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This article was published on December 12, 2009

Portugal: Seeding the Seeds of Startups

Portugal: Seeding the Seeds of Startups
Vitor Domingos
Story by

Vitor Domingos

"VD" is based in the beautiful Lisbon, Portugal and he's TheNextWeb Portugal editor. Long time blogger and tech videocaster. Professionally, "VD" is based in the beautiful Lisbon, Portugal and he's TheNextWeb Portugal editor. Long time blogger and tech videocaster. Professionally, he works as a technology consultant for a communication agency. With a strong passion for startups, mobile and technology, he's available on his email: [email protected]. Also, he tweets, can be linkedin, facebooked or just gtalked with (same as email).

[Portugal] There are four types of crops (bear with me on this) for companies; seeding (seed capital); harvesting (venture capital), selling (acquisition) and consuming (IPO).

In Portugal, each one has their own expression. We have VC’s, we have acquisitions and some IPO’s, but not that many seeders. So, it seems natural that the actual business angels in Portugal should be doing seed capital, but they’re more interested on being just the middle man between the ideia/startup and the venture capital noney. For that they’ll crop up to 10%. So, what history tells us ? Everyone’s killing the middle man and it will be shot at plain sight!

Wait no more, hope is here and we’re starting to see the rise of the newborns, the seeders! The guys that support your startup/idea/project, without the business spreadsheet or the fancy 20 page business plan full of charts. They’re the ones who leverage most of the startup risk, but also the ones who can profit from your business. The  best seats of the train are always those upfront, that’s what seed capital hopes and prays for!

It comes as no surprise that seed capital is the guinea-pig money of startups, but some seeders are just that, pure money that could be used to build, burn or scale your business. The difference between them is that some are smarter than others. Some are the “smart money”.

seedcapitalSeed Capital, is one of those portuguese seeders, the smart type, they say: “Young enough to know the value of technology, old enough to know the value of money. Experienced enough to make a difference”. Experience is the key here, for them at least and the proof can be found on their team.
Their vision is also clear and ambitious: “To be recognized at European level as one of the top 5 seed/start-up investors before 2015.” and “To have at least one >10 million Euro sale/acquisition before 2015.” For both plans, there’s a 5 year marathon that starts right now and they’re open to anyone out there, portuguese, european or from the farther place on earth. 

Call for Startups/Founders

mavlogomediumYou have less than one month to submit your startup idea/project for their smart money funding. No details about the money yet, but as far as I know it’s on the same basis that YCombinator or SeedCamp, so expect something like 5% to 10% for 20k to 25k euros in a 6 month period. In January, it’s the Kickstart 1H10, which is the like a micro MBA for entrepreneurs and where you’ll be asked to present your idea or project for seed funding. So, if you don’t have the business basis, they’ll teach and help you, that’s the point with kickstart, and after be invited for a demo.

Lisbon as Europe best place to have a startup

Regarding startups and places to have one, Mário Valente, Seed Capital head of investment operations, wrote a great article about Lisbon as a nice place to have a startup, by the sea. It’s like the European California. We too have the golden bridge, wine, sun and beach. We’re missing money (that’s where they come in) and ideas/projects for kickass startups.  What are you waiting for? You don’t have no excuse now. Apply!

Disclaimer: I’ve worked with Mario Valente, SeedCapital entrepreneur in residence, at the Portuguese IT Institute for the Ministry of Justice.

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