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The Hottest Startups in Lisbon

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The Hottest Startups in Lisbon

Last October, Lisbon Mayor Carlos Moedas – formerly European Commissioner for Innovation – opened the Lisbon Unicorn Factory, a startup accelerator inspired by the successful Paris Station F. The new technology hub plans to enroll twenty scale-ups every year in an eight-month acceleration program with mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs. “We are now seeing the first wave of successful entrepreneurs starting to give back to the community with their knowledge,” says André Miranda, CEO of Musiversal. With more than 2,000 registered startups, Portugal is the European country with the most startups per capita: 13 percent above average. The reasons? “Initiatives like Startup Portugal and matchmaking programs between companies and startups attract international talent, provide financing opportunities and create a favorable regulatory environment for startups,” says Katya Ivanova, CEO of startup AssetFloow.


Bairro will be part of the first class of startups at the Unicorn Factory in Lisbon. The delivery company – founded in 2020 by Ukrainian entrepreneur Artem Kokhan, Milana Dovzhenko and Maksym Gatsuts – has already raised 5.4 million euros from seed investors such as Leonid Dovladbegyan, director of the Russian online hypermarket Vprok.ru and Alex Vasiliev, former director of JD.com. The field? Enabling brands, manufacturers and retailers to connect directly with their customers by cutting out the middlemen. “Brands store their products in our strategically located warehouses, and we process orders coming from their websites or marketplaces such as Uber Eats,” says Dovzhenko. “This means that we handle the entire order fulfillment process on their behalf, from receiving orders to picking, packaging and shipping the products to customers.” According to Dovzhenko, Bairro’s software achieves a 98 percent rate of “perfect orders” (orders are processed accurately and delivered on time). “This outperforms current market statistics, which can range from 40 to 60 percent.” She says. “We make it up to nine times cheaper and faster than other solutions on the market.” bairrodirect.com


One of Splink’s best-selling products is a three-dimensional miniature replica of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shirt, made from vinyl, acrylic and biodegradable plastic. Called MyJersey, the collectible also gives football fans access to AR features with their mobile phones, such as exploring stadiums and dressing rooms, or taking selfies with avatars of footballers from eleven teams, including the Brazilian national team and La Liga’s Atletico Madrid . “We have brought something new to a market that is very traditional in the way it makes money, which is by selling tickets and buying and selling players,” says CEO Ivan Braz. “Sports teams can access a platform where we collect and analyze the data we collect from fans using our AR experiences.” Founded in 2020 by Braz, Dulce Guarda and Hugo Matinho, the startup has raised €8.35 million – their seed funding was led by The Riva Group. Next year they want to prove themselves in the Premier League. “It was a milestone that (English) teams came to us saying they wanted to do business.” besplink.com


Musician André Miranda, CEO of Musiversal, certainly didn’t fail easily: “I spent more than a decade learning to write music,” he says. “Less than one percent of what I wrote was actually performed in real life, and virtually none of it was professionally produced. You can imagine how frustrating this must be.” Knowing that many of his fellow musicians were facing similar challenges, he launched the music production platform Musiversal in 2018 with co-founder Xavier Jameson. The startup offers creators a subscription that gives unlimited access to professional studio musicians and live remote collaboration, at rates ten times cheaper than standard pay-per-gig rates. “Musiversal is, besides orchestras, the only company in the world that pays musicians a stable monthly income,” says Miranda. “We have an almost 100 percent retention rate with our musicians.” With more than one million minutes of online sessions, Musiversal has raised $4.8 million from investors including venture capital firm Shilling. musiversal.com


Pleez is one of many examples of companies that have successfully pivoted during the pandemic. Initially focused on developing a smart dining menu, the foodtech startup, founded in 2020, now offers a platform that collects delivery data and uses machine learning to improve restaurant management. Using a dashboard, restaurateurs can access real-time sales data, assess the impact of menu changes, and look up competitors’ prices and promotions. The dashboard also offers AI-generated menu images and captions, as well as pricing and menu recommendations. “The menu used to be static,” says CEO Afonso Pinheiro. “Now you can benefit from real-time changes and responses in the market. Restaurants have their delivery channels on autopilot: all they have to do is cook.” Currently in Portugal and Spain, Pleez has raised €3.5 million in a seed funding round led by Berlin-based FoodLabs. trypleez.com


In the first version, Bloq.it was a smart locker in which people could safely store items in public outdoor spaces – but then Covid struck. Founded in 2019 by Miha Jagodic, João Lopes and Ricardo Carvalho, Bloq.it now supplies smart lockers directly to logistics and retail companies. “We provide hardware, software, operational services and knowledge that enable companies to build smart locker networks for their end customers.” says Lopes. “This allows delivery companies to deliver their packages cheaper and more efficiently.” The startup has installed more than a thousand smart lockers throughout Europe, for, among others, online marketplace Vinted and logistics multinational DHL. block.it

C-mo Medical Solutions

While studying biomedical engineering in college, Diogo Tecelão was challenged by a teacher to develop a device that could help people with chronic cough, a symptom that affects 700 million adults. “He was frustrated because there were no tools available,” says Tecelão. “He inspired us to spend our evenings brainstorming and making prototypes.” The result is a wearable patch that patients can attach to their abdomen so they can monitor coughing patterns and triggers. C-mo Medical Solutions, launched in 2020 by Tecelão and co-founders Miguel Andrade, Filipe Valadas, Alexandra Lopes, Sara Lobo and Nuno Neuparth, has raised €4.8 million in a seed investment round led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund. c-mo.solutions


During his time as hostel manager, Ricardo Figueiredo noticed that his guests were regularly asked a question: “Every traveler who arrives early or has a flight at the end of the day asks the same question: what can I do with my luggage?” says Figueiredo. In 2019, he launched a luggage retrieval, storage and delivery service called LUGGit with co-founders Diogo Correia and Hugo Fonseca. Through their platform, travelers can request a driver to pick up their luggage wherever they are so it can be delivered to them later at a convenient location. “Our mission is to provide an end-to-end baggage-free travel experience,” says Figueiredo. “We are building a future where people have their luggage collected at home before they travel and receive it at their destination.” The company is active in Portugal and Spain and collaborates with hospitality companies, including GuestReady and Sonder. luggit.app


José Costa Rodrigues, CEO of proptech startup Relive, likes to describe his company as the “Y-combinator for real estate agents.” Relive is a brokerage platform that helps solo brokers and boutique agencies manage their businesses, providing access to marketing leads, financial services, and personalized content, among other features. “We built a platform that helps agents find more clients, work more efficiently and close more deals,” says Rodrigues. The startup, co-founded by Rodrigues, Sérgio Ferrás and Henrique Brás in 2021, was incubated by the Techstars accelerator, has raised $1.2 million under Shilling’s leadership and has already expanded to Texas in the US. relive.pt


Without cameras or sensors, AssetFloow can tell retailers how customers behave in their stores. Using only anonymous sales data and digitized store maps, AssetFloow’s AI platform creates a store’s digital twin, generating heat maps and store paths and providing recommendations on product placements and promotional campaigns. “Understanding the customer journey in-store is key to identifying sales anomalies,” says CEO Katya Ivanova. “Our solution has demonstrated the ability to detect and adapt to shifts in shopping behavior, resulting in a 30-day increase in sales and a 90 percent reduction in management costs.” The startup, founded in 2021 by Ivanova and Ricardo Santos, is currently used in 335 stores in Portugal, Great Britain, Italy and Brazil. assetflow.com


Since joining this list in 2022, HRtech startup Coverflex has raised a €15 million Series A led by Paris-based SCOR Ventures, growing more than 400 percent year over year and serving more than 100,000 employees from more than 3,600 customers. including companies such as Santander, Bolt, Emma and Revolut. The startup, founded in 2021 by Luis Rocha, Miguel Santo Amaro, Nuno Pinto, Rui Carvalho and Tiago Fernandes, also recently launched a digital meal voucher service in Italy and will expand to the Spanish market this year. Coverflex provides companies with an employee compensation platform that allows HR managers to easily design customized compensation packages and other benefits. coverflex.com

This article appears in the January/February 2024 issue of WIRED UK magazine.

This article was originally published by WIRED UK

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