Welcome to our Land & Expand series, where we unpack the benefits and expectations of expanding your business to various cities across the globe. Taking the lead into Lisbon is Think & Grow Partner, Stephen, having just relocated there from London.
It’s a pretty big deal to pack up your entire life and move to a completely different country. I had a choice: Either stay put in London (in a small one bedroom apartment paying extortionate rent) or take the leap and move for a better life. Obviously, I chose the latter. Looking back over the last few months I can confidently (and thankfully) say that I made the right decision to move abroad to Portugal. But, there are often a handful of factors to consider that need to fall into place, one of which is the job situation. Luckily for me, the company I’m part of (Think & Grow) is forward-thinking and saw the benefits of expanding to Portugal.
The benefits of expanding to Portugal
“The best thing is the vibrancy and the diversity in the startup ecosystem, in terms of people, nationalities, backgrounds. When it comes to recruitment, there are huge advantages to being here”, Mark Bastiaanssen, co-founder of Shiptimize.
Why Portugal? There are a number of reasons which I believe make Portugal the perfect place for relocation for large scale technology businesses. As a company, here are the highlights:
Gateway to the European Union
- A Golden Residence Permit allows individuals who regularly enter the country to stay in the country without a visa and travel to any Schengen area nations.
- You’ll have access to the EU which is one of the top markets in the world.
A young, talented workforce
- “Portugal has a very high quality of engineering talent at competitive costs and an extremely high level of English language proficiency.” – as best described by Stephen Morais, founder and managing partner at Indico Capital Partners in a recent Portugal Global PT article.
- “In Libson graduate hires are high calibre and easier to come by.” – Tim Kock the co-founder of Jungle.AI
- Access an abundance of tech talent flowing through the likes of the University of Porto or the Braga based University of Minho.
- A number of tech savvy firms have moved into offices at UPTEC, a Science and Technology Park established on campus at the university of Porto.
- Portugal’s tech talent comes at a reasonably affordable price. Compared to other major tech hubs across Europe, a senior software engineer would cost anywhere between £50,000 – £80,000, a typical salary for Portugal would be between €30,000 – €35,000.
Advantages of the Portuguese market
- The world bank ranks Portugal 39 out of 190 countries in its ease of doing business.
- Portugal is ranked third in the Global Peace Index in 2020 and highly on the Human Development Index and offers favourable tax incentives to set up and operate.
Increasing access to PE/VC funds
- There are a number of VC’s in the country including Portugal Ventures, Indico Capital, Faber Ventures, Bynd Capital and Semapa Next to name a few.
- Due to the recent successes of Farfetch, Talkdesk, Outsystems, Feedzai and DefinedCrowd, international investors are becoming interested in Portugal.
Hotspots in Lisbon
Some of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at are in Lisbon. Local Portuguese food is delicious and there are amazing international restaurants here too. Some of my personal favourites:
- Marco Nigris, Managing Director of Fintech House, presents the project built in the transformed Palácio das Varandas as “the biggest hub for Fintech, Insurtech, Regtech and Cybersecurity in Portugal. A unique place that aims to be the meeting point for the entire ecosystem.”
- For the gin fans out there, Gin Lovers Bar Restaurant is a must.
- For one of the best views in Lisbon alongside a cocktail, Seen is the place to be.
- Pastéis de Belém is one of Lisbon’s most famous eateries, and the bakery is credited with selling the first pastéis de nata, so naturally a definite stop.
- Want a view and good food? Chapitô à Mesa is your place. Their terrace is voted in the top 10 terraces in the world and the food is spectacular.
- Affordable delights from under the sea you can get from Cervejaria Ramiro.
- It’s no secret that I live for a chic cafe. Brunch or business meeting – I enjoy finding hidden cafes. For me, some of the coolest cafes in Lisbon are The Mill and Copenhagen Coffee Lab, both worth checking out.
- For more mainstream then Time Out Market Lisbon is perfect – a collection of cafes, foods and shops all under one roof.
- Chiado, Baixa, Principe Real, Bairro Alto, Avenida da Liberdade and Alfama are all great places to be. They’re based in the heart of the city and within walking distance of major sights, restaurants, transport and shops.
Relocating is no easy task and taking the plunge can be one of the most daunting decisions a business or person can make. Everything you know and recognise will change in a heartbeat the moment you step off that plane. Your world will shift on its axis to reveal a more intriguing, exciting side. But it is awesome. You’ll chase your passions, discover new opportunities, think more creatively, source incredible talent and see life (and your business) from a new perspective.
Are you an individual thinking about moving abroad or an organisation considering expanding to Europe or Portugal itself? Get in touch with Think&Grow and learn more about what it could mean for you.