Portuguese accelerator Beta-i has big plans for 2019, including an expansion plan to have several global acceleration programs by next year.
In an interview with Dinheiro Vivo, Beta-i Co-Founder and CEO Pedro Rocha Vieira explained, “We are going to start a phase of expansion and internationalization for Beta-i. Our ambition, next year, is to have several global acceleration programs.”
The new expansion strategy began with a failure between Beta-i and Spanish accelerator Tetuan Valley.
“The partnership with the Tetuan Valley did not go well. There was a disagreement between the management and the executive,” Rocha told Dinheiro Vivo.
“We wanted this partnership to grow to eventually be a merger and a more of a joint operation. We realized that it was a bit early to replicate Beta-i in another market,” he added.
The connection with the Tetuan Valley “opened the possibility of entering Latin America,” but it did not work out. Beta-i then decided to “correct the strategy. Instead of moving ahead with a Beta-i in one country and then another, we’re going to bet on global programs and projects that can be replicated,” said Rocha.
The next international partnerships will count on European companies and associations.
The Portuguese accelerator will maintain its base in Portugal. “Lisbon will be our center of operations and then we will have local products. We do not want to have a root operation already in another country,” said Rocha to Dinheiro Vivo.
In the coming weeks, Beta-i will complete the move into a new building, and this move was justified by the sale of the building on Avenida Casal Ribeiro to a group of investors, including businessman Dionísio Pestana.
“The change means the consolidation of a new phase for Beta-i, of greater maturity, stability and ambition. This is the first time we have been able to think of a long-term space,” said Rocha.
The new space, with two thousand square meters, represents an annual investment of half a million euros. In addition to the Beta-i team – currently with 70 people – startups like Zaask, Sparkl and Visor.ai are also going to the new building.
Beta-i will launch also its own company for real estate, according to Dinheiro Vivo.
“We’ll have a different way of managing spaces. This new brand will be separated from Beta-i and may have more than one building in Lisbon,” said the Beta-i CEO.
The investment area of the company will also undergo some changes. Although the venture capital company LC Ventures has 40 subsidiaries and 11 million euros under management, the innovation platform is preparing to present a new strategy for financing new projects.
In recent years, this company, thanks to its three funds, has invested in startups that are accelerating and in other companies that need to strengthen their capital, especially in the areas of finance, health, mobility and energy.
Still on the table is the return of Beta Start, the program that a few years ago helped turn new ideas into viable startups.
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