The Caixa Empreender Award was held on the 27th of January at Culturgest in Lisbon, an event that brought together numerous national and international investors in order to reward the most promising startup of 2014, selected from Portugal’s 3 major acceleration programs: BGI tby ISCTE/MIT Portugal, Lisbon Challenge by Beta-i and ACT by Cotec.
Along with Caixa Capital, the event was marked by the presence of top tier international investors such as DN Capital (Shazam and OLX), e.ventures (Groupon), Forbion, Evonik, Kreos and Vesalius, as well as the renowned TechCrunch Europe editor, Mike Butcher. The event brought together more than 600 people and highlighted the continuous growth of the Portuguese entrepreneurship ecosystem, which aside from start-ups, included investors, incubators, research centers and universities.
The grand winner of this year’s award was Magnifinance (Lisbon Challenge, www.magnifinance.pt), a platform that simplifies the management and financial planning of small businesses. Through the optical recognition of invoice information photographed using a smartphone, Magnifinance’s technology allows the automatic retrieval of all the data necessary for the correct booking of expenditures, as well as the automatic reconciliation with company bank accounts, allowing for an integrated view of the company’s treasury position as well as the projection of short-term cash needs. This award will allow Magnifinance to double the € 100 k investment commitment already granted by Caixa Capital through the Lisbon Challenge accelerator program.
Present at the grand final were the winning startups of their acceleration programs that had already secured € 100 k in investment from Caixa Capital and additional amounts from Business Angels. Aside from Magnifinance, Caixa Capital also invested in Biomimetx, Nanoisnpire, Dodoc, nuRise, Lokkupp and CorPower, all highly differentiated companies with cutting-edge technologies.
Stephan Morais, executive director of Caixa Capital stated that "The progress in the quality of the entrepreneurial ecosystem is remarkable. In just a few years, Portugal has produced a number of world-class startups. It is a matter of time until we have a major case of worldwide success originating from Portugal. Our work with top tier international investors enables Portuguese startups to have access to capital and a partner network that places them abreast of global counterparts. Congratulations to Magnifinance and all the others finalists, who will be portfolio companies of Caixa Capital. The work to add value to businesses starts now. "
Caixa Capital – www.caixacapital.pt
Caixa Capital is the Private Equity and Venture Capital fund management company of Portugal's largest banking group Caixa Geral de Depósitos, present in over 20 countries and with assets above 120 billion Euros. With a total of close to 750 million Euros ($1bn USD) under management, the largest and most relevant in the country, Caixa Capital invests in growth equity and venture capital opportunities and funds. The Venture Capital team partners with incubators, accelerators and business angels for seed and startup investments and with major international venture funds for opportunities above 1 million Euros. The team aims to support global expansion of Portugal related teams and companies and has dedicated team members to ICT, digital, health tech, engineering and clean tech investments.
Beta-i – www.beta-i.pt
Beta-i is a non-profit association created in 2010 with the mission to promote innovation and entrepreneurship through three main lines of action: Create and foster a culture and network of entrepreneurship and innovation; Accelerate startups with global ambition and facilitate access to investment; Create spaces, services and products focused on the entrepreneurs. Implements its mission through three actions: the Lisbon Challenge acceleration program; Beta-Innovation, consulting division that offers customized programs to develop innovation and enterprise in business; and event and startups. As part of its programs, the Beta-i has received more than 2,800 ideas and accelerated more than 430 startups.
ACT by Cotec – www.actbycotec.com
Technology Commercialization Accelerator (Act) is a COTEC Portugal initiative that supports the creation of technology based startups and the licensing of technologies. Created in 2010, but with origins that date back to 2004 (COHiTEC Program), Act aims to value the tech-based knowledge generated in Portugal, and support entrepreneurs, R&D Institutions and companies to take their innovative technologies to global markets. For that aim, Act uses a unique model to support the promoters of technology-based projects in the commercialization of their technologies, providing training, mentoring and facilitating access to funding throughout the different stages of the projects’ development, from lab to market.
Building Global Innovators (BGI) – www.bgi.pt
BGI is an accelerator technologies program that aimed to help entrepreneurs and innovators namely on four sectors: Med Tech & Health IT, Smart Cities & Industrial Tech, Enterprise IT & Smart Data, and Ocean Economy. Created in 2010, had supported 101 companies among which 68 are active. The amount of funding raised to date is over 27 million and created more than 200 highly skilled jobs, from over 400 existing jobs.