Porto is bustling with start-up and scale-up activity and is rapidly becoming a leading European hub for entrepreneurship.
Known as the city of bridges, the history of Porto goes back to around 300BC and, despite occupations by the Romans and then the Moors, it is characterised through the ages by a fierce independence.
As a business centre, Porto is known for its wine and olive oil export industries and even had its own stock exchange prior to it merging with the Lisbon Stock Exchange.
Porto is famous for its beautiful architecture and its historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From an educational perspective, the University of Porto and the Porto Polytechnic provide the raw material to drive the myriad local start-ups and scale-up businesses.
One of the most notable start-ups to emerge from Porto is Veniam, which is now headquartered in Silicon Valley. Veniam is building the “internet of moving things” by joining up connected vehicles via 4G, Wi-Fi and mesh networking. The city of Porto has deployed Veniam’s technology across more than 400 public buses.
From a start-up scene perspective, Porto is a busy place. A good place to get a handle on what’s happening is the Porto Startup Scene Facebook Group. Regular events include Porto Startup Coffee, Founders are Happy [Hour], Creative Mornings Porto and Porto Codes.
And so here are the start-ups from Porto to watch in 2018:
B-Parts is an online platform for automotive professionals for the purchase of used parts. Founded in 2013 by Luis Vieira and Pedro Torres it has raised €650,000 in seed funding from Portugal Ventures and BA Group.
Huub democratises the supply chain through technology that allows fashion brands to manage their physical and virtual presence in a unified ecosystem. Founded in 2015 by Tiago Craveiro, Huub has raised €350,000 in an angel funding round.
Infraspeak is heralding a new age in facility management. The company’s platform automates, speeds up and simplifies the process of facilities management. Founded in 2015 by Felipe Ávila da Costa and Luís Martins, Infraspeak has raised $250,000 in seed funding from investors that include Caixa Capital and 500 Startups.
Inovretail is a data science player focused on advanced analytics tools that aim to assist retailers to improve their performance by making more informed decisions. Its creations include a wearable device called See-watch that empowers retail workers. Founded by André Sousa and Marco Soares, the company is backed by Sonae IM for an undisclosed sum.
Founded in Porto and with international offices in London, Knok Healthcare has created an on-demand private healthcare platform that enables patients to get access to medical support at a place of their choice. Established in 2015, the company has raised €300,000 in seed funding.
Last2ticket’s proprietary matching algorithm pairs users up with last-minute tickets for any type of event and venue. It also empowers event organisers with flexible ticketing and management tools. It was established by Emilia Simões in 2011.
Lapa has created a Bluetooth-based low energy object finder that integrates with social media and enables the world to collaborate to find lost items. Established in 2013 by João Lobato Oliveira and Luís Certo, Lapa has raised $2.1m in funding so far through grants and seed investment.
Mindprober mines and collects responses and physiological reactions to media content using its proprietary medical grade sensors and reports on the impact of the material using interactive dashboards. Founded in 2016 by Nuno Dias, Petro Chaves and Pedro Almeida, it has raised €500,000 to date in seed rounds involving Ganexa Capital and WiseNext.
Medtech player Sword Health has developed an AI-enabled physiotherapy solution called Sword Phoenix for physical rehabilitation. The platform harnesses data collected by sensors which are then monitored by remote physiotherapists. Founded by Márcio Colunas and Virgílio Bento in 2014, Sword Health recently raised $4.6m from Green Innovations and Vesalius Biocapital III, bringing its total funding to $5.6m.
Tonic App is aiming to be the Google for doctors. With more than 4,000 doctors signed up in Portugal, its Tonic search engine brings together on one page all the clinical guidelines and codes that support the diagnosis, treatment and referral of patients. Tonic App made the TiE50 best technological startups cut out of 7,400 startups from 28 different countries, and has the potential to be named ‘Top Startup’ at the TiE Inflect 2018 entrepreneur conference taking place in Silicon Valley on 4 and 5 May. Founded by Daniela Seixas, it has raised €100,000 in funding from Portugal Ventures.
YouBeep, also known as Xhockware, is a mobile shopping and checkout solution based on a patentable pluggable device compatible with most POS systems and a mobile app. Started in 2014 by Joao Neiva and Joao Rodrigues, YouBeep has raised €4m to date in the form of grants and seed funding.