Lisbon Challenge: the 10-week journey is just the beginning

The 11th edition of Lisbon Challenge is officially closed! It was a long journey, from the first day and first pitch to the Demo Day at Lisbon Investment Summit, where the founders were challenged at every stage.

The different phases

For 10 weeks, the teams went through an intense program, filled with enriching content, workshops and mentoring sessions. The program is structured in four phases:

  • Validation: The founders started by validating their value proposition and gaining a better understanding of what could be their target audience and their potential needs.
  • Product And Tech: This phase meant a deep-dive into the startups’ solutions and the technology behind them, defining how is their project solving the clients’ needs better than any other out there, and designing a roadmap for product market fit.
  • Growth: At this third phase, founders learned how to talk with customers and make sure they don’t leave after trying the product – in other words, it was all about client retention and which metrics should be analyzed in order to figure it out.
  • Investment: The teams learned to understand investors, and what they are looking for. But also, what to say to investors to tell their story and secure investment.

People-centric approach

The value proposition brought by Lisbon Challenge it’s its unique people-centric approach – a Beta-i landmark.

This approach is about bringing a people-centered vision to the founders’ businesses, keeping in mind: Who are they building a solution for (getting to know their consumer), who are they building a solution with (building a team and company culture) and who they are as entrepreneurs (preparing founders’ for the future ahead).

Mentor-driven program

The Lisbon Challenge journey, taking them closer and closer to a product-market fit, is only possible thanks to the strong network of mentors, who have been through the same processes and similar experiences as entrepreneurs themselves.

Our 88 mentors, from different specialties – from branding and product to growth, from personal development to investment, have clocked in over 450+ hours of mentorship, giving the founders’ the tools they need to succeed.

The big stage at #LIS

The journey led the founders to the biggest stage in the investment arena: Lisbon Investment Summit – to an audience on national and international investors and innovators, in an event with over 1500 attendees.  

Originating from very different countries – this international cohort had startups from Portugal, UK, Italy, Ireland and USA – they took to the stage: OUTBOUND, VAIRT, FLOCK, CROWDBOOKS and SKOACH were the startups pitching.

The crowd had a say – they gave feedback live, through a form vote – and it was positive: over 50% of voters said that they wanted to meet and talk with the founders.

It’s only the beginning

For our founders, this is just the beginning – they are now ready to jump to the next stage: scaling. In the words of the team:
“We’re really proud of what we saw today. And today is just the beginning for these teams. They are already doing pilots with big corporates – all companies looking for innovative solutions should talk with these startups. They are a group of trusting, capable founders, with impactful solutions and a growth mindset. We’re excited to see the global impact they will bring in the future – we know they are ready to jump into scale.”

Lisbon Challenge had its Demo Day at Lisbon Investment Summit

Lisbon Challenge, Beta-i’s acceleration program, had its Demo Day on the last day of Lisbon Investment Summit, on June 7th.

The Challenge

Lisbon Challenge is an intense 10 week program (see exactly how intense here), designed to question the founders’ assumptions, help them find their product-market fit and prepare them for the road ahead – scaling and investment.

And, boy, were they challenged! In the end, it paid off – the teams learned to turn their pains into gains, and they were ready to take the stage at Lisbon Investment Summit – to an audience on national and international investors and innovators, in an event with over 1500 attendees.  

The Pitches

At Lisbon Investment Summit, five Lisbon Challenge teams took to the stage to present their companies, in a truly international cohort: the startups originated from: Portugal, UK, Italy, Ireland and USA.

Presented by António Carlos Torrão, Strategic Marketing Manager at BPI:

OUTBOUND: Providing instant access to your ideal customer with proven interest, through an AI based Sales Platform for B2B Lead Generation, so you can focus on what really matters: closing deals.

Presented by Pedro Falcão, Managing Partner at LC Ventures:

VAIRT: Making real estate investment accessible for all, through a global marketplace for real estate investment and liquidation based on blockchain technology.

Presented by Pedro Bandeira, Founder and CEO at REDangels:

FLOCK: Building engaged cultures through quantified real engagement and increased productivity of the workforce, by plugging into the internal communication channels of the customers.

Presented by Roberto Antunes, Executive Director at NEST Turismo de Portugal

CROWDBOOKS: Empowering any author to sell & publish their books, through a crowdfunding publishing platform.

Presented by Nuno Pimenta, Industry Head Startups at Google:

SKOACH: Maximizing employee life-time value, by helping people love their jobs – through a bot plugged into the internal communications channels of the company.

The Feedback

Besides the adrenaline rush of pitching on stage for a crowd of investors, entrepreneurs and corporations, the best part of the pitching is the feedback: the crowd has spoken (through a form vote) and over 50% of voters said that they wanted to meet and talk with the founders – which is the core of #LIS!

We at Beta-i are very proud of the founders who gave it all – during the program and on stage at #LIS. In the words of the Lisbon Challenge team:

“We’re really proud of what we saw today. And today is just the beginning for these teams. They are already doing pilots with big corporates – all companies looking for innovative solutions should talk with these startups. They are a group of trusting, capable founders, with impactful solutions and a growth mindset. We’re excited to see the global impact they will bring in the future – we know they are ready to jump into scale.”

#LIS19 Pitch Competition Winner Gives Advice to early stage startups

#LIS19 Pitch Competition Winner Gives Advice to early stage startups

One of our favorite things at Lisbon Investment Summit is our #LIS Pitch Competition in which 12 up-and-coming startups pitch on stage to a crowd of top-tier international investors.

This year’s award, sponsored by GROW, went to Musiversal – a platform that helps music creators to record sessions in world-class studios with professional musicians.

André Miranda, founded Musiversal as a solo founder and has been growing his team ever since. During its early stage phase, Musiversal was in Beta-i’s acceleration program – Lisbon Challenge – where it was invested by LC Ventures and REDangels.

As Musiversal enters a high-growth phase, building momentum for a successful seed investment round, here is the advice André Mirada had for new startups entering new editions of Lisbon Challenge:

Lisbon Challenge: What does it mean to join a people-centric accelerator?

Last Friday, at our weekly TGIF (you should come!), I spent some time talking with Lisbon Challenge teams. We exchanged some feedback about the program, and at a certain point one of the founders mentioned it to me: “I feel like you really care”. And I thought about it for a minute and realized – we really do.

Lisbon Challenge is Beta-i’s flagship accelerator program, and one of the most recognized programs in Europe. It inherited Beta-i’s people-centric approach – we are “humaniacs” at heart and we convey our approach in Lisbon Challenge program as well.

Lisbon Challenge’s people-centric approach

The people-centric approach is not about just about caring about the founders (which we do!), is about how a human-centric perspective applies to their business in order for it to be the best it can be.

In the 10 weeks of the program, we contaminate the founders with this human-centric perspective and help them better understand and develop:

Who are you building a solution for

The starting point of a good startup is the will to solve a problem you identify – and also the will to know the people whose problem you’re solving. That means gaining a deeper knowledge of your audience through an ethnographic mindset in order to find a product/market fit.

Who are you building a solution with

The road is hard – but you won’t be doing it alone. The culture you build for your company will be determinant to the success of it. The core values you choose and the expected behaviors that embody them will be your guide to decision making, hiring people, dealing with users and other business partners, so building a culture from scratch is the foundation of a winning team.

Who you are as an entrepreneur

Having a startup is probably the toughest business there is. You’ll be constantly challenging your own assumptions, facing inconvenient truths and constant “no’s”. Our methodology is focused not only on growing your business but also in preparing you to transform difficulties into learnings and to see problems as opportunities. As your business grows, so will you – we’re here to get you ready to face the demands of different startup stages.

In the words of Eduardo Sette Câmara, our Head of Acceleration:

“The legacy we’re trying to build with Lisbon Challenge is to find and help founders that can build their companies while taking into consideration everyone that revolves around them.”

Lisbon Challenge'19 – People-centric approach

What does our people-centric approach mean? Here's what Eduardo Sette Camara, our Head of Acceleration had to say!

Publicado por Lisbon Challenge em Sexta-feira, 24 de maio de 2019

By the end of the video, Eduardo lets us know that as long as founders put in the work, we’ll always be here, doing our best to help them. And if you ask any other Lisbon Challenge alumni, you’ll realize it’s true.

Lisbon Challenge Alumnus 360imprimir raises $20.4M and targets 17 new markets

The Portuguese startup and Lisbon Challenge alumnus, 360imprimir, just closed a round of $20.4M in investment.

At Beta-i, we are proud to see their success, as they were one of the first startups that joined one of the earliest editions of our acceleration program – Lisbon Challenge. Like Pedro Rocha Vieira, Beta-i’s founder and CEO, put it:

When we decided to launch Lisbon Challenge, the idea was to empower a new generation of entrepreneurs and companies, in order to give these actors the ideal tools to compete in the global digital market. 360imprimir was one of the first startups that went through this process, and it is with great pride that we have noted its success story ever since. Naturally, the fact that they have now raised an investment of €18 million is due, in the first place, to their great management, vision and execution. But I’d like to believe that part of this success also came from the training Lisbon Challenge gave them, of which Uniplaces, Eggy, Attentive, Knok, Impraise, Sparkl or Eat Tasty are also good examples. I hope that this round will open new horizons for them, but I believe that it will also allow them to contribute actively to the ecosystem, fueling a kind of virtuous cycle that Lisbon Challenge helped to start.

Sérgio Vieira, CEO and co-founder, also praised Beta-i for the work done in the portuguese entrepreneurial ecosystem, highlighting the role that Lisbon Challenge played: “For us, as an early stage startup LC gave us the opportunity to see other groups with different realities and different solutions to problems that were ours too. Moreover, the mentoring and pitch sessions played an important role in self-evaluation and communication positioning.”

“Since LC we have observed closely the role of Beta-i in the Portuguese ecosystem and praised their effort to keep pushing the startup scene to the next level – this also happened with 360imprimir.”

Created in 2013, 360imprimir is an e-commerce platform focused on the clients’ (SME’s and independent professionals) do-it-yourself method and delivery of quality and low-cost of printed communications. Operating on a fabless model, the company differentiates through technology: it has an intelligent aggregation software, that ensures the best prices in the market for their clients.

With a business based on technology – from the platform and its many mechanisms to the technology made available to production and logistic partners -, the company will continue to invest in technology and R&D.

In rapid development context like ours, we have to be one step (or two!) ahead of the challenges, so that we may be enablers of the market. 360imprimir is a tech and innovative company, so we’re always updated on the most recent trends in Performance, Scalability, Automation, Artificial Intelligence or Augmented Reality. It’s our DNA and what makes us unique. – Hugo Neto, Chief Technology Officer at 360imprimir

This investment will also give 360imprimir the chance to extend their product range with 20.000 new products and enter 17 new markets.

The company hopes their path will be an inspiration for other portuguese businesses to follow:

“360imprimir is the proof that every company can achieve success if the idea is different and adds value to customer experience. So yes, we believe that our path inspires other entrepreneurs to develop great and innovative ideas.” added the CEO.

José Salgado, CO-founder and Chief Growth Officer at 360imprimir, will also be at Lisbon Investment Summit to speak on a panel that is of interest to all startups following in their footsteps – Scaling Up: Tips and Tricks to Go Global. Get your tickets to LIS here.