Ulf Leonhard, Venture Partner from Portugal Ventures in Germany, tell us the perception that the Germans have of Portugal, our assets and, above all, how we should approach potential customers when expanding our business to Germany. Read his recommendations here.
“Perception of Portugal:
What many Germans associate with Portugal: Algarve golfing, vinho verde, Port wine, splendid nature & seafood,…The country is enjoying an exceptional reputation for smooth holidays.
Awareness of Portugal as tech hub increased very much based on WebSummit(s). Portugal is partner country of Hannover Messe 2022.
Good management of the coronavirus.
Based on ever stronger and friendly relationship between Germany and Portugal!
Germans do like Portugal (big German community in Portugal). Vivid startup sector, but unknown – insider tech country. Many German entrepreneurs engaged in Portugal manufacturing.
In short: suitable background!
Amazing technologies from Portugal (all sectors, many innovators beyond “IT”…, challenging B2B disruptive innovations), which are not expected
Open-minded, English proficiency, founders often studied abroad – human capital with high international standard
Max. three hours flights from Germany (and vice versa) facilitate cooperation
Universities with strong spin out activities (Coimbra)
Nice environment for doing business internationally, intact nature
Nice agriculture, food, wine and environmental tech sectors (like forest & wood, water…) with creative innovators
Corporates, family companies, investors are keen to cooperate with and to invest in Portuguese startups
My advice to companies before entering the German market
How can a Portuguese technology startup enter the German market
Do not think German customers are just waiting for you. Though they do welcome any innovations, it is crucial to approach the right people in your target groups (use Linkedin!). Avoid “me too” in Germany: no chance, Germany is extremely competitive, before thinking of Germany explore what similar solutions, i.e. startups, are already set up.
Important: Customers in Germany expect a service located in Germany (in German…). Pure B2B might be an exception therein. My recommendation: look for a potential sales agent in Germany and/or a fellow startup in Germany to cooperate and to ensure service requirements.
Don’t be disappointed if your first attempts are in vain. Stay stubborn.
Product sample or prototype is crucial. Nobody expects a ready-to-market product though – ideas count!
Avoid big industry and trade fairs resp. events. Look for smaller and regional startups initiatives and clusters (like Munich/Bavaria baystartup.de, Munich Network munichnetwork.com, Dortmund start2grow.de, Heilbronn vf-n.de, Saxonia futureSAX.de, hightech-startbahn.de) and do not hesitate to contact them to do a pitch! English no issue!”