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Porto Scaleup Report

Has our ecosystem developed in a way to support the scaleup process?

Through ScaleUp Porto and in collaboration with a wide network of partners, the city of Porto has been implementing a strategy to support the sustainable development of the entrepreneurship ecosystem, with a special focus on the scaleup process.

After publishing Re:think | Re:build | Re:load, a study that aimed at characterizing the ecosystem in the region, it is time to put the scaleup process under the magnifying glass.

This Porto Scaleup Report was developed using the first work and data collected as a basis. The analysis was extended to 2012-2018, in contrast to the previous one (2015-2018), in order to understand the evolution of dynamics between two periods: 2013-2015 vs 2016-2018.

Main Conclusions

2016-2018 was a phase of turnover and job creation growth, at a rate twice higher than the previous period.

During this period, more and younger companies reached the scaleup level.


Non-linear quantitative growth in turnover as companies grow older.

Companies over 8 years old present turnovers more than 6 times higher than companies between 4-7 years old.

Average annual growth well above the economy’s.

Growth between 2016 and 2018 (26.2%) is three times higher than between 2012-2105 (8.6%)



Growth rate was higher in 2016-2018.

Average growth in percentage is lower than the turnover growth.



More and younger companies reached the scaleup level between 2016-2018.

As more startups became scaleups, there was also a greater dispersion in performance for the first year as scaleup.



Between 2013 and 2015, companies in the Metropolitan Area had a annual turnover growth of 14.3%, whilst startups and scaleups’ turnover was 8.6%.

Between 2016 and 2018, startups and scaleups had an average annual growth of 26.2%, similar companies in the Metropolitan area grew 7.7%.

Average employment growth rates are substantially higher for companies in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Divergence in growth is accentuated in the second period, from 2016 to 2018.

Why scaleups?

According to several sources, focusing on the scaleup process has proved to be more effective when compared to strategies focusing on earlier stages.

Even if a big amount of startups that survive are unable to scale their growth, the small portion that does, the scaleups, tends to make a very relevant contribution to economic development. The integration of scaleups in an entrepreneurial ecosystem, promotes a set of positive effects, direct and indirect. These companies generate jobs in a high rate, with high productivity, which has a consequent increase of production, and an impact on the aggregate productivity of the economy.

Involving support entities, public and private, in the development of measures to support the establishment and development of high-growth potential companies, allows to mitigate the challenges that come with growth. The support to this specific phase, according to several sources, has proved to be more effective.

Working strategies for growth implies a holistic approach, which has to include the several stakeholders in an entrepreneurship ecosystem, a vision that has been guiding ScaleUp Porto’s activity.

Porto Scaleup Report 2012-2018

Supplement to Re:think | Re:build | Re:load, that characterizes the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region

Full Version (in PT)

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