centred on the regions’ natural potential.”

José Maia, Investment Lead at August One, said: “The Atlantic Venture Capital Fund is a challenge for August One and Portugal Ventures to attract investment, talent and create opportunities in the outermost regions of the European Union. We have achieved these objectives, resulting in the financing and investment of venture capital in much larger amounts than previous comparable funds. The prospecting and attraction of promising projects and teams, the scrutiny, preparation and monitoring given to these investments now give us the prospect of realising their value as early as 2024. It will be a demanding year for our sector, in which the ability to navigate our investments in a volatile international context will definitely be a success factor. ”

The operations were carried out by Portugal Ventures, through the Atlantic Venture Capital Fund – with financial support from the Capital and Quasi-Capital Fund (FC&QC) managed by Banco Português de Fomento, in partnership with August One – a venture capital company based in Singapore, with the aim of strengthening the entrepreneurial capacity of companies operating in the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores, with a view to developing a muscular and globally competitive innovation ecosystem.

Investments from Call Açores: 

  • Algicel – Algicel is a biotechnology company founded in 2007 in São Miguel, in the Azores, and has patents as a result of its R&D projects for the cultivation of microalgae, from which powerful and highly valued ingredients are extracted for supplements and human health. It aims to publicise globally the health benefits extracted from the nature of the Azores, producing the most powerful antioxidants for human consumption, of natural origin. Algicel works closely with the University of the Azores to pursue Research & Development projects in search of new advances.
  • Bam&Boo – Bam&Boo is a Portuguese clean beauty brand “made in” the Azores. They create unique natural beauty products with a strong scientific basis using ingredients from the Azores, which take personal care to a sustainable level, meeting the needs of families and the planet. Present in 60+ countries via e-commerce and distribution partners, they offer a variety of 100% natural, sustainable, vegan and innovative products for facial, body, hair and oral care.
  • Gazelle Wind Power – Gazelle aims to be the lowest cost LCOE (Levelised cost of electricity) solution for the next generation of FLOW (Floating Offshore Platforms). With local content using shipbuilding and modular assembly, with low draught and high stability for existing harbours, with easy sea towing and installation. Gazelle aims to do this with minimal environmental impact on the world and the oceans.
  • HydroTWIN –  HydroTWIN – Smart Acoustic Solutions is a spin-off of blueOASIS, created in May 2023, and is based in the Azores. The company specialises in real-time underwater noise monitoring solutions. The solutions developed integrate Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT and numerical modelling to identify multiple sources of underwater noise. This technology has applications in promoting ocean sustainability, environmental impact assessment and maritime security and defence. The company has a multidisciplinary team ready to respond to the most demanding and promising challenges.
  • Ignae – Ignae is a skincare line based on the exceptionality of ingredients from the Azores, having put the archipelago on the global cosmetics map since 2017 due to some of its clients being world personalities, such as Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, Christy Turlington, and Sienna Miller. It was the first cosmetics brand in the Azores and continues to be a pioneer in the use of effective ingredients, boosted using the most advanced biotechnology, such as the EPC Factor, a delivery mechanism for cosmetic actives that protects them from oxidation, increasing their effectiveness. Having already won several awards (Portugal, USA and UK), Ignae represents the best of biotechnology combined with cosmetics and the unrivalled quality of ingredients from the Azores, using a research and development platform that is unique in Portugal.
  • Mission To Escape –  Mission To Escape is the largest escape game group in Portugal, 100% national, with 15 original themed rooms spread across its 4 locations: Lisbon, Loures, Gaia, Porto and São Miguel – Azores. MTE began in 2015 and has quickly grown to become the national benchmark, with more than 2km2 of gaming space. All the challenges are original and proprietary, designed to appeal to both beginners and advanced players. They accompany teams at all times, challenging and/or helping them to progress, promoting a unique, exciting and fun experience!
  • Oh!Mysnacks Oh!My Snacks is a pioneer in personalised nutrition, offering a unique solution for those looking for healthy snacks. Through a platform that uses artificial intelligence algorithms and nutritionists, the company selects a mix of nutritious and tasty snacks, tailored to each customer’s individual preferences. This personalised service starts with an initial quiz and is constantly enriched with customer feedback. Every suggestion and opinion from consumers is used to perfect and make Oh!My Snacks truly unique, and they are already developing a new snack “made in” the Azores, dehydrated banana, emphasising health and well-being in people’s daily lives.
  • Our Support – OurSupport is an online platform that connects people or companies looking for IT help with professionals, simplifying the traditional approach to hiring by eliminating the processes of searching for local companies or professionals, negotiating contracts, discrepancies in operating conditions and payment formats. OurSupport provides companies with a single global agreement, enabling their users or clients to access IT support worldwide. It currently has 13 employees in Portugal and more than 200 employees around the world: Africa, the Middle East, Europe and, recently, Asia. It also stands out for having large companies in its client portfolio.
  • Sparkyway –  Sparkyway was founded in June 2016 with the initial aim of creating a platform for tourist activities. In July 2021, the company underwent a significant restructuring, moving towards a new focus driven by the founder’s experience in hospital management software. That same year, the Bensaúde Group became a partner of the company, with the aim of developing solutions to meet the urgent need for digitalisation in healthcare services. As a result of this partnership, Sparksys OR – Operating Theatre was the first product developed. At the end of 2022, the team consisted of four members, predominantly software engineers, all of whom had experience in the hospital sector. The first installation of this product took place at the end of 2022.
  • Tree Flower Solutions Tree Flowers Solutions, driven by a belief in the perfection of nature, is leading the revolution in sustainable biotechnology. With a fervour for excellence, its dedicated team is at the forefront of knowledge. The highlight is Chestwine, a masterpiece of innovation that replaces sulphites in wine and will be officially launched in 2024, taking the wine experience to new heights. This disruptive product redefines the natural protection of wines globally, encapsulating purity and charm, challenging the limits of tradition. United by vision, they walk the path where nature inspires perfection.
  • Wizardsardine – The Wizardsardine team focuses on cybersecurity in the Bitcoin industry. They developed Revault and Liana. Revault creates solutions for companies that add transfer rules to Bitcoin transactions, with the aim of minimising the amount that can be misappropriated, either through voluntary error or theft/fraud. Liana is an everyday wallet where practical inheritance plans and more secure backups are possible due to the existence of “time locks”, making new keys valid after a period of inactivity.

Investments from Call Madeira:  

  • FootAR – FootAR is an innovative company specialising in augmented reality solutions for sports fans. Its mission is to enhance the sports experience by providing real-time data and immersive functionalities through our platform. With FootAR, fans can follow the match live, with detailed information and statistics and match highlights, ensuring they don’t miss a moment of the action.
  • Floating Particle – Floating Particle presents an innovative solution for waste management and clean energy production. Its flagship product, STELLA uses cutting-edge gasification technology to convert preconditioned waste into hydrogen, revolutionising current waste management processes and reducing their environmental impact. Through pioneering solutions, Floating Particle uses AI, IoT, Big Data and Machine Learning to solve everyday problems efficiently and add value to partners, benefiting various industries and public and private organisations.
  • PlutosPetFood – PlutosPetFood is a leading manufacturer of high-quality dog treats, dedicated to the well-being and happiness of our furry friends. Founded in 2015 and exporting to 34 countries on 4 continents, its mission is to create delicious and nutritious treats that dogs love, while ensuring their health and safety. Plutospetfood uses top quality ingredients in the production of its products, following strict quality standards.