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Shilling Capital Partners: Growing Portuguese tech businesses from seed

Portugal · May 13, 2019· By Gareth Gardiner Jones

An early mover, the influential angel investing firm is accelerating local techs into Brazil and globally

Over the last few years, the Portuguese capital of Lisbon has rapidly risen to become one of Europe's most dynamic tech hubs and startup platforms, particularly since it began hosting the Web Summit, Europe's largest tech startup conference, since 2016. While the success of Portuguese unicorns like Outsystems and Farfetch and that of government policies has been widely recognized, local angel investors who pioneered the development of the ecosystem have largely remained under the radar to outsiders. 

Established in 2011, Shilling Capital Partners has been riding the wave of Lisbon's tech startup ascendency from the outset, backing some of Portugal's most successful startups like BestTables that was sold to TripAdvisor, AI-based translation platform Unbabel and student housing rentals platform Uniplaces. To date, the VC firm has invested in 18 startups and managed three exits. Shilling's current 12 investees have a combined total annual revenue of over €50 million and employ over 500 staff. 

The brainchild of six successful entrepreneurs who became angel investor friends, Shilling was born when they finally decided to club together as professional venture capitalists. Hugo Gonçalves Pereira hails from Harvard, João Coelho Borges from Columbia Business School and Diogo António Rodrigues da Silveira from Berkeley and INSEAD. The other three VC partners are real estate specialist Pedro Rutkowski, investment banker Juan Alvarez and branding guru António Casanova.

Shilling is committed to supporting local startups from seed stage and onward through the growth stages to produce long-term investment strategies. A key differentiator touted by Shilling is that it guarantees sufficient cash for the business until the next funding round, or when the startup becomes capable of funding its own growth.

Success in Brazil 

The international business experience and connections of the VC partners also help local companies to grow faster by going global. “Portugal is a very small market and startups should focus on going abroad from the very beginning,” said Ricardo Jacinto, Shilling's investment manager.

Edited by Suzanne Soh

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