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01 January 2021
Porto companies lead the ranking of innovative Portuguese companies that grew the most in 2020
Expresso

Several companies with offices in Porto lead the ranking of innovative Portuguese companies that grew the most in 2020, according to the report by Building Global Innovators (BGI) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT Digital), being close to achieving unicorn status. 

The valuation of unicorns is set at US $ 1 billion (€ 815 million). Already having three unicorns and with a high number of successful startups, Portugal ends up distinguishing itself from other countries with which it is usually compared, since, Spain has only one unicorn and Italy has none.

According to the BGI/EIT report, Sword Health, with its national headquarters in Porto, raised € 20 million in investment in 2020 to start a business around a digital physiotherapy system. The company is already present in Europe, Australia, and America - and has the largest market in the United States. With the necessary adaptations, Sword Health's recipe for success may serve as a motto for many of the 2,000 national startups that, according to data from Startup Portugal, represented 1.1% of GDP and 2.2% of exports in 2018.

Platforme, founded in 2015 and headquartered in Porto, also created a platform that allows companies to adapt clothes and footwear to the preferences of different segments before moving on to production. Hermès, Kering, YSL, Nordstrom, or Ermenegildo Zegna are customers. In 2020, it raised more than € 13 million.

Likewise, Feedzai is a strong candidate for unicorn status. The company that in much less than 1 second authorizes or blocks electronic transactions according to the records of the past. It has 500 professionals and provides services in 190 countries.

Utrust, created in the middle of the "cryptocurrency" race, has been gaining customers with secure and fast payment and transfer technology, with different currencies and digital wallets. It raised € 17.6 million in 2020 and hired leader Sanja Kon, who has on the resume passes through PayPal and eBay.

And yet, Unbabel, created in 2013 with the objective of improving translations between several languages. With sales of € 10 million and € 60 million in investments in 2019, it fired 90 of the 260 professionals in 2020. Despite the setback generated by the pandemic, it remains one of the main candidates for the next Portuguese unicorn.

The prospecting also includes companies such as DashDash, Go With Flow, Probely, Ydata, or Barkyn among the most recent businesses, and Veniam, Uniplaces, Defined Crowd, 360print, Codacy, or Aptoide, and Landing Jobs, which are already frequent references in newspapers.

The BGI/EIT data confirm the American influence: American venture capital was responsible for a third of foreign investment, which, in turn, totals almost 60% of the amounts invested in Portuguese startups in 2020.

In the last decade, the most successful national startups were distinguished by highly complex engineering that had other companies as main recipients. More recently, promising businesses have emerged associated with artificial intelligence and the processing of large volumes of data collected from multiple sensors and devices.

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