Fintech World Tour: Portugal

Efma feature

23 May 2019

Simão Cruz is Executive Board Member at Portugal Fintech. He spoke to Efma’s Boris Plantier about his goals for the future and the fintech climate in the region.

Tell us about Portugal Fintech

Portugal Fintech is an association committed to creating the best conditions for the development of the fintech ecosystem. As an organization that is focused on startups, we bring together the key stakeholders of the industry, from founders and investors to legal firms, consultancy firms, academics and regulators in fintech, insurtech, regtech, cybersecurity, and related areas.

How many fintech startups are there in Portugal? How many people do they employ?

Portugal Fintech works in close collaboration with startups and their founders to understand the current state of the market and the challenges they face. It is this kind of relationship and proximity that allows us to understand how we can help the most.

The organization’s annual Portugal Fintech Report presents the top 25 startups, while the association works with over 70 startups in the whole ecosystem. Around 38% of these have teams of over 20 employees and 46% employ up to ten people. In the report, we also explore the current fintech struggles and the areas founders believe need improvement.

What are the main offerings of these fintech startups?

Out of the top startups in our last report, 16% are focused on lending and credit, 16% on blockchain and cryptocurrency, 12% in alternative financing, 12% in personal finance, 12% in capital markets and wealth management, 12% in payments and money transfers, 12% in regtech and 8% in insurtech. We aim to work with startups from all areas of expertise.

How much money is invested in Portuguese fintech startups?

Although early stage startups tend to keep this data private, our analysis suggests that 43% of the participating organizations raised a few thousand dollars to develop their projects, 17% of raised several millions of dollars and 26% raised funds somewhere between these figures.

Overall, investment in fintech startups has increased in recent years. International and internal investors are both paying a lot more attention to the Portuguese market.

Why should fintech startups settle in Portugal?

Portugal is providing some very interesting conditions for the development of startups, particularly fintech startups. In fact, in recent years, we have seen not only the interest in moving to Portugal, but many startups and companies have actually moved here.

The country has been able to nurture a very good pool of talent, both from business and technological areas, through its education system and universities. Many initiatives have also been put in place to encourage the development of businesses and new technologies. In addition, Portugal offers the same quality of life as many other western countries but with significantly lower living costs.

How do you see the future of fintech startups in Portugal in the next five years?

Looking at the startup market, companies have been providing investment opportunities such as initial public offerings in Portugal and in major international exchanges. The association also had startups raising significant rounds from venture capital and achieving unicorn status. Several new startups are appearing each year and international startups are moving to Portugal.

In recent years we have noticed a clear growth of the ecosystem, and we expect this trend to continue with no signs of it slowing down.

What’s coming next for Portugal Fintech?

Every year, Portugal Fintech develops initiatives to foster and empower the fintech ecosystem. In recent years we matched investors with startups to provide pitching competitions at our WebSummit. We have created events with the industry’s key stakeholders such as investors, founders and potential partners/clients. We have also launched industry reports with major research, technological and legal players, created learning and discussion opportunities and even supported fintech’s regulatory side with the Portugal FinLab.

We intend to keep some of these initiatives in place as we can see the impact they have on our community. On top of that, we want to follow in the footsteps of our network’s startups and keep innovating, as well as garnering a better understanding of how to help these founders. For that reason, this year we are creating new events, partnerships and initiatives to continue fostering the fintech ecosystem.

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Keywords : Fintech

Geography : Portugal