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May 18, 2023

Exploring the World of Portuguese Unicorns and Minicorns

Learn about the trailblazing startups making waves in fintech, e-commerce, and beyond

Identified as the European Silicon Valley and tech country, Portugal is devoted to innovation, growth, and development, attracting entrepreneurs and investors to its cities and ports. The Mediterranean climate boasting 300 days of sunshine annually, is a significant draw for residents. However, it's the enticing investment opportunities that capture the attention of investors and businesses from around the globe. In this article, the most outstanding and innovative Portuguese minicorns and Portuguese unicorns are outlined, together with the disruptive visions behind them.

Portuguese startup ecosystem overview

In recent years, Portugal has transformed into a bustling startup hub, giving birth to numerous notable unicorns. Last year, Portugal had around 2,274 verified startups. The Portuguese startup ecosystem is undoubtedly keeping up with the lively startup scenes in Spain and Italy. The impressive growth can be attributed to government-backed initiatives and private-sector efforts, such as Startup Portugal. With the help of this organization, entrepreneurs can navigate the process of forming their own businesses.

Several key factors have contributed to the success of Portugal's thriving startup ecosystem. First and foremost, the country boasts a wealth of top-quality engineering talent available at competitive costs. Additionally, the population has a high English language proficiency level, which facilitates international business dealings.

Further, since the local market is relatively limited, Portuguese startups are primed to go global from day one. This international focus is further supported by a handful of prominent early-stage local venture capital firms that collaborate with significant international co-investment partners. The startup scene in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city, has been experiencing significant growth, with an annual increase of 30% since 2016. In 2022, Lisbon's startups raised an impressive amount of over €309 million.

Infographic > Portuguese Unicorns and Minicorns

Portuguese unicorns

Unicorns are startups that have been valued at over one billion dollars by venture capitalists. These companies are recognized for their unique business models that enable them to scale up their operations rapidly. In the following section, we will outline the top Portuguese unicorns.

Launched in 2008 by José Neves, Farfetch is a top-ranked online platform for luxury fashion, connecting customers in over 190 countries and territories with items from over 50 countries and over 1,400 of the world’s best brands, boutiques, and department stores. Farfetch began as an e-commerce marketplace for luxury boutiques around the world. Today, the Farfetch Marketplace is a truly unique shopping experience that provides access to the most extensive selection of luxury on a global platform.

Farfetch operates in Porto, Braga, Guimarães, Lisbon, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai, and São Paulo, expanding its physical presence globally. The company was founded in 2007 out of love for fashion and has since become a world-leading platform for luxury fashion online.

Paulo Rosado founded OutSystems in 2001, driven by the mission to empower organizations with the ability to innovate through software. Today, OutSystems is a leader in the modern application platform, providing a high-performance low-code platform that allows technology leaders and developers to build and deploy business-critical applications quickly.

With more than 435,000 community members, 350 partners, and thousands of active customers in 87 countries from 22 industries, OutSystems is recognized as "The #1 Low-Code Platform" and has received praise from analysts, IT executives, business leaders, and developers around the world.

OutSystems > Portuguese unicorns

Founded in 2008 by Nuno Sebastião, Pedro Bizarro, and Paulo Marques, Feedzai is a company focused on using AI to prevent financial fraud. Forbes recognized the company as one of the 50 financial technology startups with the most potential in Europe in 2018.

Feedzai's comprehensive suite of AI-based solutions, known as the world's first RiskOps platform, is designed to stop fraud and financial crime and is trusted by some of the world's leading financial organizations to manage risk and safeguard trillions of dollars of transactions. With a valuation of over $1.5 billion, Feedzai is a Series D company that has raised $282 million to date. Its technology is currently protecting 900 million people in 190 countries, earning it a reputation as a leader in financial fraud prevention.

Talkdesk, founded by Portuguese entrepreneurs Tiago Paiva and Cristina Fonseca in 2011 in Lisbon, is a cloud-based contact center and AI software provider. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company has over 1,500 employees and boasts a customer base of 1,800, including industry giants such as IBM, Trivago, Hunter Douglas, and Acxiom. Talkdesk's innovative technology has earned it a reputation as a contact center software industry leader.

Talkdesk is committed to helping businesses deliver better customer experiences by providing automation-first customer experience solutions that optimize critical customer service processes. The company's speed of innovation, vertical expertise, and global reach enables it to serve customers across a variety of industries and channels, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and faster business outcomes. Through its cutting-edge technology, Talkdesk is able to provide its customers with the tools they need to deliver exceptional customer service and remain competitive in today's marketplace.

Talkdesk > Portuguese unicorns

Sword Health is an exceptional Medtech startup that recently achieved unicorn status. The company offers a revolutionary approach to treating musculoskeletal pain, combining proprietary AI technology with clinical expertize to deliver impressive results. Sword's innovative solution has achieved a 60% reduction in surgery intent and a three times higher engagement rate than traditional physical therapy.

In just 12 months, Sword experienced remarkable growth with a 20-fold valuation increase and a 12-fold growth in clients, serving more than 1,300 employers and health plans across three continents, including many Fortune 500 companies.

The company has raised over $300 million from top venture firms, and its $2 billion valuation has made it the fastest-growing company in its category since its founding in 2015 by Virgílio Bento and Márcio Colunas. Recently, Sword was recognized by Forbes as one of the Best Startup Employers, cementing its reputation as a leader in digital solutions for physical pain.

Marcelo Lebre and Job van der Voort founded Remote in 2019 with the aim of simplifying the recruitment process for remote workers. The platform offers a range of HR management services, including international payroll, taxes, and immigration, making it easier for companies to hire and pay employees from anywhere in the world.

Since the pandemic hit in 2020, Remote has seen its revenues increase 65 times and has hired 170 people, bringing its total headcount to 220. The San Francisco-based company has around 300 employees spread across various countries, including Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US.

Remote's mission is to make it easier for companies to employ top global talent, and it achieves this by taking care of payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance. The company establishes its own legal entities in countries around the world to ensure compliance with local and international regulations while maintaining the highest data privacy and security standards. Remote is a global employment platform that offers a robust solution to businesses of all sizes, allowing them to hire the best employees from anywhere in the world.

Remote > Portuguese unicorns

Anchorage Digital is a leading platform for digital asset investors, offering a full range of compliant financial solutions that include custody, trading, staking, governance, and financing. The company was founded in 2017 by Diogo Mónica and Nathan McCauley and now serves some of the biggest institutional investors and enterprise brands in the digital asset space.

Anchorage Digital Bank, the first federally chartered digital asset bank, simplifies and secures institutional investment in digital assets with its secure custody services. As the premier partner for institutions and corporations, Anchorage offers financial solutions that are designed to adapt to emerging blockchain use cases and the needs of digital asset investors. Anchorage is committed to providing its clients with the tools they need to succeed today and tomorrow.

Portuguese minicorns

Minicorns, startups valued between $100 million and $1 billion, are known for their ambitious goals and visions of transforming, modernizing, and enhancing the world. These companies often prioritize progress, fueling rapid and efficient growth within their respective industries. As a result of their relentless pursuit of innovation, minicorns typically don't remain at this stage of the startup ladder for long. While we explain the different valuations in another article, this one continues with an outline of the most outstanding Portugal minicorns., a startup founded in 2020 and based in Almada, has created a cutting-edge reliability intelligence platform to revolutionize Site Reliability Engineering. The company has raised €2 million in funding as of 2022, and its agnostic SaaS platform caters to cloud-native businesses, ensuring efficient, incident-free experiences without compromising feature velocity.

Engineers can effortlessly integrate the platform into their existing monitoring and observability stack, allowing them to easily meet user expectations. Since its private beta launch in 2021, the platform has partnered with leading cloud-native companies such as Rows, Ticketswap, and Resultid to refine its offerings. This innovative approach to software reliability is poised to make a significant impact on the tech industry.

Rely > Portuguese minicorns

Lisbon-based startup Pleez is revolutionizing the restaurant industry by helping businesses optimize their menus and increase revenues. The company was founded in 2020 by Afonso Pinheiro and Vasco Sampaio. As of today, with over €1.5 million raised in funding, Pleez provides a digital platform that enables restaurants to utilize data and algorithms for strategic decision-making. The platform's proprietary algorithms analyze the input data and objectives, identifying ways to boost sales on delivery websites. As a result, Pleez streamlines operations, saves time and reduces the administrative burden for restaurant owners and managers.

Working with brands like 100 Montaditos across Southern Europe, Pleez offers comprehensive menu performance and competitor analysis. By providing actionable insights, the startup aims to enhance revenue and ticket size for its clients. Pleez's innovative menu optimization approach is set to significantly improve the restaurant landscape.

LUGGit, one of Europe's fastest-growing luggage startups, is revolutionizing the way luggage is transported during travel. Co-founded in 2019 by Diogo Correia, Hugo Fonseca, João Pedrosa, and Ricardo Figueiredo, the company offers a convenient service that connects travelers with independent drivers to collect and deliver their luggage, making city breaks and vacations hassle-free.

Users can effortlessly book the service and track their luggage in real-time, ensuring peace of mind during their travels. Additionally, LUGGit provides a unique opportunity for accommodation providers to offer the service to their guests through a revenue-sharing model, with no setup fees required. This innovative approach to luggage transport has garnered attention, with LUGGit being named a finalist at the 2022 edition of the FutureTravel Summit's Pitch Competition.

LUGGit > Portuguese minicorns

Coverflex, a trailblazing HR startup founded in 2021 by Luís Rocha, Miguel Santo Amaro, Nuno Pinto, Rui Carvalho, and Tiago Fernandes, is on a mission to transform employee benefits. Quickly emerging as a key player in the HR market, the company offers a flexible compensation solution that caters to businesses of all sizes, helping them design, consolidate, and personalize their compensation packages, including health insurance, meal allowances, fringe benefits, and discounts.

By aggregating multiple providers, Coverflex enables companies to reduce costs through tax-efficient benefits while adding value for employees and improving their financial literacy about compensation and benefits. This personalized approach has garnered significant attention, leading to a €15 million Series A investment in 2023 and plans for expansion into Italy. The rapid growth and success of Coverflex underscore its potential to reshape the HR landscape.

Bairro, a groundbreaking company founded in 2020 by Artem Kokhan, Maksym Gatsuts, Mikhail Leonov, and Milana Dovzhenko, is redefining the way e-commerce brands and retailers engage with their customers. Bairro offers a fulfillment service that revolutionizes customer interactions with their orders by providing flexible delivery options, such as next-day, same-day, and even instant delivery, ensuring fast and efficient service.

The startup's plug-and-play integrations with marketplaces and e-commerce platforms allow businesses to easily tap into new sales channels and drive growth. To date, Bairro has raised a total of €5 million and has started 2023 with its acceptance into the Scaling Up Program by Unicorn Factory Lisboa. This innovative approach to e-commerce fulfillment demonstrates Bairro's potential to reshape the industry and enhance customer experiences.

Bairro > Portuguese minicorns

Neuraspace, a cutting-edge spacetech innovator founded in 2020 by Nuno Sebastiao, on a mission to reduce satellite collisions with its AI-driven technology. Having secured over €2.5 million in funding, the company aims to revolutionize space collision avoidance by making the process more efficient, scalable, and cost-effective.

Utilizing a data-driven approach and machine learning techniques, Neuraspace outperforms current methods in collision risk avoidance and automates the process. The platform claims to detect up to 33% more high-risk collisions that have previously gone undetected, thus enhancing the safety of space operations.

Neuraspace's proprietary AI technology improves the accuracy of satellite collision risk prediction and increases robustness and resilience through a data fusion strategy. The end-to-end solution automates many manual processes and communications and provides operators with actionable orbital maneuver recommendations to prevent collisions. Additionally, the platform delivers valuable insights to various stakeholders, including regulators, insurers, and businesses reliant on space assets.

Lisbon-based sports tech startup ScorePlay, founded in 2020 by Victorien Tixier and Xavier Green, has secured over €1 million in funding with notable backer Mario Götze. The company aims to revolutionize the way sports and entertainment brands manage their media assets through its innovative SaaS platform.

Committed to helping brands deliver more engaging content and expand their media assets' reach, ScorePlay provides a dedicated space for brands to centralize their assets. The platform's integrated AI tagging system classifies these assets, which are then automatically distributed to identified athletes, artists, and sponsors through the ScorePlay mobile app and dedicated partner access.

ScorePlay's groundbreaking approach to media asset management holds the potential to transform the sports and entertainment industries, offering brands an efficient and streamlined solution to reach their target audiences.

ScorePlay > Portuguese minicorns

Lisbon-based startup, founded in 2020 by Mykola Zomchak and Natalie Marina, is leveraging AI to revolutionize meeting productivity. The platform offers a real-time transcription tool for daily meetings, enabling users to quickly prepare meeting notes, action items, and follow-ups. No longer will participants miss crucial details or struggle to keep up with note-taking., which has raised €500k in funding, claims it can make meetings ten times more productive with its digital transcribing and note-taking assistant. As AI advances in writing and productivity, the startup is poised for further growth.

The platform integrates with Google Meet, G-Doc, G-Drive, Google Calendar, and Slack, transforming video calls and meetings into notes, action items, tasks, and events. representatives also announced plans to add Zoom to the list of integrated services, expanding the startup's reach and functionality.


Portugal's thriving startup ecosystem is making waves in Europe, with unicorns and minicorns showcasing the country's potential for growth. A favorable business climate, focus on innovation, and strategic European location have attracted entrepreneurs and investors from across the globe. Rapidly expanding, Portugal's tech industry is well on its way to becoming a leading startup hub in Europe.

In recent years, Portugal has evolved into a vibrant startup center, birthing numerous unicorns and boasting approximately 2,274 verified startups last year. The impressive growth can be attributed to a combination of government-backed initiatives and private-sector efforts. Portugal's vibrant startup ecosystem is a testament to the country's dedication to innovation, entrepreneurship, and global growth. As a rising star on the European startup scene, Portugal is poised to become a leading hub for cutting-edge businesses and groundbreaking ideas. With a wealth of talent, international focus, and strong support from both the public and private sectors, the future of Portugal's startup landscape is bright, offering boundless inspiration and opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs around the world.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Content Writer at TechNews180
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