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The Portuguese capital of Lisbon is a city that is fast becoming one of the most desirable locations for tech start-ups. With a unique tech ecosystem and a history of startup success, Lisbon is an attractive destination for tech workers looking for their next great venture.

In this blog post, we will explore the history of startup success in Lisbon and how it is contributing to the city’s potential as a tech hub.

Check out our travel blog to Lisbon

The history of Lisbon’s success

There have been earthquakes, fires, coups, and revolutions in Lisbon throughout its history. Due to it’s location along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Lisbon has served as a base for Portuguese expeditions into Africa, South America, and East Asia. As Lisbon grew and immigrated during the 20th century, it was influenced by immigration and rapid development.

Lisbon has acquired a reputation for being a great place to work as a freelance artist or creative entrepreneur in Europe, according to the World Cities Culture Forum.

Although still in it’s infancy, investments in Portugal’s capital’s start-up scene have grown by 30%. This has been growth every year since 2016, double the average across Europe.

A unique tech ecosystem

The tech ecosystem in Lisbon has several features that make it unique and efficient.

There is the quality of life, the government’s visa schemes and incentives to attract foreign entrepreneurs, as well as the country’s high quality of engineering talent at an affordable price.

The country has the second-highest rate of engineering graduates in the European Union, with around 90,000 graduates each year, according to Eurostat.

With easy access to other large tech hubs and Portugal’s 11th-ranked fiber optic network, it’s hardly surprising Lisbon has become home to the world’s largest digital nomad community.

An active coworking scene

As a result of the active coworking scene, entrepreneurs, founders, freelancers, and tech talent can come together in a friendly environment.

There are hundreds of tech events and meet-ups there every year, including the largest Web Summit in the world. A hive of innovation and collaboration, the city is ready to birth many more start-ups that may one day become unicorns.

There are seven unicorns in Portugal to date: Farfetch, Talkdesk, Feedzai, Remote, Sword Health, Anchorage Digital, and Outsystems, the world’s first market-leading, low-code software development system worth €8.9 billion.

In fact, Portugal is one of the five countries with the highest number of unicorns per capita, almost double that of neighbouring Spain, with four, and triple that of Italy, with two.

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desirable locations for tech start-ups

There’s no sign of it stopping

Lisbon has no plans of slowing down, especially if the start-up accelerator Unicorn Factory Lisboa has anything to say about it.

Launched in October 2022, it’s an umbrella brand for Startup Lisboa, which has supported more than 460 start-ups that have gone on to raise €410 million and create more than 5,000 jobs.

The difference with Unicorn Factory Lisboa is that its focus will be on scale-ups or start-ups that are already somewhat established, with a product or service in operation and a team in place – they just need that extra boost to get them to the next level.

“Innovation is not an idea, innovation is a process,” said Carlos Moedas, mayor of the city of Lisbon, speaking at the official launch on the opening night of Web Summit 2022.

Cheap to do business

According to the OECD, Portugal is now the cheapest country in Europe to conduct business.

In light of its many sources of tech talent and the tax breaks for big businesses, it’s not surprising that some of the world’s most well-known corporations such as Google, Siemens, IKEA, Cisco, Unilever, Nestle, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have recently established technology headquarters in Lisbon’s area.

Wanting to startup or branch out to Portugal? Check out our incorporation services

How can RHJ Group help?

Are you wanting to set up your own business abroad? Well our sister site, RHJ Law can help you!

We can help incorporate your business and set you up with necessities like corporate bank accounts and tax returns – stress free!

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