April 5th, 2017, the official opening date of Founders Founders. After a year of intense work and amazing results, the house made of and for startups has opened doors to the community to show what they have done and how the project has evolved.
But back to the beginning, how did it all started?
Some time ago, five startups arrived to a moment where they had to leave the incubator – UPTEC, Science and Technology Park of University of Porto – and in this need to search for workspaces, they understood that considering the past they had together, inside the walls of UPTEC, it could make sense to continue this way: united and ready to overcome obstacles together.
Following this, they began the persistent search for a space where they could fit the five companies: Musicverb, Infraspeak, ShiftForward, LabOrders and Tuizzi. They found it at Rua da Constituição and this location became the chosen residence. The previous facilities of a Department of Investigation and Penal Action were now receiving new life with the arrival of this dynamic, creative and technological community that has foot in the national entrepreneurial scene.
That’s how Founders Founders was born, in the end of 2015, in a building with 1500 m2 and after around 280 thousand euros of investment for space recovery and preparation.Currently, Founders Founders has already 14 companies and about 140 people working inside the house – reaching 90% of its capacity. A community that extends to 250 people if we consider all the partners and mentors – national and international – who are involved in the project and who are an active part of the startups within this entrepreneurial hub.
In addition to the workspace, the Founders Founders hub also has four internal events, designed from the ground up to add value to the community. The “Tech Tech Talks” – for the pure tech topics, the “Let’s Grow Again” – focused on marketing tools and growth tricks. The “Scale Me Up” – a private event for residents where startups can share their doubts, concerns and problems, receive input from the experience that the other Founders have, and finally the “Happy Hour”, which is a more relaxed networking event.
And this brings us back to this moment, the official opening.
An event that was attended by the entrepreneurial community, represented by entrepreneurs, investors, partners and friends and where there was space to sign three protocols of partnership with ANJE (National Association of Young Entrepreneurs), IPP (Polytechnic Institute of Porto) and UPTEC. These protocols will open the doors to more synergies that will allow the evolution of the ecosystem and of the various entities involved.
The Secretary of State for Industry, João Vasconcelos, and Filipe Araújo, the Councilor for the Environment and Innovation of the Porto Municipality, were also present at the event.
João Vasconcelos mentioned the importance of projects like Founders Founders for the ecosystem’s evolution – “We want more entrepreneurs to evolve in spaces like this, because it is proven that a startup that is born in an environment like this is more likely to survive, to create more impact, to create more jobs.”
While expressing the desire to use the Founders Founders project as an example to all the journalists, investors and international founders who visit the country – “We’ll start using Founders Founders as an example. We want to show this to the world, show that it happened from scratch, show that it happened from the hands of founders, because we know that this is unique in Europe.”
Filipe Araújo, focused in a more local context, mentioning the impact that the project is having in the city and in the entrepreneurial community, also being an important fit into the vision of the ScaleUp Porto strategy – “We have to be able to scale the community and the ecosystem, with startups but also with scaleups, and show that it’s possible to have private projects that showcase the city – bringing investors and people to know the city and show them that it is possible to rehabilitate areas, rehabilitate buildings, do business, scale and evolve.”
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