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You could say this is becoming the ‘Berlin of the South’.In 2016 VCs invested only .5 million in nine deals, according to Preqin, a global investment research company.Although these numbers are small by comparison internationally, this represented a sixfold jump from 2015.And a 2016 study backed by Allianz Kulturstiftung, the German insurance company’s foundation, ranked Lisbon as the fifth-best-performing startup community in Europe, ahead of such stalwarts as Stockholm and Dublin.When the country had to turn to the European Union for a bailout in 2011, Portugal was forced to implement harsh austerity measures.Some 485,000 Portuguese, particularly young university graduates, left the country during the crisis to try to find opportunities abroad.They realised that they would have to use entrepreneurship as an engine to create their own future, if they were to survive.Inside cafes and the Fado bars, laden with ancient Portuguese tiles, they looked to the Web. Being thrown into the fire of an economic recession made for a much more dynamic culture that many observers had typically come to expect from a southern European country.
And startups are based in old buildings with beautiful tiled walls in the cobblestoned streets of downtown Lisboa.[Ad break:grab 2-for-1 tickets on 2-for-1 release is April 5, noon CEST, to Techcrunch Disrupt Berlin] Lisbon boasts an iconic suspension bridge which looks like the Golden Gate Bridge, bronzed surfers, trams, hills and a vibrant technology industry. Today in 2017 Lisbon scores well on access to talent, affordable housing, and adequate public transportation (not to mention weather).And let’s not forget that the Bairro Alto is a historic picturesque quarter dating from the 16th century, who’s streets are lined with small restaurants, Fado-playing bars, pubs and cafés, which are quiet during the day, but transformed at night into the city’s vibrant nightlife quarter.No surprise then that the European Digital City Index lists the top key features in Lisbon as the low-cost of living and the high quality of life.Another factor has played into the city’s hands: Because of the country’s small population, Portuguese startups launch with an eye on international expansion from day one, continuing the tradition of this small, seafaring country.
Suddenly, it’s far easier to access as an ex-patriot entrepreneur, come to create a business in the sunny climes of the Portuguese sun.