LISBON Is Lisbon the next San Francisco?

Surf’s up before that big pitch.


Is Lisbon the next San Francisco?

Surf’s up before that big pitch.

Lisbon is the new San Francisco

In a recent report, business experts Bloomberg heralded Lisbon’s as Europe’s answer to San Francisco. Silicon Valley has long been recognised as the tech capital of the world, but what is it about Portugal’s underrated capital city that is luring international investment and bright entrepreneurs to look for success beyond The Valley?

In Lisbon, the pie of opportunity is expanding at an impressive rate. Austrian born serial entrepreneur Mario Baumann moved to Lisbon in 2012 to co-found gaming platform BoaCompra after 6 years hopping between Hamburg, Berlin, and Vienna.  “Compared to any other capital in Europe, the quality of available employees and co-workers is outstanding”, he explains,  “If you want to hire really impressive senior guys, they would rather relocate to Lisbon than any other country. Ana Santiago from Startup Lisboa explains that Lisbon is one of the world’s best cities for bootstrapping – living on a shoestring while working on a major launch.  “The low cost of living makes it an easy sell, but you can also have a beer at the end of the day in a cool terrace with other fellow entrepreneurs.”

Whilst there may not be the same high concentration of industry experts in Lisbon as there are in Silicon Valley, access to advisers, incubators and investors is abundant. Uniplaces, part of the first generation of startups, is one of the local heroes on Lisbon’s tech scene and is the first company that StartUp Lisboa (Lisbon’s first incubator) invested in. 

It’s become a really exciting scene: there are events for startups every month, a lot of gatherings, competitions.” Says Francisco Peres from Uniplaces. “The incubators in town are getting pitched great ideas every week and you start to see not only entrepreneurs from other startup hubs of Europe fly down to join this scene, but whole startups. Of course, the 2016 WebSummit is the cherry on top of the cake.

What does this new reputation mean for little-old Lisbon? A city that warranted little attention in recent years is now stepping out from the shadows. With its picture-perfect mix of old meets new, there is an energy coursing through its cobbled streets. Cheaper to live in than Berlin and London, it boasts social stability, great energy, an evolving gourmet scene, endless music festivals and a dynamic cultural scene. 

Currently the breeding ground for some of Europe’s most exciting start-ups, its dynamic surf culture also enables entrepreneurs to catch inspiration on their board before that first morning meeting. The wave of excitement is clear, and young European entrepreneurs are riding it.