Co-investment, and particularly co-investment between national and international investors, is vital for any mature and sophisticated start-up ecosystem and, of course, of utmost importance to the success of start-ups with the greatest potential. Portugal has been making great strides in this regard these past 10 years, especially with Business Angels, with the contribution from the FNABA [the Portuguese Business Angels Association Federation] and the APBA [Portuguese Business Angels Association], and from its European counterparts the EBAN [European Business Angels Network] and BAE [Business Angels Europe], and concerning Venture Capital, the pivotal role played by Caixa Capital and the former ES Ventures (today Armilar) being particularly noteworthy.
About five years ago, investments by SeedCamp represented a change in the domestic ecosystem and, around the same time, the establishment of Portugal Ventures brought with it a new dynamic of co-investment and a connection to international investors, in particular with the creation of the Ignition Capital Partners network.
“Above all, we need to improve the quality and quantity of the deal flow and to quickly increase exits in order to renew and consolidate the domestic venture capital industry.”
One of the key determining factors was the success of a new generation of start-ups, which include Farfetch, OutSystems, TalkDesk, Veniam, Uniplaces, Seedrs, Feedzai, Aptoide, Unbabel, and AnnubisNetworks, amongst others, which, together, raised over 300M euros and all with rounds led by top international investors.
Today, it is commonplace for international investors to attend national events such as #LIS – Lisbon Investment Summit, the Iberian TechTour or Portugal Ventures Day, and every week several international investors visit Portugal and pro-actively seek out promising Portuguese start-ups and co-investors to invest in and with. In addition to some interest shown by other types of investors in becoming Limited Partners in National Funds.
Portugal benefits from a favourable domestic and foreign context, in which WebSummit and the creation of Startup Portugal, with the most recent co-investment lines of credit, have greatly contributed to this dynamic and the present-day situation, but national investors need to continue to pursue their path of sophistication and specialisation, and to foster dynamic and effective networks of national and international co-investors. Above all, we need to improve the quality and quantity of the deal flow and to quickly increase exits in order to renew and consolidate the domestic venture capital industry.