Man was I in a bad mood when I touched down in Lisbon. The last days had been stressful, a comically bad Bayern team were well beaten by Porto the evening before and I had to leave my home at 4am to catch the flight.
Well Lisbon sure did change my mood quickly. I went from grumpy cat to curiosity to extreme enthusiasm within a few hours. Every now and then you’re in a city for the first time and you just “feel it”.
It then struck me that I had felt like this before. I had seen this movie before. This was the Berlin movie:
- The tech scene is organic – it happened on its own, came out of nowhere. That is much more fun and sustainable than any kind of political or targeted economic strategy.
- There are a ton of constraints (funding, local talent base, etc.) so entrepreneurs need to hustle to make things happen. Hustle is good.
- Berlin was an economic void, Portugal had a massive economic crisis and Lisbon sure isn’t letting that crisis go to waste.
- Entrepreneurship has the real chance to be a center stage act, not a side gig. It’s everywhere.
- The city is very, very cool. You just want to be here.
- You can have a great life on a startup salary.
- Everyone speaks english; everyone is welcoming and open. That matters a lot when you want to attract international talent and funding.
There’s actually a few things I think the Lisbon scene is doing better than Berlin in its early days:
- There are more geeks & engineers building companies.
- Because the Portuguese market is very small, entrepreneurs need to go international real quick.
- The weather is significantly better and you can go surfing right outside the city.
It’s early days in Lisbon. And there are many other Lisbons out there; this entrepreneurial awakening is happening all across Europe.
But I sure hope we do a lot of investments here – because man do I love this city.
P.S.: A huge thanks to Tiago and his crew at Go Youth Conference for having me. It’s an incredible conference started by a bunch of 17 year olds a few years ago. That tells you a lot about what is happening here.