During Web Summit 2016 held in Lisbon, António Costa, the Portuguese Prime Minister, revealed the plans to invest into Portugal-based companies.
The government allocated 200 million euros to encourage private investors from all over the world to co-invest into the Portuguese ecosystem. By doing so, the public venture fund aims to support its emerging startup ecosystem and invite more international startup founders and investors to join it.
“We’ve realized that the best way to support financing is via co-investment and launching this program,” Costa told during the opening ceremony (Portuguese). “We created this new instrument because we believe that if we make money available to the right people to implement the right processes, we’ll be able to make the big investments to help reinforce a more dynamic and innovative economy.”
— António Costa (@antoniocostapm) November 7, 2016
In order to qualify for funding, startups need to be headquartered in Portugal yet they can have operations overseas. Aside from being a purely financial support, this move is also an attempt to encourage international startups to relocate to the southwestern republic given such recent economic developments as Brexit and increasing VC activity in Europe.
João Vasconcelos, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Industry, told Jornal de Negocios, “We want to attract the best investors, and not only venture capital investors. For the first time, we value investors who have industry ‘know-how.’ We want investors who are comfortable with digital, with robotics, biotech, with pharmaceutical, and with renewables.”
To take advantage of the program, private investors do not have to be Portuguese and they can apply to co-invest on a deal-by-deal basis or as part of the funds of funds strategy.
The announced Portuguese fund is part of a package of public investment that amounts up to 400 million euros and will reach the economy in the next two years.