Portuguese Venture Capital group Semapa Next partners with Techstars to launch a three-year acceleration program in Lisbon consisting of 13-week editions.
Semapa is a Portuguese industrial holding company; Semapa Next is its VC arm, and through a partnership with US-based accelerator Techstars, together they will invest in startups that are bringing digital transformation to industrial and environmental tech, smart transportation, travel, and leisure tech.
“We will select global and ambitious startups,” said Semapa Next CEO Ricardo Pires in a statement to the press.
“We want startups with tech solutions that aim to have a positive and sustainable impact on society. Semapa Next will offer startups the best mentors, sand boxes, access to distribution channels and local and international network of partners of the Group.
“This will allow the acceleration process to be an enriching and inspiring experience.”
Applications opened on Monday and the final cut-off date to apply is November 11. The Lisbon acceleration program starts on March 4, 2019.
“We will invest one million euros annually in 10 startups with global ambitions — not a million per startup — it’s a million euros for the 10 startups, about $ 120,000 for each,” said João Castello Branco, president of Semapa’s Executive Committee, to reporters on Monday.
“The global ambition of these startups has to be in three areas that we have chosen as the areas of the Techstars Semapa Next program in Lisbon. The first area consists of industrial and environmental tech startups that use deep tecnology, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to create new production processes in order to innovate in production process, environment, and sustainability.
“A second area we call smart transportation, global solutions in the mobility and logistics sector.
“Finally, travel and leisure tech. We look for startups who have innovative products and services. Also, there is a specific area, which is travel and leisure, that we will try based on the tourism cluster that exists in Portugal,” Branco added.
According to Dinheiro Vivo, the organizations will travel around the world to find the best startups in these three areas. They expect to find around 500 startups, and then the selection process will begin.
Techstars is no stranger to extensive roadtrips to find the best startups in the world. For example, last week the Techstars London accelerator announced its class of 2018 after a months of touring over 30 countries.
Semapa can mobilize a wide array of strategic partnerships with leading local and international corporations to provide access to piloting opportunities, distribution channels and additional mentoring.
The mentorship-driven accelerator program will invest in startups that develop innovative products, technologies and business models resulting in a significant digital transformation in companies and people’s lives.
In a statement to the press on Monday Techstars Founder and Co-CEO David Brown remarked, “Techstars as one of the world’s largest accelerators has a successful approach based on a unique capacity for screening, selection, and mentoring of the startups that are accelerated on its programs.
“Techstars is very excited about this partnership and launching a successful international program that leverages and strengthens the Portuguese startup ecosystem.”
The acceleration program in Lisbon will ensure access to more than 10,000 entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, investors, and leading organizations from the global Techstars network.
“The intensity of the Techstars acceleration program is comparable to shrinking two years of work into 13 weeks,” said Hugo Augusto, Managing Director of Techstars Lisbon in partnership with Semapa Next.
“For example, in the first three weeks we will have 150 mentors sharing their experience with startups. A significant part of these mentors will be international and they will be selected to fit with the startups that will be invested,” he added.
In March Augusto become Startup Lisboa‘s first Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR).
The newly-appointed Entrepreneur in Residence’s previous company, MyChild, was an education startup that was sold in 2016 to Brightwheel.