Lisbon, characterized occasionally by some tech scene observers as “the warm Berlin,” has been threatening to generate more startups in the last few years, not least because it will now have the enormous Web Summit conference there for the next 10 years, and because it’s a cheap and great place to live. But the startups appearing have not quite been as numerous as many would like.
It’s therefore fantastic to see a new VC fund appearing in the city, set up by three experienced stalwarts of the scene.
Indico Capital Partners has now completed its first closing of €41 million out of the €46 million of commitments from investors from eight different countries. The fund will be aimed at Iberian early-stage startups (that means Spain and Portugal), but of course particularly those based out of Portugal.
The fund says it will invest typically between €150,000 and €5 million per portfolio company over their lifetime — pre-seed to Series A, plus follow-on rounds. They say the first Indico investments have already been concluded and will be announced soon.
It’s far and away the first sizable, independent and private early-stage, tech-focused fund to be based in Lisbon and will focus on investments in B2B SaaS, artificial intelligence, fintech, cybersecurity, marketplaces and B2C platforms.
The fund has three partners: Managing General Partner Stephan Morais (former head of the leading corporate VC Caixa Capital), General Partner Ricardo Torgal (also former Caixa Capital senior investor) and Venture Partner Cristina Fonseca (co-founder and shareholder of Talkdesk).
Collectively the team has in the past invested in Farfetch, Unbabel, Codacy and many other success stories originating from Portugal over the past six years, in addition to Talkdesk itself.
The EIF (European Investment Fund) is the cornerstone investor of Indico, and has been joined by 20 other institutional and individual investors, such as the IFD (Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento) through the Portugal Tech facility, Draper Esprit (a major global quoted VC fund based in the U.K.), pension funds, education and research institutions, wealth managers, high-net-worth individuals and many local and international tech entrepreneurs.
The fund is supported by InnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Funds for Strategic Investments (EFSI) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe.
Stephan Morais said: “This is a milestone for the Portuguese ecosystem, we will keep on supporting the most promising Portuguese, and increasingly Iberian, early-stage tech startups, but now with an independent stable investment platform backed by a diversified global LP base.”
Ricardo Torgal added that “VC is not hype, it’s about building a balanced portfolio and being there for the companies to help them grow to the next stage.”
Cristina Fonseca commented that “I have been backing many companies over the past few years as an angel investor and mentor, so it was an obvious decision to join the best investment team in the market with a solid track record. Early-stage tech is where my heart is and this is a local nurturing activity before it becomes globally investable and scalable.”