Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Research is creating new knowledge.
Neil Armstrong 

Yesterday Pedro Rocha Vieira gave you a great help, use his tips and look at your market during this week!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Garden of Forking Paths: Part I

As Emerson always told me:

Do not go where the industry may lead, go instead where there is no industry and leave a path.
Or something like that...

And there I went, and I'm still going and growing... and first it seemed so obvious, just follow the directions to success, and how do you measure success? What is success? Is there a path to it?

Seems easy at first, always seemed so... still nowhere to go.

The easy at first path is just chasing a cool work, including some of this steps... be lucky to be born in a great country, if not just move, go to school, have some hobbies, do sports, live and love, forgive and forget, choose a good university, choose a good course, play along and when you're closer to work you realize that the previous steps maybe weren't the right ones... or that the path by itself leads nowhere where you expected and if the system has thought you right you will accept your fate and just choose the most obvious step... go ahead, continue the path... and still nowhere to go.

The other path, which might follow along the same steps, get lucky, get educated, party along, and when faced with the decision to work for someone or do something else, choose the latter.
Where might you end up...somewhere, but now you're on a different path so maybe you can continue this for a while... and is it closer to success? Depends, so there is somewhere to go.

Somewhere new, somewhere which still doesn't exists... but here is a good indicator, if you're not successful yet, it means that success still doesn't exist for you.. and if you're going to somewhere which still doesn't exist maybe you're on getting closer to this equal non existence ... go ahead.

[continued on the next week]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ready to the Silicon valley comes to Lisbon?
Take the chance and meet the a great group of international Entrepreneurs

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

PlayUp: how to startup something social?

Beta-Start here we are!

In this exciting and inspiring world made of new technologies and great business ideas we propose a different kind of project, with the aim of accelerating an innovative social enterprise. Is this possible? 

This project is not about 'social media' but about 'social innovation': PayUp is a process for the co-creation of educational toys for children with less access to quality play opportunities. Yes, real toys, not videogames. Yes, children living in disadvantaged contexts, not the ones running up and down shopping centres in these weeks before Christmas. Surely using new interconnected technology we could start something digital with very low investment and try to rapidly reach a global market, but this is not the case. We need to step into a difficult existing market, talk to the toy industry, build relationships, gain reputation and trust from institutions and communities. We have collected resources, mapped stakeholders, done our research, connected partners, visualised and communicated our early outputs but now is time to play higher. We want to create a brand to position into an international scenario. Is PlayUp ready for it? Can a social innovation project become a sustainable enterprise by applying models and methods of startup acceleration?

We are four young international designers and innovators, we have lots to learn about business and innovation management. We bring in our wild ideas, talent, creative and practical approach to problem solving; at the same time we know we will be learn a lot from our peers, our mentors, the programme facilitators and the overall Beta-Start environment. 

Thank you for the opportunity.

More questions than answers in our first post on the Beta-Start blog, it's only week one and is already time to make big decisions, follow our updates on our facebook page (playupdesign) and soon on our website (www.playupdesign.com). For more information email us at playupdesign@gmail.com

Beta Start - The First Week

It was with great expectations that we all started the first week of the BetaStart Startup Accelarator Program.

The first thing that struck me was the invigorating and infectious enthusiasm of all the staff and participants - a real "can do" attitude seems to be the rule - rarely do we here the word "no" being spoken.

The second thing that struck me was that the BetaStart program is probably one of the most intensive programs I have ever taken part in (except maybe when revising for my mphil exams in oxford!).  You are always challenging yourself - you are always being obliged to question your ideas and assumptions about them - the end effect is that you feel your ideas adapting and becoming "bullet proof".  It is a pressure cooker environment - and i can already imagine a spinoff televesion program that follows the participants during the 6 weeks and in the end sees which projects end up succeeding (note to colleagues - i think all our projects are going to succeed :)).  A kind of masterchef meets big brother meets project runway (note to betastart team - please count on me to pitch this idea to the tv companies and to be part of the team that runs the show!). 

Betastart not only starts up projects - it ends up starting you up (theme song over here - Rolling Stones "Start me Up!").

I would like to end my 1st post blog post by thanking the whole team for putting on such a great show and for the incredible attitude - you guys rock!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

International Law and Shipping in Portugal

Dear Beta Starters Sea Edition VI 2012,

Dear All,

It is with great pleasure that I endorse all initiative aiming at improving shipping in Portugal, such as this edition of Beta Start.

Congratulations on your initiative, Beta-i!

I am not just saying this because I am a shipping professional, but because I am a Sea enthusiast. Also, because I am proud of my Portuguese and Greek family heritage, that is to say that the Sea is really part of my life. 

Another thing I found particularly impressive during my participation in the program is the very advanced IT skills of both startups and coaches.

During the last few weeks I have been asked repeatedly whether, instead of promoting the start up of a real, independent shipping company, I should perhaps consider developing some software that will supposedly cure the problems of modern shipping.

One person even suggested that I develop a computer program recruiting crew automatically, on its own.

Well, let me put it to you this way:

In my view, it is not possible to substitute human judgement with an app or any other software. You can try making your life easier in terms of data storage and information processing, however, it is not possible to allow a computer to think for you.

Imagine what would happen if a computer was to become responsible for the recruitment of Captains and Chief Engineers: any person acting in bad faith would compromise the integrity of the recruitment process.  

Moreover, imagine what would happen if a cargo shipment would be loaded in a container onboard a vessel without the Master of the vessel having the time to inspect the cargo for defects prior to loading and handing over possession and liability of the cargo to the carrier or buyer (depending on the terms of the charter party).

In short, imagine if the law allowed for any cargo to be dispatched automatically, with zero screening and without further communication issued or exchanged between carrier and shipper and/or rights transferred, or the contract of carriage not being capable of being varied, amended, or terminated.

If this was to happen, then, exporters would be free to export poor quality/defective products and would cause the automatic collapse of the importers and/or the carriers, thus sinking the world economy into a black hole.

Unless ofcourse we are talking about utopia-shipping.

Portugal, otherwise a world leader in automatic processing, especially in payment, has been very cautious with some voices calling for the implementation of oversimplified shipping/dispatch systems and has thus refused to date to approve any deviation from the existing legal framework, applicable since the late seventies.

Therefore, any such automated shipping processes would be unrealistic and illegal under Portuguese and International Law.

This is why I choose to focus on our original idea of launching a real shipping company in Portugal (something our country really needs) and whose innovation stems from the type and range of its services, rather than the means used to achieve performance of such.

Many thanks,



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apart from very large and consolidated markets, where rating agencies perform their best, all other market size analysis must refer to comparable data. An expression of intention on the touch points for the acquisition of this service or of a comparable, would be a reasonable indicator.
The information collected at this touch point refers to the available information/recommendation and to the willingness to acquire by the potential customer.
The decision is done by strong impulse, on a most well known situation by the marinas where the operators have a sales stool/stand and a promoter urges the customer to take the boat that is leaving, or by a softer approach where stand ups are used on the many souvenir kiosks around the city down town; this last example in very heavy traffic areas can be used with a promoter.
In all cases a previous qualification of traffic in terms of willingness to acquire the service is mandatory. In Lisbon, there are areas of intense traffic that apparently do relate to the profile of our customers, whereas others apparently relate little. Examples of the first are Baixa, Belém and the touristic buses hub of Marquês de Pombal, and of the latter is the sub way, or the other commercial shopping areas/malls.
Moving a bit upper on the ‘rational scale’ for acquiring the service, we may find that advisors are a strong element in the mechanism of the decision to schedule a certain service into leisure time, despite the fact that there is a larger lapse of time between advising and acquiring the service. In this case, the possibility of the advisor to book the service is important. This is illustrated by customers asking the concierge of the hotel for a desired program or checking the local guides in the form of booklets, leaflets or the internet.
A survey could be arranged for the three identified acquisition touch points: the hotel concierge, the souvenir kiosk and the best marina location.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Investors Mentorship - October 10th

During the last 2 weeks you could interact with more  than 20 Mentors. Exchange your ideas, get feedback from an expert and feel the market with a different perspective.
Today Pedro Sarmento was with us at MyCoWorkSpace and talked with Project Oceanus and Seniors Click.
Guess what? One more afternoon of mentoring will come, but this time focused on investors. We'll have 3 Investors, doing a Mentorship on the October 10th. Get your hour at "Partilhar" and please don’t schedule anything if you're not sure you will come.
Remember that this is a chance to get in contact with people that will probably make a difference in your business development.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sea & Life Sciences: 9 teams aboard

One week is done with a lot of energy around the 9 teams that are Beta-starting. From surf to whales, diving or touring through Tajo, the environment is full of great ideas and power to make them happen. 
After a Hackathong at mycoworkSPACE.com we're prepared to the 2nd week and to start the BUILDING part of the program with: Business Plan, Basic Finance, KPIs, Value Proposition or Social web marketing.
Don't miss it and check your calendar!

The Surf Bubble chega a Carcavelos

É a quarta maquina que chega às principais praias do país, desta vez a Carcavelos ao bar Tricana da Barra.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Beta-start 6th edition: applications are now open!

Beta-i is proud to announce the next edition of Beta-start, which will be focus on Sea and Life Science.

Beta-start is an acceleration program from Beta-i designed to help early and seed stage entrepreneurs turning their ideas into a viable and successful business. Throughout the 6 week program entrepreneurs are challenged to improve their prototype and business model with the support of expert mentors and trainers along with a collaborative and hands-on approach.

Beta-start is a free startup acceleration program for startups, organized by Beta-i in partnership with Billy The Group and with the support of CGD, FLAD, SAGE, CHARTIS, EASYPAY, BLUEPHARMA. The program will take place in Lisbon from September 15th to October 30th. (Check the Calendar)

Acknowledging the relevance of your institution, we would like to request your collaboration in the dissemination of this event. To this end, please find attached some files related to our program (calendar, portuguese version, logo, banners and photos) and below some additional information and contacts.

More information on Beta-start:
Website: http://ol.beta-start.com
Telephone: 967592759
E-mail: susana.branco@beta-i.pt

Feedback: How is the feeling of being a beta-starter?

Bernardo Alves
Bernarndo Alves, IZIMOOVE, Beta-starter from the 5th edition
"The Beta-Start Program, itself a kind of start-up, was an unsurpassed experience for the launch of the new design IZIMOOVE. The dedication of all employees and volunteers of Beta-i and its network of partners, scored very positively how we will face all the challenges ahead. We were full of expectations and willing to collaborate on several initiatives that we know are in preparation."

Tiago Nuno Matos, VeLX Beta-starter from the 5th edition
"It was extremely intense and demanding, but definitely rewarded for the personal and professional enrichment. I knew beforehand that the greatest impediment is the start. Throughout the program,and with all the "tools" that I discovered, I’ve learned to deal with the inevitable "error" of who does and the opportunities created by these "errors": rethink, restart and go forward."

Why are we selecting startups with a focus on Life Sciences and Medical activities?

Portugal has been investing on life sciences research and the medical cluster is already one of the biggest national economic sectors with numerous companies developing cutting edge treatments. Recently created institutes like the Champalimaud Foundation along with well established institutions like IBMC, as well as the creation of research centers like Biocant devoted to the study of life sciences, motivates and provides useful tools to new entrepreneurs in this area.

Science is gaining ground on the Portuguese economic growth and medical startups are already shaking the way doctors connect with patients. Everyday we see so many new potential sources of innovation enchanced by widely available smartphones, that have more CPU power than genome sequencers of only some years ago, and this will allow technology to drive medical care access to more people and at a lesser cost.

Portugal has already proved to have an enormous potential to innovate in the areas of Life Sciences, in fact our first Nobel prize won the Medicine award. Times are now more exciting then ever to do much more and we need to explore ways to take innovations to the market.

Why are we selecting startups with a focus on Sea activities?

From many, the Sea is today not only seen as the mean to perform traditional tasks such as fisheries and shipping, but a potential source of wealth greatly enhanced by our exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. The seas and oceans represent a means of communication and transport essential in the increasingly globalized world, a source of food and pharmaceuticals, energy and geological resources. Apart from the use associated to these activities, the Sea and the coastal areas have an essential role in the welfare and quality of life of societies, and through sporting and leisure and Tourism activities.

Portugal is committed to the promotion of innovative ways of sustainable use of resources of the seas, contributing to the economic development of the Sea and maritime industries, investing in science and marine technologies, creating jobs, promoting education and sport related activities.

We are looking for entrepreneurs with an international agenda that have ideas that will shake up the Sea and Life Science industries, developing innovative and sustainable startups, with an international focus. Let's create an exciting space in Lisbon so that these new startups may be born!


5th September at Pavilhão do Conhecimento

In the first week of September we will conduct Beta-Trends! This will be free warm up session, open to everyone. There you will meet a panel of experts who will give you valuable insights on business opportunities and the potential underlying of Sea & Life Sciences clusters.

Candidates, sponsors, institutes and people interested can attend Beta-Trends and understand the industry trends with a deeper view. Held in Lisbon at Pavilhão do Conhecimento, we’ll choose a panel of motivated people that promise to inspire the development of this area and that will question issues on the potential to create business value.

This will also be a great opportunity for you to learn more about Beta-Start, participate in networking and maybe even meet some potential business partners! So what are you waiting for?

Grasp this ocean of opportunities and sign up now for Beta-trends day! 
Just follow the link: http://www.trendsdaybetastart.eventbrite.com

Friday, May 25, 2012


After a couple weeks diverging our idea, meeting with mentors and validating our idea with everyone we came to a point of no return. The intensity of the program has made us sure that our idea is becoming stronger, and on the other hand, the variables are increasing more and more. At this point we are sure to be developing a truly great service, thanks to the help of the mentors and our coaches. It will surely see the light of day!

Last week we came across with a story in the portuguese news that kind of validated our idea. The winds are changing and people are realizing that there isn't actually the need of owning a car in order to move around a city.

Instead of just buying a scooter, just wait a few months and you will be able to use our service ;)

By the way... In order to build a better service we are asking people to answer a little survey. It will only take a few minutes: Questionário sobre Mobilidade Urbana.


The VeLx Team: Tiago, Luis & Tiago

Monday, May 21, 2012

Urbiflow - Week 2

Hi again,

After 2 weeks of betastart we are starting to get serious and to question some of details of our startup. Is this the right product? The right Business Model? Focus on the client or the end-user? And that is...great!

We have always beared in mind that we might have to change a lot on our startup but this is the right time and place to do that. We are being followed by the most experient entrepreneurs/mentors/coaches and so on and so forth. They are the people more qualified to put us in the right path!

The overall of the week 2 of betastart is positive, great workshops and like I said, it started to get serious. The first approach to the concepts like the business plan and roadmap.

But the more important was the first step out of the comfort zone and towards the developing of something that one day can really be Urbiflow, and we approach potential clients/partners.

We are surely looking for week 3 of beta-start!

From Urbiflow the best regards,
Tiago Vieira

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mycro Gifts - User Questionnaire

Hello Beta-Starters, we're in a stage where your help is needed. This is a form that will help us tune our idea closer to the final product. If you can share it with your friends it would be an awesome help.


Thank you very much.

Alexandre Simões
Mycro Gifts

Monday, May 14, 2012

Beta-Start Transports and Energy - VeLx Project Week 1

The first week of Beta-Start couldn't have been more surprising and rewarding. From day one the inputs we have been receiving have been extremely helpful to the development of our idea and to our growth as entrepreneurs and we have realized that our idea is in constant motion.  

The Schedule has been very intense, but everyone, since the organizers, mentors, speakers and other team members have contributed to a very collaborative and hands on environment in order to bring our idea to a state of constant evolution.

The tools we have been developing have been very helpful to structure and strengthen the main concepts behind the big picture, in order to understand who our clients are and how we will make our idea a true functional and agreable user experience.

Besides all the work, there has also been a few times of relax and bond with everyone, seizing the conditions that only our privileged location and natural resources can offer :)

Looking foward for what's to come. Stay tuned!

Tiago, Luis & Tiago

First week feedback

Hi, this last week has been a very rewarding experience at the Beta-Start program. We've learned, we've made friends, connections and found new places to work. The next video is a usage scenario of our project MyCro Gifts. It came out from the last design hackathon and i hope you enjoy it.

Best regards,
Alexandre Simões
Co-Founder of MyCro Gifts

Sunday, May 13, 2012

First Week - BetaStart


I'm Tiago from Urbiflow. I'd like to answer the call from André Marquet to share my experience during this program. So far has been fantastic, it was a great first week and things can only get better. Some cool projects are being developed with the blessing of BetaStart and the collegues are very friendly.

The program has been very hands-on. Some neat workshops on different subjects that I never thought I'd be doing and could be helpful to my future ventures. And the mentoring has been incredibly insightful, giving some great tips and guiding through some problems with might encounter in the near future.

The expectations for the next weeks on the program are high, surely!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 9: Joao Cepeda at Beta-Start

Taxi drivers at Portuguese airport are an issue, that is actually affecting Lisbon tourism.

Fado restaurants are also, with a few exceptions, a major rip off of tourists, sometimes charging more than 90€ per person.

The concierge mafia! Be aware!

The city of Lisbon needs people like the Beta-starters!

Day 9: why there is no siliconish valleyish da vida in Lisbon

If people perceive Lisbon as a big opportunity then they will come!

Increase university collaboration, more people would come because there is more ground breaking things happening in Lisbon.

Inconsistently maintained, some buildings are crumbling - this would have to be solved.

Lisbon is cheap so artistic people would find it interesting to come here.

Other group focused on a scenario in which Portugal goes bankrupt, some insights:

Bucket list idea- do your last life wishes in Lisbon.

People see no benefit of the tax system. Government services are generally poor quality.

Foreign start-ups should pay no taxes.

I will be speaking on Product Development and User Experience.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 4: some of the brand ideas from today

Just want to share with you some of the brand ideas that the group generated today for the Beta-experience, the briefing is simple: create a Beta-start program that is friendlier to foreign participants:

Day 6 of Beta-Start: brand and marketing with billy the group

Hi again guys,

Saturday morning, we're having a creativity and branding workshop with Torke from Billy the Group.

We started with Diogo and João(photos below) to explain some basic facts os the marketeer life:

Branding it's not about the way Volvo is written its about the idea behind it.

The brand Germany its about reliability and technology.

Seems a blank page but it's about building around a central idea.

Coca-cola is a good example on innovation management of portfolio.

Moments of truth coined by Jan Carlzon, by Scandinavian Airlines System(SAS) occur any time a customer comes in contact with the company.

Southwest job candidates are invited for an audition on their job hiring process.

Nordstrom is also a good example of superior service quality.

If you don't have a company culture your employees don't have freedom.

Guerrilla Marketing.

Marketing = talking directly to the market (forget the ing)

Fred now talking about Guerrila marketing: maximizing short term results with minimum resources

Urban interventions,Installations, (in Portugal everything is done by the book, paying licenses to city council, etc)
Ambient media, (if you a do a campaign on the wc, you're already making a stance)
PR stunt
Fighting advertising
Online (viral, buzz, ...)
Press kit (because journalists don't like to work)

I love the campaign they did for a mobile company, hijacking the event from another company! (more than 5 years ago).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 4: Deloitte comes to Beta-start

This is my first blog post on Beta-start experience. The purpose of this blog is to tell the experience of Beta-start from someone that’s participating on the program from the beginning.

Deloitte came to office this morning to talk about the future of tourism. There are some highlights which I will share with you:

  • Revpar - revenue per available room.
  • 1/3 of market is now on low cost airlines.
  • Load factor on low cost now on 90%, the highest in the industry.
  • Now the most valuable asset are the airport slots on the airports.
  • RevPar in Lisbon is now only 3% below max high (2007).

ROI on several investments:

  • Gold - 500% roi over 10 years
  • Hotels Europe only 7% (less than inflation).
Other thoughts:
  • Passport in UK for who makes investments over a certain value.(why Portugal does not do the same?)
  • To each segment you should present a different value propositon. - I think this is important for creating Beta-I products.
  • G7 in 2025: china, USA, India, Japan, brasil, Russia, Mexico.
  • Biggest growth touristic markets: China, India.
  • Portugal should do not diversify to India because you need lots of money to communicate. Portugal should instead focus on Scandinavia.