By Draper Startup House

Did you know? Lisbon is one of the best cities to build a startup in Europe—and given the current climate, the startup ecosystem isn’t showing signs of slow growth. The “Startup City,” as it is referred to, has a rich culture, state-of-the-art infrastructure, world-class tech talent, and sustainable modes of transport.

What’s more? From Web Summit to the 2,799 hours of sun per year, our entrepreneur-friendly travel guide will help you plan your opportunity to get the most out of your trip to Lisbon!

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

It is important to prepare yourself to create your own new normal and that’s okay. Make sure you have done serious planning before thinking of traveling. This applies to everyone, be it local or international. We always check the Flatten the Curve website for information on travel restrictions to Portugal. Stay informed, and buy a plan such as travel insurance, treatment, and testing, i.e, through safetywing.

The Portuguese flag waving along the Atlantic coast
The Santa Justa lift in Lisbon, Portugal
São Jorge Castle in Lisbon

WHAT TO EXPECT IN LISBON?

The “California of Europe” will provide you a different kind of opportunity to see how the ecosystem for start-ups in Lisbon is booming. Before that, let’s get started with the foundations of setting up a business in Lisbon.

Language: English is widely spoken but Portuguese is the official language.

Currency: The currency in Portugal is the Euro, which makes it a very worry-free destination for many other Europeans to visit when it comes to money matters.

Cards + Cash: Credit cards are widely accepted, therefore, the popular payment gateways are; MB way, Revolut, VISA, and Mastercard.

Climate: 300 days of sunshine a year— mild climate, plenty of sun, dolce vita, an experience to enjoy your days outdoors.

Banks: The best banks for startups, expats and foreigners in Lisbon are: Caixa Geral de Depósitos, BPI, and Santander.

Tax and legal partners: Often this is the difficult choice to make for any entrepreneur who is visiting for the first time. We will make your life easier; check Startup Portugal or EY which have some great local resources. They are known as the one-stop-shop to help you with all the necessary information and support for setting up and operating in Lisbon.

E-residency & Startup Visa: The Startup Portugal is offering e-residency 2.0 program created for digital nomads and entrepreneurs coming from other parts of the world. Including detailed information on how to apply for a Startup Visa!

GETTING AROUND IN LISBON

Whether it’s by foot, Tuk-tuk, or rental scooter there is a myriad of ways to travel in the city

Trams: Our suggestion would be to take a ride on the 28line tram, also referred to as Tuk-tuk in Lisbon. This nostalgic yellow tram is one of the most popular tourist attractions to take you up the seven hills or to navigate around the narrow city streets. The traditional number 28 costs about €2.85 per person and services run from around 6 am until 9 pm. You can purchase a ticket from the driver or a machine onboard. The tram goes between Alfama in the east and Praça do Martim Moniz in the west.

Metro: The Lisbon Metro is one of the best cared-for in Europe: a great way to get to any areas in the city using its most affordable public transport systems. The Lisbon Metro opens at 6:30 am and closes at 1 am.

Currently, the Lisbon Metro has 56 stations and four lines:

  • Blue (Seagull): Amadora este – Baixa Chiado.
  • Yellow (Sunflower): Odivales – Rato.
  • Green (Caravela): Cais do Sodré – Telheiras.
  • Red (orient): São Sebastião – Aeroporto

Buses: Since Lisbon has a fleet of 600 buses and 146 different routes; the busses are essential to getting around the city and operate from 6 am until 9 pm.

Looking for more and other ways of transport visit Lisbon transport guide

Public transportation in Lisbon, Portugal

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUILDING A STARTUP

First things first, building a startup in Lisbon is not a difficult process and with the tips provided here, it’s going to make it a lot easier for you.

Fiscal Benefits & Talent Attraction: Wondering why developers from all over the world want to nurture their careers in Lisbon? The Portuguese government has implemented a fiscal incentive favoring foreigners working in strategic industries (such as tech). For the first 10 years, they are eligible to benefit from the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Status. Once you obtain NHR status any Portuguese income you receive is taxed a 20% flat rate. More than this you’re tax-exempt on any income earned outside of Portugal.

Low Rental Rates: Based on headline price, office spaces in Lisbon’s buzzing city center cost on average 22€ per m² per month. That’s over 80% less than London’s West End. COVID 19 Update: Due to the downturn in tourism numbers as a result of Coronavirus there has been a correction in rental prices. We estimate they are now 10–20% cheaper, benefitting anyone negotiating (or renegotiating) rental contracts.

Venture Capitals: The following famous venture capitals will help you convert your creative ideas into viable projects and startups.

  1. Indico Capital is a leading independent Venture Capital firm in Portugal investing in global and sustainable technology companies.
  2. Portugal Ventures invest in companies in the seed and early stages operating in the digital, engineering & manufacturing, life sciences, and tourism sectors.
  3. Faber Ventures invest in teams transforming the world with technology.
  4. EDP Ventures invest in early-stage startups working in the energy space and willing to impact the lives of millions of people.
  5. Schilling Capital invests in companies in high growth markets, capable of achieving globalization and developing products or services with a digital presence.

Famous Startups of Lisbon:

Some of the local popular local startups to feel proud and to learn from are:

  1. Talk Desk, a unicorn cloud-based contact center, unified communications, and artificial intelligence software provider founded in Portugal.
  2. Farfetch, an online luxury fashion retail platform founded by José Neves, a Portuguese entrepreneur in 2007 that sells products from over 700 boutiques and brands from around the world.
  3. Unbabel, an artificial intelligence-powered human translation platform that provides translators, integrations, tech, gaming service providers, and sales force.
  4. Outsystems, a low-code platform that provides the tools for companies to develop, deploy, and manage omnichannel enterprise applications.

Co-working spaces:

Second Home is the largest co-working space and has now opened its second venue globally in Lisbon after its first in London. Entrepreneurial space builder Factory, with support from Startup Lisboa, is building a giant space in Lisbon dubbed Beato Creative Hub.There are plenty of other startup hubs and coworking spaces to choose from such as:

Startup Training Providers:

Here are some training providers you can seek help from.

  1. Startup Lisboa supports the creation of companies and their first years of activity.
  2. Startup Portugal is a one-stop-shop designed for entrepreneurs and investors.
  3. BGI global innovators is a technology transfer accelerator initiative based in Lisbon (Portugal).
  4. DNA CasCais, a non-profit organization based in the municipality of Cascais whose mission is to foster entrepreneurship.
  5. FABRICA Startups are designed to turn problem-solvers into entrepreneurs.

Events & Community:

Draper Startup House (DSH) Lisbon is hosting events regularly such as pitch days, movie nights, and idea nights. Check out the DSH socials here Facebook and Instagram. Due to COVID, there are no physical events yet but you can always check out Web Summit for upcoming events.

Also, there is an endless number of communities for entrepreneurs but within that, the best go-to by far would be Meetup. There are also facebook communities for digital nomads, remote workers, and ex-pats.

WHAT TO DO IN LISBON?

Aside from being one of the best places to build a startup, Lisbon is the second oldest city in Europe and yet one of the prettiest cities in the world! Yes, with its winding streets, iconic trams, great viewpoints, centuries old architecture and so much more Lisbon is truly a beautiful city. Guess it’s true what they say—Lisbon is a plethora of the quality of Life. Isn’t it? Find out why here with some useful tips every entrepreneur visiting Lisbon would enjoy and love about.

Tourist sites: Miradouro das Portas do Sol is a popular place to stop for the view and rest, as is Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. The Belem Tower is another attraction which is pretty much like the Eiffel Tower Of Paris to portugese. For something a little further out, try the viewpoint of Monte Agudo or the Observation Deck at Park Eduardo VII.

Food: Here are 25 Michelin starred restaurants to choose from — all showing off the best locat taste Lisbon has to offer. You can also check out the iconic Time Out Market if you are looking for Portuguese cuisine all under one roof.

Nightlife: Ready to let the party animal inside you take over? Lisbon nightlife welcomes you to the legendary Pink Street in Cais do Sodré or the famous Bairro Alto- both famous for its packed bars and buzzing nightlife.

Amazing beaches to surf: Biggest wave ever surfed was in Portugal and there are 10 best urban surf spots in Lisbon, pick your favorite here.

THE HOME FOR ENTREPRENEURS

Our Draper Startup House means the best opportunity for you to explore, engage and connect with people who are creating our future and their new normal. Meet and greet in our modern space in the historic district Estrela. Work in your own fully equipped double room or side by side at our hot desk coworking space. Whether for a day, a week or a few months – there is a solution for all. Our home for entrepreneurs and shared co-workspaces provide the perfect environment for entrepreneurs and independent minds to be inspired, to learn from each other and get work done.

What are you waiting for? Come stay with us to join the network of the larger entrepreneurial community. It is the only all-in-one accommodation for resource-building through learning, co-working, funding, and much more—let’s GO BIG, give back, and drive progress!

If you have any questions feel free to reach out at lisbon@draperstartuphouse.com.

ARE YOU EXCITED ALREADY?

We hope you find this blog post insightful, and if you do, please share it with anyone who you think might be interested and useful for their goals! Our blog post is created to educate and improve business opportunities for many entrepreneurs like yourself who want to make use of their best time in one of the startup booming cities like Lisbon.

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