StartUpShip: How to hire top tech talent in Portugal

Portugal is known for having top tech talent, mostly because of the quality of its universities.

Some people are even comparing Portugal to Berlin because of the costs of living and the highly skilled tech talent that startups are currently attracting. No wonder that many foreign startups are moving to Portugal or just setting up their product team in the country. However, the issue here is how can you attract top tech talent in Portugal? Well, we spoke to a few people about this and they were willing to share a few of their secrets.

A few years ago you wouldn’t see many foreign startups and companies setting their operations in Portugal but now things are a bit different. From companies like Miniclip that decided to set up their mobile development team in Lisbon, to startups such as Seedrs that established their product team in Lisbon while their business development team is in London, you can now see it all happen. Carlos Silva, co-founder at Seedrs is an enthusiast when it comes to setting up a product team in Portugal: “the costs of having a top product team here in Portugal are much lower if you compare it to San Francisco or London for example. In those kinds of places you either get poorly skilled people or you end up paying fortunes for a good product team. In Portugal it’s easy to get a top product team at a global level and because we have an amazing quality of life and low cost of living, you don’t have to pay those super high salaries.” So maybe you should consider following their lead and attract Portuguese tech talent, you just need to know how to do it.

Get involved in the community

As Pedro Carmo Oliveira from puts it: “Portugal has the power within its community”, so why not take full advantage of it? There are many places where you can reach out to other entrepreneurs who are in the same position as yourself, such as Startup Lisboa, the Lisbon’s incubator, Uptech in Porto, the incubator that works closely with one of the top tech universities in the country, FEUP and many others. You should also get involved within the startup community by attending meet-ups and other events such as Break, which is once a month and keep an eye out for interesting talks. Another advice from Pedro Carmo Oliveira is to “attend the events from the tech community. For example there’s ShiftAppens in Coimbra and during this week you have Sinfo that lasts the whole week at IST University.” If you have never heard of Sinfo, you should definitely take a look because they usually bring the best tech speakers and it’s a great opportunity to hire young tech talent. Pedro Carmo Oliveira’s startup is sponsoring this edition and he couldn’t be more excited:“Sinfo is awesome because they always manage to bring really good speakers, this edition they brought the co-founder of Pirate Bay, the CIO of Github, the Creator of Counter Strike and the co-founder of Reddit for instance. This is insane, these guys are legends.” Apart from these tech events Pedro also names a few others you shouldn’t miss: “in Braga you also have the Ruby Conference which is cool if you’re working with Ruby on Rails. Another one is UXLX , which is one of Europe’s top UX events. And, last but not least, you also have LXJS for Javascript.”

Top tech universities to hire from

As we’ve said in the beginning Portugal has some of Europe’s top tech universities. Carlos Silva, co-founder at Seedrs, admits that studying at IST in Lisbon was a huge advantage: “I studied in IST so I had a good tech related network in order to attract the very best and build our product team here in Lisbon”. So if you’re looking for young tech talent you should definitely reach out to universities, introduce your startup and share your vision for the future. According to Pedro Carmo Olivera from, the best tech universities in the Portugal are: IST in Lisbon, FEUP in Porto,Universidade do Minho in Braga and Guimarães and Universidade de Aveiro. Check out for conferences and events organized by these universities and reach out to students. A good example is Sinfo at IST. Many companies attend Sinfo in order to hire recent graduates and students from the university organize the event. IST for example has a job board where you can post your job offer for its students.

Take full advantage of the startup hype and set the challenge

There’s currently a lot of buzz regarding startups in Portugal so you should definitely take advantage of the startup hype. As Pedro Carmo Oliveira said: “you have many recent graduates in Portugal who are now more open to working at a startup, because they have a bigger impact and they can grow within the company.” And this is not just for recent graduates, you are now seeing many tech people leaving the corporate world and joining startups because they like the new challenge. One of the secrets of hiring for a startup is sharing your passion and offering an interesting challenge. So go ahead and let people know what’s your goal for the future and how they can contribute. You should also focus a lot on startup culture and define your own culture from the beginning. Rui Pedro Alves from Rupeal is a big fan of company culture and he argues that if you have the right culture with the right people you’re gonna have amazing results. So, for me people and culture are the source of all value. Just don’t forget to let people know about your team activities and how it’s like to work for your company.



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