Lisbon Investment Summit happened over two weeks ago now, but for us, it is still going: through all the things that we learned, the moments we treasured and the relationships we started.
It’s all about community
The most important thing we learned at #LIS19 is something that we at Beta-i have always believed: it’s all about community. Innovation is only possible when different stakeholders join forces together and collaborate to thrive – and #LIS19 is the perfect melting pot that joins entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, investors and decision makers in one place.
Humanity Will Fix the Future
Andrew Keen, the best-selling author of How To Fix the Future and the headliner at #LIS19, spoke about the unfulfilled promises of technology – the promise that it would bring equality, boost democracy and create bridges between people. To overcome these challenges, we must take action through regulation, innovation and citizen engagement. The “fixing” of the future does not rest on more technology – it rests solely on our shoulders.
Investment in Portugal
Pedro Falcão, Managing Partner of LC Ventures, gave #LIS19 attendees an overview of the investment landscape in Portugal. You can download the report here:
Lisbon Investment Summit would not be the same without our amazing pitch competition, sponsored by GROW, which was one of the highlights of these two days – 12 amazing startups pitched on stage but there can only be one winner. The prize went to Musiversal, represented by founder André Miranda (and a Lisbon Challenge alumnus).
“There is no school for investors – the only way to learn it is usually by doing it”. It was with this in mind that Beta-i partnered up with IE Business School to create Investors’ Academy.
The Investors’ Academy is an immersive program on smart startup investment. In this one-day event, attendees get the unique chance to learn, first-hand, from a group of experienced and successful investors and venture capitalists.
Like Luís Roquette Geraldes explained to ReThink, it’s “important to teach investors’ about best practices, and what is fair,” so that they can offer the best opportunities to the founders’ they are investing in as well.
This event wins in its atmosphere – it’s a small, intimate gathering of top investors who want to share their knowledge and are open to discussion of ideas and looking to learn themselves about new opportunities.
We are one week away from Lisbon Investment Summit, the slightly unexpected startup conference that gathers the most daring innovators, corporate visionaries, and top-tier investors. We spoke with Daniela Seixas, CEO of TonicApp, and winner of last year’s competition, who will be joining Beta-i at #LIS again.
TonicApp, dedicated to the medical community, is an app that aggregates the most useful medical tools for doctors. It lets medical practitioners discuss clinical cases, check drug conversion tables and get informed on healthcare news – it even has a secure case discussion platform that connects doctors that can help each other in providing better care for patients.
Daniela, a medical doctor herself (neuroradiologist), felt the need to create a place for the community to convey and share. “It was a necessity I felt myself and all doctors as we see it. Today, doctors are overwhelmed with pressure from all sides – about costs, about time, and even legal situations in some markets like the United States. Besides that, the scientific knowledge is ever expanding and, nowadays, fragmented across the internet. So the idea was to create a go-to platform for all doctors that solves most of the problems they face daily.”
The startup has a connection with Beta-i from its early days – having participated in open-innovation programs like Techcare, backed by Novartis with whom TonicApp has partnered up -, so Lisbon Investment Summit made sense to them.
“We consider Lisbon Investment Summit to be one of the best events in entrepreneurship and investment in Portugal and Europe. At this time last year, we were starting our fundraising, and we specifically decided to start it at LIS, and we applied to pitch to have the exposure we needed. We’re closing the round now and even though we didn’t meet our investors at LIS, we definitely started the process there and communicated differently with each one, and it worked – we got the visibility we needed.”
The startup is not stopping anytime soon – they aim to be the ecosystem doctors need to thrive in all aspects of their profession, giving them the tools and information they need to keep thriving and providing the best care they can give to their patients.
“Tonic App has a lot of resources for doctors – some of them are clinical and some are not. This is our bet, we want to help doctors in their professional life, be it helping them diagnose and treat their patients or other areas.”
To create this, TonicApp is partnering up with other players and entities in a collaborative environment, to progress faster in a fast-paced innovative space.
“Building on an ecosystem idea, we want to work with all players in the ecosystem that have valuable resources for doctors, so we create partnerships with multinationals, like Randstad, or Medtronic or Novartis, but also with public entities, scientific organizations, and other startups like us, like Eventtia and SerFarma. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to develop software ourselves when it already exists – we work as a channel for doctors.”
TonicApp will be at this year’s edition of Lisbon Investment Summit, and Daniela will be speaking at one of the panels at Google Stage – at the Book Launch: “Ara the Star Engineer”. The book tells the story of a young girl who loves numbers and uses her smarts to solve a big problem, by creating an algorithm and encountering real-life women tech trailblazers of diverse backgrounds. It aims to inspire young girls to pursue STEM careers and bring gender equality to the table in the sector.
As a doctor and female founder, Daniela is no stranger to the quest, bringing their unique perspective as a woman, doctor and entrepreneur: “I didn’t feel discrimination much as a female founder. Actually, even though entrepreneurship is a male-dominated field, much more than medicine – which nowadays has a lot more women than men – it’s a much more equitable environment for gender. Founding my own company and becoming its CEO, depended solely on me and my work during this time. In medicine, reaching a leadership position would not depend on me or my accomplishments, but on the established institutions.”
Taking the first steps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem can be daunting – the lingo, the fast pace, the new technologies. But worry not, we have a handy guide for any non-entrepreneur about what they need to know to navigate #LIS and what can they take advantage of.
What is #LIS?
Lisbon Investment Summit is an a surprisingly informal and slightly unexpected startup conference. The motto of the event? #nobullshit. That means business. During these two days, #LIS will promote thought-provoking conversations, will join at the table the most disruptive innovators and the most seasoned investors, and completely change the way you think about your business.
Get to know the lingo
If you want to blend in, you need to dominate the lingo. This is important to make sure you understand where each other attendee is coming from – a startup in the seed stage or raising a series B are not in the same position – which means they also have different things they can offer and are looking for different things. It’s easier than it sounds – we made a little dictionary of what you need to know – find them here and here.
At #LIS you will get access to thought-provoking keynotes, given by world-renowned speakers. That is the case of the #LIS headliner, Andrew Kween, best-selling author of “How To Fix the Future”, who will speak about the dangers of a digital world and how can we overcome them. Maybe some of the talks about disruption will be a bit scary – especially if they fit your sector – but take the chance to be open to learn what chances are taking place – and how to take advantage of them. Check out the agenda of talks here.
The workshop stage powered by Google, is the perfect place for you to learn new ways of doing things, from tools to digitize your business, to identifying business opportunities – get your hands ”dirty” in innovation.
The pitch competition is where up-and-coming startups (previously selected by the LIS team) pitch on stage to a crowd of angel investors and corporate venture capitalists, looking for investment or new clients. Why should you watch the live pitches? Well, for one, any of these startups could be disrupting your business, so you should keep an eye on them. But also, their new technologies might bring incredible advantages to your business – and they will most likely be open to partnerships, so take the opportunity to get to know them.
Unexpected Side Events
One of the best things at #LIS are its side events. Sure there are spectacularly fun parties, but it’s the unexpected that makes it fun, like in Dinner With a Stranger – you just have to sign-up and get selected to meet a curated group of people in a fabulous Lisbon restaurant. You never know who could meet – maybe your next business partner, maybe someone who inspires you to venture into your own business idea. We promise you one thing – it will be memorable. Wait no more – get your tickets to #LIS19 here.
As the Lisbon Investment Summit approaches, we spoke with Pedro Faclão, managing partner at LC Ventures about the needs for more pre-seed investment and what every startup should have at the ready when talking with an investor.
Why was LC Ventures created and why is it important to create Portuguese investment funds?
LC Ventures was born on the belief that brilliant teams are creating innovative products that don’t develop due to lack of funding.
Portugal has proven its ability to generate valuable STEM and business talent, capable of building industry-leading companies (Farfetch, Outsystems, Feedzai, Unbabel, et cetera), however starting a company requires early financing – With debt out of reach due to the risky nature of venturing a tech startup, entrepreneurs turn into private capital to support their growth. Portuguese investors majorly share a risk-averse investment profile, thus entrepreneurs face a cumbersome process raising pre-seed (angel) and seed capital (the riskier stages of financing) and often don’t obtain funding – Ideas don’t get prototyped and prototypes don’t get productized.
Angel/Early investing increases the likelihood of success for startups because it brings in required capital matched with valuable mentoring from well-experienced professionals. We believe it is crucial to create (pre-seed and seed) VC funds to abet the Portuguese economy flourish through successful startups able to generate employment and drive innovation.
What did you enjoy more in your experience at LIS?
There were several things: meeting other experienced international investors and analyze co-investment opportunities, to discover promising startups led by serial entrepreneurs and exposing LC Ventures investment thesis and gather leads for LP fundraising.
Why do you think it’s important for investors to get together and share their experiences?
Investors bring in value in three forms: (i) capital available to invest, (ii) extensive network of peer investors, corporate leaders, founders, technologists and public decision-makers and (iii) operational experience. With the opportunity to group at LIS, investors can multiply their value-add by extending their network and knowing first-hand what other VCs are witnessing and how they are operating – Sharing best practices is a potent exercise to improve the VC scene.
From this informal get-together, investors might expect co-investments, strategic affixes to cap tables for their portfolio companies, CXO suggestions for portfolio companies and exposure of the VC fund thesis within the ecosystem.
Why do you think Portuguese startups are so relevant and able to attract foreign investment?
Portugal has proven its ability to generate valuable STEM and business talent, capable of building industry-leading companies (Farfetch, Outsystems, Feedzai, Unbabel, et cetera). The before-mentioned talent results from respectable universities and leading research centres.
Another reason is the hard-to-navigate business environment in Portugal – filled with bureaucratic tailbacks and low purchasing power -. Startups that successfully launch in Portugal will face an easier time selling in more fluid business environments and stronger economies such as Germany, UK, US, Australia, Netherlands, etc. So, success in Portugal is a good validation point to set sail to other markets.
Also, valuations in Lisbon are still small compared with leading entrepreneurial hubs (Berlin, London, Stockholm), thus more attractive to close deals in Lisbon (since they are cheaper). In parallel, Portugal’s government has set appealing tax regimes in order to attract foreign investment in national startups (200M).
What are you looking for in startups when you attend events like LIS?
A capable execution team (ideally with a track record of building companies and shipping to market) and a defensible scalable product (preferably software-only solutions).
What advice do you give startups that will be pitching and looking to meet possible investors?
Dedicate special time for fundraising: Fundraising shouldn’t be a “I just need the money” situation. Through a rich fundraising process founders can develop a valuable network, open commercial doors and improve operations. And know your numbers: make sure your unit economics are well-shown and compelling and clearly articulate how and why your solution beats the status quo. Also, don’t come to investors under stress, things take time (reasonably or not). Oh, and study “VC legals” – everything from drag along, tag along, convertible notes, SAFE – should be in your vocabulary.