Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, announced the Techstars Lisbon Accelerator in partnership with Semapa Next last week. Now that the applications are open, I would like to provide more insight about this program and what I hope to achieve as its managing director.
First and foremost, this program is for you, the founders. If you are obsessively thinking about how to grow your customer base, shape your product to customer feedback, or build the most talented team to achieve your vision, I would love to chat with you – simply request an office hour. For the past seven years, I have been an entrepreneur and was co-founder/CEO of a high-growth technology company that received $3 million in seed funding before being acquired by a Silicon Valley based company funded by Mark Cuban and the Chan Zuckerberg Education initiative.
As a founder and CEO, I can share with you the best practices and challenges that arise from growing the team from a couple of founders to 25 people, accelerating the client base from 10 pilots to 250+ paying clients in 40+ US states, or scaling a product from MVP to a client solution. Most importantly, I know how it feels – the ups and downs. I understand how hard it is, everyday, to overcome the challenges that arise from building something new. Together with Techstars worldwide network and Semapa Next’s strengths, I strongly believe that we can help you succeed.
I am thrilled that we can run this program in my hometown. Lisbon has an open and supportive community that is growing to quickly become a top European ecosystem. The startup talent is immense, the ecosystem is vibrant and growing twice the European average, leading tech companies are opening strategic offices, corporations have funding available to contract startups services, and the local government continues to provide strong incentives to create global startups.
As David Brown mentioned in his announcement, Techstars has long had a presence in Lisbon through the Techstars Startup Weekend, dating back to 2011 and a sizeable number of Techstars accelerator alumni Portuguese companies. These alumni are part of a growing but highly experienced mentor pool that include Portuguese companies with valuations over a billion dollars (Farfetch and Outsystems) and scale-ups (Unbabel, Veniam, Feedzai, among others) that collectively have raised billions of dollars.
Semapa Next is the Venture Capital arm of Semapa, a leading diversified Portuguese group, listed in the Lisbon Stock Exchange with two of the most significant market caps. Semapa can mobilize a wide array of strategic partnerships with leading local and international corporations to provide access to piloting opportunities, distribution channels and additional mentoring.
We are focused on Industrial & Environmental Tech (AI or Machine Learning to transform the core processes of industrial businesses), Smart Transportation (technology to create and deliver new mobility solutions) and Travel & Leisure Tech (radically transform processes in Travel or Leisure businesses). This means that we have a deep understanding of these topics and we can offer you unique resources to help you accelerate your business.
Seven years ago when I started my journey as an entrepreneur, I would say that you would be crazy to come to Lisbon to accelerate your company, today I can confidently say that you are crazy not to do it!